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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ENTERTAINING 5-stars from me--BUT WHAT DID THE QUEEN SAY?
The Queen E at her best and worst. Wonderfully played by 5 different stars, representing 5 time periods. But 5-stars are awarded for:
* factual documentary
* educational narration
* entertaining dramatization
* fine mix of real archival footage
* period set/costuming plus beautiful footage of the real thing
Both a drama and documentary. Well...
Published on August 6, 2010 by Harold Wolf

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars it's okay
I do remember seeing this on TV sometime back. Not crazy about how it splits up between documentaries and movie, but so be it.
Published 19 months ago by Lisa K


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ENTERTAINING 5-stars from me--BUT WHAT DID THE QUEEN SAY?, August 6, 2010
By 
Harold Wolf "Doc" (Wells, IN United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Queen (DVD)
The Queen E at her best and worst. Wonderfully played by 5 different stars, representing 5 time periods. But 5-stars are awarded for:
* factual documentary
* educational narration
* entertaining dramatization
* fine mix of real archival footage
* period set/costuming plus beautiful footage of the real thing
Both a drama and documentary. Well done in 5 episodes, each 47 min. WITH SUBTITLES. Originally aired Nov/Dec 2009.
Bonus is limited to filmographies of the 5 female leads as "The Queen."

1 SISTERS--Feb.6, 1952 Geo VI dies and Elizabeth, 25 yrs old, becomes "The Queen", reigns yet today. Immediately, younger sister, Margaret, recognized the once equal status between she and Princess Elizabeth was gone. Queen E was embarrassed from Margaret's actions, including a relationship with married/then divorced palace employee, Peter Townsend. Queen (Emilia Fox) & Margaret (Katie McGrath) played convincingly.

2 US AND THEM--Monarchy lives seen on TV in 1969, but popularity dropped to a new low level, royal money was tight, & government leaders question monarchy need. The 1970s appears a time for change. Miners strike as the Queen gets a 100% raise. Princess Anne survives an attempted kidnapping. [I question the dramatization of the Queen & Prime Minister hand-washing dishes together.] Samantha Bond ('Lark Rise to Candleford'-awesome) is Queen; Abby Ford is excellent as Anne.

3 THE RIVALS--The 1986 Commonwealth Games begin a conflict between the Queen and PM Margaret Thatcher (Lesley Manville). South African apartheid becomes a major point of tension as are sanctions. A royal cat fight. Queen is played by Susan Jameson, a wonderful actress also known as the reader for at least 15 audio books of the works of Catherine Cookson. Wonderful stories, every one. Check out C. Cookson book adaptations on DVD, but I digress.

4 THE ENEMY WITHIN--Queen now has 40 yrs experience and her children become problems. Duke/Duchess of York, Andrew & Fergie (Luck Chalkley) make tabloid news, divorce. Not to be outdone, The Prince/Princess of Wales, Charles & Diana (Emily Hamilton), make their own 'news', with Camilla's help. A castle fire and royal separation close a BAD 1992. Barbara Flynn ('Cranford'-get DVD) is The Queen. Now see the "companion-like" DVD of Helen Mirren "The Queen" from 2006.

5 HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE CAMILLA?--Sis Margaret dies weeks prior to the Queen Mother. Should Camilla be allowed to attend the funeral of her lover's grandmother? A civil wedding, April 9, 2005. Did the queen bow to a potential future queen? Joanna Van Gyseghem is Camilla. Diana Quick (Brideshead) the final queen. Is the real Queen E spitting royal nails behind royal draperies over this? Jolly bloody right-on!

FUN 20th/21st century monarch history from the inside looking out. This DVD explains a lot.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very worthwhile, January 5, 2011
By 
Rushmore (CHICAGO, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Queen (DVD)
I am going through a British phase lately. (We are watching the Inspector Lewis series and contemplating dropping the $300+ for Inspector Morse.) I watched The Queen in its entirety on New Year's Day. The blending of documentary footage and dramatic recreation is quite effective. The actors playing the Royals were, thankfully, chosen for their acting ability rather than a striking resemblance to the real people they portray. All segments were quite compelling and provide great insight on the times and the people. My favorite was the first segment dealing with Princess Margaret's affair and potential marriage to Peter Townsend. The emotion is so raw, in spite of the famed British upper lip. It was clearly so difficult for the young Elizabeth to cope with the pressures of the monarchy at the same time wanting her sister to find happiness. Elizabeth and Margaret were obviously close growing up, even though they had such different personalities. After watching the first installment, there was no question I would sit through the whole thing there and then.

