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  • This is the first time I've seen or heard of this movie. I'm just tuned into the middle of the film. It's less of a drama and really more of a musical in a mildly romantic sense. The scenery is sumptuous with an atmosphere of high fashion, moreso since the setting involves royalty, i.e. Errol Flynn is to become king so it's lavish in every way. Anna Neagle sings well; I'd never heard her sing before (at least I hope it is her own voice). It is regrettable that Flynn only had a few more years left in his brief life, brief by our standards today. It's refreshing to see a film I haven't seen before. If you like pleasant songs, gentle romance and pageantry, this is one you ought to see when you can. It's almost like a European Broadway musical!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    What a shame Novello had died before this movie was made. Errol Flynn was near the end of his life and appeared to be inebriated throughout, though admittedly still possessed that well-known charm. I remember Novello from my very early childhood as everyone knew him then, he was so famous and so popular and his death put the country into mourning. I remembered always some of the songs from this musical, that were played over and over of course, and Vanessa Lee singing the poignant Some Day My Heart Will Awake which was a major hit. So it was interesting to see the movie on TV some years ago. But what a shame there isn't some recording of Novello playing the part.

    This is of course Novello's most famous musical although I myself think I would place Glamorous Night and Perchance to Dream above it if only I could see a version of them.

    Whatever, the music is of course the first and foremost attraction. Beautiful as always. Novello like Johann Strauss and Franz Lehar never failed when it came to music. The story is charming and like so much of Novello's work, bitter-sweet. Wasn't it one of our royals who told Novello after seeing Glamorous Night that she'd love to see a happy ending please so he added that in for her in Careless Rapture?

    There is a wonderful and poignant book by Hester W. Chapman based on this musical. Chapman extends the story skilfully and this book of hers is so much less frustrating than some others of her fiction containing as they often do men who seem to be completely heartless, twisted, and severely emotionally damaged individuals who confuse the poor heroine (and the reader) into despair with what seems to be love, and then they walk off uncaring leaving the poor woman totally bereft. In other words, men who are massively emotionally damaged. In Chapman's King's Rhapsody the King has a heart and a soul and is a decent human being - presumably Chapman was determined to keep to Novello's style of hero on this occasion - and his frustrating life is fascinating as in the musical. It was a book I read many years ago after guessing it probably related to the famous old musical and it was and still is a very rewarding read. As I recall, this play was very loosely based on a true story of an Eastern European Prince's love life but I may be wrong about that.
  • marcslope11 January 2016
    Ivor Novello's late stage success gets a sumptuous and reasonably faithful filming with this large Herbert Wilcox production, designed to showcase his muse, Anna Neagle. It's probably the last big British film operetta--miscast, and a muddled story, but there are all those pretty Novello melodies and some gorgeous wide-screen location filming, and a lot of haute couture flitting around on screen from Ms. Neagle and Patrice Wymore. They're both in love with Errol Flynn, who's a little old and dissipated to be playing the dashing young playboy prince about to be crowned king of the fictional nation of Laurentia. Neagle's his longtime mistress and Wymore the princess ordered to marry him, which she doesn't mind at all. It's annoying that Flynn is allowed to love two women simultaneously without penalty, and the talk is generally dull, and the supporting cast--Martita Hunt as Flynn's queen mum, Miles Malleson as a servant--not very exciting. The editing is atrocious, careening from dialog to irrelevant song to dream ballet and back again. Watching it is like watching the operetta genre age before your very eyes, but if you like this sort of thing, and I do, you'll have a good time. And even if you don't, you'll appreciate the Cinemascope vistas.
  • I think I make a fair assumption in saying that one needs to be passionate about the music of Ivor Novello to fully appreciate "King's Rhapsody" on film.I am just that and happy to take his works in any shape or form.In 1949 when Novello's last 'operetta' was first presented on the London stage,it was an immediate success,despite it's quaint,old fashioned theme.Sadly,by the time it reached the screen in the mid-1950's,there was only a limited audience for it outside England. Errol Flynn may have retained a certain box- office appeal at this time but here,his ineffable charm is clearly a thing of the past.He looks dissipated,to say the least and seems to be sleepwalking his way through most of the proceedings. Now,let's move on to the ladies.Anna Neagle is as enchanting as ever and imbues her role with grace and charm.She sings two songs,nicely but there is no dancing for her this time.That is left to the other female lead,Patrice Wymore who dances very well and sings sweetly (the dream scene is a bit odd though). It's not easy to involve oneself in the drama but never mind,there is always Novello's glorious music;the mainstay of the piece. I was delighted to find this film on DVD and the quality is quite satisfactory.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The years of good living were galloping up on Errol Flynn when he decided to make the second of two films he did with British musical star Anna Neagle and her producer husband Herbert Wilcox. This film was a disaster for Flynn and unlike his previous work with Neagle, Lilacs In The Spring failed at the box office on the other side of the pond as well.

