Beau Brummell (1954 film)
Beau Brummell is a 1954 American-British historical film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was directed by Curtis Bernhardt and produced by Sam Zimbalist from a screenplay by Karl Tunberg, based on the play Beau Brummell by Clyde Fitch. The play was previously adapted as a silent film made in 1924 and starring John Barrymore as Beau Brummell, Mary Astor, and Willard Louis as the Prince of Wales.
Original French film poster
|Directed by||Curtis Bernhardt|
|Produced by||Sam Zimbalist|
|Written by||Karl Tunberg|
|Based on||Beau Brummel (play)|
by Clyde Fitch
|Music by||Richard Addinsell|
|Edited by||Frank Clarke|
|Country||United Kingdom |
|Box office||$2.7 million|
- Stewart Granger as George Bryan "Beau" Brummell
- Elizabeth Taylor as Lady Patricia Belham
- Peter Ustinov as the Prince of Wales
- Robert Morley as King George III
- James Donald as Lord Edwin Mercer
- James Hayter as Mortimer
- Rosemary Harris as Mrs. Maria Anne Fitzherbert
- Paul Rogers as William Pitt
- Noel Willman as Lord George Gordon Byron
- Peter Dyneley as Midger
- Charles Carson as Sir Geoffrey Baker
- Ernest Clark as Doctor Warren
- Peter Bull as Mr. Fox
- Mark Dignam as Mr. Burke
- Desmond Roberts as Colonel
- David Horne as Thurlow
- Ralph Truman as Sir Ralph Sidley
- George De Warfaz as Doctor Dubois
- Henry Oscar as Doctor Willis
- Harold Kasket as Mayor
- Elwyn Brook-Jones as Mr. Tupp (uncredited)
Clyde Fitch's play was written in 1890 as a vehicle for Richard Mansfield.
In 1934, there were two Beau Brummel projects announced. One was based on Fitch's play, to be made by Warner Bros, starring Leslie Howard. The other was produced by Edward Small starring Robert Donat.
Rights in the play went to MGM. In March 1939, they announced that Robert Donat would star in Beau Brummel to be made in London. Joseph Mankiewicz would produce. Filming was postponed due to the war. In March 1941, MGM said Clarence Brown would direct an adaptation of Fitch's play in London, starring Donat. However this film was never made.
In March 1951, MGM announced they would make a film from Fitch's play as a vehicle for Stewart Granger, who had just made King Solomon's Mines for the studio and been signed to a long-term contract. The producer would be Sam Zimbalist, who produced Mines. It was the follow the filming of The Light Touch. In June John Lee Mahin was assigner to write the script.
Filming was pushed back to enable Granger to make other films including The Prisoner of Zenda, Young Bess, Scaramouche, All the Brothers Were Valiant, and Robinson Crusoe. (The last one wound up not being made).
As late as May 1953, Granger was still expected to make Robinson Crusoe before Beau Brummell. The same month, Gottfried Reinhardt was assigned to direct. Robinson Crusoe was postponed due to the existence of a Mexican film on the novel. In July, Parker was still to be the co-star.
In July 1953, Kirk Douglas announced he would star as Brummell in his own Brummell project, to be called The Beau. However, it was not made.
In September 1953, Dore Schary, head of MGM, gave the job of directing to Curtis Bernhardt. By November 1953, Karl Tunberg was working on the script and he would receive sole credit.
The film was given a Royal Command Film Performance in London in November 1954 where it was shown to an audience of 10,000 including Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. Some criticized this as being in bad taste as the film featured scenes depicting George III, an ancestor of the Queen, being insane.
Critical reception and legacy
However, in recent years the film has attained a considerable cult status and popularity, largely because of the story of British high society in the colorful Napoleonic and Regency Eras and because of memorable performances by Granger, Taylor, Ustinov, and Morley as "Mad King George III". It is frequently shown on classic movie channels.
The film ends with a deathbed reconciliation between a dying Brummell and the Prince, who as George IV is passing through Le Havre between his British and Hanoverian kingdoms. There is no record the king met Brummell again after the latter fled, in debt, to France in 1816 and in any case the scene is an anachronism; Brummell died at Caen in 1840 having survived George by almost ten years.
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- 'Mail Order Bride' New Taylor-Parker Project; Roman on Carousel Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 11 July 1953: A7.
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- "Queen at Film Show: Attends Royal Performance in London of 'Beau Brummel'". New York Times. 16 Nov 1954. p. 31.
- Hobson, Harold (8 December 1954). "The Arts and Other Things: Playing to Royal Command ...". The Christian Science Monitor. p. 13.
- Box office information for Stewart Granger films in France at Box Office Story
- Smith, Cecil (8 June 1958). "Grangers Staking All on Life as Ranchers: Ranching Suits the Grangers". Los Angeles Times. p. E1.