23 July 2004 | artzau
This fine film of Richard Attenborough with Simon Ward really does have great legs, just like Ann Bancroft. What a great film with a splendid cast, John Mills, Robert Shaw, Patrick Magee, Tony Hopkins, Ian Holm and the great Jack Hawkins! I had not seen it since its release back in '72 and it was just as delightful seeing it tonight as it was back then.
History buffs may take a few shots at the unevenness of the story line and the flash-backs-- especially, the interviews with Bancroft and Ward-- are a bit distracting but the writing, the script and the film all work together in the hands of a real master, Richard Attenborough. It helps to no end that Ward had the face of the young Winston Churchill and is able to subtly portray the young man burning with ambition. The supporting cast is superb. The events are gloriously Victorian and it leaves not a whit of doubt about the origins of the last of the old imperialists, Sir Winston. The final scenes with Ward giving the speech on the floor of Parliament are wonderful and suggestive of the great oratory that was characteristic of the old British Lion. A great picture of Sir Winnie's rhetoric was given in Harry S. Truman's notes on meeting with him at Potsdam who observed how "[he] spoke in sentences formed into well-formed paragraphs...a master orator." Young, proud, vain, arrogant, ambitious, full of himself and self concerned, and fiercely intolerant of opinions differing from his own,Sir Winston Churchill was indeed one of the controversial albeit great men of our last century. This fine film stands as a fitting tribute to him.