The Prime Minister (1941) Movie Script

Dear Lady Londonderry,
you look charming today.
The novel? Did you like it?
That's sweet of you.
Dear Countess, how charming
of you to admire my heroine.
Come back, come back.
Oh dear, Miss.
Are you hurt?
Less in body than in pride.
I ruin my entrance to the garden party.
You go to Lady Londonderry's?
I hoped to make this the sensation
of the afternoon. But...
As it is...
You must let me give you a lift.
- Could you?
Of course. I'm going there myself.
- Thank you so much.
That's more than kind of you.
Contarini Fleming. Are you reading it?
Of course. Everyone is.
And all the other books, too.
Have you read them all?
All of them. One must be in the fashion.
Well. And how do they strike you?
- I think they're frightful.
I beg your pardon?
- I mean they're frightening.
I know they're not meant to be.
- Indeed not.
And most people wouldn't find them so.
They're original and witty and clever.
In fact I enjoyed reading
every word of them.
Or would have if...
- Yes?
If I hadn't realised
what was behind them.
What do you mean exactly?
It sounds so conceited of me.
I'm not a bit intelligent really.
Won't you sit here?
- Thank you.
You may drive on now, Tom.
Do go on talking about Disraeli.
Oh... oh well, he's
brilliant of course, but...
He isn't really a novelist.
Then what would you call him?
- A man of action.
The real trouble is that he
has a guilty conscience.
What makes you think so?
He pretends to despise politics and
politicians but he doesn't really.
He knows he ought to be
helping, not mocking.
He is really...
Denying his soul.
One day he's going to wake up and...
Realise he has never really lived.
Then he'll hate himself
and everyone else.
Perhaps by then it will be too late.
What for?
To fulfil his destiny.
His destiny?
To serve England.
That's what his heart is in.
There's nothing he couldn't
do if he really wanted to.
He ought to be in Parliament.
I believe in him.
My dear young lady.
- What are you laughing at?
I beg your pardon.
- I don't see what's funny about it.
First, he has to get into Parliament.
- That's simple enough.
He'll be at the garden party. Lady
Londonderry will introduce me to him.
Will that make such a difference?
- A great deal of difference.
I control a seat in parliament.
At least, my husband's family does.
Oh, you have a husband?
No. No, I'm a widow.
My husband used to be member
of parliament for Maidstone.
We practically own the whole borough.
The tenants won't dare
to vote against me.
A fine state of affairs.
I know. That's one thing
Mr Disraeli is so against.
It's why he must get into parliament.
As then he could pass laws to stop
that sort of thing, couldn't he.
Here we are.
You've been most kind, dear Mrs...?
May I ask your name?
- Mary Anne Wyndham Lewis.
Most honoured, Ma'am.
- And yours?
Benjamin Disraeli.
Oh, how perfectly horrid of you.
But I assure you...
- Don't speak to me.
Drive home please, John.
You don't mean...?
Dear Mr Disraeli.
I must apologise madam for my
somewhat dishevelled condition.
My machine was wrecked in a ditch.
- Machine?
I hoped to make a great impression.
Instead of which I fear I have
been greatly impressed.
It sounds like a parable.
And Lord Melbourne.
This is Mr Disraeli.
I am honoured.
Delighted to meet our severest critic.
I insist on hearing the answer
to the parable, Mr Disraeli.
I wish I could show her to you, madam.
She ordered her coachman to return home.
- She ordered her coachman?
The parable becomes intriguing.
Who was she?
- Mary Anne.
I beg your pardon?
- Mrs Wyndham Lewis.
Mr Prime Minister, sir.
We need another player, sir.
Would you join us?
Not I, I'm afraid.
Perhaps Mr Disraeli will play?
This is Mr Gladstone.
I'm afraid I know nothing of the game.
It is the new game of croquet is it not?
Yes, but it's extremely simple,
calling only for a modicum of skill.
It's actually a development
of the old game of pell-mell.
If you'd care to join us sir, we shall
have pleasure in instructing you.
Now run along, dear Mr Disraeli.
Mr Disraeli.
Lord Stanley. Sir Robert Peel.
This is what's known as a 'smacker'.
You see?
Yes, I see it.
I think that gives us the game, partner.
Oh, is it all over?
Of course it is possible to win if you
get through the hoops and hit this post.
Not at all bad.
Thank you, Mr Gladstone, sir.
Shot, sir.
A mere bagatelle.
- No apologies.
- Admirable.
Now I think I shall retire before
anyone can rob me of my laurels.
And I too.
- Oh, must you?
I really shouldn't be here at all.
If anything should happen to the King it
is my duty to inform Princess Victoria.
Poor child. Imagine her having to occupy
the throne of England at her age.
She can't be less useful than the last,
and she'll certainly be more ornamental.
Have you your own conveyance Mr Disraeli
or can I give you a lift to London?
As a matter of fact, you can.
- Come on, then.
There's quite a number of
things I wanted to say to you.
Goodbye, Peel.
- Goodbye, Mr Gladstone.
Don't brood over that last shot.
What are you thinking, sir?
I'm thinking perhaps it's as well that
young man is not interested in politics.
If a man wants success he must
take it where he can find it.
Aren't you a little obsessed
by the need for success?
Wouldn't you be if you
had my experience?
I dare say.
Life has been made pretty easy for me.
In that respect, at least.
By the way, how do you like the port?
Excellent as far as I can judge.
I am no connoisseur.
- You will be.
And you will pay for it as I have.
Gout is one of the heritages
of political success.
Are you suggesting...?
- Why not?
Don't you believe you would
have a future in politics?
Do you?
- Yes.
If you really wanted it.
If you could give up the other things.
The things that come easily.
You're the second person
to tell me that today.
Well then, perhaps
there's something in it.
No, it's nonsense.
Politics are not for me.
I don't belong.
You saw that yourself this afternoon.
- No...
And even if I did, why should I
bother my head about such things?
Democracy and the Crown. Parliament.
What are they but words, traditions.
Outworn symbols.
They meant something to us once.
When we were a race of free people.
I've been realising it more and more
clearly ever since I first met you.
When was it? Twelve hours ago.
You're trying to escape your conscience.
She said that too.
'Denying my soul' were
the words she used.
A very discerning young woman.
What else did she say?
That I should never be at rest
until I had fulfilled my destiny.
And what is that?
To serve England.
