Gosford Park

Mrs. Croft: Eileen Atkins
The Countess of Trentham: Maggie Smith
Morris Weissman: Bob Balaban
Jennings: Alan Bates
Lord Stockbridge: Charles Dance
Inspector Thompson: Stephen Fry
Sir William McCordle: Michael Gambon
Lady Sylvia McCordle Kristin Scott Thomas
George: Richard E. Grant
Probert: Derek Jacobi
Mary Maceachran: Kelly Macdonald
Mrs. Wilson: Helen Mirren
Ivor Novello: Jeremy Northam
Robert Parks: Clive Owen
Henry Denton: Ryan Phillippe
Elsie: Emily Watson
USA Films Release presents a film directed by Robert Altman. Written by Julian Fellowes. Based upon an idea by Altman and Bob Balaban. Running time: 137 minutes. Rated R for language and brief sexuality.

Central Theme
In a hierarchical, upstairs, downstairs world of the elite and those who serve them, as each individual takes their place, few discover the more important thing — a way to be happy and at peace with their lot in life.

A diverse group of the greedy, bored and self-centered elite gathers for a pheasant hunt, with the primary common denominator being their mutual need for, and dislike of, the host and wealthy benefactor, Sir William McCorkle. The petty and peculiar pre-occupations of the wealthy are easily matched by those of their servants. Altman has assembled a cast of such talent and watchability, in a classic English Masterpiece Theatre setting, that story line is almost unnecessary. Nevertheless, as the weekend progresses, the story takes an Agatha Christie turn, with a murder, smoldering secrets, surprising connections between the upstairs and downstairs, a bumbling detective, and a plot twist that is at once believable and moving. There is though, a sense of such pervasive misery upstairs and downstairs that the viewer is certain to ponder the general malaise that hangs like fog over this interesting, yet unhappy crew of fellow sojourners.

Beliefs num
–There are those who serve and those who are to be served.
–Wealth and lineage determine one’s place in society.
–The ‘haves’ are easily as miserable as the ‘have nots’.
–And even among the ‘haves’ many of them are ‘have nots’ in ‘haves’ clothing!
–Each of us must frame our own attitudinal responses to our lot in life, but some of them seem more enjoyable than others.
–The master is capable of betraying even the most dutiful and trusting of servants.
–Independence is favorable over dependence.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–Given the characters in this story, would you rather be among the elite or be a servant?
–One of the most content characters is the servant who says, ‘I believe in love, not just getting it but giving it.’ How would that philosophy change life for these characters?
–Yet another servant says she is the perfect servant because she has no life. How does that fit with Jesus’ command that we serve one another?

Provocative Quotes byline
–Take this car around back to unload it.
==The Butler, reminding servants of their place at Gosford Park
–It must have been a disappointment for the last one to have been such a flop.
==The Countess of Trentham, in a put-down to actor Ivor Novello
–How do you put up with these people?
==Morris Weissman, Hollywood producer, to Ivor
–It is fun having a film star around, although there is so little to talk about after the little flash of recognition.
==The Countess of Trentham, commenting on Ivor’s presence
–An Englishman is never waited on for breakfast.
–He was poisoned then stabbed
–He wasn’t exactly Father Christmas.
==Answer to the question: why would anybody want to kill him?
–I believe in love. Not just getting it but giving it.
–Didn’t you hear me, I’m the perfect servant, I have no life.
==Mrs. Wilson
–What’s important is his life.
==Mrs. Wilson

Posted in Movies, Staublog in January 4, 2002 by | No Comments »

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