The Prime Minister Film Details
Overview: A biopic of the legendary Benjamin Disraeli, his rise from a foppish young novelist to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and confidante of Queen Victoria.
Review: I certainly hope no one is using this propagandistic biographical film about Benjamin Disraeli as a short cut for a term paper. So much of his interesting story is left out. Still John Gielgud as Disraeli and Diana Wynyard as the widow Maryanne Wyndham-Lewis do very well with the somewhat skimpy material they’re given. The life of Benjamin Disraeli was better covered in the BBC series about Disraeli that starred Ian McShane than in The Prime Minister. The film begins with the entrance of young dandy Disraeli to Parliament as a Tory where his foppish attire draws a whole lot of ridicule. Had you told the members of Parliament from both sides that Disraeli would be Prime Minister one day, they’d have had you committed. But he did buckle down and learn the parliamentary trade. Completely fictitious is the kindly interest Lord Melbourne took in Disraeli. Melbourne was as dubious as to Disraeli’s political future as any of the rest of his colleagues were. Disraeli was also not present at the time young Princess Victoria learned that her uncle, King William IV had died in 1837 from Lord Melbourne. In 1837 Victoria didn’t know Disraeli except as an author of some novels, which by the way he never completely stopped doing even after his political career was in high gear. Disraeli moves from young political hopeful circa 1845 to Prime Minister in 1874, even skipping over the fact he had a brief, but very important short time in the office in 1868 where he reversed Conservative Party policy and backed the Reform bill extending the franchise. The newly enfranchised voters turned out the Tories that year, but remembered them well in 1874. Essentially Disraeli created the Conservative Party as it exists today with that bit of farsighted statesmanship. His role in acquiring the Suez Canal for the United Kingdom also does not get a mention. But this was a wartime propaganda film and we then move to Disraeli’s greatest political triumph at the Congress of Berlin in 1878. What we have here is Disraeli facing down the Three Emperors League which was put together by German Chancellor Bismarck, portrayed here as rapacious as the current German leader whom the UK was at war with. Actually at the Berlin Conference was a management summit where the big European Powers decided to peacefully run the continent and their colonial possessions without any war. Disraeli and Bismarck both had the measure of each other and had either of them been in charge in 1914 World War I would never have happened. The Prime Minister was accurate as to the love match between the Disraelis. Young Disraeli was quite the rake in his youth, but when he met and married the widow Maryanne Wyndham-Lewis he was devoted to her the rest of his life. Diana Wynyard has a touching death scene which happens right after Disraeli becomes Prime Minister again in 1874. Taking into account it was a propaganda piece the two leads and the rest of the cast do a fine job in their performances. But I would recommend the Ian McShane series as a serious study of Disraeli’s whole rich and complex life.
Duration: 94 min
Genre: Biography, Drama, History, Romance, War
Also known as: El primer ministro,Odödliga dagar,Premier,The Prime Minister,O Primeiro Ministro,Le premier ministre,O Grande Ministro,A miniszterelnök