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How To Get Yourself in the Cinematic Mood (for a Royal Wedding)

The Queen by Maggie Kruger

On April 29th,=, the world and its gerbil is going to turn its attention to Ye Olde London Towne, to witness our Future King marrying Kate Middleton.  What with the success of The King’s Speech at the Oscars in February and now all of the UK getting an extra day off work so we can watch the ceremony, it’s been quite a year for the Royal Family of Great Britain.

If I’m absolutely honest I’m not all that excited about it – I reached Royal Wedding saturation point about 3 months ago – but my friends and I will be getting together to watch the ceremony and drink champagne nonetheless.

Any excuse, after all.

I’m thinking I should get myself in the mood though: after all itis a historic occasion.  So this weekend I propose to climb aboard the Royal Express, please join me as I try to figure out How To Get Yourself in the Mood (for a Royal Wedding).

Starting with the ladies, I’ll begin with The Queen– this is an awesome movie and well worth watching if you haven’t seen it yet: the immediate aftermath of Diana, Princess of Wales’ death in 1997 when the Royal Family stayed silent in the face of a nation’s hysteria.  Helen Mirren (always great to watch) is an uncanny Lizzie II, ably supported by James Cromwell, Michael Sheen and Sylvia Sims.  Michael Sheen’s brilliant in it actually, now I come to think of it, you can almost see the oil oozing off of his portrayal of Tony Blair.

shakespeare in loveIf we’re looking at awe-inspiring Queens (leave your Elton John jokes at the door), I guess we should at least have a little look at Elizabeth I, but I’m going to make a confession here: I think Elizabeth is probably the most obvious choice and certainly the easiest to find, but I went to see it at the cinema when it came out and I think I was a bit bored by it… I don’t really want to watch it again.  It’s worth a look if you haven’t seen it – it looks beautiful and Cate Blanchett is great, but give me a choice between Elizabeth and something else, I’m going to choose something else.

For my Lizzie One fix I’m much more likely to head towards Judi Dench’s Oscar-winning 9 minutes in Shakespeare in Love (loads of the same cast as well… Geoffrey Rush, Joseph Fiennes…).  A lot less worthy, a lot more fun, and my favourite Rupert Everett performance OF ALL TIME.

Speaking of the wonderful Judi Dench, let’s not forget Mrs Brown, in which she plays Queen Victoria in her period of mourning after Prince Albert’s death.  Her Scottish groundsman (Billy Connolly, best known in the UK as the Best Ever Stand-Up Comedian Ever Who Ever Lived Ever and a total revelation in this movie) gradually brings her out of her fugue, much to the disapproval of her family and the government.  As inspiring as it is heartbreaking, it’s one movie I can watch over and over again.  It’s also notable for an early Gerard Butler appearance, before he forgot how to act (PS I Love You, anyone?).

monty-python-and-the-holy-grailSo far, so stately.  The problem with historical films is that on the whole they’re not so big on the *fun* side of sovereignty: it’s a serious business, being a monarch.  Now, I could watch myself some Henry V, Richard III or any other Shakespearian epic for my Kingly fix, but I think for seriousness’ sake, I will go with The Madness of King George, as I’ve never seen it and I’m fed up of people looking at me like I’m a leper when they find that out (Sorry, but look at what else came out in 1994 – I was too busy trying to get someone to hire out The Crow or Leon on video for me to bother with that historical rubbish).  Nigel Hawthorne was a great actor though, so I’ll let you know how I get on.

Enough with all the solemnity now!  We’re trying to get into a celebratory mood here, and mentally ill monarchs don’t exactly scream fun times royal wedding party preparation.  So I propose one final movie, about the finest mythological king, like, EVER: King Arthur.  Get your coconut shells out, and watch out for the Black Knight, for I shall be kicking back to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  This movie is nearly 40 years old and is freaking HILARIOUS.  I just IMDB’d the memorable quotes and sat giggling for about 20 minutes: I defy you not to do the same…. Go on, watch the trailer.

Run away!!!

Monty Python and the Holy Grail Trailer

But before I get too carried away and start telling people their mother is a hamster, I shall poddle off to try and grow some national pride.  If you’re watching the wedding, enjoy, and if you’re not: I fart in your general direction!

Maggie Kruger fell asleep on her dad’s lap on her first cinema trip to watch Return of the Jedi in 1983, and has loved the movies ever since, even going so far as to study them at college, where she worked on a number of short films. She lives and works in London, UK, and will tell you that her favourite film is Dr Strangelove, although when pressed will also admit a certain weakness for 1980’s brat pack movies and most of Adam Sandler’s early work. Follow her on Twitter: @emmizzykay .