All The King’s Men (British Telefilm)
Sound: B- Extras: D Telefilm: B-
In order to keep their rigid caste system alive back in
World War One, did the British Government purposely send the first successful
regiment of Her Majesty’s Army into a Vietnam type situation where they would
be annihilated with a lack of resources and preparation because they were
comprised of men from the lower socio-economic class? Julian Jarrold’s All the King’s Men (1999) suggests just
that, with the twist that even Queen Alexandria (Maggie Smith in exceptional
form) could not get a straight answer as to what happened, despite her strong
support for them.
The telefilm takes much of its time and showing what kind
of people made up the regiment, the kind of good people they were, the lives
they led, the loyalty they had to Queen & Country and how this was all
essentially betrayed for political reasons, something that seems to be
happening all over again as you read this.
The teleplay does its best to explore all that happened and did not,
resulting in a disaster that is still pretty much being ignored to this
day. The film may go too far with it
war sequences in their length, but the rest of the production is solid.
The 1.78 X 1/16 X 9 letterboxed image is much softer than
it should have been for such material, deserving the anamorphically enhanced
treatment. It is nicely shot and edited
for the most part and just passable here.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has some Pro Logic surrounds, which is much
more like it. There are again no extras
except the obligatory weblink, but the telefilm exists and those who would like
to censor it can’t do anything about it.
- Nicholas Sheffo