The Lost Prince
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Lost Prince, The (DVD)
A marvelous reinvention of the costume epic, The Lost Prince is Stephen Poliakoff's absorbing study of the turbulent years leading up to and during World War I, seen through the percipient eyes of a scarcely remembered royal child. Extensively researched, impeccably cast, beautifully filmed, written and directed by Poliakoff himself with masterly economy and restraint, this is a timely reminder that original, intelligent drama can work as prime-time entertainment while appealing on multiple levels; and there isn't an escaped soap star in sight. Johnnie, the prince kept hidden away by his parents Queen Mary and George V for fear that his epileptic fits and idiosyncratic ways might draw unwelcome attention, is not presented as a tragic figure. His view of the great events that shatter his family and change the world forever is direct and uncluttered. Poliakoff celebrates his apartness--and that of all children who are different--as a force for good, without judging the standards, protocols, and contemporary medical theories that kept him on the periphery of society. The series makes the most of its well-chosen locations, and from Johnnie's garden at Sandringham to the assassination of the Russian imperial family, it maintains a hypnotic and elegiac quality The acting is first-rate, too. Gina McKee is profoundly moving as Johnnie's devoted nurse Lalla, and Miranda Richardson's Mary is an extraordinary performance, the controlled facade of single-minded focus occasionally fracturing to reveal a flash of humanity. This production is exquisite in every respect. --Piers Ford
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Top Customer Reviews
"The Lost Prince" tells the tale of the Royals from the time of Edward VII, and the zenith of Britain's Imperial splendour, through to the Gotterdammerung of the First World War and the smashing of the royal houses of Europe on the battlefield. Where Poliakoff's account departs from others is in telling the story largely through the eyes of a child: Prince Johnny, the epileptic, possibly autistic (and thought to be 'imbecile') youngest son of George V and Queen Mary. For Johnny, hidden away in the country where he cannot embarrass his parents, the unfolding of one of the most tumultuous periods in European history is a surreal family melodrama populated by larger-than-life relatives like Czar Niki and Kaiser Willy.
Pretty well abandoned by his parents, Johnny's main contact with the world is through his nurse, Lalla, and brother Georgie---better known as the Duke of Kent, whose death in a 1942 plane crash along with the 'real' Rudolf Hess still has tongues wagging---Poliakoff also lifts the lid on who was really responsible for abandoning the Romanovs to their fate (and it wasn't Lloyd George).
With great performances from the likes of Tom Hollander (as George V), Michael Gambon (as Edward VII), and Miranda Richardson (as Queen Mary)---not to mention the children who bring young Johnny and Georgie to life---splendid cinematography, a suitably bittersweet Elgarian score and an approach to staging the past that gets beyond the cosmetic pleasures of much costume drama, this is a wonderfully satisfying, elegiac piece of work. A perfect piece of historical drama, no less.
The teleplay shows an interplay of the private life of Prince John and his caregivers, particularly the deeply devoted servant and nanny, Lalla, and the public life of the royal family, as their lives became increasingly complex and involved in public duties due to the outbreak of the first world war. The private life concentrates both on John and Lalla, as well as John and George, another of the younger royal children, close in age to John. George went through the typical royal upbringing of boarding schools with a military emphasis; he was as out-of-place in that world as John was in the stuffy, rigidly-controlled royal world.Read more ›
Prince John was born with epilepsy, that much the parents knew. However, his strange behaviour and inability to learn what the royal family decided their children should be taught, not only puzzled them, but caused them to deal with him in a severe and harsh way. He and his household of attendants were secreted off to the country to live in first a country farm house, and then in an abandoned, decaying stone house. Royalty at the time believed that their blood was more pure and better than the common person. That one of their children should be born like this brought shame upon them. The country and its political leaders were never to know about John.
Prince John had two people in his life who loved and supported him. His patient and kind nanny, Lalla, and his brother closest to him in age, Prince George.
We watch Johnnie's life with pain in our hearts. He was gifted in music and loved to draw, but because he was born to royalty, he had to be able to conform to the expectations put upon him by his parents, as they were expected to conform to the expectations of their parents. The rigid, emotionless and often severe ways of relating to their children cast the King and Queen in a very negative light. Everything and everybody came before their children and their emotional needs.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Should be titled, "The Lost Movie". Solid production values but the script and some of the casting is suspect.Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
Found movie a bit confusing but well acted and close to realityPublished 15 months ago by Jaz R. Rebordosa
Absolutely incredible film....enjoyed immensely.....will watch over and over.Published 21 months ago by cate
Queen Mary and King George kept their son hidden for most of his life due to his epileptic fits which were a cause of shame in those day's. Read morePublished on May 16 2014 by Debra
I found the price and delivery of this movie to be very good. The movie itself was excellent. It offers an account of the life of a little-known prince and the life he led. Read morePublished on Jan. 24 2014 by Susan
Nicely done piece of history revealed. Would definitely recommend it especially to history buffs. Many thanks for this hidden treasurePublished on Jan. 7 2014 by In the Hammer