We've come here this morning to agree with ourselves about the 1976 BBC documentary "My Kingdom for Love: Abdication," the story of the Duke of Windsor, to be shown at 8 o'clock tonight on Channel 26.
Awflly good, don't you think?
Oh yes, awflly. You know, people are forever going on about how well the British make those television serials - "Upstairs, Downstairs," and all that - but I think they do this sort of thing even better, don't you?
Indeed, indeed. They're so terribly bright about mixing still photographs, newsreels and newly taped reminiscences by people who knew the Duke and Duchess and lived through the whole affair.
And what an affair, eh? One of the great bits if rarefied gossip of. I dare say, the entire century - renouncing the throne after 11 months and three weeks for "the woman I love." Couldn't write a better fairy tale than that . Couldn't.
P'raps. Though as James Cameron, the writer and narrator points out, it didn't have a happy ending. After the abdication, he says they "lived in many houses, but no home, "had" a long life to live, but nothing to do." Until finally the man who would still be king of England died in 1972.
I like the way Cameron keeps a point of view, yet doesn't oversimplify. Wish some of our American commentators could learn that trick.
Good point: When the Duke, then the Prince of Wales, visited America, Cameron says "New York City received him with the rapture republics reserve for royalty." Can you imagine Roger Mudd saying that?
I can' even imagine Howard K. Smith saying that.
Exactly. The whole program has this marvelous tone.It isn't just a biography. It's a trip to that whole other galaxy of elegance and manners that simply doesn't exist any more. It's about the propriety that died with empire.
You're getting a bit carried away, aren't you?
But the poignance of it, man! When the Duke was sent on a globe-trot by Lloyd Geroge, he was greeted at one of the colonies with a huge banner that said, "Tell Daddy We Are All Happy Under British Rule." Speaks worlds, that.
Right you are. But the old friends of the Duke are rather eloquent themselves. Lord Carnarvon says that when he heard the Duke's abdication addresses on the radio. "I burst into flights of tears." And Lord Mountbatten, reading from the diary he kept as a lad and saying of his friend. "I wish he wasn't the Prince of Wales; then it would be possible to see lots and lots of him."
First direct, Phillip Geddes, really did a bang-up job well.
Devilishly clever, that fellow, about evoking epochs and attitudes and lost values with just a bit of film, or a scratchy old recording, or even - my word - a bit of silence. There really ought to be more silences on television, don't you think?