45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
The BBC at its very best,
This review is from: All the King's Men [DVD] (DVD)
"All the King's Men" is a richly textured piece of television drama, sensitively directed by Julian Jarrold. Its carefully nuanced script explores the horrors of the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey in World War One and the myth surrounding the mysterious "disappearance" of the Sandringham Regiment, who were drawn from King George the Fifth's estate.The men are led by Captain Frank Beck,the agent on the estate, who with the support of the Queen Mother defies the King and, despite his age, leaves Sandringham to lead the men who he has trained and whose lives he has been intimately involved with on the estate. Through the excellent performance of David Jason we see a man of some nobility of spirit,used to respecting his superiors all his life,trying to do his best in a situation where his superiors got it completely wrong.His idealism is nicely contrasted with the humane pragmatism of the regimental doctor who has no such illusions.
The truth of a body of men ineptly led and totally unprepared for fighting in an unknown and hostile terrain with appalling logistical support is graphically portrayed and echoes the much better known Australian film, "Gallipoli." The deliberate burying of the truth of what happened(which involved large numbers of men being shot in the head rather than taken prisoner)in order to protect social sensitivities and preserve morale is nicely dealt with through the superbly restrained performance of Maggie Smith as the Queen Mother who is clearly not fooled but never betrays the fact.
The film also sympathetically explores the social values of the English class system and particularly the close knit generation of Sandringham workers who made up the regiment. Their naive and in some cases romantic confidence in the right of King and Country fighting with God on their side(despite the fact that they were invading another country)is believably portrayed.
The perfornances of the cast are without exception of a very high class with some excellent cameos. This is the BBC at its very best and I thoroughly reccomend it to you!