Published Dec 20, 2018Promotional consideration provided by Cineplex
Alan Bennett, one of Britain's most beloved playwrights, has had a long and fulfilling career but his most notable work is undoubtedly his 1991 play The Madness of George III. The piece takes an in-depth look at the life of Britain's most memorable rulers. More specifically, it takes a comedic yet heartfelt look at his struggle with mental illness toward the end of his tenure.
This week, on December 20, Cineplex will broadcast the National Theatre Live's version of the play at select cinemas across the country. This particular version of the play stars Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) and Adrian Scarborough (Gavin and Stacey).
Before it runs, we've decided to get you up to speed with five films that share themes with The Madness of George III.
The Emperor's New Clothes (1987)
Leaders can get away with just about anything as long as the status quo is being respected, and that's completely on display in Hans Christian Anderson's classic fairy tale. By now, we all know that the emperor's new clothes were little more than his birthday suit, but it's fun to watch the whole thing unfold in this classic Sid Caesar comedy.
The Madness of King George (1994)
Of course, the most thematically relevant companion piece to the play is the filmic adaptation, which was also penned by Alan Bennett. The film, which stars Nigel Hawthorne in the titular role, was directed by Nicholas Hytner and serves as the go-to movie version of the play. It won the BAFTA Awards for Outstanding British Film and Best Actor in a Leading Role in 1995, and the BFI considers it the 41st best British film of all time.
Unfit leaders are a beloved trope when discussing politics — and there will surely be a lifetime of films devoted to the current American president — but filmmakers have been roasting the establishment for many years. Before there was this year's Vice, Oliver Stone took the Bush administration down a peg or two with W. The film stars Josh Brolin as a different mad king George — specifically, the 43rd president of the United States.
The King's Speech (2010)
Tom Hooper's critically acclaimed 2010 historical drama almost feels like a parallel tale to Bennett's play. In it, Colin Forth's King George VI attempts to get over his life-long stutter, and he does so by working in private with his aid. While the plot takes a different turn, both works show how monarchs have the same humanizing struggles as the rest of us.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
The Madness of George III doesn't make fun of its subject. Instead, it uses humour to offer an accurate depiction of mental illness. The same is true of David O. Russell's acclaimed 2012 film Silver Linings Playbook, wherein we learn all about Bradley Cooper's struggles with bipolar disorder.