The Queen (film)


The Queen (film)

Infobox Film | name = The Queen


caption = "The Queen" teaser poster
director = Stephen Frears
producer = Andy Harries
Christine Langan
Tracey Seaward
Francois Ivernel (executive producer)
Cameron McCracken (executive producer)
Scott Rudin (executive producer)
writer = Peter Morgan
starring = Helen Mirren
Michael Sheen
James Cromwell
Helen McCrory
Alex Jennings
Roger Allam
Sylvia Syms
music = Alexandre Desplat
cinematography = Affonso Beato
editing = Lucia Zucchetti
distributor = Pathé Pictures (UK theatrical)
20th Century Fox (UK DVD)
Miramax Films (USA)
Icon Productions (Australian theatrical)
Warner Home Video (Australian DVD)
Country = United Kingdom
released = 2 September, 2006 (premiere at VFF)
15 September, 2006 (UK)
30 September, 2006 (USA, limited)
13 October, 2006 (Canada, limited)
20 October, 2006 (Canada, wide)
26 December, 2006 (Australia, limited)
runtime = 97 min.
language = English
budget = GB£9,800,000 (US$15,000,000)
amg_id = 1:326921
imdb_id = 0436697

"The Queen" drama film directed by Stephen Frears, Peter Morgan and starring Dame Helen Mirren in the title role, Queen Elizabeth II. Released almost a decade after the events it covers, the film depicts an account of the immediate events following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, itself coming three months after the coming to power of British Prime Minister Tony Blair's New Labour government.

The plot mainly focuses on the differing views in how to deal with the death of Diana. The Queen, along with her husband and mother, see her death as a private affair, not to be treated as an official Royal death, in contrast with newly-elected Prime Minister Tony Blair and Diana's ex-husband Prince Charles, who attempt to reflect the public wish for an official expression of grief. Matters are further complicated by the media, royal protocol regarding Diana's official status, and wider issues about Republicanism. The views of Diana's sons throughout the film are only portrayed through other characters.

In contrast to the period in question, "The Queen" was released in 2006, a time of somewhat revived fortunes of the monarchy and a downturn in fortunes for Tony Blair, with his resignation coming less than a year later. Actor Michael Sheen reprised his role as Tony Blair from the 2003 Channel 4 play "The Deal". Also a Frears / Morgan project, "The Deal" dealt with the relationship of Blair with his chancellor and eventual successor, Gordon Brown, prior to the events of "The Queen".

The film earned critical and popular acclaim for both Mirren and Sheen, and some controversy as Mirren had previously refused a CBE in 1996, [ [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1047623.ece?token=null&offset=60 Helen Mirren declines CBE] , "The Times"] only to accept a DBE in 2003. Mirren praised the Queen in her Oscars acceptance speech, [ [http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=305312007 Helen Mirren at the Oscars] , news.scotsman.com] and was invited to lunch at Buckingham Palace in May 2007, only declining to attend due to filming commitments in the United States. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6643793.stm Mirren 'too busy' to meet Queen] BBC News, 10 May 2007]

Plot

The film begins on the eve of the 1997 British general election, which saw Tony Blair (Sheen) elected as the United Kingdom's first Labour Party Prime Minister in 18 years. While posing for an official portrait, the Queen (Mirren) talks with the artist and expresses her regret about not being allowed to vote. She is slightly wary of the new prime minister and his pledge to "modernise" the country, but Blair promises to respect the independence of the Royal Family. When Blair visits Buckingham Palace to kiss hands, the Queen asks him to form a Government in her name.

Three months later, during a visit to Paris, Diana, Princess of Wales dies in a tragic car accident in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel. Blair's director of communications, Alastair Campbell (Mark Bazeley), immediately prepares a speech in which he describes her as "the People's Princess." Blair gives the speech the next morning and the phrase catches on immediately. Over the next few days, the British people erupt in an outpouring of grief, as millions flock to Buckingham and Kensington Palaces to leave floral tributes and notes.

Meanwhile, the Royal Family were still on holiday at Balmoral Castle, the Queen's estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Diana's death immediately sparks division among senior members of the family. The Queen observes that, since Diana is divorced from Charles, Prince of Wales (Alex Jennings) a year ago, she is no longer a member of the Royal Family. Consequently, she insists that the funeral arrangements are a "private matter" and are best left to the princess's own family, the Spencers. A visibly griefstricken Prince Charles, however, argues that the mother of a future King of England cannot be dismissed so lightly. Following her mother's suggestion, the Queen eventually sanctions the use of an aircraft of the Royal Flight to bring Diana's body back to England. Charles ensures that his ex-wife's coffin is draped with a Royal Standard instead of remaining a "wooden crate."

