I Learned a Couple of Things Today

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I Learned a Couple of Things Today

#1 Post by silverscreenselect » Tue May 10, 2022 9:48 pm

Mrs. SSS and I went to see the movie, The Duke. It stars Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren and is loosely based on the true story of a man who stole a valuable painting (140,000 pounds in 1961) of the Duke of Wellington by Goya on display in the National Gallery in London. While everyone thought the theft was the work of professional art thieves, it turned out to be a middle-aged man who thought the money paid for the painting should have gone to needy veterans. He later voluntarily turned the painting in. I had never heard of the theft itself although it was a big news story in England at the time. Beyond that I learned two things:

1) In England, you have to have a license to watch over-the-air television. (It currently costs 159 pounds a year per household for a color TV.) Anyone who owns a TV must pay this license fee. The fee is supposed to help offset the costs of the BBC. In the movie, Broadbent wanted to hold the painting for ransom to pay for license fees for indigent veterans. The fee applies to watching or recording programs or streaming live TV broadcasts. They prosecute over 100,000 people a year for watching without a license.

2) In the movie, Broadbent returns the stolen painting what appears to be a few days after the theft. In reality, the painting was missing for four years before the ransom attempt and the return of the painting. In the first James Bond movie, Dr. No, which was made while the painting was still missing, Bond sees the stolen painting in Dr. No's secret lair and does a double take (at 1:20). (The implication is that Dr. No stole the painting. The painting in the movie was made by production designer Ken Adam and it was used during the marketing campaign for the film. Then, it too was stolen. In The Duke, Broadbent and Mirren are watching Dr. No in a theater and have a good laugh when the stolen painting appears.

For those who enjoy this type of English comedy/drama, The Duke is pretty good.

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