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The Portrait Of A Lady [DVD] [1997]

Nicole Kidman , John Malkovich , Jane Campion    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
Price: £5.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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The Portrait Of A Lady [DVD] [1997] + The Age Of Innocence [DVD] [2001] + The House Of Mirth [DVD] [2000]
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Product details

  • Actors: Nicole Kidman, John Malkovich, Barbara Hershey, Martin Donovan, Mary-Louise Parker
  • Directors: Jane Campion
  • Writers: Henry James, Laura Jones
  • Producers: Ann Wingate, Heidrun Reshöft, Mark Turnbull, Monty Montgomery, Steve Golin
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English, Italian
  • Subtitles: French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Jun 2001
  • Run Time: 139 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005ABUL
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,586 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Leave it to New Zealand director Jane Campion (The Piano, Angel at My Table) to begin an adaptation of Henry James's great novel (set in the late 1800s) with a group of late-20th-century women from Down Under talking about the importance of a kiss. Like any good film adaptation (and it's a very good one, indeed), this exquisitely framed and mounted Portrait of a Lady is at least as much Campion as it is James. The story of strong-willed, independent-minded Isabel Archer (Nicole Kidman, whose skin here is photographed like delicate porcelain) is a tricky one to dramatise, since it's largely about good intentions going awry, roads not taken, misguided decisions made for good reasons. Headstrong American orphan Isabel rejects the proposal of a decent, sensible English suitor, Lord Warburton (Richard E. Grant), because she wants to find her own destiny and identity first. Instead, she is seduced by Gilbert Osmond (John Malkovich), an effete collector of art (and women) whom one character describes as a "sterile dilettante". How Isabel's life, and the lives of those who love her, are affected by this fateful (but irreversible?) decision is what the bulk of the film is about. Portrait of a Lady is lovely, heartbreaking, and at times terrifying--as only coming face-to-face with the consequences of one's own life-changing decisions can be. --Jim Emerson

Product Description

United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2.4 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), French ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), Italian ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Spanish ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Dutch ( Subtitles ), English ( Subtitles ), French ( Subtitles ), Italian ( Subtitles ), Portuguese ( Subtitles ), Spanish ( Subtitles ), ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN (1.85:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Documentary, Interactive Menu, Production Notes, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Jane Campion directed this expressive adaptation of the classic novel by Henry James. Isabel Archer (Nicole Kidman) is a young American woman who, after the death of her parents, has been sent to England to visit relatives. While her family's tragedy has left her penniless, Isabel's beauty has earned her the attentions of a number of eligible men. When Isabel turns down a proposal of marriage from the wealthy Lord Warburton (Richard E. Grant) because she does not love him, her cousin Ralph (Martin Donovan), who is also smitten with her, arranges for his father to leave her a fortune before succumbing to tuberculosis so that she may live as an independent woman. Isabel takes a tour of Europe, where she meets Madame Merle (Barbara Hershey), a jaded sophisticate and matchmaker who introduces her to Gilbert Osmond (John Malkovich), a widowed American artist living abroad. Isabel falls in love with Gilbert and they marry, but his sloth and opportunism soon begin to wear on her, and three years later she is desperate to get out of their relationship. The Portrait of a Lady also stars John Gielgud, Mary-Louise Parker, Christian Bale, and Shelley Winters.
SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Golden Globes, Oscar Academy Awards, ...Portrait Of A Lady

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW! 10 Aug 2006
From the very first second to the very last i was totally transfixed. The acting in this movie is flawless and brilliant. Nicole does incredibly well as a young naive woman who finds she is uncapable of sticking to the same decision. I found myself rising up as if to defend her in her time of greatest need, when she was being emotionally and physically abused by her husband. As sad as the beginning may be, lots of tears, lots of building emotion and desperation to be loved, the ending made me breath a sigh of relief for Isabelle Archer. She'd found herself trapped and managed to set herself free again.

