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The Prime Minister

The Prime Minister(1942)

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In 1837, a young Benjamin Disraeli, writer of brilliant, scandalous novels containing political criticism, is on his way to Londonderry's political tea party when he collides with Mary Anne Wyndham Lewis' carriage. Mary Anne delivers him to the party, but not realizing who her passenger is, informs him that she controls a seat in the Parliament and feels that her favorite writer, Disraeli, is wasting his time and soul by not working to reform government from the inside. Upon learning his identity, she stalks off angrily. At the party, he then impresses Prime Minister Lord Melbourne with his profound denouncements of elitism, and is shocked when the great man gives him the same advice as Mary Anne. Melbourne, upon learning that the king has just died, takes Disraeli with him to inform Princess Victoria, and her ideals so inspire Disraeli that he races to Mary Anne to ask for the seat in Parliament. When she wheedles him a nomination, however, the old guard politicians form a long-lasting distrust of him. During Disraeli's first big speech in Parliament, the statesmen heckle his pompous manner until he flees, followed by an encouraging Melbourne. A few weeks later, while throngs of citizens riot for better working conditions, Disraeli asks Mary Anne to marry him after she competes with the coquettish Lady Blessington for his attention. Six months after their wedding, he triumphs in the Parliament with a diatribe against Melbourne's antiquated, classist ways. As soon as a new Parliament is formed, however, he is crushed to discover that his seat has been given to William Gladstone. Mary Anne motivates him to continue to fight for England, and during the next forty years, he gradually makes himself indispensable to his party. By 1874, Disraeli, although much older and weaker than Gladstone, wins a brilliant debate against him and is named Prime Minister. At home, meanwhile, Mary Anne hides the fact that she is suffering from a fatal disease in order to help Disraeli contain political infighting which would weaken her husband's cause. Soon, Disraeli passes sweeping reforms in public health, education and employment. When Queen Victoria offers Disraeli an earlship, he gives credit for his success to Mary Anne, who is named Lady Beaconsfield instead. Weeks later, just as he fails to convince his cabinet that the Russian-German-Austrian alliance will be disastrous to Europe, Mary Anne passes away. Grieving, he brings his resignation to Victoria, who informs him that the Russians are advancing on Turkey, which England has sworn to protect, and that his opponent in Parliament, Bismarck, will aid them if he is elected. He agrees to continue, and when the Cabinet, fearful of alienating the voters, refuses to mobilize troops, Disraeli secretly amasses Indian troops and stations them near Turkey. Soon, Russia attacks Constantinople, and Disraeli is hailed as a hero when his troops scare off the Russian leader and peace is upheld during the Congress of Berlin. When he returns to England, Victoria names him Lord Beaconsfield, and he cries as the people cheer them both for saving the country.