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Summer Movies 2010 > August 20 - Gosford Park

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message 1: by Megan, Moderator & Ardent Janeite (new)

Megan | 724 comments Mod
We are discussing the 2001 Robert Altman film "Gosford Park" this weekend. The movie is a manor house mystery set in the 1930s that is also a study of the class system in Britain. Discuss here!


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I just got the dvd in the mail. Great cast! :)


message 3: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) This might be my all-time favorite movie. It is amazing and needs to be watched more than once to really appreciate it; I know I couldn't even keep track of who was who the first time I watched it.

You are on the nose Jeannette--amazing cast!


message 4: by Megan, Moderator & Ardent Janeite (new)

Megan | 724 comments Mod
I love this movie also. It is an amazing cast. But then most British films seem to always have the same great actors. Look at all the Austen films and how many of those actors have appeared in several of the other films? I always find that so interesting. And then those actors turn up in other BBC things - I was watching an episode of MI-5 recently and there was the actor who played Wickham in the 1995 P&P as a creepy cheating slimy member of Parliament. Type casting?


message 5: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 19, 2010 06:22AM) (new)

I like to keep track of the number of Austen actors who show up in Harry Potter. There are five from Ang Lee's Emma.


message 6: by Rachel, The Honorable Miss Moderator (new)

Rachel (randhrshipper1) | 673 comments Mod
I can't wait to watch my copy of this again this weekend! And to hear what you all think about it! The cast is amazing. Back later to talk about it! :)


message 7: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum I remember going to the theater to watch Gosford Park, and for one whose memory is selective (to say the least), not only do I remember quite a bit of it, but I also remember the acting as being superb. I think I do need to watch it again...


message 8: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Gulley I saw the movie in theaters twice, and probably watched more than 20 times on TV. One of my favorites, for sure. The acting was superb, but the many character studies without getting confusing was a display of very creative writing. The only thing I wish is that in the end the fired maid should have been invited to go to Hollywood.
But I loved the 'solution', so untypical.
Patg


message 9: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) Pat - I like to assume that sometime during the ride she was invited, went to Hollywood, and became a fabulous film star :)


message 10: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Gulley Joy,
That's exactly what I was hoping. That she got a part in a Charlie Chan movie, and eventually did a Sherlock Holmes movie.
Patg


message 11: by Megan, Moderator & Ardent Janeite (new)

Megan | 724 comments Mod
I re-watched this yesterday and greatly enjoyed it (again). I am always taken with period pieces and the details - the house setting, the costumes, the manners and the food. Veritable eye candy.

However, I was quite struck by the similarity of Sir William and his "relationship" with Pip the Dog to that of Lady Bertram and Pug in Mansfield Park!


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

*********SPOILERS****************

I enjoyed the second viewing, too, even though the ending is spoiled after the first viewing. Only two things about this movie bothered me: 1) There are really too many characters to figure out who they all are. Who exactly were the two young men? Did the one impregnate Sir William's daughter?

2) Why was Stephen Fry's inspector such a dolt? This was not a typical whodunit, so the police were not important, but his character was annoying almost.

Those two things aside, there were some wonderful performances. Jeremy Northam can sing! And I loved the character George, played by Richard E. Grant, as well as all of the Austen alums and Potter alums!


message 13: by P. (new)

P. Patricia wrote: "Joy,
That's exactly what I was hoping. That she got a part in a Charlie Chan movie, and eventually did a Sherlock Holmes movie.
Patg"


I have a new appreciation for the fantasy life of this group! I like and even own this movie so the minute the sun goes down I'm going to watch it.


message 14: by Rachel, The Honorable Miss Moderator (new)

Rachel (randhrshipper1) | 673 comments Mod
Jeannette wrote: "*********SPOILERS****************

I enjoyed the second viewing, too, even though the ending is spoiled after the first viewing. Only two things about this movie bothered me: 1) There are really t..."


To answer your questions, Jeanette:

1) I got the impression the two young men were distant relatives of Sir William's, or at least one of them was. Sir William's daughter, Isobel, was clearly in love with the Rupert one and the other was having an affair with a kitchen maid. Isobel was pregnant by despicable Freddie Nesbit--that's what he was blackmailing her about. There are a LOT of people here, but I like that--it requires a level of concentration that's refreshing. I found this chart about the hierarchy of servants in Victorian times-- it's an earlier time period than the film is set in but it still might help keep the characters a bit straighter: http://www.waynesthisandthat.com/serv... I think all the various interaction between the characters are delicious!

2) I felt that Fry's character was meant to be a riff on the bumbling detective of British mystery stories and was there for comic relief. The scene where the Constable is trying to point out clues and he's dismissing them is hilarious! XD

I'm so glad you mentioned Northam's singing in your comment as well-- I was happily FLOORED when I saw the film for the first time. What a performer! He is only one of an enormous--and enormously talented--cast. The comedy is another unforgettable aspect of this film. I love it when Louisa says she'll like talking to someone "who's not deaf in one ear" and her husband responds, "I'm sorry?" HAHA! Or when Northam, as Ivor Novello, is asked how he can stand these snobs and he says, "You forget: I make my living by impersonating them." And I love the naturalistic soundtrack director Robert Altman favors--it sounds to real, but he makes sure we hear all the relevant information. The mystery is also thoroughly engrossing from start to finish. Did you notice the absence of various characters at the opportune time so they would all be suspects? And when we find out who actually killed Sir William, we realize we saw it happen! Such a brilliant film in every frame!


message 15: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 23, 2010 05:52AM) (new)

The mystery was well done. Altman did give us several suspects -- lots of people left the room at the right time and many people had good motives. Plus, Sir William was a bad guy through and through.

