Queen of Destiny (1940)

90, 92 or 95 mins | Drama | 2 August 1940

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HISTORY

The film contains the following prologue: "At the turn of the nineteenth century the tide of British Monarchy was at its lowest ebb. The countryside was seething with discontent and England was never closer to revolution. This was the heritage of the young girl queen--Victoria-- when she ascended the throne in 1837. Three years later, the monarchy was firmly set in the affection of its people, and it was the queen, 'so young, so small, so dignified' that wrought the change." The film also acknowledges the use of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, St. James's Palace, Osborne House, and Balmoral Castle. The film was released in Great Britain under the title Sixty Glorious Years . While this film was called a sequel to another Wilcox production, Victoria the Great (see below), it was actually a color remake, and focused more on the later life of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
       According to HR , the film was withheld from U.S. distribution for two years until RKO's release of Irene (see above), in order to establish star Anna Neagle's popularity with the American audience. Writer Robert Vansittart was actually Sir Robert Vansittart, a chief diplomatic advisor to the British government. NYT states that Vansittart was brought into this film by actor Sir Cedric Hardwicke, when producer-director Wilcox sought help with a planned Boer War sequence. Vansittart advised Wilcox to avoid any mention of that war, yet remained with the production as a writer. The first half of Victoria the Great was edited together with the last half of Sixty Glorious Years , and ... More Less

The film contains the following prologue: "At the turn of the nineteenth century the tide of British Monarchy was at its lowest ebb. The countryside was seething with discontent and England was never closer to revolution. This was the heritage of the young girl queen--Victoria-- when she ascended the throne in 1837. Three years later, the monarchy was firmly set in the affection of its people, and it was the queen, 'so young, so small, so dignified' that wrought the change." The film also acknowledges the use of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, St. James's Palace, Osborne House, and Balmoral Castle. The film was released in Great Britain under the title Sixty Glorious Years . While this film was called a sequel to another Wilcox production, Victoria the Great (see below), it was actually a color remake, and focused more on the later life of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
       According to HR , the film was withheld from U.S. distribution for two years until RKO's release of Irene (see above), in order to establish star Anna Neagle's popularity with the American audience. Writer Robert Vansittart was actually Sir Robert Vansittart, a chief diplomatic advisor to the British government. NYT states that Vansittart was brought into this film by actor Sir Cedric Hardwicke, when producer-director Wilcox sought help with a planned Boer War sequence. Vansittart advised Wilcox to avoid any mention of that war, yet remained with the production as a writer. The first half of Victoria the Great was edited together with the last half of Sixty Glorious Years , and released in 1942 as Queen Victoria . Modern sources include writer and actor Miles Malleson ( Soldier ) in the cast. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
26-Nov-38
---
Film Daily
17 Nov 38
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 40
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
29 Oct 38
p. 40
Motion Picture Herald
16-Jan-43
---
New York Times
16 Nov 38
p. 25.
New York Times
9-Jul-39
---
Variety
26 Oct 38
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Herbert Wilcox Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Scenario and dial
Scenario and dial
Scenario and dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Technicolor col dir
Technicolor photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus settings
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hair
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Sixty Glorious Years
Release Date:
2 August 1940
Premiere Information:
London opening: week of 13 October 1938
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 August 1940
Copyright Number:
LP10177
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System Noiseless Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
90, 92 or 95
Length(in feet):
8,563
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
2230
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At Windsor Castle, Queen Victoria of England announces her intention to marry her German cousin, Prince Albert. While many in England are against her marriage to foreigner, Victoria is insistent, ignoring the pleas of the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel. Albert arrives in England with his brother Ernst, and asks Victoria to reconsider, because even though he loves her, he fears the marriage may be a political mistake. She reassures him, and the two are married at St. James's Palace on 10 February 1840. Victoria rules the country with an iron hand, and she attempts to rule her house and husband the same way. While Albert gives in to her demand that he take an Englishman for a secretary, he confronts her when he feels that she is mistreating both Wellington and Peel, telling her that they are "great men" who deserve better treatment. While the royal couple amuse themselves with music and archery and Victoria bears Albert a daughter, they soon become aware of the dire plight of their subjects through the writings of Charles Dickens. Albert works to relieve their burden with the repeal of the Corn Laws, which tax grain. While these taxes are successfully repealed, Albert is accused of being an interloping foreigner. Victoria has a secret meeting with Peel at Osborne House, where she seeks an official position for Albert in the government, with the suggestion that he take over as Commander-in-Chief upon Wellington's retirement. Albert then proposes a scientific meeting of nations, an "Exhibition of Industry." The Great Exhibition of 1 May 1851, which marked the opening of the Crystal Palace, is a great ... +


