This movie depicts a love story during the psychological drama involved with people fighting the war behind the front, playing a risky game of chess where they could be exposed at any time and face a violent end.
It is based on real events but it IS fiction, so it takes liberties that some people might find unacceptable. I hope it would result in the viewer unfamiliar with history to search out good historical books related to the subjects portrayed in the movie. These were amazingly brave people living in a time most of us could never comprehend.
Kaiser Wilhelm II, brilliantly played by Christopher Plummer, was not a soft man interested in feeding ducks. He was an egotistical man who played a major role in starting WWI. Yet here we see a man who looks longingly at the beloved country he fled and is disgusted by Hitler and his army. Will he play the old loyal soldier for the current regime? Are they using him?
And the truth is, Himmler really did visit Wilhelm while he was in exile!
Wilhelm's wife Princess Hermine, played by Janet Mcteer, relishes the possibility of returning to power and would like the King to regain his throne. But although she does not like the Nazis she is quite willing to go along with them if it achieves her goals - Incredibly risky and Shakespearean
You realize everyone is playing a dangerous game. Who is fighting for power, who is fighting for the greater good, and who is just trying to keep their heads down so they don't draw attention to themselves and therefore will live another day? The dangers of any society sliding down to autocracy can take years and then suddenly people realize they have lost control of their country and speaking up now means death.
So this is the background of a wonderful movie that tangentially touches on these issues as it tells an unlikely love story - a glimmer of hope during a horrible era in human history. Accept the weaknesses of this movie and enjoy the great acting and story telling.
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