She said I'd wake up one day and realise
that I'd missed my chance of happiness.
This is a paragon of women.
She knows more about you
than you know yourself.
Perhaps I do know it.
- Well, what are you waiting for?
A sign from heaven?
You know, you are right.
We are going through bad times.
England needs men with ideals.
Men who love her and are ready
to give up their lives for her.
What right have you to hold back?
How do I know?
You have the spark. The divine fire.
Does a little adversity, a
little opposition, deter you?
Will you be one of those men who barters
his soul for success and a little ease?
But if I were to go into politics.
'If', I said.
It would be to fight your party
and everything it stands for.
I know that. But then...
But there's more in politics than party.
What matters in the end is
to be working for England.
Urgent, Your Lordship.
Order my carriage at once.
Read it.
And so it goes on.
Here we are in the middle of one of the
most dangerous times in English history.
And we are given a child,
a girl of eighteen to rule us.
You'd better hurry up. England is
going to need her men of vision.
I must get across to the Palace and
break the news to the Princess Victoria.
'The Queen', I should say.
Care to keep me company a little longer?
I feel the need of moral support.
Your Grace.
We are all here, Cunningham.
Have you the doctor's certificate?
Then, when you're ready, Baroness...
I shall not be long, Mr Disraeli.
Wait for me here, will you.
Will you come this way
gentlemen, please.
This is something to have lived to see.
Our little Vicki, Queen.
Well, she's got a warm, kind heart.
She could make a good Queen.
If only they'd let her.
Your Majesty.
It is my sad duty to inform you.
That the King, your uncle.
Passed away in his sleep.
About ten o'clock last night.
Oh, poor uncle William.
Poor Queen Adelaide.
May I be the first to offer Your
Majesty my humble services.
And on behalf of Her
Majesty's ministers...
To wish her a long and happy reign.
Thank you, Lord Melbourne.
And you gentlemen, too.
I am very young.
Very inexperienced in life, I know,
to be called to such a high state.
All the same.
I'm deeply conscious
of my duty to my country.
And of the grave task
that lies before me.
We live in such difficult times.
So much wealth.
And so much suffering.
I can only pray.
That with your help. And the
help of all my loyal subjects.
I may be able to learn to rule
my country as I would wish.
And to bring peace and
prosperity to all my people.
I realised then that the spirit of
the England I love is not dead.
The flame has burnt
very low, but it still lives.
In the heart of a young girl.
I knew then you were right. I can't
just stay outside and be an onlooker.
There's work for me to
do and I must do it.
That's why I've come to ask if you can
help me get that seat in Parliament.
If you could find it in your heart
to forgive me for my stupidity.
Will you?
- Help you to get the seat?
Forgive me.
The King's death couldn't have
come at a worse moment.
Come in. We're not nearly
ready for a general election.
A few more months and we'd have
given Melbourne a run for his money.
As it is, we shall have
to fight for every seat.
Mrs Wyndham Lewis?
- Maidstone.
Good morning.
Won't you sit down?
Stanley, get a chair for
Mrs Wyndham Lewis.
This is an unexpected pleasure.
Thank you.
Well I...
- Is it about the seat?
Yes. I want to talk about the candidate.
- I see.
Well now. There's a choice here.
We've got young Stebbings.
A pleasant sort of fellow. Sound.
No brains of course. But sound.
Or there is...
- But I have my candidate.
You have?
- Yes.
May we know who?
- Of course.
Mr Disraeli.
Don't you approve?
Of course he's brilliant.
Quite brilliant.
No-one denies that. No-one.
Yes. But do you think he's
quite the type for Parliament?
I think he'll be wonderful.
Well, of course you're
entitled to your opinion.
The point is, should we be justified
in giving him our official support?
Of course, in a small borough like
yours with... how many votes?
All the voters are my tenants.
They'll vote the way I tell them.
But you'd like your candidate to have
official support of a party, won't you?
Of course.
- You see?
Then I suppose I shall have to
offer the seat to Lord Melbourne.
Great Scott. We can't have that.
Mr Disraeli must get into Parliament.
Or how can he save the country?
But look here.
- No, I'm afraid there's no choice.
He'll have to be on the government side.
Thank you so much
for listening to me. I...
Had better be getting along
to see about his nomination.
Lord Melbourne will be delighted.
Mrs Lewis. Just a moment.
You'll have your candidate.
Oh thank you. That's sweet of you.
You're sure you want him?
We want the seat.
Well then, everyone is
getting what they wanted.
Isn't that lovely.
Thank you.
And finally, in my opinion.
The whole speech of the Prime Minister
to which we have just listened.
Neither explains the problems
with which we are faced.
Nor even hints at a possible solution.
Hear, here.
Hear, hear.
Mr Disraeli.
Well, Mr Disraeli.
This is the fellow, is it?
Ahem... Mr Speaker, sir.
In rising to oppose the motion of
the Right Honourable gentleman...
I crave the indulgence of the house
for any shortcomings that may arise...
From my inexperience in the pro-ce-dure.
Very well, 'procedure'.
Of this august assembly.
Holy cats. What's that?
It's Mr Disraeli. A new member.
As a very junior member
of the opposition.
Unburdened as yet by
the chains of office.
Then, what about them round your middle?
Mr Speaker sir, I happen to be
one of those who cannot believe.
That men of flesh and
blood were created...
Solely for the purpose of producing
the cheapest possible calico...
In the richest possible world.
At the moment, we are facing...
One of the strangest anomalies
the British Isles have seen.
A triumphant bourgeoisie.
Crowing loudly over an enslaved England.
In this strange new
age of industrialism.
The England we knew is
dying before our very eyes.
Where duty, responsibility
and loyalty are outmoded.
The Crown has become a cipher.
The nobility drones,
and the people drudges.
Now Mr Speaker, sir. We see the
philosophical prejudices of man.
I respect the jeers, even when they come
from the lips of political opponents.
I think Mr Speaker, sir.
I am not at all surprised.
I'm not at all surprised
Mr Speaker, sir.
At the reception I have received.
I have begun several things many times.
And have mainly been successful at last.
I, gentlemen.
Though I may submit to you now.
The time will come
when you will hear me.
You mustn't mind.
- Mind?
It doesn't matter. Not really.
Of course it matters.
I made a fool of myself.
You told me they think I'm a trifler.
You were right and I wasn't. That's all.
