Thursday, 1 September 2011

Glorious 39

In Glorious 39 Bill plays the apparently loving adopting dad of Anne Keyes, a successful actress with natural siblings born after her adoption. The family live in a country house in Norfolk with a ruined monastery in the grounds which make a splendid play ground for a happy childhood with her brother and sister by adoption. Bill plays a Member of Parliament with close ties to the government which explains why he is storing confidential papers in a barn where the children now grown up children are not allowed to visit,

The summer has been hot and sunny for months on end, whereas this year the summer has been one of the coldest with an autumn to feel to the new month and children prepare to return to school.

The first action centres on the visit of a young boy to two men at their London home which appears locked into an era before World War Two, including radio sets from that period. They are played by Corin Redgrave and Christopher Lee. The boy wants to know what happened to a missing a relative, his great aunt, the adopted daughter of the Keyes’ family. The two men tell him the story which begins on the day Anne has arranged a birthday party for her father and whose mother who sits in the background tending the garden and is played by Jenny Agutter. Anne’s brother now works at the Foreign Office and he brings a friend (Balcome-Jeremy Northern) to the evening dinner of birthday of Bill where the family has earlier gathered for a party in the garden.

At the dinner party is a friend of Anne’s and her fiancée/lover who also works at the Foreign office and is also a Member of Parliament played by David Tennant(Dr Who) and who warns about the danger facing the country unwilling to understand the nature of the Nazi threat. He wants the country to have a new Prime Minister, a Churchill man.

The following day while searching for the missing family cat Anne enters the forbidden store where the car is found and she also finds a collection of gramophone records which takes a handful back only to find that they are recordings of people in conversations and not orchestral dances as per the labels.

The outspoken Member of Parliament is then found to have committed suicide and her fiancée goes off to investigate and support the parents who he knows. Anne tries to share concerns about the situation with her father who promises to listen to her but is busy with a recall of Parliament because of the international situation with Germany. Bill agrees to have the government archives removed and Balcome presses Anne from the return of the gramophone records which reinforces her suspicions about him. She keeps a couple of the records.

Her balance of mind is question after the child of her sister by adoption goes missing at a family picnic. She is concerned about the role of young boy relative who appears involved in the disappearance although the child is recovered unharmed. She goes to stay with an aunt played by Julie Christie when the family go off to London. In the absence of her boyfriend and not knowing who to trust she gives one of the records to her friend and fellow film actor played by Hugh Bonneville who was also a guest at the picnic. He is also found to have committed suicide although the gramophone record is retrieved. At one point while trying to leave for London is is apprehend by the military who say they now have unlimited powers because of the outbreak of war with Germany. She is released by the intervention of her family.

Another record is broken by a maid when she secretly listens at the family home in London following their return and this appears to reveal Hector expressing concern about the behaviour of Balcome towards him and his parents. At a Foreign Office party in London she attempts to tell her father about the concerns but he presses her to join her brother and sister who are holding a party for the children of Ambassadors. She is offered by her brother to find out the truth about her parents but she decides against. Her fiancé has also returned from a mission to Paris and she agrees to send him the remaining gramophone record after learning that he brother is involved in what has been going on an led to two deaths. He already knows and arranges to meet her vets where she agrees to take the family cat and that of her aunt to be killed as are many animals because of the deprivations expected because of the war, although he father and family are trying to do a secret deal.

At the vets Anne finds Lawrence’s body among the dead animals and she gives the record addressed to Winston Churchill to an evacuee girl to post. She is now in fear for life. She then discovers that her father, her brother and sister have been involved to keep Britain out of the War at all costs doing secret deals with Nazi Germany and Hitler. This includes the murders of her lover, the MP friend and the film actor. They family is at the centre of a conspiracy to take over the country if necessary.

Anne is kept prisoners and refuses to eat and drink from justified fear of being sedated. She is released from captivity by her mother by adoption and disappears. The plot is foiled and Churchill becomes Prime Minister.

The brothers finishing telling the story to boy explaining that the part they played had been required of them by the family. They say that Anne had died Canada some twenty years before. One admits that it was Balcome who had persuaded him to move the pushchair containing his younger brother away from Anne while when she went to sleep and had it down the lane where the child was found. The boy asks the brothers to meet his mother at a local square and when they go to meet the woman she is pushing an old woman in a chair and it is Anne, the boy’s grandmother who had known the truth but the family had wanted the brothers to admit the truth.

The film has nice rounded ending and good mixture of suspense although I was able to work out the father’s central role in the plot from his statements to Anne about the horror of the First World War In an interesting link to the Harry Lamb story her brother by adoption had insisted on giving her the information that her parents were travellers.

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