Coming to VOD today, Wednesday, June 17: LORD MONTAGU
Luke Korem’s exploration of the life of an eccentric British aristocrat debuted at Cleveland in 2013. It went on to screen at Dallas, Newport Beach, Napa Valley, and St Louis, among others. Gravitas now makes the doc available on on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube Movies, Xbox, Sony Playstation, and Cable on Demand.
Lord Edward Montagu was born into privilege, becoming the Baron of Beaulieu, a 7,000 acre estate, at the age of only two years old. As an early adult in the post-WWII period, Montagu like so many others in the aristocracy, found the times – and the economy – changing, jeopardizing his ability to maintain Beaulieu as it had stood since the 13th century. His decision to open the estate to the general public as a tourist attraction saved Beaulieu, but this was shortlived after Montagu was embroiled in a legal scandal that soon saw him sentenced to jail for committing homosexual offenses. While open about his bisexuality, he persisted in denying any wrongdoing, paving the way for the eventual decriminalization of homosexuality in the UK. After his release, he set out to salvage his besmirched reputation, turning once again to the boon of Beaulieu, transforming his estate into Britain’s first motor museum, and becoming a consummate showman engaging with curious visitors, who came in droves. Korem stumbles a bit in framing the film as something of an autobiography, awkwardly utilizing actors to recite Montagu’s personal writing, but he does succeed in crafting a portrait that becomes increasingly more interesting as the film progresses. While interviews are a bit heavily utilized, and generally seem to avoid controversy, archival footage is particularly well employed to reveal a surprising life.