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Disraeli

(1929 b 87')

En: 6 Ed: 7

Adapted from a play by Louise N. Parker, the prime minister of England arranges to buy the Suez Canal from Egypt before the Russians do.

At the Liberal Club men criticize Disraeli, and William Gladstone in the House of Commons says that Disraeli is unworthy to be prime minister. Benjamin Disraeli (George Arliss) advocates an imperial policy. At home he gives his wife Mary Beaconsfield (Florence Arliss) a flower. Mrs. Agatha Travers (Doris Lloyd) goes to the Russian embassy where she plots with Count Borsinov (Michael Visaroff) to control the Suez Canal.

At a garden party Charles Deeford (Anthony Bushell) formally proposes to Clarissa Pevensey (Joan Bennett), who disagrees with his approach. Disraeli asks her if she likes Charles. She does, but she refused him. Disraeli gets a telegram and tells the Bank of England governor Michael Probert (David Torrence) that Egypt needs money. Disraeli wants England to purchase the Suez Canal within three weeks. Mrs. Travers is listening at the door, and Disraeli sees her. Probert disapproves and says the Bank won't help.

Disraeli tells Mary that he will bring together Charles and Clarissa. Charles blames Disraeli for her refusal, and Disraeli praises his courage. Disraeli says that England must not lose India. He says that war is never a solution, only an aggravation. Disraeli appoints Charles his secretary. Hugh Myers (Ivan F. Simpson) comes in to help Disraeli buy the Canal. Foljambe (Norman Cannon) picks up the Russian dispatches, as he is spying for the Russians. Disraeli knows it and says Foljambe has left for Cairo. Disraeli says that Russia may double his offer. He decides to send Charles to Cairo immediately. Charles kisses Clarissa and leaves with the papers.

Disraeli is at home, and Clarissa asks for news about Charles. Mary asks Clarissa not to tell Disraeli about her illness. Disraeli gets a telegram from Cairo that the Canal is completed. He wants to make Victoria empress of India. Myers comes in and tells Disraeli that he is bankrupt. A ship with bullion was scuttled, and he is financially assaulted. Disraeli advises him not to tell anyone. Mary asks Disraeli what will happen to him. Disraeli says Mrs. Travers must stay there, and he pretends to be ill. Mrs. Travers comes in, and he lets her see the telegram. He remembers that she was connected with Russians. She says that Myers is bankrupt.

Disraeli tells the banker Probert he bought the Suez Canal with a check drawn on the Bank of England so that Russians would not get it. Disraeli warns that the Bank may be ruined if he does not sign. Probert signs to save the Bank. The doctor says Mary needs to sleep. Disraeli is invited by the Queen and must go without Mary.

Disraeli comes to court alone and thanks Myers, Probert, and Charles with rewards from the Queen. Disraeli gets a telegram, and Mary joins him as they walk to be presented to Queen Victoria.

This historical drama portrays the personality and character of the famous prime minister in his most audacious political move to secure the Suez Canal and make Victoria empress of India. He is also depicted as a romantic much in love with his wife and facilitating the marriage of a young couple. Yet underneath his success is a conservative promoting imperialist domination.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

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