October 19, 2004

The Lost Prince

Kim and I just got our Masterpiece Theater fix watching Part One of "The Lost Prince." Set in Edwardian England just prior to WWI, it brings to light the saga of Prince Johnny, an adorable little pumpkin of a child who is shut away like a prisoner by his parents, King George V and Queen Mary. They are ashamed of his epileptic fits, autistic-like learning difficulties, and penchant for saying true-yet-inappropriate things in front of company. Ironically, the parents themselves seem to have more head troubles than their child. Lovely Gina McKee (Irene from "The Forsyte Saga") is Johnny's beleaguered governess, whose best intentions don't prevent him from being viewed as the freakish Frankenstein child of the royal family. Most heartbreaking of all is the little prince's relationship with his protective brother, Georgie, who kindly vows not to let anyone "send him away." Watching little John (Daniel Williams) scamper off to suffer a seizure in private made Kim and I damn near bawl.

Part II didn't wow us as much, perhaps because Johnny's quirks weren't nearly so cute when he grew older, and Lala's attempts to intercede on the boy's behalf usually only exacerbated a sad situation. Johnny's brilliant musical recital at the end of the movie was about as cliché as they come. Still, this royal outcast's saga lent a unique angle to the historical backdrop of the gathering storm leading up to World War I. -- Amy

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