In London, the bouquets begin to pile up along the Palace railings, forcing the changing of the guard to use another gate. Meanwhile, British tabloids become increasingly inflammatory about the lack of any statement by the Royal Family. Prince Charles, during a brief conversation with Blair and later through back-channel contacts, leaves no doubt that he shares the Prime Minister's views about the need for a more public expression of grief. As the Queen's ratings plummet, Blair's popularity rises sharply, to the delight of the Prime Minister's Anti-Monarchist advisers and his wife, Cherie (Helen McCrory).

Blair, however, does not share these sentiments. Despite not concurring with the Queen's course of action, he admires her and tells his wife that a Republican Britain is a ludicrous idea. Later on, he angrily denounces the anti-royal disdain of his Labour advisors and accuses Diana of having tried to destroy everything which the monarchy stands for. After days of building pressure, Blair calls the Queen at Balmoral and urgently recommends a course of action he believes is needed to retain (or regain) the public's confidence in the Monarchy. These measures include attending a public funeral for Diana at Westminster Abbey, flying a Union Jack at half mast over Buckingham Palace (an unprecedented step in four centuries of royal protocol), and speaking to the nation about Diana's legacy in a live, televised address from the Palace.

Blair's recommendations outrage the Queen's husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (James Cromwell) and the Queen Mother (Sylvia Syms). Philip is also surprised that Elton John is asked to attend and sing a song (Candle in the Wind) in Diana's honour. They view such steps as an undignified surrender to public hysteria, created by the tabloids, that will eventually calm down when the public comes to its senses. The Queen seems more concerned about this and although she shares their feelings, she begins to have doubts as she closely follows the news coverage. Speaking with her mother, the Queen muses that there has been some shift in public values, that perhaps she should step aside and hand over the monarchy to the next generation. Her mother dismisses these ideas, however, saying that she is one of the greatest assets the Monarchy has ever had, adding, "The real problem will come when you "leave"."

Later at Balmoral, Philip attempts to distract his grandsons from their mother's death by taking them deer stalking. While venturing out alone in her Land Rover, the Queen damages her vehicle while fording a river, and has to wait for assistance. While waiting, she weeps in frustration, but then catches sight of the majestic stag which her grandsons have been stalking. Hearing a distant gunshot, she shoos the animal away. Later that day, the Queen decides to carry out the recommendations of Blair. While preparing to leave for London, she is horrified to learn that the stag has been killed on a neighbouring estate, by a visiting stockbroker. She visits the estate where the stag is being dressed, and expresses dismay at the amateurish way it was hunted.

In the film's climax, the Royal Family returns to London and inspect the floral tributes. The Queen also goes on live television to speak about Diana's life and legacy, even going so far as calling her "an exceptional and gifted human being." Two months later, Blair comes to the Palace for a weekly meeting. The Queen has regained her popularity, but believes she will never quite fully recover from "that week". She cautions Blair that one day he too will find that public opinion can rapidly turn against him. She declares, however, that times have changed and that the Monarchy must "Modernise." When Blair suggests that he can help with this, she responds, "Don't get ahead of yourself Prime Minister. Remember, "I'm" supposed to be the one advising "you"." Then as they walk through the garden, the credits roll.

Cast

Production

Filming

The screenplay was written by Peter Morgan and produced by Pathé Pictures and Granada Productions (ITV Productions). Stephen Frears had a clause in his contract from "The Deal" that allowed him to direct any follow-ups or sequels, and he was officially announced as director in September 2003. [cite news|first=Matt|last=Wells|title=Frears on board for new Deal|url=http://media.guardian.co.uk/broadcast/story/0,,1043439,00.html|work=Media Guardian|date=2003-09-17|accessdate=2007-08-31] The film was shot on location in the United Kingdom, in England in London, Halton House and Waddesdon Manor, in Buckinghamshire and in
Scotland at Balmoral Castle and Castle Fraser in Aberdeenshire and Blairquhan Castle and Culzean Castle in South Ayrshire.Mirren says transforming herself into the Queen came almost naturally after the wig and glasses, since she shares a default facial expression — a slightly downturned mouth — with the monarch.Gritten, David; 9 September 2006; [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml;jsessionid=1HWBHZW0MPSYZQFIQMGCFF4AVCBQUIV0?xml=/arts/2006/09/01/bfqueen01.xml 'I do look a bit like the Queen, you know'] ; "The Daily Telegraph"; retrieved 26 November 2006.] She regularly reviewed film and video footage of Elizabeth and kept photographs in her trailer during production.Levy, Emanuel; [http://emanuellevy.com/article.php?articleID=3178 The Queen according to Frears] , emanuellevy.com; retrieved 26 November 2006] She also undertook extensive voice coaching, faithfully reproducing the Queen's delivery of her televised speech to the world. Morgan has said that her performance was so convincing that, by the end of production, crew members who had been accustomed to slouching or relaxing when they addressed her were standing straight up and respectfully folding their hands behind their backs. Mirren arranged to spend time off-camera with the supporting cast playing other members of the Royal Family, including James Cromwell, Alex Jennings and Sylvia Syms so they would be as comfortable with each other as a real family.Shots involving the Queen were shot in 35mm film and shots of Tony Blair were shot in 16mm film to enhance the contrast of different worlds. [The Queen DVD Commentary]