    The plain truth is what was Errol Flynn doing in an operetta? On stage author Ivor Novello played the lead and sang the songs. Here no one had Errol try to sing operetta, nor was anyone's voice dubbed for him either. Instead Wilcox used the rather clumsy device of having a 'street singer' played by Edmond Hockridge sing the duets with both Neagle and Patrice Wymore who was the third and final Mrs. Errol Flynn. It was just plain ludicrous.

    I'm willing to bet that Ivor Novello was probably a supporter of the Duke of Windsor because that's what the film is partially based on, an abdication crisis. Flynn's character is based on Windsor and also on King Carol of Rumania and his mistress Marie Lepescu. Martita Hunt plays Flynn's mother, the Queen Mother of the mythical Laurentia where Flynn is king. No one in the United Kingdom could possibly have mistaken the fact that Hunt's portrayal was based on Queen Mother Mary who was still alive in 1949 when King's Rhapsody debuted on the London stage.

    The part of the prince, king, and later ex-king calls for Flynn to age several years. The old playboy in Monte Carlo he got down pretty good, but no amount of makeup could get Errol young again, he couldn't convince anyone as the young prince who was exiled to the Riviera because he wouldn't give up his mistress played in this film by Anna Neagle.

    If you know the story of King Carol and Lepescu and of course of the Duke of Windsor who wouldn't give up Wallis Simpson, combine them and you have an idea of what King's Rhapsody was all about.

    One of the great bad ideas in the history of movies, Errol Flynn in this role. Herbert Wilcox was quoted in the Citadel Film book, The Films of Errol Flynn saying when he heard Flynn had died in 1959 that he could have been a great actor, but his love of high living kept him from it. Errol's high living made him completely unsuitable for this role.
  • pmalcolm-58-53996820 July 2014
    Having just watched King's Rhapsody and having waited many years to find a copy, I am sorry to say that it just doesn't work. Flynn is just not there! He seems to have wandered in and just been allowed to continue the role without any real sense of comedy or emotion. The rest of the cast work hard but the fact that the King has no singing voice whatsoever spoils the whole idea of the operetta and an ever convenient band of street singers doing his work just doesn't cut the ice.

    I feel certain that Mr Novello would NOT have been happy with his movie despite it's lush and colourful settings. I scored it as a three out of ten and that is because they tried to make a big Hollywood musical and failed miserably. It could be done again but I doubt that it would favour any popularity in today's world and more's the pity.
  • The first part of the film is of sustained perfection and interest and adorably beautiful in every detail, especially the costumes, the colours, the music and the dances, culminating in the ballet sequence before the wedding. After the wedding the interest drops, as the king gets more melancholy and both his ladies seem to lose interest in him, while he actually never wanted to be king in the first place. Nevertheless, this is a much underrated masterpiece of beauty, unique in its kind, while the film that comes closest to it is Ernst Lubitsch's last film "That Lady in Ermine" seven years earlier. Ivor Novello's music is endearingly delightful all the way and furnishes the film with a golden frame. I couldn't help loving it, in spite of its flaws, its slow tempo, its tedious moments and Errol Flynn's rather disinterested acting, although he is excellent as usual. Both the ladies are adorale, but I think the prize goes to Martita Hunt as the Queen Mother, who always makes a lasting impression.
  • Errol Flynn in an operetta? Yes please! Errol Flynn singing? Apparently, not in this one. You only have one chance to hear that, in the cute variety show Thank Your Lucky Stars. In this one, all the singing and dancing are done by Anna Neagle and Patrice Wymore.

    As quick as I am to recommend all of Errol Flynn's movies, (because him in a lousy movie is better than nothing) I'm not going to recommend you watch this one. If you didn't like seeing him playing a no-account drunkard in The Sun Also Rises, you're really not going to like seeing him in this movie. There are a few scenes where his character is drunk, and he's so convincing, I had to wonder whether or not such a state was actually written in the script or if it had to be adopted to suite him. Also, since Patrice's character is supposed to have loved Errol from afar for years, and she carefully looks after him, it adds another layer of sadness. In real life, Patrice and Errol were married, and she put her career on hold to look after him towards the end of his life.

    If you do want to watch it, here's a quick summary of the plot: Queen Mother Martita Hunt informs her playboy son that his father has died and he's going to be coronated King soon. He must return to his own country and drop his mistress, Anna Neagle, he's been with for years. While he enters into an arranged marriage for the sake of his kingdom (with Patrice) he continually pines away for Anna. Since Patrice has loved him for years, there's a whole bunch of unrequited love in the story. This isn't a light operetta, but instead one that's quite sad with every main character battling heartbreak.