The Prime Minister

  • 1940
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Biography

Benjamin Disraeli was surely one of the most iconoclastic and intriguing leaders of any major country in the world. That they managed to make him dull is a bewilderment. Gielgud doesn't come close to the Oscar-winning Arliss performance in the 1929 version. All of the famed episodes are here as we see Gielgud, a novelist, go into politics when helped along...read more

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Benjamin Disraeli was surely one of the most iconoclastic and intriguing leaders of any major country in the world. That they managed to make him dull is a bewilderment. Gielgud doesn't come close to the Oscar-winning Arliss performance in the 1929 version. All of the famed episodes are

here as we see Gielgud, a novelist, go into politics when helped along by Wynyard. They marry and he becomes Prime Minister in 1868, then again from 1874 through 1880. Germany, Austria, and Russia have entered into a cabal that threatens the security of England. The Queen, Compton, prevails upon

Gielgud to stay on in his position and help beat that alliance, despite Gielgud's desire to quit politics and give it up for a happy retirement. When Gielgud's advisers suggest knuckling under, he goes against their wishes. Parliament attacks him for that position but, in the end, his wisdom

prevails and the country is saved from war by his political expertise. Almost nothing is made of his Jewish heritage and his later conversion to Christianity. The screenwriters are so frightened of showing the great man's warts that they fail to show any of his skin at all. Seeing this lackluster

version makes one yearn to watch the Arliss version again.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Benjamin Disraeli was surely one of the most iconoclastic and intriguing leaders of any major country in the world. That they managed to make him dull is a bewilderment. Gielgud doesn't come close to the Oscar-winning Arliss performance in the 1929 version… (more)

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