Monday, September 15, 2014

1961 - THE QUEEN'S GUARDS, for Michael Powell completists

I doubt Martin Scorcese who is a big fan of the director Michael Powell will be spending a lot of time preserving this very mediocre picture.  The Queen's Guards is a film that so drips with the English spirit it's a cliche of everything British.

The film focuses on an English army officer who is a member of an elite unit responsible for guarding the homes (!) of the Queen of England.  The film follows this officer, from his time in training, through a British incursion into a North African county and concludes with him presiding over an unending ceremony featuring an unending parade of men dressed up as toy soldiers for some dull as dishwater royal review.

The actor Daniel Massey who played Noel Coward in Star plays the officer in the guards.  He comes off as a real simp running around with his umbrella and bowler hat and affecting that stiff upper lip character that every American thinks the British are born with.

It's hard to believe that a director like Michael Powell, who usually made interesting and unique films about England and English life could get involved in such a cliche ridden mess like this.   Many of Powell's other films examined the British character with a lot more subtlety than this sloppy patriotic crap.  This is an England that probably never existed except in the fantasy world of film.

110 minutes.

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