Victoria the Great (1937)

October 6th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Herbert Wilcox | Cast: Anna Neagle, Anton Walbrook, H B Warner, Walter Rilla | Uk Drama 1937

Dufaycolor sold a lot of film in 1937 with the attraction of filming the Coronation in colour. In ‘Victoria the Great’ Herbert Wilcox was able to lavish Technicolor on recreating Victoria’s diamond jubilee forty years earlier.

Anthony Collins’ score is often inclined to be rather twee, but Wilcox directs with a lighter touch than usual although historical figures are throughout unsubtly addressed by name – such as ‘Lord Melbourne’, ‘Sir Robert’ and ‘Lord Palmerston – as a very obvious means of identifying them.

The film makes no secret of the German roots of the Royal Family (to the extent that Wilcox got a letter from the Kaiser himself congratulating him on the portrayal of her grandmother).

Anna Neagle invests the young Victoria with spunk, but it’s greatest distinction is probably bringing Anton Walbrook to British films, although as David Shipman later dryly observed Walbrook’s performance as Albert “suggested that Albert married beneath him”.) @RichardChatten

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