Television viewership and DVD release

ITV's role in the production of the film allowed them an option for its television premiere [cite news|first= Sarfraz|last= Manzoor|title= The power behind the throne|url= http://media.guardian.co.uk/broadcast/story/0,,715025,00.html|work= The Guardian|date= 2007-02-27|accessdate= 2007-06-28 ] and it was broadcast on 2 September 2007 (coinciding that weekend with a memorial service to Diana) to an average audience of 7.9 million, winning its timeslot. [cite news|first= Holmwood|last= Leigh|title= Queen commands 8m for ITV1|url= http://media.guardian.co.uk/overnights/story/0,,2161528,00.html|work= Media Guardian|date= 2007-09-03|accessdate= 2007-10-04 ] The DVD was released in the UK on 12 March 2007. Special features include a making-of featurette, and an audio commentary by Stephen Frears, writer Peter Morgan and Robert Lacey, biographer of Queen Elizabeth II. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD in the USA on 24 April 2007. As of 30 September 2007, "The Queen" has generated DVD sales of over $23 million. [ [http://the-numbers.com/movies/2006/QUEEN.php/ Movie The Queen - Box Office Data, News, Cast Information - The Numbers ] ]

Historical accuracy

Screenwriter Peter Morgan has stated that the film was not intended to be an historically accurate representation of the Queen's role. He says "As far as I am aware, I wrote about a cold, emotionally detached, haughty, difficult, prickly, private, uncommunicative, out-of-touch bigot. But people adore her ["i.e." the character] , because they think it was written with compassion and integrity rather than being a hatchet job." [ [http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/film/article-23372301-details/The+man+who+rewrites+history/article.do The man who rewrites history| Film | This is London ] ] However, there was considerable effort to recount the story with a degree of accuracy. Morgan reconstructed the events of that week through extensive interviews with many unnamed sources close to the Prime Minister and the Royal Family. Many of these sources were able to corroborate the accounts of others, giving Morgan enough information to imagine the intervening scenes.

Some aspects of the characters are known to be true to their real-life counterparts. Cherie Blair's hostility to the monarchy has been widely reported, including her refusal to curtsey.Rayner, Gordon; 21 April 2006; [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=362908&in_page_id=1770 That b**** Princess Anne] ; "The Daily Mail"; retrieved 26 November 2006.] According to Morgan, "cabbage" is an actual term of endearment Philip uses for his wife.

Other elements represent characteristics associated with people depicted. The electric guitar seen behind Blair in his personal office is a reference to his past membership in the band Ugly Rumours while a student. The Newcastle United football jersey he wears to a family breakfast at 10 Downing Street is a reference to his support of that team.

The most notable inaccuracy is that Robin Janvrin is represented as the Queen's Private Secretary during the aftermath of Diana's death, but in fact that position was then occupied by Janvrin's predecessor, Sir Robert Fellowes, a brother-in-law of Diana, Princess of Wales; Janvrin was only the Deputy Private Secretary up until 1999 when he took the position of Private Secretary to the Queen. However, the film is accurate in depicting Janvrin as the person who delivered the news of Diana's accident to Her Majesty at Balmoral during the night.Junor, Penny (2005). "The Firm: The Troubled Life of the House of Windsor". London: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-710215-1.]