Where are you going?
What are you going to do?
I don't know.
I must think this out by myself.
Will you excuse me, please.
- Of course.
If it counts, I still believe in you.
Thank you.
You see, at the moment I
can't even say that properly.
Perhaps later.
You're wanting these, sir.
There you are.
I was looking for you.
Are you driving?
- No.
Walking? Then I think we might
go through the park together.
Well, there's the great career ended.
Before it's even begun.
You don't really believe that?
- They wouldn't listen to me.
And if they had listened, what
would have been the result?
You probably made the
best speech of your career.
It would have been received politely.
You'd have despaired of yourself later.
- As it is...?
As it is, you've shown you have courage,
spirit and a command of language.
If I may be permitted one criticism.
- What, only one?
You called the speaker
'sir' a little too often.
Considering the state I was in it was
a marvel I didn't call him 'Ma'am'.
You'll do. You'll do.
Do you really expect me to go on?
Even after that?
I said it won't be easy.
You've much to learn.
For instance?
- Take my advice.
Get rid of your genius for a session.
Be dull.
Quote figures, dates, details.
Make yourself the accepted authority
on a subject that can't be ignored.
I guarantee from that moment,
you'll have the ear of the house.
Tell me, why do you bother about me?
I happen to admire you.
And I think you can do
great things for England.
Besides which, I rather hoped
you looked upon me as a friend.
Thank you, sir.
But, politically speaking.
Remember I'm your enemy.
I shall always be your enemy.
Even if necessary to the bitter end.
That's right, my boy.
That's the only justification
for party politics.
It allows friends to be political
enemies and fight to the bitter end.
Then you'll stay?
There never was any doubt
about that, was there.
I thought not.
Well, speak up. Is it or isn't it?
That's better. That's better.
That cry will echo through the land.
Until it reaches the ears of the
House Of Commons. Perhaps.
Mind you, I said 'perhaps'.
And who do they represent?
Do they represent the
hundreds and thousands...
Who sweat from morn' to
night in the factories?
Do they ever hear the cry of
the poor little children?
Whose hands, now bleeding,
scarred and torn with work...
Have scarcely forgotten how
to fondle their mothers breasts.
No shame.
You can bet your life that none of those
things disturb that smug complacent...
And hypocritical lot of
job-getters and time-servers...
That masquerade as a parliament.
And who have we got there?
By his very smile he's like the glint
of the plate on the lid of a coffin.
He is the arch-humbug.
He's as full of cant as any canter that
ever canted in this whole canting world.
Three cheers for Peel.
Will somebody give that ass
his hay-feed over there.
And we have the House Of Lords.
The House Of Lords.
Whose voice do they represent?
Is it a cry for liberty?
A cry for better conditions?
Only a voice of indignant protest.
If their interests are attacked.
We must never rest content.
Until we pull down the pillars of
the whole, rotten stinking edifice.
Ours is the cause.
And we must do the fighting.
We have it in your power
to smash this machine.
Before it smashes us.
They turned the troops on us before.
But our voices are
still heard in the land.
Was that a side?
A side? The very idea.
- It was a side.
Dizzy dear, you may forget your
manners, but never your reputation.
Our reputation is safe
in Lady Blessington's hands.
A delightful fraud.
All London knows reputations left in
my hands just melt away like butter.
I've heard the thought expressed
but not so agriculturally.
Good. For a moment, I thought that
dreadful agitator had depressed you.
I beg your pardon?
What a ridiculous idea.
Thank you, Rook. I shan't want you
anymore tonight. You may go to bed.
Thank you, Ma'am. But I'm not tired.
I see you're not.
You look remarkably fresh.
Your walk in the park did you good.
- Oh Ma'am, it was so exciting.
Well go on, stupid.
Tell me what was so exciting.
A Chartist demonstration, Ma'am. They
want to run the country their own way.
And getting themselves
educated above their place.
And lots of things like more
wages and better houses.
And suchlike foolishness.
I wonder if it is so foolish.
But the most exciting thing
was seeing Mr Disraeli.
In the park?
Driving past in a carriage, Ma'am.
And looking so elegant.
Both him and Her Ladyship.
Her Ladyship?
- I'd have known her anywhere, Ma'am.
Though I've only seen her
likeness drawn from a painting.
Lady Blessington?
Yes, Ma'am.
I have changed my mind
about retiring, Rook.
Will you please lay out a ball dress.
- A ball dress, Ma'am?
By all means, a ball dress.
Lay out all my ball dresses.
This is a matter for some consideration.
- Oh yes, Ma'am.
Mr and Mrs Peregrine.
If one could capture such a man when one
were young enough to enjoy the triumph.
That's not very kind to Blessington.
When women are being kind to Blessington
it will be a sign she's losing touch.
He is singularly unbending.
For a man of promise.
It depends on what you mean by promise.
I'll wager Blessington is
not content with promises.
A devilish fine creature, that.
Such assurance.
Such balance.
It does my heart good to look at her.
Your heart, maybe, General.
But not your arteries.
They say he's unhappy.
Nonsense, dear. The wistful air
becomes him and he knows it.
He'll be alright...
When he learns the difference
between a career and a reputation.
Mrs Wyndham Lewis.
Are you really as surprised
as you appear to be?
I'm amazed and delighted.
The occasion is unique.
I mean, you never grace
my humble little evenings.
I am persuaded I have
missed a great deal.
Anyone would have told you that.
Perhaps someone did.
What a treasure house you have here.
- You overwhelm me.
Well. Aren't you going to show
me some of the exhibits?
At your command, dear Mrs Wyndham Lewis.
Though I swear it's more a
case of some of the exhibits...
Seeing you.
And how is Lady Blessington?
Never better.
How fortunate she is in her
ever-widening circle of friends.
Do go on.
She is responsible for so
many women entering society.
If only to chaperone their husbands.
Please don't think I mean to be unkind.
I'm consumed with admiration and
sure she's all that they say she is.
Or shouldn't I have said that?
- Of course. Why not?
If only more people had the gift.
- Gift?
Of thinking aloud.
- Oh.
Enchant, madame.
She gets more charming every day.
Yes, doesn't she.
I'm so glad you've come.
All the evening, Dizzy has
felt something lacking.
This is the dance you promised
me Margaret, I think.
Why, of course.
Shall we follow their example?
May I have the pleasure?
