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Published on November 20th, 2009 | by Niamh


Glorious 39 review

“On the eve of World War II, while the formidable Keyes family tries to uphold their traditional way of life, their daughter Anne sees her life dramatically unravel when she stumbles upon secret recordings of the pro-appeasement.”

The story of Glorious 39 centres on Anne Keyes (played by Romola Garai), a young actress and daughter of a House of Commons British MP (Bill Nighy). Anne is the eldest of three children who lead charmed lives between their father’s country residence and their town house in London near to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Times are tense as Hitler begins his take over of mainland Europe, country by country. The British think they have avoided going to war with him and there is a growing pro-appeasement movement in the country intent on any kind of agreement with Hitler and the Nazis that will keep them out of another war so shortly after World War I.

As the movie progresses though it becomes apparent that all is not as it should be in Anne’s world. She gets her hands on a recording from a meeting of a pro-appeasement group and things start to fall apart. Without giving away anything, Anne becomes embroiled in a race against something or someone, she doesn’t know who. The recording she found has much further reaching consequences than she ever thought possible.

Glorious 39, although a little longer than it needed to be, is an historic thriller. The English countryside and London city are almost characters in themselves, the 1930s on the cusp of the forties are evoked wonderfully in the clothes, the shoes, the cars, the characteristics and manners of the people, in everything. There are thrills and spills along the way in telling this story.

I’ve been an admirer of Romola Garai, who plays Anne, since I first saw her in Inside I’m Dancing with James McAvoy and more recently in the BBC’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. She’s a fantastic actress and very beautiful, one to watch I think. Bill Nighy was marvellous, I still can’t help thinking of him as the washed-up, obnoxious rock star Billy Mack in Love, Actually but here I forgot about Billy pretty quickly, he was wonderful. Another mention of merit must also go to David Tennant playing a young and passionate MP and Christopher Lee the teller of the story, though he does not narrate over it. Both have small but memorable parts.

Glorious 39 will be released in cinemas on 27 November 2009. Thank you so much to Kate Bowe PR and to Momentum Pictures for allowing me to see the film before it’s release.

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You can reach me on niamh@culch.ie :)

5 Responses to Glorious 39 review

  1. Darren Byrne says:

    This sound like a BBC mini-series on the big screen. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I wonder would I be more comfortable watching this on my couch of a lazy evening? Sounds interesting though.

  2. Niamh says:

    It was very interesting and yes the big screen probably doesn’t add a huge amount that would be lost on the smaller screen. Great film though.

  3. Keleher says:

    Looks to be very intersesting, excellent cast with Christie, Tennant, Lee and Jenny Agutter (loved her in ‘The Eagle has Landed’]. The English-German connection is interesting too, the royal family having German connections (Mountbatten was Battenberg [sp?]).
    Think I will get out to see this one.

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