Reception

Box office

The film exceeded box-office expectations; with a budget of $15 million the film has earned $56.4 million in the United States and has a worldwide gross of $120 million. [ [http://www.leesmovieinfo.net/wbotitle.php?t=3907 The Queen :: Lee's Movie Info ] ]

Critical reaction

Before the film was released, critics praised both Stephen Frears and Peter Morgan, who later garnered Golden Globe and Academy Award-nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay. Michael Sheen's performance as Tony Blair earned him particular acclaim. But Helen Mirren's "tour-de-force" portrayal garnered her acclaim from critics around the world. Her portrayal made her a favourite for the Academy Award for Best Actress well before the film was released in theatres. After its showing at the Venice Film Festival, Mirren received a five-minute-long standing ovation. [ [http://www.marinij.com/marin/ci_4461775 Marin Independent Journal - Dame Helen Mirren's appearance at Mill Valley Film Festival fit for 'The Queen' ] ] Roger Ebert came out of recovery from surgery to give the film a review. He called it "spellbinding" and gave it four out of four stars. [ [http://video.movies.go.com/thequeen/ The Queen Movie - Official DVD Website ] ] "The Queen" was the most critically acclaimed film of 2006 with Mirren being the most critically acclaimed actress of the year. "The Queen" currently has a certified freshness rating of 97% on rottentomatoes.com. [ [http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/queen/ The Queen - Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes ] ]

Top ten lists

The film appeared on many US critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2006. [cite web|url=http://www.metacritic.com/film/awards/2006/toptens.shtml |title=Metacritic: 2006 Film Critic Top Ten Lists |accessdate=2008-01-08 |publisher=Metacritic]

*1st - Frank Scheck, "The Hollywood Reporter"
*1st - William Arnold, "Seattle Post-Intelligencer"
*2nd - Lou Lumenick, "New York Post"
*2nd - Michael Rechtshaffen, "The Hollywood Reporter"
*3rd - David Ansen, "Newsweek"
*3rd - Ella Taylor, "LA Weekly"
*3rd - Richard Schickel, "TIME" magazine
*3rd - Sheri Linden, "The Hollywood Reporter"
*4th - Chris Kaltenbach, "The Baltimore Sun"
*4th - Claudia Puig, "USA Today"
*4th - Kenneth Turan, "Los Angeles Times" (tied with "Venus")
*4th - Stephen Holden, "The New York Times"
*5th - Dennis Harvey, "Variety"
*5th - Kirk Honeycutt, "The Hollywood Reporter"
*5th - Mick LaSalle, "San Francisco Chronicle"
*5th - Stephanie Zacharek, "Salon" (tied with "Marie Antoinette")
*6th - Marjorie Baumgarten, "The Austin Chronicle"
*6th - Michael Sragow, "The Baltimore Sun"
*6th - Shawn Levy, "The Oregonian"
*7th - Lawrence Toppman, "The Charlotte Observer"
*7th - Peter Travers, "Rolling Stone"
*9th - Jack Mathews, "New York Daily News"
*9th - Lisa Schwarzbaum, "Entertainment Weekly"
*9th - Michael Phillips, "Chicago Tribune"
*9th - Michael Wilmington, "Chicago Tribune"
*9th - Nathan Rabin, "The A.V. Club"
*9th - Ty Burr, "The Boston Globe"
*10th - Glenn Kenny, "Premiere"
*10th - Staff, "Film Threat"General top ten
*Carina Chocano, "Los Angeles Times"
*Carrie Rickey, "The Philadelphia Inquirer"
*Dana Stevens, "Slate"
*Joe Morgenstern, "The Wall Street Journal"
*Liam Lacey and Rick Groen, "The Globe and Mail"
*Peter Rainer, "The Christian Science Monitor"
*Ruthe Stein, "San Francisco Chronicle"
*Steven Rea, "The Philadelphia Inquirer"

Awards and nominations

Helen Mirren won at least 29 major awards for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II, many of which are listed below. She was nominated for at least 3 more.79th Academy Awards (2006)
* Won: Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role — Helen Mirren
* Nominated: Best Motion Picture of the Year— Andy Harries, Christine Langan, Tracey Seaward
* Nominated: Achievement in Directing — Stephen Frears
* Nominated: Best Original Screenplay — Peter Morgan
* Nominated: Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score) — Alexandre Desplat
* Nominated: Achievement in Costume Design — Consolata Boyle

2006 British Academy Film (BAFTA) Awards
* Won: Best Film
* Won: Actress in a Leading Role — Helen Mirren
* Nominated: Outstanding British Film — Andy Harries, Christine Langan, Tracey Seaward, Stephen Frears, Peter Morgan
* Nominated: The David Lean Award for Achievement in Direction — Stephen Frears
* Nominated: Actor in a Supporting Role — Michael Sheen
* Nominated: Original Screenplay — Peter Morgan
* Nominated: Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music — Alexandre Desplat
* Nominated: Editing — Lucia Zucchetti
* Nominated: Costume Design — Consolata Boyle
* Nominated: Makeup and Hair — Daniel Philipps

2006 Screen Actors Guild Awards
* Won: Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role (Theatrical movie) — Helen Mirren

2006 Directors Guild of America Awards
* Nominated: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures — Stephen Frears