But you do waltz?
Of course I do, as though
there was anything in it.
Some people ought to
know when not to dance.
My shoe.
Oh, what's the use?
I can't do the silly dance.
We both know that.
Won't you go on? Please.
It's such a waste of time.
So it is. You're perfectly right.
A criminal waste of time.
How stupid of me not to
have realised that before.
Mary Anne.
Look at me.
If you're kind to me I'll scream.
- I'm not.
I know what you're thinking.
I should have stayed at home.
Well, I would have stayed at
home only I wanted to see you.
Not wanted, I...
I mean I thought I ought to.
No, I don't mean that at all.
I'm going away.
- You mean you want to go home?
Yes... no I...
I mean exactly what I said.
I'm leaving the country.
- Leaving?
What on earth are you talking about?
- Well, I am.
I always wanted to make the grand tour,
and now seems a suitable opportunity.
The weather has improved.
So I shall leave tomorrow.
I see.
I suppose you couldn't postpone
our departure for a week or two?
Certainly not. I wouldn't dream of it.
What for?
- My wedding.
Yes. I expect to marry
during the next two weeks.
Who is it?
Someone I've known
for quite a long time.
A Mrs Wyndham Lewis.
Why do you think I will marry you?
- You will, won't you?
Of course. I know you will.
You're the most infuriating person.
You're always sure of yourself.
Well, I'll tell you one thing.
I couldn't love you if I were married
to you for a thousand years.
I could never stop loving you if
I were married to you for eternity.
Don't lie.
You're very foolish, Mary Anne.
Very delightful and very
sweet but very foolish.
I won't stay here to be insulted.
Let me go.
All these months you've schemed and
planned and compromised yourself for me.
Do you imagine I'd have let you do
that if I hadn't been in love with you?
You don't love me.
- My dear idiot, I adore you.
You must listen to me.
I mean it.
I love you with all my heart.
No, no. I don't believe you.
- Mary Anne.
I won't believe you. Go away.
Do you mean that?
Yes, yes. Go away.
Don't go away.
Ain't they a lovely pair?
Good luck, governor.
Thank you, sir.
Those whom God have joined together.
Let no man put asunder.
For as much as Benjamin and Mary Anne
have consented together in Holy wedlock.
Excuse me, Mrs Disraeli.
You should tell your husband
the house is packed tonight.
Thank you.
Are you coming in?
I've no need to.
I know what's going to happen.
You are going to make
the speech of your life.
Or the failure.
- You are absurd.
For 6 months you were
the star of the opposition.
Now, on the eve of your greatest
triumph you doubt yourself.
Well, it is...
- You can't fail.
Poor Lord Melbourne.
If it wasn't that it mattered so much to
you, I should feel miserable about him.
Do tell him how sorry I am.
Yes. If only it could have
been anybody but him.
Sure you won't come and hear the debate?
- Quite sure.
Wait a minute.
- What is it?
Your neck-tie.
- Oh.
That's alright.
I adore you.
- You must forget about me.
You must forget about
everything but your speech.
But not for too long.
I shall be waiting up for you.
Mary Anne.
Did you call me?
Good luck.
I'm alright.
Drive home.
Well. The hunt is up.
You've got me on the run.
All it wants now is the kill.
I wish I could tell you.
- No sentiment and no regrets.
It's been a good run.
The best I ever remembered.
But the old dog fox is getting
a bit long in the tooth.
He won't be sorry when it's all over.
Good luck.
Make a clean finish of it.
I remind the Right Honourable Gentleman
opposite that cunning is not caution.
And that habitual perfidy
is not high policy of state.
Looking back over his
government's records.
What a sorry sight we are faced with.
What pledges broken.
What calculations that have gone awry.
What budgets that have blown up.
For years we have watched him sauntering
over the destinies of a nation.
And lounging away
the glory of an empire.
Those days are over.
A new spirit is awake in England.
The spirit of youth.
Now is an age when to be young and to
be indifferent are no longer synonymous.
Claims of prosperity are
represented by suffering millions.
And the youth of that nation are
the trustees of that posterity.
Hear, hear.
I always said he had it in him.
Therefore I say to the Right
Honourable Gentleman.
Dissolve the parliament which
no longer supports you.
And return to the country which
you have so grossly deceived.
There you will learn the truth.
That the rule of the old men with their
outworn ideals and tired hearts is over.
You have had your triumphs.
You have lived your day.
Return now to the ease and
indifference from which you came.
England no longer needs you.
It is nothing.
- My poor love.
How did the speech go?
Was it a success?
It smashed the government.
Poor old Melbourne is resigning.
Oh Dizzy, then...
Yes, I expect Peel will be
sending for me in the morning.
What are you going to do?
What's there for me to do?
I can't fight a whole party, can I?
They hate me.
Yes. Worse than that, they distrust me.
They can't forgive me for
having forced myself on them.
And that first speech of mine.
That still frightens them.
That's what it is. They're afraid of me.
So they don't trust me.
They never will trust me.
I don't belong.
What nonsense, Dizzy.
I suppose old Melbourne was right.
I should have gone over.
I could have stepped into his shoes.
He told me as much.
It might have been better
for me in the end.
At least I should have
achieved something.
Why should I?
For men like that?
Like Peel and Gladstone?
Let them change their party.
They will. I can see it coming. Their
hearts are with the industrialists.
But I'll not be driven out.
I'm going to stay.
I'm going to stay and fight them.
- Oh, Dizzy.
There must be someone in
the party who believes in me.
Not very many perhaps.
But a few and they will serve.
I'll form a new party.
A party of youth inside the old one.
I can't hope to win them
all over to my side.
But in time I'll leaven the lump.
Then they'll be forced to accept me.
They need me already.
I've proved that.
Soon, when Peel and Gladstone
rat on them, they'll need me more.
It's going to be a fight.
A long fight and a hard fight
but I've never minded that.
And in the end I'll win.
I must win because it's not my fight.
It's England's.
I shall win in the end. I must win.
Do you hear?
I... must... win.
And I called you a coward.
There he is! There's Gladstone.
What's up?
- It's Gladstone.
The booing?
He's bringing in a bill to do
away with income tax.
Why not?
- Why not?
Because he means to put it on the
working man's tea and sugar instead.
How are you feeling?
I think I'm going to be sick.
- Oh, Dizzy.
No. It's alright.
