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This feature-length film by Tony Palmer paints a sensitive and intriguing portrait of Margot Fonteyn. While a large part of the material shown in this program is familiar from earlier documentaries and other existing film releases, Palmer’s account is notable for its attention to Fonteyn’s fraught relationship with the Arias family and the hardship of her final years.

The first part of the film touches on Fonteyn’s childhood, and looks at her early development, her relationships with Constant Lambert and Roland Petit and her career with the Sadler’s Wells Ballet up to the outbreak of World War II. It continues by looking at her success during the company’s American tours, her marriage to ‘Tito’ Arias and her partnership with Rudolf Nureyev, before turning to Fonteyn’s complex and unhappy relations with the members of the Arias family. The interviewees include numerous dance identities connected with the Royal Ballet, as well friends and members of the Arias family.

Note to customers: please take care to avoid confusion between this film and the 2009 BBC dramatisation of the same name.

Region Code: 0
Format & Aspect Ratio: NTSC & PAL, 16:9 & 4:3
Number of discs: 1
Run time: 165 minutes
Studio: Kultur / Tony Palmer Films
Release date: 2005