Elizabeth is a remarkable woman and this DVD does her justice. Well conceived, well acted, highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Elizabethan Age, January 20, 2011
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This review is from: The Queen (DVD)
This five-part documdrama miniseries from Britain's Channel 4 had an idea irresistible to any fan of the 2006 Stephen Frears film of the same title with Helen Mirren: as in the Frears film, each installment dramatizes a crucial crisis in the life of Elizabeth II... but each time with a different actress (each fairly well known to British audiences) in the title role. Interviews with former courtiers and palace insiders are juxtaposed with dramatized scenes, with Stephen Mackintosh threading the whole with offscreen narration. The production values are fairly high, and the episodes from the queen's life are well chosen. In the first, "Sisters," the new young queen (Emilia Fox, best known from the 1990s remake of REBECCA) must convince her sister Margaret not to marry the divorced equerry Peter Townshend. In the second, "Us and Them," shows the queen (the wonderful Samantha Bond from LARK RISE TO CANDLEFORD) now with a full family and needing an increase in finances from the state. Susan Jameson takes over in the most fascinating episode, "The Rivals" where Elizabeth II is shown to meet her match in Margaret Thatcher (Lesley Manville), who clashes with the queen over possible sanctions against South Africa in the 1980s. The queen's so-called "annus horribilis" of 1992--the year Windsor Castle suffered a major fire and her two eldest sons' marriages collapsed--is dramatized with Barbara Flynn as the monarch in "The Enemy Within." Finally, Diana Quick (best known to US audiences as Julia from the Granada TV miniseries BRIDESHEAD REVISITED) plays Elizabeth II in old age coping with the problem of "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Camilla?" when the Prince of Wales insists on marrying Mrs. Parker-Bowles, yet again forcing the queen to face her anathema towards divorce, the bane of her family since the 1936 abdication crisis.

The series is perhaps talkier than it should be, with too much explained (oftentimes, especially in the final two episodes, when it's already fairly fresh in the minds of most adult audiences). Even so, it's quite a lot of fun, and the series writers manage to provide a consistent theme with the queen forced again and again to face the specter of divorce, the thing the Establishment she represents could not countenance back in 1936, thus bringing about the chain of events that brought her to the throne. All the actresses work hard and are fairly believable, although none of them quite conveys the intelligence and majesty evoked by Helen Mirren in 2006; of the five, Emilia Fox as the chic young queen torn between her love for her only sibling and her duty as monarch probably fares the best. Though no one convincingly brings off Prince Philip in any of the episodes, Abby Ford beautifully brings off a hilariously indomitable and self-satisfied Princess Anne in "Us and Them," and Emily Hamilton is quite good as a frightened and painfully vulnerable Princess of Wales in "The Enemy Within." The best performance by far, though, is Lesley Manville in the central episode, who portrays Margaret Thatcher as a woman whose ideological certainty and haughty public demeanor masks her private insecurities and nervousness. There's an excellent, slightly sinister score by Miguel d'Oliviera that hints at the deeper intrigues. The dialogue is at times over the top, but there are some fine scenes, particularly at the end of the first, third and fifth episodes: Margaret left all alone even after her renunciation for duty's sake in "Sisters"; the queen and Mrs. Thatcher zinging one another before their husbands at a Balmoral picnic in "The Rivals"; and the queen's amusingly sneaky minor revenge-jab after having to countenance her eldest son's second marriage in "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Camilla?"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wasn't what I expected - much more!, January 4, 2011
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This review is from: The Queen (DVD)
This documentary wasn't what I expected. However, it was much more. I did not expect the high levels of personal recollections from people close to the royal family. This wound up being completely mesmerizing for me, and I watched the whole thing in one sitting. I felt like I really learned a lot. I especially enjoyed the piece on her relationship with Margaret Thatcher.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!!!!, November 6, 2010
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I have never seen a DVD where actual reality and the acting of the performers merged into one movie. Very well done.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "For More Than Fifty Years, One Woman Has Stood at the Heart of Britain's Great National Crises...", August 2, 2012
By 
R. M. Fisher "Ravenya" (New Zealand = Middle Earth!) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Queen (DVD)
On the heels of the identically-named Steven Frears film, which covered the events surrounding the death of Princess Diana and the royal family's reaction to it, I found myself in a Royalist mood. I'd seen bits and piece of this docu-drama on YouTube and so settled down to watch it in its entirety on DVD. Firstly, let it be known that it is *not* a film. It is a documentary, with dramatized segments interspersed with stock news footage and interviews, all of which is narrated by Steven Mackintosh. Divided into five parts, it examines Queen Elizabeth II's biggest challenges as the monarch of England spanning the course of over fifty years. With insight from friends of the family, critics of the monarchy, journalists, biographers, historians, ex-politicians, and even the Royal Protection Officer who was shot during the attempted kidnapping of Princess Anne, as well as beautiful performances from five different actresses playing the Queen (and it's quite fascinating that each one is quite physically different from the other, and yet all manage to capture something of Queen Elizabeth in their portrayals of her) "The Queen" provides an in-depth and thoughtful look into a woman who has helped shaped a country for over half-a-century.

