London, Nov 7 (IANS) In the early years of her reign, Queen Elizabeth II found the movies so dreadful that she complained to then prime minister Winston Churchill during an audience at Buckingham Palace, a media report said Sunday.
For nearly 50 years the Queen graced the red carpet at Royal Film Performances. But newly discovered documents show that in the early years of her reign she found the movies dreadful, Daily Mail reported on its website.
She may have once even considered boycotting the event. The 1954 Royal Performance of the film ‘Beau Brummell’ – starring Stewart Granger and Elizabeth Taylor – was a particular cause of displeasure.
The Queen and her officials were also unimpressed by three previous films – ‘Where No Vultures Fly’, ‘Because You’re Mine’ and ‘Rob Roy The Highland Rogue’.
In a memo concerning the ‘Beau Brummell’ screening Nov 19, 1954, Churchill’s private secretary David Pitblado told Frank Lee, the permanent secretary at the Board of Trade: ‘The prime minister asked me to look into this when he returned from his audience with the Queen. The Queen had told him what a bad film it was and he, on his own initiative, wanted to see what could be done about it for the future.’
The declassified documents show that both Buckingham Palace and Downing Street began to despair with the choice of films in the fifties.
Officials at Downing Street and Buckingham Palace secretly lobbied the film industry to overhaul the event. Film bosses reluctantly agreed to drop the stage show, which accompanied the chosen film and to cut back the number of ‘meet and greets’ expected of the Queen.
They also accepted the appointment of an independent figure from outside the movie business to chair the panel that chose the film.
The changes were a success and the Queen was delighted with the selection of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘To Catch A Thief’ in 1955.
The Royal Film Performance was launched in 1946 and raises funds for cinema and TV professionals who encounter illness, bereavement or unemployment.