It's gone.
You really are...
- I know. I'm sorry.
Poor Mary Anne.
How long has this been happening?
Thirty-five... forty years.
Every time I have to make a big speech.
And it still frightens me to death.
The infuriating thing is that
you always get the better of it.
Perhaps you'd rather I didn't?
- Silly.
Evening, Mr Disraeli.
Evening, Ma'am.
The house is packed, sir.
- Thank you.
Well, here we go.
Good luck, my darling.
- I certainly need it.
It is the hour. If I force a vote of no
confidence and he goes to the country...
You will win.
I think I stand a good chance.
- And then?
Oh, don't let's talk about that.
- You mustn't, but I can.
I shall be thinking of nothing
else until you come home.
Don't wait up for me, will you.
Oh no.
I'd like to know what
you'd say if I didn't.
I'd be furious.
You know, you're a very pleasant sort
of a woman to have for a wife, my dear.
You're a very agreeable sort
of a man to have for a husband.
Wait a minute.
Your neck-tie.
Have you still got that sovereign, John?
Indeed I have, sir.
May I touch it just for luck?
Quick, quick. Go and fetch a doctor.
- Right, Miss.
You should have called me in long ago.
I didn't want Dizzy bothered.
I guessed that.
Well, he'll have to know now.
I forbid it.
At a moment like this
I won't hear of it.
But you don't realise...
Oh yes.
I realise.
How long?
Well it's very difficult to...
- Come along, tell me.
I must know.
If you're very careful.
Take no risks. Stay in bed.
Six months.
Perhaps a year.
Poor Dizzy.
Peace... retrenchment and... reform.
That's the watchword of this government.
Despite the jeers.
I might almost say snarls.
I'm proud of that watchword.
And whilst I remain the
head of this government...
I shall strive unceasingly
for its achievement.
Hear, hear.
Hear, hear.
Gad, I didn't realise
how old he'd grown.
He reminds me of a moth-eaten
old tiger in a travelling circus.
Wait until he starts showing his claws,
my boy. He won't look so old then.
Mr Speaker, sir.
If I seem to hesitate for words.
It's because I'm lost in admiration.
Of the honesty.
Of the Right Honourable Gentleman.
And the government which he leads.
Peace, reform and retrenchment.
That is to be their watchword.
Peace at the price of honour.
Reform at the expense
of the constitution.
And retrenchment... at the
cost of national security.
Throughout its tenure of office.
It has been the policy of
the present government...
To deny responsibility
both at home and abroad.
What matter... if the working classes
of this country are ill-housed...
Under educated...
And subjected to labour laws...
Which deny them the
right of free bargaining.
What matter if their colonial
brothers and sisters...
Are left to the mercy of
the first foreign aggressor.
Who dares to invade their
territorial and trade rights.
So long as the financial interests
of the great industrialists...
Those gentlemen who control the
purse strings of the Liberal Party.
Are safeguarded.
This empire of ours is no mean heritage.
It has provinces in every zone...
Inhabited by persons of different
religions, races, customs and laws.
Some bound to us by flesh and blood.
Others by the tides of liberty.
Conscious that without the
protection of the mother country.
They have no security for public
freedom or self-government.
Such a heritage is not
only to be enjoyed.
It must be maintained.
We cannot abandon it at
the first breath of danger.
Hear, hear.
With its benefits we have
inherited its responsibilities.
And those responsibilities
are only to be safeguarded...
By the very qualities that created them.
By patience.
By courage.
By discipline.
And by determination.
Never were those qualities
more needed than now.
In that few years... a great alliance.
Perhaps the greatest in
all history, has sprung up.
Germany, Russia and Austria in one Bund.
And against that alliance, what
have the rest of Europe to show?
A France weakened by war.
A Turkish empire crumbling to pieces
before our eyes for lack of support.
And Britain.
Great Britain.
With an already weakened army and navy.
Which will now be further curtailed.
For what?
For the most blatantly
selfish and unpatriotic act...
That has ever been
presented to this house.
An act to completely
repeal the income tax.
I challenge the government.
I challenge it to appeal to
the country for a verdict...
On this proposed vicious act.
Knowing full well it will receive
a clear and definite answer.
Let the people judge.
Ayes to the right. Noes to the left.
Is it alright?
- I think so.
Ayes to the right.
Two hundred and four.
The noes to the left.
Two hundred and sixty-five.
To the next Prime Minister.
We still have to win the election.
- That's a foregone conclusion.
Yes, yes. I suppose it's safe enough.
And then?
And then you can
start your work at last.
Curious, isn't it.
When men are young they want experience.
When they gain experience
they want energy.
Who was it who said...
'Youth is a blunder, manhood a
struggle and old age a regret'?
You did.
Did I? Dear me, that's a
bad sign, quoting myself.
Do you regret?
The life you might have had.
What would it have been like I wonder.
It would have been free.
Free to do what?
Well, to travel for instance.
Every moment is travel, if understood.
Dear me, didn't I say that too?
Then you wouldn't have married.
Would you?
I respect the institution of marriage.
I've always maintained that
every woman should marry.
And no man.
Dizzy, you horror.
After all, my dear.
I married you for your money.
Everybody knows that.
- Yes.
If you married me again
it would be for love.
Wouldn't it?
- I'm afraid so.
I am afraid so.
It has been worth it?
Every moment that has passed.
And every moment that's still to come.
Gladstone for peace.
Retrenchment and... reform.
Vote for Disraeli.
Disraeli for the worker!
Vote for Gladstone and no more.
Dizzy, Gladstone.
He taxes the rich and taxes the poor.
Yes. We need Disraeli.
Disraeli's our man.
Yes. Go for Gladstone.
Gladstone is the man.
Vote for Disraeli.
Disraeli is the man we want.
What's wrong?
Derby has refused the Foreign Office.
- Refused? Why?
He's unsure we can
work together in office.
He wants all kinds of assurances
about our foreign policy.
Wretched little thing.
Well, you'll...
You'll have to drop him, that's all.
I can't.
Why not?
There is Salisbury.
No. Derby is the future leader.
I made up my mind on that long ago.
Without him the government
will always be in danger of a split.
And I'll have no more splits.
And what are you going to do?
I shall make one more
effort to persuade him.
And if I fail.
I shall resign the leadership.
Dizzy, you can't.
You would be throwing away
the thing you've lived for, just...
