The Last Emperor (1987)


the-last-emperor“If you cannot say what you mean, your majesty, you will never mean what you say and a gentleman should always mean what he says.” – RJ Johnston

Number of Times Seen – at least 5 times (numerous times on cable, 6 Feb 2000 and 17 Nov 2013)

Brief Synopsis – The story of the final Emperor of China and how he dealt with the cultural changes in the world around him.

My Take on it – This is one of those rare movies that is able to garner a 100% success rate at the Oscars (9 of 9) and not have any acting nominations what-so-ever.

This movie is visually stunning and they manage to really transport the viewer to another time and place and make us truly believe that we are there.

The meticulous way that this movie attends to details is unbelievable.  The vast preparations needed to make this movie are completely astounding and for these reasons alone, this movie was a complete success.

The one flaw that this movie has is similar to many other films of it’s kind; the story itself takes place over such a long period of time that the narrative suffers since it cannot give us a complete picture of how everything unfolds. At 2:45 minutes this movie is still too short and choppy at certain points.

The acting here is good and the one true standout is Peter O’Toole as a British tutor for the young Chinese Emperor.  The fact is tho, that in a movie so rich in visuals as this, the acting is not so important as the story and it’s realism.

This was the first time that filmmakers were given full access to use The Forbidden City as a filming location.

Winner of all 9  of it’s Oscar Nominations – Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Art Direction, Costumes, Sound, Film Editing and Musical Score.

Bottom Line – Visual masterpiece, stunning movie that lacks only in it’s narrative which is too short and choppy. Highly recommended!

Rating – Oscar Worthy

15 thoughts on “The Last Emperor (1987)

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