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Queen of Destiny Reviews

An unnecessary, but worthwhile, sequel to the epic screen biography VICTORIA THE GREAT (1937). Managing to return most of the original cast members to the screen for the sequel, SIXTY GLORIOUS YEARS opens as Queen Victoria (Neagle) announces her engagement to Prince Albert (Walbrook). Unfortunately Parliament doesn't trust Albert (he's a foreigner) and neither do the masses. Albert's frustration at his lack of popularity and power strains the marriage, and Victoria struggles to devise something that her husband can become involved in and make his own. She hits on the idea of the Crystal Palace Exhibition, and the prince devotes himself to the massive event. Meanwhile, Victoria is visited by a bevy of dignitaries including Disraeli (de Marney), Florence Nightingale (Bland), Gladstone (Keen), and various lords, princes, and other officials who help shape policy. Such historical events as the Crimean War and the Charge of the Light Brigade are briefly illustrated, but it is the epic romance between Victoria and Albert that gives the narrative its drive. The film follows Victoria's reign to the very end, which climaxes with the Diamond Jubilee and the queen's death. As was the case in VICTORIA THE GREAT, Wilcox's production values are superlative, with the sets and costumes accurate reproductions of the actual items which are housed at the British Museum. The American public was so interested in both the Queen Victoria films that RKO and Wilcox formed a contract that ensured distribution of British films in the U.S. and an exchange of American and British talent for various productions. This led to husband and wife Wilcox and Neagle's next project, NURSE EDITH CAVELL (1939), which was produced in Hollywood.