Just when it's within your grasp.
The thing I've lived for.
Oh Dizzy, Dizzy. I can't bear it.
It mustn't end like this.
I won't let it end like this.
Thank you.
This is very unconventional of me.
Dizzy would hate it if he knew.
You've come to talk
me over, haven't you.
Certainly not.
I've come to find
out what it's all about.
Why have you turned against Dizzy?
I haven't turned against him.
It's just that we don't see
eye-to-eye on foreign policy.
Why choose this moment
to quarrel about it?
Why accept his leadership
in times of adversity...
When he was working for
the party and all of you and...
Now drop him when at last he's
brought you to victory and office?
That's the point.
Things that made him
a leader in adversity.
May be equally dangerous
now he is in office.
If he's so dangerous, it's your
business to join the cabinet and...
Keep him in check.
Come now. Be honest.
You know how I admire the chief.
He is the bravest, kindest
man I have ever known.
And by far, the cleverest.
Let me say this without hurting you.
It's a question of standards.
He isn't...
Well, he is a self-made man.
And like all self-made men, he must
have had a consuming ambition.
Altruistic in person perhaps,
but nonetheless, consuming.
That's what I'm afraid of.
Where's that ambition going to lead him?
And us?
Where will it end?
So we've come to it at last.
His ambition.
You are right. He had an ambition.
Wild, fantastic almost for
a man of his traditions.
He wanted to be Prime
Minister of England.
He spent his whole life
pursuing that ambition.
And now that it's within his grasp
he's prepared to throw it away.
If you do not join the cabinet
he is going to resign.
Because there's something
greater in him than any ambition.
His love of England.
Thirty years ago he started
to build a party with an ideal.
The ideal of service to democracy.
At last it's strong enough to
take office with him as leader.
The fulfilment of his life's ambition.
There can only be success for
that if there's unity in the leaders.
And rather than endanger
it he's prepared to resign.
Although it will mean
the end of everything...
That he has lived for.
I don't know what to say.
You see, he has his standards too.
And now, I have a duty to perform.
A very pleasant duty.
I have decided, in recognition of
your years of service to the country.
To confer on you.
The title of 'Earl'.
You overwhelm me, Ma'am.
Such an honour is far more
than I can have ever deserved.
You make me very proud.
If you will allow me...
- Well?
I hope Ma'am you will
not think unkindly of me...
If I crave permission...
To refuse the great honour you offer me.
Partly for reasons of State.
You know Ma'am how difficult it is...
For a Prime Minister to lead the
government from the House Of Lords.
But chiefly... for another reason.
A personal reason.
- A personal reason?
Whatever I have done. Whatever small
service I have rendered to the State.
The credit is not mine.
But another's.
Without her...
I should have been nothing.
If it might be possible.
If Your Majesty could
perhaps see her way...
To honour her.
I understand.
It shall be as you wish, Mr Disraeli.
The title.
Shall be hers.
You're very gracious, Ma'am.
Goodbye, Mr Disraeli.
We shall meet again.
Have you heard?
Yes, Ma'am.
You should be very proud and very happy.
Yes, Ma'am.
What is it?
My dear, you are ill.
It is alright. It will...
Pass in a moment.
- Let me send for a doctor.
Thank you no, Ma'am.
There's nothing he could do.
Is it serious?
And has it been going on for long?
Oh yes.
Yes. A long, long time.
It's nearly over now.
I shall soon be able to rest.
You mean...?
Oh no.
Poor Mrs Disraeli.
It doesn't matter for me.
I've had my life and it's...
It's been very wonderful.
It's him.
He is going to miss me so much.
You heard what he said.
- It was very beautiful.
As his heart has always been...
Those things he said there...
They're not true of course, but...
He likes to believe them.
I'm so afraid that when I'm gone...
He will...
He will give up.
You mustn't let him do that.
All the things he meant
to do for England.
For the people.
They mustn't be forgotten.
Promise me, Ma'am.
You won't let him forget.
I will try, my dear.
I'll try.
Good morning, William.
- Good morning, Milord.
Mr Disraeli is here?
Yes My Lord, he's always
punctual to the tick.
What news of Lady Beaconsfield?
Bad, I'm afraid, Milord. Very bad.
Mr Disraeli will have it
that it's nothing much.
But from all I hear...
Well gentlemen, we have two
questions under discussion today.
The first is the purchase of the
Suez Canal from the Khedive of Egypt.
And the second.
The purchase of the island of Cyprus as
a naval base in the Mediterranean.
Well, sir.
I've talked the question
over with our colleagues.
I think I can say the purchase of Suez
Canal shares has our general approval.
Hear, hear.
But as regards the purchase
of Cyprus as a naval base...
That I'm afraid we could
never consent to.
In my opinion.
And I think in the opinion of us all.
Even the suggestion of such a move...
Would immediately be construed
by certain great powers.
As a threat which might seriously
endanger the peace of Europe.
What England need at the moment is peace
and time to recuperate her powers.
Well, I seem to have heard that
before somewhere. How did it go?
'Peace, retrenchment and reform'.
Nevertheless, I repeat
we are not in a position.
To challenge the allied might
of Germany, Russia and Austria.
That's what we should do.
What about our obligation
to our ally Turkey?
But surely, sir, the peace of
Europe comes before everything.
Even before our honour?
You won't agree with
me gentlemen, I know.
I tell you peace can be
purchased at too great a price.
What would you have us do then?
- Hope for the best.
Prepare for the worst.
The worst being?
That Germany, Austria and Russia are
playing a deeper game than we know.
For they prepare to invade the Balkans.
Ostensibly to help the
Christian provinces.
But really as a preliminary for
the occupation of Constantinople...
And the eventual domination of the East.
Oh, that's rubbish.
What utter nonsense.
- It's absurd.
In other words, that Bismarck
and the Czar are liars?
Shall we say... forgetful?
No, no. I can't believe that.
We have their word.
I was talking to the Russian
Ambassador only yesterday.
If we doubt the intentions of every
nation that isn't bound to us by treaty.
After all, others have their
traditions besides ourselves.
Say what you like about Bismarck.
But the fellow is a gentleman.
How mistaken you all are.
How bitter the awakening will be.
[ Door knocks ]
Dr Revelly, sir. They say it's urgent.
Excuse me, gentlemen.
Will you forgive me, gentlemen.