I just looked up a few things about the score. Jeremy Northam's character was a real person: Ivor Norvello. And, he wrote the lyrics to many of the songs Northam performs.

Ivor Norvello

Patrick Doyle, who wrote the score, also scored Sense & Sensibility, among others. (This I already knew.)


message 16: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Gulley One of the young men was in love with Isobel, or he just wanted to marry her for her money. The other kept trying to talk him out of it stating he could do better. The two characters had me watch most closely a few times because they were such 'throw ins' to the story.
I think the bumbling detective is a mainstay of that time period. If the story was only about the mystery, then our hero would have been the constable.
One of the interesting scenes was at the end when Maggie Smith was leaving tips for the servants. I never knew they did that.
I also really loved Clive Owen's character---And his Attitude. The twist there should make any author envious.
Patg


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

There is a really interesting extra feature about the accuracy of the movie. They actually brought on retired staff from the time period to work on-set to keep things right. Altman still "fudged" a few details, but most of it was accurate.

I loved Clive Owen, too!


message 18: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) Jeannette wrote: "2) Why was Stephen Fry's inspector such a dolt? This was not a typical whodunit, so the police were not important, but his character was annoying almost."

You are right; he is no Sherlock Holmes! However, the bumbling detective is something that I have seen before in literature, from Seegrave in Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone all the way back to Dogberry in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. This type of character is great for comedic effect and as a foil for the plot.


message 19: by Alicia (new)

Alicia One of the most interesting things about this movie is that it shows the life of the house party from the point of view of the servants, rather than of the nobility. The detective is important because he points out the blindness of the upper class. He refuses to interview any of the servants, and says they are not important to the case. He couldn't be more wrong.


message 20: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) Precisely, Alicia! I recall the director Robert Altman saying in one of the 'making of' extras on the DVD that there is never a scene in the movie where a servant isn't present. So we, as the audience, are only privy to the actions and discussion that have been seen through the eyes of a servant. An interesting way to frame a story and comment on the societal hierarchy.


message 21: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Gulley Thanks Joy,
Another POV from which to watch the show.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Patricia wrote: "Thanks Joy,
Another POV from which to watch the show."


Yes, I hadn't thought about it, but there is a servant in every scene. At least, I can't remember one where there isn't.


message 23: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) If anyone is interested, here is Roger Ebert's review. As always with Ebert, it is well-informed and detailed.


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

I always check Roger Ebert when I rent something from Netflix that I am unsure about. I like his reviews.


message 25: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 196 comments Quite a few Jane Austen alums in the film! Maggie Smith, Laurence Fox, Lucy Cohu and Leo Bill were all in "Becoming Jane". Jeremy Northam and Sophie Thompson were in the '96 Emma (she was wonderful as Miss Bates). Thompson was also Mary in the '95 "Persuasion". Michael Gambon was Mr. Woodhouse in the most recent "Emma" and Tom Hollander, Claudie Blakley and Meg Wynn Owen were all in the 2005 P&P.

The real Ivor Novello appeared twice in "The Lodger" - in the early Alfred Hitchcock silent, and in a sound version a few years later - that's probably the one that Maggie Smith's character needled him about.


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks for pointing out Meg Wynn Owen -- I knew she looked familiar!

We just bought two songs from the film, performed by Northam, on iTunes. The silent movie version of "The Lodger" is available on Netflix, too. Maybe the 1932 version did bomb! :)


message 27: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Gulley I went to Netflix and ordered 3 versions of The Lodger. I want to see Ivor Novello in the 1926 version lists his name, but they didn't have another version until 1944 and he wasn't listed. The latest one is 2009 with Simon Baker.
Love those old 40s mysteries. Have The Uninvited, Laura and The Spiral Staircase all permanently recorded. Old SF is good too.
Patg----who is thinking she needs another injection of Charley Chan and Basil Rathbone's Sherlock.


message 28: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 196 comments There was "The Lodger" from 1927 that was a silent, directed by Alfred Hitchcock (Novello was in that one). Then there was "The Phantom Fiend" - the UK title of a film called "The Lodger" in the US that was from 1932, and Novello was also in that. In the mid-40s, there was the version most people are familiar with, the one that starred Merle Oberon and Laird Cregar, another version from the 50s called "Man in the Attic", starring Jack Palance (not bad) and another one done in the 60 for TV, and then the updated version from '09 set in LA.


message 29: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Gulley Okay, added the Man In The Attic from Netflix, but they do not have The Phantom Fiend.


message 30: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 196 comments Patricia observes: "One of the interesting scenes was at the end when Maggie Smith was leaving tips for the servants. I never knew they did that."

That is interesting. I remember reading that this was done in a book about an American celebrity, written by her former majordomo, who said that it was customary to leave gratuities for all of the servants who waited on you during a stay [at the celebrity's country home:].
And in Jane Austen's letters, JA, writing from a country house, states, "I am in great Distress. I cannot determine whether I shall give Richis half a guinea or only five shillings when I go away." Richis was likely a servant who attended her during her stay at Rowling House.


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