Tuesday, December 19, 2017

THE CROWN ~ A pleasant surprise!

For some reason, a couple of weeks ago, husband and I started watching the Netflix series
"The Crown"
Wiki's first paragraph on the series:
The Crown is a biographical drama television series, created and written by Peter Morgan and produced by Left Bank Pictures and Sony Pictures Television for Netflix. The show is a biographical story about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. The first season covers the period from her marriage to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in 1947 to the disintegration of her sister Princess Margaret's engagement to Peter Townsend in 1955. The second season covers the Suez Crisis in 1956 through the retirement of the Queen's third Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, in 1963 following the Profumo affair political scandal, and also the birth of Prince Edward in 1964.
From that description the series sounds less than fascinating! We were both amazed at how much we both enjoyed "The Crown". We watched season 1 and season 2 at the rate of two or three episodes per evening. Bear in mind that I am not, and have never been any kind of royalist, so my interest was not based in nostalgic rememberings of "the old country". The series is so well done and, to be honest the story is such an engaging one when seen, like this, in hindsight. There are times when I was thinking "you couldn't make this up!" It's a good story, by any yardstick. Historical facts are retained faithfully, intact; fictional parts of the script are, of necessity, conversations between the characters, in their private lives.

Casting and acting are excellent, for the most part. Claire Foy and Matt Smith (aka Dr. Who) lead as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. John Lithgow does a creditable Winston Churchill in spite of the fact that he's way too tall for the part. Vanessa Kirby gets Princess Margaret, I think, "just right". My only doubt, so far, has been the way the Queen Mother (wife of the late King George VI) is portrayed. Victoria Hamilton plays the part. It's not her acting at fault, it's more the lines she's given. I always saw the Queen Mum (as she was known) as one of the most warm, human and humane of the lot of 'em. So far she has not come across as such. Also, Jackie Kennedy, portrayed by Jodi Balfour, came across as a bit of "a mean girl", but also as a much weaker character than I'd have expected; and JFK didn't look anything like JFK. There are numerous internet reviews and articles fact-checking, and touching on all aspects of the series, so I'll not expand further.

We shall await season 3 eagerly, though it'll have an entirely different cast, all characters will have aged some - and it will be at least a year, perhaps more, before it "hits the screens". Anyway, I heartily recommend seasons 1 and 2 to anyone who hasn't seen this series already.

"The Crown", by the way is very likely the reason for some frequent extra hits on a post of mine from 2010:
Royally Beloved in the Time of Scorpio


Wisewebwoman said...

I did enjoy it. I was so glad that Philip's womanizing was portrayed. I had an uncle in the RAF who was stationed in different areas around the world and would be incensed at Philip's droit du seigneur on the wives of service men. He was legendary.

Claire Foy is brilliant. A difficult role.


Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ Yes, it was done fairly tactfully, but it was there! A beloved late SO of mine used to live near Windsor Castle in his earlier years, and often saw the royal comings and goings and a few goings on in limousines. He was thoroughly disgusted with most of them, apart from the Queen Mum and the Queen.

Claire Foy - agreed, excellent portrayal. I hope the actress who will take over the role will be as good in it - Olivia Colman. She is good in "Broadchurch" as a detective, along with David Tennant. She does have the right look for the part of Queen Elizabeth too.