Truth be told, I suck at history. AP European History was an absolute nightmare for me and hearing about the Boleyn sisters incites fits. However, if the story is good enough, it’ll leave an impression. This makes watching something like Drunk History so entertaining for me. It’s educational (I actually want to read up on these stories) and hilarious! In order for a documentary to be particularly entertaining is to have not just likable narrators, but also a subject I am genuinely curious about.
Who is Lord Montagu? I had no idea prior to watching; none absolutely. All I had was the blurb attached to the movie: He was involved in a huge scandal involving homosexuality. A notable House of Lords involved in intrigue? Why this sounds like all of those romance novels I bury my nose in. With such a clueless attitude, I wondered if the documentary was going to achieve this crucial bit: would I care about Lord Montague?
Lord Montagu has a long and in-depth biography. The curious can find details here before watching the film. The general point is that he came into his inheritance and responsibility of the Bealieu estate very, very young. At one point in his life, he was involved in a scandal involving some of his friends. He was accused of encouraged homosexual activity between men. It is known now that Lord Montague is indeed bisexual but at the time it would have been just insane to come out. Jail time was actually involved, and it looked like he was set for the inevitable downfall. This was especially likely during a time when estate houses were being destroyed due to the economy. Instead of letting Beaulieu fall into ruins, he did everything he could to keep it intact. This is where the documentary becomes something more than just a Lord involved in a scandal. This becomes a story of a man who did everything to save his family history and shared it with the world.
Lord Montagu was one of the first people to open his estate to the public. Even with his family sequestered at some part of the estate, he would parade hundreds of strangers through his home. This grew to him incorporating one of his passions into this estate tours: cars: Continuing from his father’s love of cars, Lord Montagu took every car that his father lovingly collected and exhibited them. Over the years, the popularity of the wheeled attractions grew until it has become the Beaulieu National Motor Museum. Lord Montagu not only tracks the progression of the museum, but also the effects on those around him. Lord Montagu has been suffering from personal ailments so he was not present during the video to give his words. The story is powered from the love and appreciation from those around him. Lord Montagu has created a legacy and cemented his family history.
By the end of the documentary, I was surprised by how inspired and touched I was by the story. This was a man who didn’t let his scandal bring him down. He just kept moving forward, focused on his ideas and dreams. He became more than just a figure in a scandal. To think of all the pressure and turmoil he must have felt during those times. It especially resonates during a time such as now, when it is so hard to follow the beaten path. It truly encourages someone to really think outside the box. So ultimatly, the documentary did what it’s supposed to do: made me intrigued and fascinated by this character.
The actual mechanics of a car crosses my eyes but I do admire the structural design and aesthetics of a vehicle. One of my favorite haunts in Los Angeles is the Petersen Automobile Museum. After watching this documentary, I especially want to add visiting Beaulieu Abbey to my future dream trip to England. Right after I check out the Doctor Who Experience.
Whether you are a car fanatic or feeling the need for inspiration, check out this documentary. It is available June 17th through VOD. The iTunes order link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/lord-montagu/id990132651