Are you anything like me? Did you see The Madness of King George (1994) back in the day, remember that it had great performances and costumes, but never quite get around to watching it again because it’s not the happiest of stories?
WATCH IT AGAIN. SERIOUSLY. RIGHT NOW. I’LL WAIT RIGHT HERE TIL YOU’RE DONE.
YOU’RE WELCOME. Oh my god. How AMAZINGLY good is this movie? Okay, no, it’s not a Jane Austen adaptation. There’s no meet-cute, no young love, no fresh young heroines pitter-pattering over manly yet dapper hunks.
But there is:
So yeah. My 18th-century quest — to see as many 18th-century costume movies as possible — forced me to rewatch this one, which I probably saw around when it came out and have put off rewatching since. Well, I’m an idiot, because while this IS a sad story, it’s also emotional, funny, and FABULOUSLY costumed.
Most people know the story of King George III, who went crazy at various points in his elder years and had to be replaced by the Prince Regent (later George IV). For a long time, researchers thought he suffered from porphyria, an obscure, inherited disease. Now, new research is showing that he was probably bipolar.
The film The Madness of King George was originally a stage play, then a movie. It won the Academy Award for art direction, and best actor (Nigel Hawthorne), actress (Helen Mirren), and adapted screenplay nominations. It was nominated for 14 BAFTAs and won three: best British film, actor (Hawthorne), and makeup/hair (Lisa Westcott). Helen Mirren won best actress at the Cannes film festival.
All of these awards were incredibly well deserved, but here’s the important thing: the costumes (designed by Sue Honeybourne and Mark Thompson) are STUNNING. And, while the story certainly many sad moments, they are totally offset by PRINNY and ridiculous doctors and political shenanigans and PRINNY.
WATCH IT AGAIN. Again, you’re welcome!