The Madness Of King George

Stage director Nicholas Hytner adapts his own National Theatre production of Alan Bennett’s play about England’s George III’s growing insanity in the 1780s and the intricate power play set in motion in his court to contain all the possible damage. Despite a mainly good castwith Nigel Hawthorne a standout as Georgeand some good, brittle dialogue, this has much of the lumbering overextension of most movies about royalty, even some of the better ones (Alexander Korda’s The Private Life of Henry VIII seems especially relevant), and Hawthorne hasn’t done much to inject any cinematic pep into his theatrical pomp. But the story, which takes place several years after the American Revolution, has some historical interest, and George Fenton’s adaptations of several works by Handel are pleasant to listen to. One imagines this might have been a lot of fun on the stage. With Helen Mirren (not at her customary best), Rupert Everett, Amanda Donohoe, Rupert Graves, and Ian Holm. (JR)

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