The Dallas Movie Screening Group

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Sunday, March 31, 2013

DIFF: Lord Montagu

4/6 Magnolia 1 Saturday 5:15pm
4/7 Magnolia 5 Sunday 8:00pm

Round table interview with Luke Korem (writer/director) and Russell Groves (producer).

(Video by reesa)

As the youngest member in parliament and sole heir to his family’s 7,000-acre English estate, Lord Edward Montagu’s life was rich and privileged. However in 1954, Edward, then aged twenty-five, became England's most infamous aristocrat when he was arrested for homosexual offenses and eventually sentenced to a year in prison. Despite the odds against him, Montagu persevered to become a prominent national figure by turning his estate into one of England's greatest tourist attractions, and leading the way into a new era of the British aristocracy. This film features never-before-seen footage from the Montagu archives, interviews with his family, friends and fellow aristocrats, and personal details from Lord Montagu's own writings to tell the story of his unconventional and often controversial life.

Written and directed by Austin filmmaker Luke Korem who gives this story a unique perspective of British nobility. It is a fascinating look at someone who although born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth endured catastrophic setback yet managed to reinvent himself. If you ever enjoyed Downton Abbey or any Jane Austin film treatments you are not really privy to the scope of entitlement of the aristocracy. Lord Montagu inherited his family's 7,000 acre southern England estate that includes 2000 acres of woods, 5 miles of seashore, 8 miles of riverway, and located in the middle is the stately home known as the Palace House.

Troubles came to Lord Montagu when after he opened his home as a public tourist attraction after WWII. The post-war depression made it difficult to afford the upkeep on the large estates and owners were purposefully demolishing or burning their stately homes rather than let commoners see behind the hallowed walls. Shortly afterwards Lord Montagu was arrested for “conspiracy to incite certain male persons to commit serious offenses with male persons” i.e. consensual homosexual offenses. The shock waves this incident created was the catalyst to decriminalize homosexuality in England.

Yet despite this, Lord Montagu came back to Beaulieu and created Britain's first motor car museum on his estate. Although his peers looked down on his commercial enterprises of exploiting his nobility and his family's privacy being invaded by tourists, Montagu managed to become a very successful business man who was charismatic showman. Archival footage and commentary by family, friends and other aristocrats offer a fascinating look at the controversial and unconventional character who ushered in a new breed of nobility.
(Review by reesa)

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