The Queen is such a fan of new British movie "A Bunch of Amateurs" that she has chosen it as the Royal family's Christmas film at Sandringham.

The film, which stars Derek Jacobi, Burt Reynolds and Imelda Staunton, is about a sleazy Hollywood agent who tricks one of his clients, a faded action star, into playing King Lear in an amateur charity production in Stratford, Suffolk.

But the action star originally thinks it's in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire - Shakespeare's home town.

Queen chooses A Bunch of Amateurs as Christmas film for family at Sandringham after finding it 'hilarious'

By Laura Collins
20th December 2008
Daily Mail

Like most British families, the Royals enjoy nothing better than a good movie over Christmas.

And this year the Queen has already chosen the film that will be slotted into the Sandringham DVD player.

The Mail on Sunday has learned that she was so impressed by A Bunch Of Amateurs selected for the annual Royal Film Performance in November that she contacted the producer and expressed a desire to share it with the rest of her family.

Film fans: The Queen and Prince Philip at the charity screening of A Bunch Of Amateurs last month

According to one well-placed source: 'Both the Queen and Prince Philip absolutely loved it. They thought it was hilarious.

'The Queen enjoyed it so much that she wrote to the producer David Parfitt to thank him and let him know. She has asked for it to be screened at Sandringham over Christmas.'

The film, which stars Burt Reynolds, Imelda Staunton, Sir Derek Jacobi and Samantha Bond, tells the tale of ageing Hollywood action hero Jefferson Steel, who is desperate to revive his career by appearing on the British stage.

His agent leads him to believe that he has landed the role of a lifetime playing King Lear in Stratford.

But Steel, played by Reynolds, flies to Britain only to discover that the Stratford in question is not '-upon-Avon' but in Suffolk, and that his co-stars are not members of the Royal Shakespeare Company but the local amateur dramatic society.

The comedy, co-written by Ian Hislop, was shown at the Odeon, Leicester Square, for the Royal Film Performance a charitable event in aid of the Cinematic and Television Benevolent Fund, of which the Queen is patron.

Royal command: Burt Reynolds and Samantha Bond in a scene from A Bunch Of Amateurs to be shown at Sandringham

A Royal source who was there on the night said: 'The Queen absolutely loved it.

She and Prince Philip were roaring in their seats. It's a real knockabout sort of
Ealing-style comedy.'

Proceeds from ticket sales for the Royal Film Performance, first attended by the Queen in 1952, are donated to the CTBF.

During those years, she has seen films such as Beau Brummel, To Catch A Thief, Born Free, The Taming Of The Shrew, Chariots Of Fire and Titanic.

'Hilarious': Imelda Staunton in a scene from the film which the Queen is said to have found hilarious

The only other comedy was Disney's Parent Trap, starring a young Lindsay Lohan, in 1998.

In the past decade, the Queen and Prince Charles have taken to attending the event in alternate years.

But last year it was cancelled when Charles and Camilla pulled out, with Clarence House citing 'a diary clash' as the reason.

It was speculated at the time that the decision was, in fact, influenced by the controversial nature of the racially sensitive film Brick Lane.

Based on Monica Ali's award-winning novel of the same name, it tells the story of a Bangladeshi woman's journey of self-discovery in East London.

But there had already been protests over the book by members of the Bang-ladeshi community, who claimed that it presented them as backward and uneducated.

This year, the organisers, perhaps wisely, decided to play it safe with the film from Parfitt, who was the producer of Shakespeare In Love, which won the Oscar for best picture in 1998.

As an actor he appeared in films and many TV series in the Seventies and Eighties.

Last night an official spokes-man for the Queen said: 'We never comment on what is screened at Sandringham over Christmas.'

Last edited by Blackleaf; Dec 21st, 2008 at 12:32 PM..