2006 Writers Guild of America Awards
* Nominated: Original Screenplay — Peter Morgan

2006 Producers Guild of America Awards
* Nominated: Best Picture of the Year — Andy Harries, Christine Langan, Tracey Seaward

64th Golden Globe Awards
* Won: Best Actress, Drama — Helen Mirren
* Won: Best Screenplay — Peter Morgan
* Nominated: Best Picture, Drama
* Nominated: Best Director — Stephen Frears

2006 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards
*Won: Actress in a Leading Role — Helen Mirren
*Nominated: Best Picture
*Nominated: Best Director — Stephen Frears
*Nominated: Best Writer — Peter Morgan

2006 Toronto Film Critics Association Awards
*Won: Best Picture
*Won: Best Actress — Helen Mirren
*Won: Best Supporting Actor — Michael Sheen
*Won: Best Director — Stephen Frears
*Won: Best Screenplay — Peter Morgan

2006 New York Film Critics Circle Awards
* Won: Best Actress — Helen Mirren
* Won: Best Screenplay — Peter Morgan

2006 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards
* Won: Best Actress — Helen Mirren
* Won: Best Supporting Actor — Michael Sheen
* Won: Best Screenplay — Peter Morgan
* Won: Best Music — Alexandre Desplat
* Runner-Up: Best Picture

2006 National Society of Film Critics Awards
*Won: Best Actress — Helen Mirren
*Won: Best Screenplay — Peter Morgan

2006 Satellite Awards
* Nominated: Best Motion Picture, Drama
* Won: Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama — Helen Mirren
* Nominated: Best Director — Stephen Frears
* Nominated: Best Screenplay, Original — Peter Morgan

2006 National Board of Review Awards
* Won: Best Actress — Helen Mirren

2006 Chicago International Film Festival
* Won: Audience Choice Award — Stephen Frears

2006 British Independent Film Awards
* Won: Best Screenplay — Peter Morgan
* Nominated: Best British Independent Film
* Nominated: Best Director — Stephen Frears
* Nominated: Best Actress — Helen Mirren
* Nominated: Best Technical Achievement — Alan MacDonald (production design)
* Nominated: Best Technical Achievement — Daniel Phillips (makeup)

2006 Venice Film Festival
* Won: Best Actress — Helen Mirren
* Won: Best Screenplay — Peter Morgan
* Nominated: Golden Lion

oundtrack

Infobox Album
Name = The Queen
Type = Album
Artist = Alexandre Desplat


Released = September 26, 2006
Recorded = 2006
Genre = Soundtrack
Length =
Label = Milan
Producer =
Reviews =
*SoundtrackNet Rating|4.5|5 [http://www.soundtrack.net/soundtracks/database/?id=4450 link]
* [http://www.scorereviews.com/default.aspx Scorereviews.com] Rating|3|5 [http://www.scorereviews.com/reviews/review.aspx?id=553 link]
Last album = The Singer
(2006)
This album = The Queen
(2006)
Next album = The Painted Veil (2006)
The soundtrack album was released on the Milan label on 26 September 2006. The original score and songs were composed by Alexandre Desplat. The album was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score. It was also nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Film Music (lost to the score of "Babel").

# The Queen - 2:09
# Hills Of Scotland - 2:25
# People's Princess I - 4:08
# A New Prime Minister - 1:55
# H.R.H. - 2:22
# The Stag - 1:50
# Mourning - 3:50
# Elizabeth & Tony - 2:04
# River Of Sorrow - 1:59
# The Flowers Of Buckingham - 2:28
# The Queen Drives - 1:48
# Night In Balmoral - 1:09
# Tony & Elizabeth - 2:04
# People's Princess II - 4:08
# Queen Of Hearts - 3:33
# Libera Me (Verdi) - 6:27

References

External links

* [http://www.thequeenmovie.co.uk/ "The Queen" official website (UK)]
* [http://video.movies.go.com/thequeen/ "The Queen" official website (USA)]
*imdb title|id=0436697|title=The Queen
*rotten-tomatoes|id=1163436-queen|title=The Queen
* [http://www.itv.com/thequeen "The Queen"] at itv.com

Interviews

* [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml;jsessionid=1HWBHZW0MPSYZQFIQMGCFF4AVCBQUIV0?xml=/arts/2006/09/01/bfqueen01.xml Helen Mirren on "The Queen"] at "The Daily Telegraph"
* [http://film.guardian.co.uk/interview/interviewpages/0,,1863109,00.html Helen Mirren Interview] at "The Guardian"
* [http://www.who.com/who/magazine/article/0,19636,7401070108-1573301,00.html Interview with Michael Sheen on WHO.com]


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