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The Tichborne Claimant

September 11, 2010

The Tichborne Claimant (1998)
Director: David Yates
Actors: Robert Pugh, John Kani, Rachael Dowling

films-1998-the-tichborne-claimant.jpg (250×188)

Synopsis: An unlikely claimant (Robert Pugh) comes forward to claim inheritance to the Tichborne estate…

Review: This is an amiable, if forgettable, little Victorian farce about a long-suffering African manservant who aims to outwit his aristocratic British masters by proposing an uncouth Brit plucked from Australia, as that family’s long-lost son and heir to their considerable estate. Ironically for a narrative functioning primarily as a satire of English class mores, the film itself cannot escape from its own English ‘disease’ of stuffiness, staginess, and being frankly rather undramatic. The filmmakers unwisely play into the material too much, making the teasing out of the farcical elements as pompous, crass and inelegant as the titular character himself. The only thing pitched entirely right is the casting of classical British actors and raconteurs (Stephen Fry, John Gielgud, Charles Gray) in enjoyably plummy and ripe support roles. (November 2008)

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