There’s room in history for lots of different interpretations. But there’s rarely room in Hollywood for two movies on the same topic at the same time.
Madonna is still shooting a feature film for which she reportedly put up big bucks of her own. “W.E.” centers around the lives of the Duke and Duchess of Winsdor, juxtaposed with a modern American couple. The wife in the modern couple is named Wally, and she’s obsessed with Wallis Simpson. Call it “Wally and Wallis” after “Julie and Julia.”
Now, however, we have Tom Hooper‘s “The King’s Speech,” which is largely concerned with the abdication from the throne of King Edward–the Duke of Windsor–and his relationship with Mrs. Simpson.
Unlike the gauzy romantic view of the Duke and Duchess in “W.E.,” the couple don’t fare so well in “The King’s Speech.” That’s because the latter film sticks to history. The couple were Nazi sympathizers, and not too bright. Edward was only interested in Mrs. Simpson, not in the British public. In “The King’s Speech” he is being led around by the nose by Mrs. Simpson, who is described as promiscuous. “She shares her favors with others,” is how it’s delicately worded. Theirs is not a great romance, but a big mess.
One of the best moments in “The King’s Speech,” is when Prince Albert–soon to be King George VI–and the soon to be Queen Mum attend a wild party thrown by Edward and Mrs. Simpson at Buckingham Palace. Albert (Colin Firth) asks Edward (Guy Pearce) what he’s been doing on the throne. Edward thinks about it. “King-ing.” he replies vacantly.
Lucky for Madonna, “The King’s Speech” will be just about done with its run next spring before “W.E.” is ready to be seen.