I'm retired, busy with volunteer radio and (with my wife) going to the theatre and enjoying 'fine dining".
Published April 17th 2013
Hot dogs, Presidential mistresses and royalty
"Hyde Park is the King's Speech for 2013".
So says a publicity poster for the film. In that case this sequel does not live up to its original. Not even close.
Like it or not, The King's Speech has given us the template for the Royals, and this new portrayal falls far short. They are awkward, out of their depth, and rather dull. We are, it seems, expected to care whether they can bring themselves to consume a hot dog for the sake of Anglo-American relations, described in horror by the Queen in Lady Bracknell-like tones.
And it's slow. So very slow.
Bill Murray is a convincing Franklin D Roosevelt, though one wonders when he is actually running the country and tackling the depression.
Enter Franklin's distant cousin, one of a number of women attracted to him. Despite diaries and correspondence, it seems that there is no clear evidence as to whether she became his mistress. The film is less circumspect, particularly in a rather icky scene in Franklin's convertible.
The Eleanor portrayed in this film is much less formidable, much less driven than the reality, doing little but to smile and stay remote.
The film's dramatic high point comes in the conversation between the fragile King, handicapped by his stutter, and the self-confident President, who refuses to be defined by his polio-stricken legs. Much more could have been made of this scene.
Sadly, the excellent actors are not given enough to work with, and what could have been a quirky depiction of an interesting moment in history falls somewhat flat.