Part 1: "Sisters"
In the 1950s, at the age of 25, Elizabeth's father dies and she is crowned queen. As the narration puts it, she was: "surrounded by old men with old-fashioned ideals," and her first challenge as monarch comes when her little sister Margaret begins a love affair with divorced palace-employee Peter Townsend. Mortified by her sister's actions, Elizabeth tries to negotiate the situation, unsure whether to let her sister follow her heart or pressure her into giving him up for the sake of propriety.

With Elizabeth played by Emilia Fox and Margaret by Katie McGrath (amusingly enough, they also play sisters in the BBC's Merlin), I found this the most poignant and touching episode. As one of the commentators says, Margaret's decision was "the wrong end to a novel", and it's easy to suppose that the sisters' close relationship suffered as a result of the political, social and media pressure that surrounded Margaret's actions.

Part 2: "Us and Them"
Leaping ahead to the 1970s finds the country in a financial crisis and the royal family in dire straits. With the miner's strike juxtaposed with the monarchs getting a pay-rise under growing speculation as to their relevancy, the Queen attempts to re-forge her bond with the people by letting a camera-crew into Buckingham Palace and widely televising her daughter Princess Anne's wedding. This has some unforeseen consequences when Anne is targeted by an obsessive fan that waylays her car, holds her at gunpoint, and attempts to kidnap her.

The wonderful Samantha Bond (perhaps best known to audiences as Moneypenny in the Pierce Brosnan era of James Bond films) plays Elizabeth, backed up by her most loyal political supporter at the time, Prime Minister Harold Wilson (Philip Jackson, recognizable as Chief Inspector Japp from the Poirot mysteries). Abby Ford also features as an amusingly droll Princess Anne. This episode is more piecemeal than the others; one can't help but feel that the miner's strike and the attempted kidnapping is only tenuously strung together, capturing more of a time-period that any singular event in the Queen's life.

Part 3: "The Rivals"
Now in the 1980s, Elizabeth finds herself going toe-to-toe with a surprising opponent: another woman. Total opposites in everything from their personalities to the acquisition of their power, Queen Elizabeth and Margaret Thatcher naturally butt heads over several issues, none more so than the state of the Commonwealth. Though the Queen supports the end of apartheid in South Africa, the Prime Minister is more concerned with the sanctions imposed upon the country what they would mean for English trade.

Furthermore, in the lead-up to the 1986 Commonwealth Games, the Queen faces a constitutional crisis when her personal views on Margaret's policies are leaked to the press. More political in nature than the other episodes (which veer more toward the Queen's personal life) I couldn't help but find it rather less interesting. Susan Jameson is probably the least convincing of the Elizabeths, not helped with the comparison to Lesley Manville's pitch-perfect rendition of Margaret Thatcher. Fans of Doctor Who will also recognize Denis Thatcher as Peter Davidson (the fifth Doctor of the long-running sci-fi series).

Part 4: "The Enemy Within"
Another leap ahead to the 1990s, a decade which contained the year that the Queen would publicly describe as "annus horribilius". Her own children become the source of her embarrassment as her eldest sons' marriages fall apart, and she's forced to watch helplessly as the disastrous marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana plays out in the tabloids. Having always looked to her family for strength and stability, she's seriously undermined when her son and daughter-in-law fight for control of the media, each desiring to turn public opinion against the other. The (rotten) cherry on top is Windsor Castle catching fire and the public backlash when it becomes apparent that tax-payers money will be used to restore it.

Barbara Flynn plays my favourite version of Queen Elizabeth, baffled by the behavior of her daughters-in-law, disappointed in her son's conduct, and struggling to put on a show of outer dignity with her own inner failings as a mother. Emily Hamilton puts on an eerily accurate portrayal of Diana's speech and mannerisms, depicting the late princess as vulnerable yet charismatic, frightened yet cunning.

Part 5: "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Camilla?"
In the wake of Princess Diana's death, the Queen (now in her 70s) is naturally quite leery about meeting the woman who was at least partly responsible for the breakup of her son's marriage to the woman still known as "the people's princess". But with some savvy PR from his spin-doctors in order to get the public to accept the Prince's long-term mistress, as well as the death of her sister Margaret and her mother (who lived to the age of one-hundred and one!) the Queen finally relents.

