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April 04, 2013 | posted in Filmmakers
Filmmaker Luke Korem and his crew got the royal treatment while making their documentary about Lord Edward Montagu—they stayed as guests at Montagu’s 13th century Gothic-style palace during portions of the shoot.
“It was truly unbelievable,” Korem says.
It is quite unusual for a member of the aristocracy to not only open his doors, but to give the crew so much access to his personal life. The Montagu family also allowed Korem to use never-before-seen film and photos.
In 1954, the Montagu case “was a cause célèbre that horrified the Establishment and changed the course of British history,” wrote the London Evening Standard. Lord Montagu, then a 28-year-old socialite and the youngest peer in the House of Lords, was one of three men convicted of “consensual homosexual offences.” The incident had a direct influence on the British legal system and led to the 1967 legalization of homosexual acts between consenting adults in private.
“In the interviews, the family speaks about the scandal, the highs, the lows … everything,” says Korem. “This [film] is an extremely rare opportunity to look behind the walls of the aristocracy and dive into the intimate story of a fascinating nobleman.”
There “were parts of his story that he was not keen on being in the film,” says Korem. It took the filmmaker some time with Montagu, now in his 80s, to build trust and gain his friendship, but Korem broke through which “allowed me to make this film very personal for the viewer.”
Looking back, Korem appreciates the hospitality at the Montagu estate, but he also has fond memories of the local British pubs. “The beer is so smooth … and every place has its own brew,” remembers Korem. “The food was wonderful too—I think we don’t give the British enough credit for their food!”
—Anne M. DiTeodoro
Photo of Russell Wayne Groves and Luke Korem by Janet Macoska
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