Monday, September 20, 2010

DVD: "Chasing Churchill in Search of my Grandfather"

Last night I watched this DVD documentary, through my Netflix account, and it is very good. The DVD is three hours long. Within the last 2 or 3 years his granddaughter, Celia Sandys, followed in the footsteps of her grandfather and his overseas travels. The documentary follows her in Winston's footsteps to New York, Washington DC, Cuba, Egypt, South Africa, Morocco the South of France in search of her grandfather. A kind of then and now with beautiful color photography. There is a voice over of Churchill giving a description of the places you are seeing in this part travelogue part documentary. She goes to the Hearst Castle on the California coast and to Charlie Chaplin's studio in Hollywood.Churchill was a friend of Chaplin's and visited his studio between the great wars to see how movie were made. They have news footage and photos of Churchill at the locations visited. They also show his paintings and then show the real subjects as they look now. You follow Churchill and his friend, Lawrence of Arabia, as they ride on camels to the Great Pyramids. One of the best parts is when she visits Rudy Giuliani in New York and Rudy tells her that Winston was his inspiration during 9/11.While in New York she goes to the Brooklyn home where his mother was born. She talks to people who interacted with her father at the various locations of his travel. For example, she visits with an old lady in Alexandria Virginia, at the old church where Churchill and FDR went for a church service during WWII. The old lady was there for the service and explains what it was like. In his later life his granddaughter, then a teenager, traveled with her grandfather on his trips to Southern France as well as on a luxurious yacht owned by Aristotle Onassis. In fact, they even film part of the documentary on the yacht. The documentary ends with his state funeral in London.... it is very sad as Sandys rides the same boat that carried his casket down the Themes river on the way to the churchyard cemetery at Bladon near Blenheim Palace his ancestral home .


Winston Churchill's quest for his inner self took two forms: a constant thirst for exotic travel and a passion for the exuberance of painting and the beauty of words. His granddaughter Celia Sandys traveled extensively with Churchill towards the end of his life. Now, in this intimate portrait, she follows in her grandfather's footsteps.

click on the title for a link to to order the DVD