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Reviews - A Royal Night Out

A Royal Night Out

Reviewed By Vaughan Ames

A Royal Night Out
A Royal Night Out
After such a dismal summer, I was looking forward to the Autumn Season of Keswick Film Club even more than normal, so I felt a mixture of excitement and trepidation when I arrived at the Alhambra on Sunday. Excitement: because I looked forward to the many evenings of films from around the world we always get from the club; trepidation: because I wasn't sure about the choice of "A Royal Night Out" as an opener.

We always try to pick a lighter film to get people in the mood for the season ahead, but I wondered if this was a 'lightness too far'? Was this film just 'a load of old tosh' (as my Dad would have said back in the war), or was there something more to it? Our chief programmer had already seen it and thought it was great fun and would set a different mood for the club – it might even bring in some people who hadn't come before. (Did you come? Was it your first visit? Do let us know)
The outcome was definitely mixed. Some of our regular audience didn't like it at all (we dont get many '1 star' votes after our films, but this one got 7), but I need not have worried too much as the vast majority of the audience seemed to love it – hopefully that includes some new film lovers!

Basically the story follows one night – VE Night at the end of the war – in London when the whole population went out on the streets to party. The young soon-to-be-Queen Elizabeth and her sister Margaret convince the King that they should be allowed to join the party incognito, so off (or maybe I should say 'orf'?) they go with two Army officers as chaperones. Not surprisingly these men are more interested in having a good time of their own and the two princesses slip away from them at the Ritz. Given the film had to be about their adventures, it was also no surprise that Margaret lost 'Lilibet'.

Elizabeth then recruits a young Airmen (who, of course, hates the Royal Family) to help her find her sister. There follows a series of unlikely but fun escapades as Margaret goes from the Ritz to the Carlton club, to a 'knocking shop' to Chelsea Barracks, with Elizabeth (now 'Lizzie') hot on her heels, naturally falling for her airmen Jack along the way.

I find it a bit hard to criticise the film: it is meant to be just a bit of fun, so it seems unfair to take it seriously. I found it very unlikely that Jack would have spent the night with a pretty girl without trying to kiss her (he managed to have 2 other girls in his arms at one point), but, as I say, it wasn't supposed to be realistic. I did like the end of the film, where Jack finds out who she is and takes her to meet his mum (!) then takes her back to the Palace and has breakfast with the King and Queen (!!). What I enjoyed was how the night had given Elizabeth confidence in herself; Dad was certainly taken aback when she dared to insist on having Jack to breakfast. Did Jack and Lizzie finally kiss? With Jack falling back into his working class role in life, Princess Elizabeth gives him a ride back to his airfield in her fast car ('Dont worry, I have been driving since I was 11 – that is one of the advantages of owning half of Scotland!') where, under the bemused eye of the gate guard, Jack steals a brief kiss...Hurrah!!

For those in the club who didn't like the film, don't worry, we are back to more normal fare next weekend: "White God" stars 250 dogs who bust out of their dog pound in a bid for freedom. With obvious comparisons to the refugee crisis and the power of a good leader, we should have much to discuss in the pub afterwards...ah, welcome back, autumn Sunday evenings!

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Keswick Film Club won the Best New Film Society at the British Federation Of Film Societies awards in 2000.

Since then, the club has won Film Society Of The Year and awards for Best Programme four times and Best Website twice.

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