Bonnie Prince Charlie (1948, David Niven, Margaret Leighton)



Although the casting of the urbane, distinctly English-sounding A Matter of Life and Death star as the leader of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion may have raised eyebrows (especially when he was seen sporting a shockingly blond wig), it is soon clear that the Scottish-born David Niven was the right choice. Having served in the Highland Light Infantry and as a major in the Commandos during the Second World War, there was no doubt about him being able to handle the many spectacular battle sequences in Bonnie Prince Charlie. Niven and Leighton obviously acquired a taste for the chase, because they tackled another slippery historical figure two years later when they both starred in The Elusive Pimpernel.

Previously filmed as a silent film with Ivor Novello in 1923, this tartan-drenched historical drama charts one of the great escapes: Bonnie Prince Charlie’s five-month flight from the English in 1746. The escape followed the Stuarts’ vain attempts to regain the throne from the Hanovers, which ended in a crushing defeat at Culloden. And just like the villainous ‘Sassenachs’ in Rob Roy and Braveheart, there is an English scoundrel relentlessly pursuing our Celtic hero: the Duke of Cumberland (Elwyn Brook-Jones), aka ‘The Butcher’. Luckily, Prince Charlie has help from loyal shepherd Donald (Morland Graham) and wee Flora MacDonald (Margaret Leighton), who escorts the royal fugitive to the Isle of Skye.

production details
UK | 136 minutes | 1948

Director: Anthony Kimmins, Alexander Korda
Script: Clemence Dane,

David Niven as Prince Charles
Margaret Leighton as Flora MacDonald
Judy Campbell as Clementine Walkinshaw
Jack Hawkins as Lord George Murray
Morland Graham as Donald
Finlay Currie as Marquis of Tullibardine
Elwyn Brook-Jones as Duke of Cumberland
John Laurie as Blind Jimmie
Hugh Kelly as Lieutenant Ingleby
Charles Goldner as Captain Ferguson
Henry Oscar as James II
Martin Miller as George II
Franklin Dyall as Macdonald
Herbert Lomas as Kinloch Moidart
Ronald Adam as Macleod
John Longden as Captain O’Sullivan
James Hayter as Kingsburgh
Julien Mitchell as General Cope
Guy Le Feuvre as Cameron of Lochiel
Stuart Kindsdell as MacDonald of Apridale
Simon Luck as Young Alan of Moidart
Tommy Duggan as Clanranald
G.H. Mulcaster as Duke of Newcastle
Kenneth Warrington as Staff officer
Nell Ballantyne as Mrss. Kingsburgh
Hector Ross as Glenalandale

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