Madonna & W./E. Against Us!

DATELINE: Material Girl Directs!

Andrea Riseborough Andrea Riseborough as Duchess of Windsor!

If you are looking for Madonna in her 2011 movie W./E., you won’t see her. She was behind the camera, directing it.

The film is everything you might expect—and is also totally unexpected. It may seem like Downton Abbey in Material Girl terms, but it is really a solid case of Woody Allen’s Play It Again Sam meeting Henry James and The Aspern Papers.

Two women named Wallis, 70 years apart, have what appears to be a paranormal encounter.  They are unsympathetic protagonists, but what the world hates, Madonna loves.

Back in 2011, the movie was widely castigated by critics as an overreach and under-achievement. Those tuning in to see the iconic woman will see only her stand-ins: the two Wallys.

Now with a few years passed, we can see W./E. as something far more interesting and poorly judged by audiences and the anti-Madonna contingent. The film is beautifully constructed and under-appreciated.

A modern 1998 woman is obsessed with Wallis Simpson and her husband, the one-time King of England.

Here the legendary singer stretched her wings to make a film about a woman researching the legendary love affair of the exiled Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Wallis advises her modern counterpart, as both women are rapacious and obsessive.

Madonna seems intent on showing the Duchess of Windsor sacrificed far more than her husband.

In Madonna’s hands, this tale becomes a curious parallel to the Henry James story called The Aspern Papers. The conceit is that Wallis Simpson has left some letters that explain the affair in more comprehensive terms of the 21st century. It seems the King may not have given up the throne for the woman he loved exactly as advertised. He made his wife a glamorous prisoner.

Madonna’s modern woman is flawed greatly, intense and refusing to be denied: much like the Duchess of Windsor and the Madonna of music.

Intriguing Abbie Cornish is the modern Wally, and Andrea Riseborough is the brilliant version of the Duchess Wally. This is a fascinating film on many levels. You need to re-discover it.

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Edward, King of the Nazis

DATELINE: Royal Fascists

 hitler & edward

Netflix documentary on Britain’s Nazi King exposes, in more depth, the ugly side of the man who gave up the throne for the “woman I love” in 1936.

That was a pleasant, romantic diversion, but the leaders of England were far more concerned that Wallis Simpson, the King’s consort, was a depraved Nazi, sleeping with men close to Hitler. And, she had the oddball Prince of Wales wrapped around her finger.

Though Edward had a reputation for many affairs in his world travels in the 1920s, often with married women, Simpson revealed in letters that he was impotent—and only she knew the secret of how to arouse him.

It appears she was a dominatrix of sorts. It fit in with the crypto-Nazi beliefs she held.

Once Hitler began to become more aggressive in the 1930s, he sought the favor of Edward in order to install him on the throne when Germany won the war. Since Edward was bitter at the way his brother, King George treated him, he was eager to please Hitler.

When the war began in earnest, the United States FBI found the Prince of Wales abdicated his throne, but was giving secrets to the Nazis in his opulent lifestyle in Spain, and later Bermuda (where he was made a governor to exile him somewhere innocuous).

Edward spoke German fluently, and the family name of Windsor was a fiction adopted during World War I in order to downplay the Royal family’s Germanic roots.

The full story of Edward’s reprehensible plan to return to England as the puppet of Hitler is most unsavory. However, rumors that he might be far more depraved will not be found in this documentary.

Indeed, quaint notions of the FBI marked Edward’s friends as subversive if they consorted with black people in Harlem clubs. You wonder how much of the evil reported in Edward actually belonged to the eyes of the beholder.

Intriguing, this Netflix documentary will provide enough disturbing evidence to satisfy most that bon vivant wit Wallis and her partner Edward the King would have been a disaster.