The King’s Screen: Queen Victoria

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Emily Blunt as ‘The Young Victoria’

Queen Victoria hasn’t been represented too often by the movies because she isn’t anywhere near as colorful as Elizabeth I. The best try so far has been Irene Dunne’s totally immersive character performance in The Mudlark (1950), a film that is rarely seen and very much worth searching out. Dunne’s work in The Mudlark is so thoughtful and so compassionate that she actually makes you care about this fatally old-fashioned, stuffy woman.

Judi Dench had a go at Victoria in Mrs. Brown (1996) and only managed to emphasize what a tedious lady she was, while the sharp-witted Emily Blunt deserves a better showcase than The Young Victoria (2009), which failed to garner her an Oscar nomination. Dench was nominated for Mrs. Brown, but she took home an Oscar for little more than a cameo as Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love (1998), and this proves that the Virgin Queen and her father Henry will always rule on screen and that the royals who came after them pale in comparison.

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