I have to leave you.
Yes, my love?
I tried to wait.
I am so tired.
So tired.
Mary Anne.
You mustn't grieve.
Not too much.
Just a little, perhaps.
But you must go on with the work.
Come... come closer.
That's better.
'My own dear husband'.
'When you read this I shall have
said goodbye to you for ever'.
'If only I could have lived on...'
'To see you do all the things you
planned to make England happy and safe'.
'But God willed it otherwise'.
'Goodbye, my dearest, kindest'.
'You have always been a
perfect husband and friend'.
'Farewell, my dear, dear Dizzy'.
'Your own devoted Mary Anne'.
This pain that goes on and on.
And the loneliness.
Tell me, Ma'am.
Does everyone have to bear it?
Something of it.
Your Majesty.
I have come to place my
resignation in your hands.
I cannot go on, Ma'am. I am old.
Very old and very tired.
I never realised it before.
She never allowed me to realise it.
She was the inspiration, the driving
force. I was only the instrument.
There was so much to be done
and so little time in which to do it.
It's still to be done.
Yes. There are many things I had hoped
for, both at home and in the colonies.
I wanted to see a great
commonwealth of nations.
Self-governing and self-supporting...
Yet bound to the mother country
by ties of loyalty and love.
I had wanted...
Ah, that must be left to the others.
Whom do you mean?
Salisbury, Derby, Carnarvon.
Young men.
Unequipped for the work our statesmen
are required do in the next few years.
What chance will they have?
Against a man like Bismarck?
They will learn, Ma'am.
At present they don't see the danger but
events will soon make it clear to them.
Have you the slightest idea what schemes
are being hatched in that man's brain?
But of course you haven't.
Or you wouldn't talk of resigning.
I have a letter here, from my daughter.
The Crown Princess of Germany.
I think you will admit.
That she is in a position to know
something of what's happening there.
Listen to this, Mr Disraeli.
'We have just heard from
an unimpeachable source'.
'That at the last secret
meeting of the Dreikaiserbund'.
'It was agreed that Germany should
march on France through Holland...'
'In the spring of next year'.
'But before that, probably
within the next month'.
'Russia is to find an excuse
to occupy the Balkans'.
'Drive the Turks out of Europe...'
'And, if England permits...'
'To occupy Constantinople
and the Dardanelles'.
That means India and the Empire
would be at the mercy of Russia.
And you talk of resigning.
No. You're right, Ma'am.
I can't go.
Not yet.
You wish me to inform the cabinet
of what you just told me?
Not unless you find it
absolutely necessary.
You know the feeling about
interference by the Crown.
They would only put it down to jealousy
between my son-in-law and Bismarck.
And that would do more harm than good.
If you will only stay in office.
I'm content to wait and watch.
We are both tired and lonely.
I know.
Desperately lonely.
But the time for rest does not come yet.
The destiny that she foresaw for you.
Is still unfulfilled.
Perhaps it is my fate.
To help you to fulfil it.
Will you let me help?
How could I refuse?
Gentlemen, this is the test.
If Britain allows Russia
to occupy the Balkans...
Our position in the Mediterranean
and the East becomes intolerable.
We should cease to exist
as a first class power.
And our empire would be at the
mercy of a Germano-Slavic union...
Which would eventually
reduce us to slavery.
There's only one thing we can do.
- No.
No. It will be madness.
The country is against it.
There's no doubt of that.
Gladstone has them
screaming against the Turks.
If we mobilise, the
government will fall.
Then it must fall.
No, no.
Do I need to remind
you gentlemen that...
We have a mutual aid treaty with Turkey
guaranteeing her military assistance.
But surely, sir.
Before we resort to anything
as desperate as mobilisation...
Against a great power like Russia...
We should make some
attempt at appeasement.
Of an autocrat?
After all sir, Germany
is a civilised state.
So is Russia, so is Austria.
Although some of the ideas of their
rulers may be a little alien to us.
But you can't condemn a whole people
because of the opinions of its rulers.
In an autocracy, the
leader is the people.
And Europe at the moment.
Is at the mercy of the most
ruthless band of autocrats...
The world has yet seen.
I know these dictators.
These men of blood and iron.
They have one weakness.
They're always in a hurry.
Their God is power.
And its kingdom is on this earth.
They are men without
humility and without hearts.
The virtues we hold dear
they call weaknesses.
And what we love, they despise.
They hold themselves a race apart.
Divinely ordained.
To rule the world to the
exclusion of all others.
That's a form of madness that
must eventually destroy the world.
Or be destroyed.
It cannot be appeased...
By soft words or good neighbourliness.
All the civilised methods of approach
to international agreements...
Are signs of weakness to these men.
They recognise one argument
and one argument alone.
And that's the argument I beg you to use
now, with all my heart and all my soul.
For the sake of peace.
And for the sake of England.
No, no. I can't agree to it.
It's absurd.
What is?
Excuse me, but the Turkish Ambassador
is waiting to see the Prime Minister.
Well, gentlemen.
What am I to tell him?
I see.
Let me tell him.
- No.
No, I'll tell him myself.
Mad, blind fools.
No, no... just children.
Children that won't be taught.
That refuse to learn.
I'm afraid they've been spoilt, Ma'am.
They've lived so long in the
warm comfort of democracy.
That they cannot believe in a world
where lies and double-dealing...
Are the commonplace of diplomacy
and the end justifies the means.
What are you going to do?
- There is only one way.
Ignore the cabinet and mobilise.
- But...
They will prevent you.
- Not here.
In India.
And in secret.
But... against the cabinet?
I know... it's a grave
responsibility to take.
I'm not sure it's even constitutional.
But there's no alternative.
The Indian army must be
mobilised in secret.
And brought up through the Suez Canal.
Ready to land at the Dardanelles the
moment Russia marches on Constantinople.
If that happens.
As we both believe it will...
I'm sure it will.
- We shall have saved Europe.
But if we are wrong.
Then we'll share the blame.
And the burden.
Your Majesty.
It has been clear to everyone.
Both inside and outside this house.
That in spite of the warnings
of Our Majesty's opposition.
In spite of the weight
of public opinion...
So freely and so vigorously expressed
during the last few months.
The present government was
pursuing an underground policy.
Specifically designed to
drag this country into war.
In defence of the Turkish
government in central Europe.
Ever since its arrival at power.
