Chandler begins by establishing the stakes involved in representing The Mad King. He does this by laying out just what an important historical figure he was, and this implicitly raises the responsibly level of his cinematic biographers. Essentially, everyone is watching how George III will be represented and they are weighing that portrayal against the historical record and leading medical theories diagnosing his illness. Chandler summarizes pre-cinematic portrayals of The Mad King, which subsequent filmmakers have drawn from in order to inform their own representations of the same.
The earliest cinematic portrayal was a silent film Beau Brummel (1924) which was loosely based on an earlier (1890) play of the same name by Clyde Fitch (Chandler, 75). Metro-Goldwyne Mayer became in interested in the late 1930s ion remaking this, but this project was then shelved until after the war. The film that resulted was titled Beau Brummell. Chandler shows that in England this film provoked controversy for it’s candor in dealing with the “mad” King, which had not been as openly shown as such since a print made two centuries prior. (Chandler, 75). Chandler shows that this film involved some creative licenses in portraying the madness of the king and the periods of his episodes, basically using the 1788-89 episode as the primary story arch for the film. Chandler writes that the scrip is “full of anachronisms” but also that the film becomes more “historically coherent” if the Regency Crisis as portrayed in the film is understood as being limited to only the one of 1801, rather than the more historically important one which occurred in 1788-89. (Chandler, 75). Chandler though finds Beau Brummel to be “not a film about George III” but instead about his relationship with his son and his son’s friendship to Brummel.
Chandler finds the more modern rendition, The Madness of King George to be more spot-on in its adherence to history and accurate portrayal of the king. His point though is weakened since he is arguing for the intuitive. You could look at any contemporary film, compare it with one made a half-century prior, and then show that the modern day film is allowed a freer interpretation of fact due to the fact that the culture has opened up in terms of what is acceptable.
Chandler, David Representing the Mad King: George II in the Cinema Journal of Popular Film and Television 73-81