Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Braveheart, Cate Blanchett, Charlemagne, Elizabeth Woodville, Emperor Franz Joseph, Helen Mirren, Holy Roman Emperor, Iron Man, James Mason, King Baldwin IV, King Edward IV, King Richard I of England, Kings and Queens of England, Queen Victoria, Ray Winstone, Robert Downey Jr, the White Queen, Young Victoria
This post will be a slight change of pace for me. This post will be directed toward my American readers but hopefully my readers from other countries will also appreciate this. Lately I have been watching movies related to the Tudor dynasty, specifically Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. I own and watched the Tudors the Showtime miniseries, the Henry VIII miniseries starring Ray Winstone, the movie Anne of the Thousand Days, and a miniseries on Elizabeth I starring Helen Mirren and the two movies about Elizabeth I starring Cate Blanchett. Also have many more royalty related movies. This did get me thinking about how popular some stories and royal figures are popular here in the US.
Movies such as Braveheart and those based on the character Robin Hood have featured royalty and have done very well. The movie Young Victoria did well here in the United States as did another movie based on Queen Victoria, Her Majesty, Mrs Brown, starring Dame Judi Dench. One of my favorite royalty based movies is Restoration starring Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man) and Sam Neill as Charles II. I recently purchased the 1982 TV movie of Ivanhoe also starring Sam Neill and James Mason and featuring Julian Glover as King Richard I of England. Ridley Scott’s movie Kingdom of Heaven is also one that I enjoy which takes place in the Holy Land during the Crusades and features King Baldwin IV of the European Kingdom of Jerusalem and his battle for the land against the famous Muslim leader, Saladin. Even King Richard I shows up at the end on his way for his historic encounter with Saladin.
I think I have established that movies about European history and European Royalty do play well here in the states. When I look through the movies I own and have seen what strikes me is that there are still many stories that I would love to see that have not been filmed yet.
Here are some of my ideas for movies i would love to see made some day:
1. The life of William the Conqueror. I could see this movie done on an epic scale of Braveheart. To keep it simple I would just focus on the conquest of England itself. But there are many themes to that story to make it interesting. The Battle of Hastings would make for an epic filled battle. Also it would be interesting to film how the Norman army mistook the celebrations during the coronation as some type of rebellion began to set fire to the town!
2. The life of Charlemagne. The King of the Franks who also became the first Holy Roman Emperor and created one of the most powerful empires in Europe. There is a goldmine of stories from his life.
3. The start of World War I. I think you could create a great drama of the tensions between all of the royal heads of states after the assassination of Archduke Franz-Ferdinand.
4. The life of Austrian Emperor Franz-Joseph who saw his wife, son, and great-nephew (the aforementioned Archduke Franz-Ferdinand) all die in his life time amidst tragic circumstances.
5. I would like to see a sequel to Young Victoria and show the circumstances of their relationship and her reaction to the death of her husband, Prince Albert, the Prince Consort.
6. I hope someday they make one more movie with Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I showing the end of her reign and all the drama that went with it.
Those are just some of the ideas I have floating in my head for feature films…or maybe a miniseries for topics related to royalty. I know that the BBC is producing a miniseries called the White Queen about Elizabeth Woodville the wife of King Edward IV and the tumultuous times of the Wars of the Roses. I am looking forward to seeing that!
I liked Young Victoria, thought that was excellent and also wished for a sequel.
It is interesting that you also think that a film about the build-up of the First World War would be a good plot, especially from the relations via royalty. That was not just a horrible and “great” war but it also destroyed families for years to come – such as the changing of House names from Sax-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor and the Battenburgs but also the Dukes of Cumberland and others losing their titlesand becoming banned from Britain and shunned from contact. My personal history addiction is on the naval build up between 1890 to 1914 and how both Edward VII and Kaiser Wilhelm II both personally intervened in pushing production – that could even be a part of such a movie.
Also you mentioned the subject of the Franz-Joseph, I actually think the one film I would love to see more than anything else would be the life of the last Emporer, Charles from how he was thrust into the job (based on the history you’r intersted in), getting the job and losing it but doing so admirably to a point of being Cannonized. He almost got the title back, then perhaps only in Hungary and he lost his life because of a chill.
Robert K. Massey has a good book calle Dreadnaught about the arms race between Britain and Germany prior to World War I I think that could make a good movie with a lot of political drama.
I agree the story of the last Emperor Charles of Austria would also make avery good story!
Have owned a copy of Dreadnaught since 1995!
Just to add a movie that you may have watched, a good period piece, that of “the Illusionist” with Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, and Jessica Biel, set in Vienna. It has a Crown Prince “Leopold” an obvious mimic of Arch-duke Rudolph who like in this film committed suicide.
I have heard of that movie, haven’t seen it yet. I will give it a view. Thanks for the tip!
Karen Schultz said:
There was an excellent series produced by David Wolper back in the 70’s called Fall of Eagles that portrayed the various royal familes involved up to and during the First World War. Parts of it can be found on You Tube.
Thanks Karen. I do have that on DVD and it is a great set. Still would love to see that made into a feature film. Parts of it anyway.
I think William the Conqueror’s daughter the Empress Mathilda and her fight for the throne of England would make a good movie. There was a British TV series called The She-Devils that showed her story and was very good. It was basede on a book of the same name that is very good.