We have watched a
weak and tired cabinet.
Submit itself to the domination of
what may perhaps be described...
As one of the most astute
and subtle personalities...
That ever invaded British politics.
Yet in spite of the
weakness of the cabinet.
In spite of the atmosphere
of oriental mystery.
Which has been sedulously
cultivated by its leader.
We have never questioned
its intrinsic honesty of purpose.
And it's loyalty to the constitution.
Never that is, until today.
Mr Speaker.
I have here in my hand.
Information which will not
only surprise but shock...
The whole of this assembly.
Even those supporters of
the present government.
Who hitherto have obstinately
blinded themselves...
To the fantastic and dangerous nature...
Of certain characteristics
of their leader.
This information has come to me...
Order... order!
This information has come...
Mr Speaker, sir.
May I claim the privilege to make an
announcement of great importance?
I have just received news.
That Russia has broken her word.
And that her hordes are
marching upon Constantinople.
May I ask the Right Honourable
Gentleman if he's certain of his news?
I think there can be no doubt of it.
And I have, to wit,
some further information.
Far from being convinced of the futility
of intervention in this situation.
The people of England.
Are of the opinion that this country
should take immediate steps.
To fulfil the pledges we
made to our brave allies...
To defend their capital
from invasion at all costs.
I'm informed on good authority.
That a large section of
the populace of this city.
Is at the present moment voicing
that demand in no uncertain terms...
Outside the walls of this very building.
Mr Speaker, sir.
We now see the result of the tortuous
machinations of the present government.
At last... the mob is unleashed.
At last, the war spirit is awakened.
Not only outside,
but here in this house.
And to what end?
We are now to be faced
with a demand for war...
Which can only be satisfied
by the sacrifice of millions.
And which must inevitably
end in financial disaster...
And military defeat.
On the contrary.
It can end either in
military or moral victory.
Or even, if necessary, in both.
Hear, hear.
That's ridiculous.
How can we defend Constantinople?
With our army.
- Impossible.
Anticipating this eventuality
the cabinet has taken...
The precaution of mobilising our Indian
army and embarking it for Europe.
I have just received this cable
Informing the government...
That a fleet of troopships laden with
the flower of our Indian empire...
Is now waiting in the Suez Canal.
Ready to move to the defence of
Constantinople at a moment's notice.
Remember that the purpose
of this mobilisation was not war.
But to prevent war.
- Hear, hear.
I venture to predict the advance of
the Russians on Constantinople...
Will cease the moment
this news is made public.
Indeed, that it has
probably already ceased.
With that eventuality and with
the permission of the house.
I am going to ask the
powers of Europe...
To meet at a round table
conference in some central spot.
Probably Berlin.
To discuss the full implications
of the present situation.
Secure in the knowledge that argument
will no longer have to yield to force.
We may now hope for a free
discussion of the present difficulties.
And a solution which may at last free
our brave ally Turkey from annihilation.
And this country from the
dreadful threat of war.
I hope I have made myself
clear to you, gentlemen.
Before Britain can discuss the question
of the resettlement of the Balkans.
Russia must withdraw her
troops from all occupied areas.
Gentlemen... please.
Let us get the position clear.
This is not a question of rectifying the
boundaries of some puny national states.
But of guiding the march of events.
On shaping the destinies
of great nations.
Please keep these issues in mind.
And refuse to be irritated...
By the trumpet claims of
these petty governments.
To that I merely repeat:
Those are our conditions.
Unless agreed to by 9 o'clock tonight,
I shall be on a train back to England.
I now leave you gentlemen
to make your decision.
That old fool.
He'd throw everything away when
we were on the verge of getting it.
Disraeli is bluffing then?
- Of course.
He'll go as far as he dare,
but he'll never risk war.
What do we do, wait?
Ask him to dinner.
To talk sense into him?
To talk sense out of him.
He's invited me to dinner.
Do you feel up to it? Be careful.
Yes. It seems I'm either to be...
Wined and dined into acquiescence
or bullied into submission.
Those are the only two methods
known to their diplomacy.
Yes, it will be interesting to see
which of the two he chooses.
This is very good of you.
I'm delighted.
I couldn't bear to think
of your departing...
Without our exchanging
a few words of greeting.
What time is your train?
- 9 o'clock.
Then we must begin our meal at once.
We haven't more than three hours to eat.
To a comfortable journey.
Ah, here is something
you will appreciate.
Tokay, from the Imperial vineyard.
I disagree entirely with the school of
thought that hails Shakespeare a German.
Look at Hamlet for instance.
'To be or not to be'.
That lack of decision. That
fascinating infirmity of purpose.
So un-Germanic. So...
So British.
No... no.
Take yourself for instance.
You know your own mind.
You are firm.
And resolute.
In the face of defeat.
Annihilation, perhaps.
Your will sustains you and carries you
forward unrelentingly to your fate.
Only to my train at 9 o'clock.
Surely you're not
carrying out this decision?
Supposing you do go back?
What then?
Why not let me go and then you will see.
How is the goulash?
More goulash for Herr Disraeli.
More Burgundy, Disraeli?
A little more burgundy.
A little more champagne.
What a treasure your chef must be.
Dominion Del Ray.
I don't think I'd know the brand.
Perhaps you'd prefer a pipe?
No, no, no. This is excellent.
You don't care for the cigar?
On the contrary.
It is excellent.
Quite excellent.
But I... I always think, don't you...
That a cigar is like a mistress.
One should put it aside
before one sickens of it.
Now... I really must be going.
Are you certain?
Oh, quite.
Can't you understand there's nothing
in this that touches British interests.
Nothing whatever.
No, nothing.
Except our honour.
Sit down, my friend.
You do not need to go.
The victory is yours.
I beg your pardon?
The Russians shall do as you ask.
You have won.
Mr Disraeli is here, Ma'am.
Welcome home, dear friend.
I think Ma'am, I may say I have
brought you peace with honour.
Peace through honour, Mr Disraeli.
This was his.
I want you to have it.
And that title.
Will you accept it now?
You're very gracious, Ma'am.
[ Crowds cheering loudly ]
Do you hear?
They're calling for you,
Lord Beaconsfield.
God praise the Queen.
"God save our gracious Queen."
"Long live our noble Queen."
"God save our Queen."
"Send her victorious."
If only...
If only she could have been here...
"Long to reign over us."
"God save our Queen."