Thatcher portrayed as ruthless, bloodthirsty leader

Mischievous Russian pirates have made the Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady a whole lot more interesting . . . or scurrilous, depending on your political standpoint.

The film, for which Meryl Streep won an Oscar for her portrayal of the British Prime Minister, tended to gloss over Thatcher’s right-wing political crusades in favour of a more personal portrayal. It was a bland biography that set Thatcher’s political deeds in very soft-focus. Not so the Russian pirate version.

Dubbed dialogue has the Iron Lady saying that her aim as Prime Minister is to "Crush the working class, crush the scum, the yobs." She is depicted as a bloodthirsty, Hitler-admiring leader, who starts the Falklands War with the help of global free-market conspirators.

Advisers are seen trying to calm down the PM. "Of course you went a bit over the top," one says, "One of the workers could be literate and have a television and see everything and tell all the rest, and then rumours would spread that you are a pitiless, heartless bitch."

Some historians might regard the pirate version as a little closer to reality than the saccharine original film. At least one Russian film critic took the pirated version seriously and reviewed it as if it were the official release. The critic of Kommersant quoted some of the fake dialogue, and generally enjoyed the film.

Adding new scripts to mainstream films is common practice among Russian pirate DVD producers, and often the results can be more entertaining than the original films.

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