Saturday, February 25, 2012

Repost: Kate & Leopold

The real Leopold, Duke of Albany
The other night I did something I don’t usually do. I watched a “Romantic Comedy.” Worse than that I watched a Meg Ryan RomCom. The only reason I decided to watch Kate & Leopold was because Hunkaroo Hugh Jackman is in it. I will watch untold numbers of crap movies because I like some guy in it. Sad but true. K&L was not the worst movie. Not even the worst Meg Ryan movie I’ve ever seen. I actually laughed aloud a couple of times. Hugh is just so cute. I’m highly amused by the fact that Hugh had to take etiquette lessons in order to prepare for this role.

Plot summary: Modern girl meets boy from 1876. Hilarity ensues.
The movie version of Leopold


A few things kept popping into my head as I watched. There’s a cute scene where Leopold his having a problem with a toaster burning his toast. As I watched I wondered how he ever figured out how to operate the toaster in the first place. They certainly didn’t have toasters back in 1876.

In the film, Leopold is supposed to have invented the elevator. When he arrives in modern day New York all the elevators stop working. At least for a time. I kept thinking that if all the elevators all over the world suddenly stopped working there would be a clamor heard on Mars. Of course, if Leopold left the 19th century without ever inventing the elevator there would never have been elevators in the 21st century.

Then there's the idea that Leopold is Kate's ex-boyfriend, Stewart's, great-great-grandfather. If Kate goes back in time to marry Leopold then that means that she is Stewart's great-great-grandmother and they'd been having sex for four years. The filmmakers took this whole line out of the theatrical release and then put it back in for the "director's cut."

Lets just say that the logic of this “fairy tale” is quite fuzzy and relativity gives me a headache.

Another thing I got hung up about was Leopold’s ability to shop and cook. I highly doubt a 19th century English Duke would have either of those skills. I also wondered how he paid for all the stuff.

There are anachronisms galore in this film but there is one that kind of makes sense because Hugh is in the film. Leopold entertains a neighbourhood boy by acting out scenes from Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance." The problem is that the first performance of this musical was in 1879. One could argue that the filmmakers decided to use this musical because Peter Alan made his acting debut as the Pirate King on a London stage in 1982. Hugh Jackman played Peter Alan in The Boy From Oz. Of course I could just be reading too much into this.

After watching the movie, I did a little research. To my surprise there actually was a Leopold, Duke of Albany. He was a son of Queen Victoria. In the film, Leopold’s full name is stated as Leopold Alexis Elijah Walker Thomas Gareth Mountbatten. There was a Lord Leopold Mountbatten who was Queen Victoria’s grandson (by her youngest daughter) but he was never Duke of Albany.

There are a lot of other goofs in the film and if you’re interested you can read about them here

Surfing around the internet I stopped in on a few messageboards and was quite disturbed at how many women were head over heals in love with Leopold. They seemed to think that the existence of this movie proves that somewhere out there is a man just like that for them.

I may be a cynical, bitter, dangerous wench but I don’t believe men like Leopold ever really existed. Certainly not outside the rarefied world of the aristocracy. I’m not completely sure I’d want one if he did.

Reposts are posts written for previous journals or other places online that no longer exist.

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