At Windsor Castle, Queen Victoria of England announces her intention to marry her German cousin, Prince Albert. While many in England are against her marriage to foreigner, Victoria is insistent, ignoring the pleas of the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel. Albert arrives in England with his brother Ernst, and asks Victoria to reconsider, because even though he loves her, he fears the marriage may be a political mistake. She reassures him, and the two are married at St. James's Palace on 10 February 1840. Victoria rules the country with an iron hand, and she attempts to rule her house and husband the same way. While Albert gives in to her demand that he take an Englishman for a secretary, he confronts her when he feels that she is mistreating both Wellington and Peel, telling her that they are "great men" who deserve better treatment. While the royal couple amuse themselves with music and archery and Victoria bears Albert a daughter, they soon become aware of the dire plight of their subjects through the writings of Charles Dickens. Albert works to relieve their burden with the repeal of the Corn Laws, which tax grain. While these taxes are successfully repealed, Albert is accused of being an interloping foreigner. Victoria has a secret meeting with Peel at Osborne House, where she seeks an official position for Albert in the government, with the suggestion that he take over as Commander-in-Chief upon Wellington's retirement. Albert then proposes a scientific meeting of nations, an "Exhibition of Industry." The Great Exhibition of 1 May 1851, which marked the opening of the Crystal Palace, is a great success, despite early attacks upon it by Albert's detractors. In 1853, the British Parliament fears a Russian invasion of Turkey. Foreign minister Lord Palmerston and Lord John Russell attack Victoria and Albert for their policy of appeasement, the two going so far as to accuse Albert of being a foreign agent, and calling him "the Traitor of Coburg." Victoria soon realizes that the conflict is inevitable, and the Crimean War begins. The royal couple visit the English wounded in the Crimea, and are appalled by the conditions there, though they later recognize the valiant efforts of nurse Florence Nightingale. Later, after parenting ten children, Victoria and Albert see their first daughter married to Frederick William, Prince of Russia. After twenty years of marriage, Albert falls ill. He dies in bed with Victoria by his side on 14 December 1861, as one daughter serenades him on the organ. After Albert's death, Victoria goes into a thirteen year self-imposed retirement. She finally emerges under the influence of Benjamin Disraeli, who tells her of the Egyptian king's plan to sell the Suez Canal. Despite the lack of support by Parliament, Disraeli is able to arrange England's purchase of the canal for £84,000,000, with the help of the banking Rothchilds. In 1885, the British army in the Sudan, under the leadership of General Gordon, comes under attack by rebel Arab forces, lead by the Mahdi. With defeat imminent, Victoria orders the reluctant prime minister, W. E. Gladstone, to send Gordon re-enforcements, only to learn that Khartoum and the general had fallen two days earlier. Thirteen years later, the Mahdi is defeated by British forces in the Battle of Omdurman, and the Sudan is reclaimed for England. In 1897, Victoria celebrates her sixtieth year as queen with the Diamond Jubilee. Then, on 22 January 1901, England mourns as Queen Victoria lays dying. As she passes away, she thinks back on her coronation. The church bells ring as the English crown is placed on Victoria's casket. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.