Sony Pictures Classics Swipes Pathe's Venice-Bowing 'The Duke'

The Duke
Venice Film Festival

The Brit comedy-drama stars Oscar winners Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren.

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired Pathé's Venice-bowing comedy-drama The Duke for a range of territories worldwide, including the U.S.

The distributor also picked up the film — starring Oscar winners Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren — for Latin America, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe (excluding Poland, the Czech Republic and the former Yugoslavia), Russia/CIS, Greece, Turkey, Portugal, South Africa, India and Southeast Asia (excluding Japan and China).

Directed by Roger Michell (Notting Hill) from a script by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman, The Duke is set in 1961 when Kempton Bunton, a 60-year old taxi driver, stole Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London. It was the first (and remains the only) theft in the Gallery’s history. Kempton sent ransom notes saying that he would return the painting on condition that the government agreed to provide television for free to the elderly. What happened next became the stuff of legend. Only 50 years later did the full story emerge — a startling revelation of how a good man set out to change the world and in so doing saved his son and his marriage.

A Pathé, Ingenious Media and Screen Yorkshire presentation of a Neon Films Production, The Duke is produced by Nicky Bentham and executive produced by Cameron McCracken and Jenny Borgars for Pathé, Andrea Scarso for Ingenious Media, Hugo Heppell for Screen Yorkshire, Peter Scarf and Christopher Bunton.