Blogs > Cliopatria > Queen Victoria: Secrets of a Queen

Nov 17, 2004 8:59 am

Queen Victoria: Secrets of a Queen

I had hopes Queen Victoria would come in handy for classroom use, but as documentaries go, I fear that this is a fine example of How Not To Do It. To begin with, while I appreciate nonlinear narrative as much as the next person, I cannot see my students making heads, tails, or even torsos of a"story-line" in which we hear a great deal about WWI before Victoria heads to the great Albert Memorial in the sky; in which the Mutiny of 1857 seemingly occurs after Disraeli begins his first ministry; in which Victoria wanders in and out of seclusion without any reference to an actual date; and so forth. Indeed, the film's sense of what constitutes significant historical background is simply bizarre. Thus, we hear about Republicanism, but not the Second Reform Bill. There seems to be more about the queen's bathing machine than her family. And then there are the errors. Victoria's famous"I will be good" is assigned to the wrong event; pace the writer, Disraeli was never knighted and was a novelist who occasionally dabbled in verse, not a poet; both Disrael's and Gladstone's political positions are badly caricatured; etc. The"secret," in case you're wondering, is that Victoria was buried with some of John Brown's personal possessions in her hand--a"revelation" not really worth the rest of the hour. All in all, not a cause for jubilation.

[X-posted from The Little Professor.]

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