Yates instils mischief and artifice in a staid genre. It helps that fraud and legitimacy are at the heart of this tall, true tale. Kani plays Bogle, manservant to one of the richest families in England. Dispatched with a lesser son to investigate reports that the missing heir - Sir Roger - is living in Australia, Bogle is stranded when Tichborne minor perishes en route. Discerning that he'll never return to Britain unless it's in the company of his former master, Bogle interviews a series of unlikely prospects, and reaches an understanding with one Thomas Castro (Pugh), an inebriate butcher who nevertheless has a certain bearing. Bogle schools him so well that by the time they reach home, even Castro believes he's the real Lord Tich. Exquisitely urbane, the film teases out the enigma which still hangs over the claimant, and leaves you wondering if he wasn't for real after all. In so doing, it makes a mockery of the hereditary principle, and the snobbery and hypocrisy which sustains the establishment. Pugh's performance is appropriately larger than life: funny, vulgar and ridiculous, but also passionate and pathetic in the true sense of the word.
The Tichborne Claimant
Cast and crew