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The Lost Prince [DVD] [2003]


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Product details

  • Actors: Daniel Williams, Matthew James Thomas, Brock Everitt-Elwick, Rollo Weeks, Gina McKee
  • Directors: Stephen Poliakoff
  • Writers: Stephen Poliakoff
  • Producers: David M. Thompson, Joanna Beresford, John Chapman, Mark Hubbard, Peter Fincham
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: 2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 20 Jan. 2003
  • Run Time: 179 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007JGON
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,978 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Stephen Poliakoff's BBC drama telling the story of Prince John, the autistic and epileptic son of Queen Mary and King George V who spent his whole life hidden away from public view. Covering the period leading up to and including the First World War, the programme bears witness to many major historic events through the eyes of the young prince, and dramatises such important royal occasions as Edward VII's funeral and the visitation of the nine Kings of Europe in 1910. Stars Tom Hollander and Miranda Richardson as the King and Queen, Gina McKee as the prince's nanny, and Michael Gambon as Edward VII.

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A marvellous reinvention of the costume epic, The Lost Prince is Stephen Poliakoff's absorbing study of the turbulent years leading up to and during the First World War, 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 which 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 which 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 façade of single-minded focus occasionally fracturing to reveal a flash of humanity. This production is exquisite in every respect.

On the DVD: The Lost Prince is presented in its original transmission format of 16:9. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, enhanced by Adrian Johnston's haunting score is crystal clear. Extras include Poliakoff's revealing commentary, with occasional input from Johnston and designer John-Paul Kelly, and a couple of documentary fragments which show the production in progress and place it in context with the rest of Poliakoff's work. --Piers Ford

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Andy Gudge on 2 Feb. 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is the latest in a series of marvellous pieces of television ("Caught on a Train", "Shooting the Past" and "Perfect Strangers") written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff; It tells two interlinked stories.
The first is the tale of how the splendid monarchies and Empires of the Edwardian age - with all their privileges and wealth, their gloriously Ruritanian uniforms and lavish banquets - were destroyed by the slaughter that was World War 1. All except the British Empire, that is, and that by the skin of its teeth. The momentous events of that time are seen through the eyes of Prince John, the Lost Prince of the title.
The second is the sad story of Prince John himself (Matthew Thomas), youngest son of King George V (Tom Hollander)and Queen Mary (Miranda Richardson). Epileptic, probably mildly autistic and suffering from what a modern psychologist or social worker would refer to as "learning difficulties",Prince John is a charming, simple soul with a flair for gardening and a very direct way with words "That man's got a big head" he says of Asquith (Frank Finlay), the Prime Minister. Gradually Prince John's behaviour and propensity to epileptic fits lead to him being kept(in the eyes of the King and Queen, for the very best of reasons) in deeper and deeper isolation. When he dies - tragically young - he is living in a remote farmhouse on the Sandringham estate.
In part, then, a story of the great events of the first two decdaes of the twentieth century and in part a biography of an almost-unknown royal. If Poliakoff had left it there it would have been a good, interesting bit of television. But where "The Lost Prince" moves into the category of great television, is with the relationships that we witness here.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Liam on 15 Feb. 2005
Format: DVD
The Lost Prince is a spectuacular and moving drama charting the life of the little-known Prince John, son of King George V and Queen Mary. We see John and his brother George growing up in the Imperial splendour of Edward VII's court and see the changes that take place during the First World War. John, an epileptic, is kept away from the public eye with his devoted nurse, Lalla (portrayed wonderfully by Gina McKee). John is increasingly isolated from the world, and when the war begins his parents have no time for him. Only his brother George, and his adoring grandmother Queen Alexandra (Bibi Andersson - a wonderful and accurate portrayel) remember him. His parents, King George V and Queen Mary, are very stressed and are forced to pretty much abandon him. As Lalla struggles to remind them that John is a real prince, the Romanovs are murdured and the war in Europe ends. I challenge anyone to watch this and not feel sad at the ending. The drama had wonderful actors - Miranda Richardson is the very embodiment of Queen Mary, Tom Hollander is convincing as George V, and the contrast between him and his father, Edward VII (Michael Gambdon) is clear from the start. Great Stuff!
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Jan. 2003
Format: DVD
I am a sixteen year old male and crying when watching a movie is very much a rarity for me but I'm quite happy to admit that I was extremely tearful at the very ending, which I won't spoil for those who may not yet have watched it but will say that it was beautifully done and anyone who is not at least touched by it clearly are incapable of compassion.
This film touched me on a number of levels and I felt myself connecting to many of the characters and relating them, which I'm sure everyone is likely to find. Every character was very well acted, if not necessarily accurately portrayed in every case.
Also it is true that a very important part of history is included (World War One) and this will definitely interest many historians who I'm sure will be able to point out numerous inacuracies but to me this does not matter a bit. In many ways it will always be fiction like almost every other movie we've seen because it was only a movie... second hand evidence and about a Prince who was clearly hidden so well that the exact true story of his life is something we'll never really know. What touched me was the stories, which are (I hope) true... About a loving brother and a devoted maid and the Prince who just happened to be "different". There was so much love in that story, it's unbelievable... Also, Prince John's brother's last words about him at the end of the film really sum up his life as it was portrayed in The Lost Prince... Again, I won't spoil it but to find out those words you'll have to watch it! And you definitely should as soon as you can...
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Banks on 27 Jan. 2003
Format: DVD
Having watched the final part of The Lost Prince on BBC1 last night, I felt compelled to visit Amazon and buy the DVD release. Words cannot describe the joy I experienced from viewing this fantastic drama.
With two main leads in the form of Miranda Richardson and Tom Hollander, the roles of Queen Mary and George V could not have been played better or with more conviction.
Telling the story of the harrowing events of the Great War through the eyes of young Prince Johnnie, writer/Director Stephen Poliakoff has managed to render a great tapestry of a tale with nothing short of majesty.
From the initial family gathering at Sandringham where Tzar Nicholas II ordered the formation of his Russian troops, to the subsequent retaliation by the Megalomaniac Kaiser and Britain's emergence into the 1st World War, we follow Johnnie and his journey from house to house - struggling against his epilepsy and yearning for the companionship of his beloved brother Georgie.
What conviction Miranda Richardson conveys in her portrayal of a queen torn between her country and the want to do right by her son. Tom Hollander and George V's amazing plummet of emotions as he hears the fate of the Russian royal family was visually stunning and breathtaking.
And last but not least, Prince John himself, the Lost Prince, hidden away from prying eyes due to his illnesses but determined to enjoy his life.
Heartrending.
I cannot recommend this highly enough.
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