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Nine Days a Queen Movie Review

jane lady john edward

Here's irony for you—in the year of three kings (Edward VIII plus Georges V and VI), British producer Michael Balcon (Daniel Day-Lewis’ grandfather, by the way) assembled this lavish production set in 1553, ALSO the year of three monarchs (Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, and Mary I). Did Balcon (and the Americans) know something four months into the uncrowned king's reign that loyal monarchists did not? Probably. If Lord Beaverbrook (1879–1964) of the Daily Express and Evening Standard knew, Balcon MUST have known. Enough of 20th century gossip! Let's get back to historical… gossip… of the 16th century. Nine Days a Queen boasts touching performances by Nova Pilbeam as Lady Jane Grey (1537–54), and by Desmond Tester as the frail Edward VI (1537–53). Before his death of tuberculosis at 15, Edward was persuaded by the Earl of Warwick (Cedric Hardwicke) to change the order of succession in Lady Jane's favor. Jane, also 15, was too young and naive to present any serious challenge to the ascendancy of Mary I (1516–58), played by Gwen Francon-Davies. Jane's father was a much greater threat, so both were beheaded, along with Jane's young husband, Lord Guilford Dudley (John Mills). It's a very sad tale, well and economically told; it's a good 64 minutes shorter than the sumptuous 1985 re-make starring Helena Bonham Carter. Miles Malleson, who plays Lady Jane's father, co-scripted with director Robert Stevenson. AKA: Lady Jane Grey; Tudor Rose.

1936 80m/B GB John Mills, Cedric Hardwicke, Nova Pilbeam, Sybil Thorndike, Leslie Perrins, Felix Aylmer, Miles Malleson, Frank Cellier, Desmond Tester, Gwen Francon-Davies, Martita Hunt, John Laurie, Roy Emerton, John Turnbull, J.H. Roberts; D: Robert Stevenson; W: Robert Stevenson, Miles Malleson; C: Mutz Greenbaum. VHS

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