The documentary comes full circle as the Queen bestows her blessing on Charles and Camilla's union, giving her son what she denied her sister: a chance at personal happiness (though not without one final jab at the precedence of the royals at official functions!) Diana Quick is the final Queen, whose wry stubbornness makes her belated surrender remarkably touching, particularly her wedding speech to Charles and Camilla. As it comprises the most recent events of the series, it may be of the most interest to those who watched it all unfold only a few years ago, giving them a glimpse of all the behind-the-scenes drama in the lead-up to Charles's second marriage.

I must say, that when taken as a companion-piece to the film The Queen, it certainly puts the events of 1997 into perspective! One can't help but feel that despite the negative press coverage at the time of Princess Diana's death, it was (by the Queen's reckoning at least) perhaps not such a devastating PR blow after all - by that point, she had weathered dozens of storms and come out still standing. All in all, this is a fascinating drama, well-paced and presented. It's careful to provide both sides of any argument, whether it be in the interviews or the dramatizations - anti-monarchists share their views, and Prince Charles is as sympathetic in the final part as he was horrid in the fourth. It's beautifully performed by its cast, and if you're an anglophile you'll recognize plenty of the actors.

As a viewer, you do need to have some basic awareness of who makes up the royal family, as the time-skips between the episodes leave gaps in the history. Things like the abdication, the war and Diana's death are skipped completely (though recent films like The King's Speech and The Queen can easily compensate), and the periods between each episode introduce figures that the programme simply expects you to know. As someone who was only tenuously knowledgeable on this subject, the show doesn't provide answers on things such as when Elizabeth married Philip (before or after her coronation?) or what happened to Princess Margaret after she forsook Peter Townsend (did she ever marry?) and it would have been nice to have more meat on Princess Anne's attempted kidnapping (I never had any idea that this had ever happened at all) but the segmented nature of the series makes it impractical to explain everything (besides, it only took a few seconds on Google to get the answers I wanted). But there are all sorts of lovely little touches throughout the series, from the replication of famous outfits, the Queen's left-handedness, Margaret Thatcher's tendency to carry a torch with her, and of course, lots and lots of corgis. Best of all are the details that are original to the series itself: I was surprised at how moved I was to see two scenes of the Queen pursuing the same bookshelf for something to read; two scenes set decades apart.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining and surprisingly factual!, June 19, 2013
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This review is from: The Queen (DVD)
If you are among HRM Queen Elizabeth II's loyal subjects, or a non-subject loyal fan of Her Majesty (like me); then this DVD collection is a must have for you. Many people think her life has been all silver and luxury; when in fact she has been and remains to be the most devoted and hardest working British Monarch in history in my opinion. She has kept the Monarchy together through very tough times and she has done it all with tremendous grace, dignity, and always dedicated to doing Her Royal duty first and foremost. I got to see her in person when she visited Sacramento, California in April of 1983. I was on the staff that catered her luncheon (The Nut Tree Restaurant - now closed) and got to hear her speak. I have been a huge fan of hers since then and think she is an example of a human being that we should all follow. I never get bored watching this series because it's so well made and interesting. Long Live the Queen!
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3.0 out of 5 stars it's okay, May 6, 2013
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I do remember seeing this on TV sometime back. Not crazy about how it splits up between documentaries and movie, but so be it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE QUEEN, April 17, 2012
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I REALLY LIKED THIS MOVIE A LOT. I AM INTO HISTORICAL MOVIES VERY MUCH. THE QUEEN IS ONE OF THE BEST OF I HAVE SEEN ABOUT THE QUEEN.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I Enjoyed Every Minute Of It!, January 1, 2012
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I confess that I have always enjoyed watching England's royal family over the years. I know my mom used to enjoy keeping up with what they were doing even when I was a child. She let me stay home from school to watch Queen Elizabeth's coronation.

There was always something there in the background that was curious about the relationship between Queen Elizabeth and her sister, Margaret. It goes back to that old thing about 'the heir and the spare' which must do something to the person who didn't inherit all the perks. The story is there in this 2-disc series which covers all the way through the Camilla problem. There is quite a bit of coverage about Charles and Diana, although none specifically relating to her death. There is very little about William and Harry. Most of the story is truly about the Queen and how she related to her family members, the government, and her advisers.

The series is well done and I recommend it to anyone who is curious about the part of the story that we usually don't get to see.
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The Queen
The Queen by Marion Milne (DVD - 2010)
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