Madness of King George [1994]

Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama
Nicholas Hytner had an international stage phenomenon with Alan Bennett's play The Madness of King George, starring Nigel Hawthorne as King George III, the British monarch who lost the American colonies. But in this film adaptation, Hytner unfortunately yields to the old temptation to "open up" the piece with lots of arbitrary exteriors, rushed set pieces, choppy editing, and so on, robbing Hawthorne's acclaimed stage performance of coherency and power on the big screen. Viewers are forced to fill in emotional gaps for themselves (and try to imagine what Bennett's work must have looked and felt like originally), and the whole enterprise has a pseudo-cinematic, self-congratulatory air. --Tom Keogh

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