Hyde Park on Hudson screenwriter to speak at Upstate

Laura Linney and Bill Murray in Hyde Park on Hudson.

Laura Linney and Bill Murray in Hyde Park on Hudson.

Hyde Park on Hudson opens this week locally; screenwriter to speak at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck on December 29

Probably no movie with local roots in the mid-Hudson has been so avidly anticipated here as Hyde Park on Hudson, which finally opens this Friday, December 21 at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck. Soon the whole world will know about Margaret “Daisy” Suckley, long celebrated hereabouts as the dowager queen of Wilderstein in Rhinebeck: Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s distant cousin, longtime close confidante, probable lover and the person who gave him the iconic First Family dog Fala.

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We can’t wait to see how the movie depicts the delicate interactions among Suckley, Eleanor Roosevelt, FDR’s secretary (and also probable lover) Missy LeHand and the president himself. But perhaps even closer to our regional hearts is that 1939 hot dog cookout in Hyde Park with the King and Queen of England that has reached nearly mythical status.

It’s a bit of a disappointment to know that the movie was not shot in the Hudson Valley. For some reason director Roger Michell thought it a better idea to construct a replica of Top Cottage – the wheelchair-accessible retreat designed by FDR himself that was the site of the famous prewar picnic with the royals – over in England. But at least Hyde Park on Hudson took advantage of one of the region’s cultural treasures: Playwright Richard Nelson, who lives in Rhinebeck and actually met Daisy Suckley, was tapped to write the screenplay. He’ll be on hand at Upstate Films on Saturday, December 29 for a question-and-answer session following the matinee screening of the film.

Nelson, who based much of his script on Daisy’s diaries, was an interesting choice for the job. Nelson’s work is well-known in the UK, where he has lived at times – a perspective that must have afforded him some useful insights into the first visit by a British royal family to the US. In drama circles he is a highly respected academic, dramaturge and champion of an approach to theatrical production that assigns primacy to the intent of the playwright. He has taught at the Yale School of Drama, worked at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and London’s West End and Royal National Theatres and won many awards including a Tony, a couple of OBIES, a Drama Desk Award, an Olivier Award and the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a Grand Master of American Theater.

As of presstime for this issue of Almanac Weekly, the timing of the screening and live appearance by Richard Nelson at Upstate Films on Saturday, December 29 had yet to be announced. The schedule for Hyde Park on Hudson for the current week is as follows: Friday and Saturday at 4:30, 6:45 and 9 p.m.; Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 3:30, 5:45 and 8 p.m.; closed Monday. It’s always your best bet to check showtimes on the Upstate Films website at https://upstatefilms.org/index.php or call the cinema at (845) 876-2515.

Hyde Park on Hudson screening & talk by screenwriter Richard Nelson, Saturday, December 29, time T/B/A, Upstate Films, 6415 Montgomery Street/Route 9, Rhinebeck; (845) 876-2515, https://upstatefilms.org/index.php.

There is one comment

  1. Kenny Turner

    I am very fond of Americans, they are some of the nicest people I have the pleasure to welcome to my guesthouse in Scotland. But…

    I wish you would stop referring to ‘the King and Queen of England’ or ‘England was facing war with Germany’..
    Honestly, does your knowledge of basic geography stop-short at ‘England’ when you refer to Great Britain or the United Kingdom? Do you realise that there are Scots, Welsh and Irish who are offended by that type of offensive carelessness? Not only are we offended, we are saddened that ‘England’s’ war with Germany cost the lives of a great many brave nationalities of the UK – and you don’t seem to know anything about this. Shame.

    C’mon, America – get it right, please.

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