Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Beau Brummell (1954)

Director: Curtis Bernhardt
Stewart Granger, Elizabeth Taylor, Peter Ustinov, Robert Morley, James Donald, James Hayter, Rosemary Harris, Paul Rogers, Noel Willman, Peter Dyneley


The 1954 MGM extravaganza "Beau Brummel" was the third making of this story, based on a play by Clyde Fitch. Can't see the name Clyde Fitch without hearing Bette Davis biting the name off in "All About Eve." Wish I'd been watching "All About Eve." MGM has given this story of the narcissistic George "Beau" Brummel and his friendship with the Prince of Wales a lavish, sumptuous color production and, if the scenery and costumes weren't enough, thrown in Elizabeth Taylor for good measure. She is, of course, rapturously beautiful as the confused Patricia, attracted to Beau but betrothed to a safer choice. Stewart Granger was a good actor, always solid and attractive, with a powerful voice, but he had a tendency to be unexciting. Also, and this is just an opinion, he did better in macho action films. One of the posters pointed out that Elizabeth Taylor was thrown in to show that Beau was heterosexual, but the poster wasn't sure. He is a bit of a fop and not suited to the talents of Granger, who is on the boring side here. The acting honors go to Peter Ustinov and Robert Morley, as the Prince of Wales and his father. These performances could be considered over the top, but they're only over the top because no one else is doing anything. The actual story is treated in a superficial manner, with not much of a look into Beau's politics or much else. Just okay. I think if you have a large flat-screen TV it would be fun to watch.

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