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on 26 January 2003
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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on 12 January 2017
I think that when watching this historical drama, you have to put aside any strong pro-monarchic or anti-monarchic prejudice you may have.
It is a fascinating glimpse into what the family life of King George V at Sandringham was most probably like. King George himself is portrayed in the most unflattering light. I imagine that Stephen Poliakoff can justify this portrayal with accounts from the time, but one gets the impression that this was a man unsuited for the pressures and responsibilities he felt duty bound to take upon himself. Also that he was so weighed down by those pressures, and his own inability to find expression for his emotions, that this translated into neurotic behaviour and outbursts of temper; also resulting in the inability to listen to or sympathise with members of his own family who couldn't conform to what was expected of them as members of the royal family.
Thus, whilst the family were related to many of the other European Monarchs and aristocracy of the time, and were in one way extraordinarily privileged, they are also to be pitied for having to live a straight-jacket type of existence, fulfilling their duties and with very little time or capacity for normal family activities, or expressions of affection.
And so after the death of their kindly grandfather Edward, the young epileptic and autistic 'Lost Prince' John, and his brother Georgie, have to rely mainly on their loving nanny Lalla, and a kindly courtier Stamfordham, for any sympathy or normal human interaction.
Even Queen Mary, the mother of the Princes, who is portrayed as having some more human characteristics, is often too preoccupied with her own duties and obsessions to afford time to her sons.
It is only through Lalla's belief that Johnnie is capable of learning and development, that he is not left entirely in the hands of an uninspiring and dis-spirited tutor.
It is also through the love and belief shown to him by Lalla and Georgie, that Johnnie is able to have something of a life, despite being largely hidden away from the world by parents fearful that his illness, mental capacity and inability to interact according to the rules of society will become public knowledge.
This very human story is set first amongst the Edwardian Society of the early 1900's, moving after George's accession into the years leading up to and during the First World War. Throughout the narrative we get to see glimpses of visiting relations from European Royal families including that of the doomed Tsar Nicholas, as well as scenes involving the leading politicians of the era Asquith and Lloyd George.
Because of all the tragic events associated with the Great War, and the austerity it brought, it is often only the continuing childlike joyous and uninhibited behaviour of Johnnie that brings light and relief to a very bleak time.
In a telling line at the end of the film, Georgie says perhaps a little enviously of his brother Johnnie, that he was the only one of us who could truly be himself.
Sumptuously filmed and well acted by the child leads as well as the likes of Tom Hollander, Miranda Richardson, Gina McKee, Michael Gambon and Bill Nighy, this is a highly recommended drama that combines a tragic and touching family history, with a fascinating period backdrop.
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on 21 May 2017
An emotional and yet enchanting story of The lost Prince, harrowing that he was hidden away because of his ill health by his parents but the shining light of his brothers friendship and love for his hidden brother. Much history is covered in this story and keeps you en-captured throughout will pull on the heart strings.
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on 2 February 2003
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. Johnnie and his father , the increasingly out-of- his- depth King with no time for his youngest son; Johnnnie and his mother - marvellously played by Miranda Richardson - who genuinely tries to do her best by him but cannot help behaving with unconscious cruelty towards him; Johnnie and the doomed children of the Tsar, Johnnie and his extended family of kings, the Kaiser, Dukes, Archdukes and the rest. Most poignant of all Johnnie and Georgie ( Rollo Weeks) his slightly older brother, later the Duke of Kent, and Johnnie and Lala, (Gina McKee), his nanny. Both, the prince and the nanny, love and protect Prince John, both believe in him and see qualities in him which the more powerful and worldly characters miss - except in one glorious moment towards the end of the film. Both are splendidly acted, touching and sympathetic characters.
Finally I must say a word about the photography. Brilliant camera work is a hallmark of all of Poliakoff's films and "The Lost Prince" is no exception. The majestic, sumptuous pre-war banquet, lavishly shot from above and the parallel, austerity dinner during the war; the royal progress of Prince John on horseback followed by his household; the Tsar swimming in a Russian lake while his generals wait to see whether they will be ordered to mobilise; the Romanov family being butchered. These scenes are so beautifully photographed they are more like classic oil paintings than TV.
All in all a DVD to own and to treasure. Like Poliakoff's earlier work it is destined, I believe, to be regarded as a classic.
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on 1 September 2017
what a sad story and strange family they are!
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on 9 June 2017
Another excellent BBC drama. Well worth watching.
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on 24 May 2017
A very good true film
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on 11 May 2017
loved it
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on 18 July 2017
first class dvd first class seller
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on 6 November 2014
A beautifully crafted story of the lost uncle of Queen Elizabeth II. Another masterpiece from Stephen Poliakov. Definitely recommended.
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