Nov 10, 2017 in Review

George III in the Cinema

David Chandler is the author of the article “Representing the Mad King: George III in the Cinema.” The most famous representations of King George’s madness are “Beau Brummel” and “The Madness of King George.” The first one appeared in 1954 and the last in 1994. He wrote this article in 2008. The researcher compared the two cinematic images of the King George III’s insane. Chandler tried to analyze the illness of the pointed royal figure and, more over, he explained the importance of each film. He said that every film represented corresponding time of the history. The author asserted that King’s insanity and recovery had a significant influence on Great Britain. The most important areas, which felt this influence, were political and social. People changed their attitude towards the monarchy and they understood the mental illness. From 1788 to 1789 the regency Crisis was. It was the time, when the King felt himself very bad, and it seemed he was unfit to rule. George’s son was ready to become the Regent and to rule himself. Such family relations were not popular among the people.    

Chandler stressed on that in the “Beau Brummel” the cinema depicted the King as completely insane. The question of Regency was wrapped up with love story. It was the necessity of the film. Chandler considered that the King’s status in the “Beau Brummel” was largely determined by George’s relationship to his son. The author of the article laid emphasis on that directors depicted the King’s son as a heartless person. The researcher asserted that people supported the Prince of Whales. In addition, Chandler claimed that the lack of knowledge about ruler’s illness led to such situation. King’s people did not understand the illness and they were at the Prince of Whales side. 

In forty years, “The Madness of King George” has seen the light. This film also was based on a play, but the director changed some moments. Chandler said that this film was ready to see the light. People saw the compassionate play; it was briefer, and people admired with it. The author stressed on the fact the King was shown as ultra-sensitive on several issues: court protocol, his eldest son and the loss of American colonies. The scholar noticed that the director more focused on the King’s relationships with his eldest son.

In this article, Chandler conducted a comparative analysis of these films. He gave many evidences that the film “The Madness of King George” was better than “Beau Brummel.” In the last one, George III was depicted as “Mad King.” He was insane and he never recovered. The film found the King as mad person, who never has been cured. The creators depicted insanity as long and final illness of the King. In his turn, Bennet, the director of “The Madness of King George” showed the ruler of Great Britain before and after illness. The director tried to portray the most significant moments of the King’s life.

Chandler gave evidences that people’s knowledge about the royal’s madness were very poor. An abstract from the book shows it: “The color of the King’s urine suggests that he was suffering from porphyria, a physical illness that affects the nervous system. The disease is periodic, unpredictable – and hereditary”. At the first version of the play, the volume of information was less. Chandler proved that people’s thoughts that the King was mad were incorrect. In the second version of the film, Ida Macalpine explained what the illness, from which George III suffered, was. According to the film, at last the only one doctor agreed with the defeat and said that it would be better leave the King alone.

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