The Remains of the Day
is one of Merchant-Ivory's most thought-provoking films. Anthony Hopkins is a model of restraint and propriety as Stevens, the butler who "knows his place"; Emma Thompson is the animated and sympathetic Miss Kenton, the housekeeper whose attraction to Stevens is doomed to disappointment. As Nazi appeaser Lord Darlington, James Fox clings to the notion of a gentleman's agreement in the ruthless political climate before World War Two. Hugh Grant is his journalist nephew all too aware of reality, while Christopher Reeves gives a spirited portrayal of an American senator, whose purchase of Darlington Hall 20 years on sends Stevens on a journey to right the mistake he made out of loyalty. As a period drama with an ever-relevant message, this 1993 film is absorbing viewing all the way.
On the DVD: the letterbox widescreen format reproduces the 2.35:1 aspect ratio with absolute clarity. Subtitles are in French and German, with audio subtitles also in English, Italian and Spanish, and with 28 separate chapter selections. The "making-of" featurette and retrospective documentary complement each other with their "during and after" perspectives, while "Blind Loyalty, Hollow Honour" is an interesting short on the question of appeasement and war. The running commentary from Thompson, Merchant and Ivory is more of a once-only diversion. --Richard Whitehouse
United Kingdom released, Blu-Ray/Region A/B/C DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), English ( Dolby DTS-HD Master Audio ), French ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), German ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Italian ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Spanish ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Danish ( Subtitles ), Dutch ( Subtitles ), English ( Subtitles ), Finnish ( Subtitles ), French ( Subtitles ), German ( Subtitles ), Italian ( Subtitles ), Japanese ( Subtitles ), Norwegian ( Subtitles ), Spanish ( Subtitles ), Swedish ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (2.35:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted Scenes, Documentary, Featurette, Interactive Menu, Making Of, Scene Access, UV Copy, SYNOPSIS: Oscar winners Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs) and Emma Thompson (Howards End) reunite with the acclaimed Merchant Ivory filmmaking team for this extraordinary and moving story of blind devotion and repressed love. Hopkins stars as Stevens, the perfect English butler - an ideal carried by him to fanatical lengths - as he serves his master, Lord Darlington, beautifully played by James Fox (The Servant). Darlington, like many other members of the British establishment in the 1930s, is duped by the Nazis into trying to establish a rapport between themselves and the British government. Thompson stars as the estate's housekeeper, a high-spirited, strong-minded young woman who watches the goings-on upstairs with horror. Despite her apprehensions, she and Stevens gradually fall in love, though neither will admit it, and only give vent to their charged feelings via fierce arguments. Marvellously acted by a supporting cast that includes Christopher Reeve and Hugh Grant. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Oscar Academy Awards, ...The Remains of the Day (+ UV Copy) (Blu-Ray)