I HAVE to comment on the documentary included. It gives a closer look at the actors and let me tell you, it looked difficult. In preperation for her abusive scenes you see Nicole crying and frustrated and beating herself up. It compelled me almost as much as the film! If you buy this dvd (you must) then make sure to watch this bonus feature, you will realise that the life of an actor is not all it's cracked up to be.

Over all, a compelling and beautiful piece of drama.
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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars COMPELLING 15 July 2004
By S. Lisa
I must say I totally disagree with the somewhat mediocre reviews below. I consider "Portrait of a Lady" to be one of Jane Campion's best movies. The actors are magnificient.
Nicole Kidman is both beautiful and very moving as the gentle naive heroine who aspires to liberty and escaping her condition as a young woman intended to make a good marriage.
John Malkovich is truly the part of the sinister virtually sadistic husband. But he isn't the best, the most touching of all is Martin Donovan as the subdued cousin, slowly consuming from illness and unrequieted love.
The photography is beautiful, and certain sequences are truly magical: Nicole Kidman's strange daydream of John Malkovich's
burning declaration to her "I absolutely love you", (something between a 1920's silent movie and the Dali dream sequence in Hitchcocks' "Spellbound"),
and the deadly romantic Final sequence that starts with a kiss between Nicole Kidman and Viggo Mortensen and ends in slow motion on a beautiful score by Wojciech Kilar (coppola's Dracula)
If you love Period drama and strong deep emotion, this is a beautiful an compelling Movie.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Freedom does not mean love for women 27 Dec 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Henry James was realistic about women at the end of the 19th century, particularly those standing between the US and Great Britain. Isabel is such a woman. She gets into the world without any parents but with a tremendously good uncle and cousin. She is surrounded with men who love her and want to marry her out of love. She refuses them, three of them, to be able to see the world. And she falls in the hands of a social climber, a social parasite and a fortune hunter who covers up his liaison with the woman who introduced her to him, and whose daughter is the out-of-wedlock child of this very woman. She is of course deeply unhappy, alone, brutalized too, and yet she tries to save the daughter from her fate. She fails because the daughter is totally under the tyrannical authority of her father, an authority that is tyrannical only because the daughter accepts it and submits to it, particularly because of the teachings of some good Catholic nuns. Finally Isabel finds the energy to escape – for a while at least – from that husband when she learns his liaison and she can force him to accept. But she is so pent up in her stubborn decision that she can never step back and consider a real escape. Yet, maybe, at the end, there is a wavering touch of hope – for her. It is incredible how this woman, who wants to be strong-headed and independent, fails to see the men who love her and to recognize the man who uses her. As it is said in the film somewhere, Americans cannot become Europeans, and yet Isabel succeeds very well in becoming twisted and thwarted in Europe. Is that typically European ? Maybe. Nicole Kidman plays the role with style, delicacy, dainty and quaint nuances, but also with a tremendous amount of gusto, sentiment, feeling and emotion. Read more ›
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Jeremy Irons may well be a convincing rogue (as the first reviewer noted), but not in this movie - he doesn't actually appear in this film (?!) John Malkovich however, does, and turns in a unsettling yet magnetic performance which is in reminiscent of his role in Dangerous Liasons.
Nicole Kidman does extremely well in an unsympathetic role and Viggo Mortensen shines in a small role as the suitor Nicole should have chosen in the first place. The film looks fabulous - the costumes and sets are truly stunning and the majority of the cast are impressive, but as with the book, you are untimately left struggling to comprehend the heoines poor decisions, which makes the film less than totally satisfying. Still worth checking out for fans of costune drama though.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A LUSH AND BEAUTIFUL PERIOD PIECE... 17 Nov 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Jane Campion is a brilliant director who can direct a film and convey much with a minimum of language and action. Her film, "The Piano" is a testament to that innate talent. This would lead one to believe that directing an adaptation of a Henry James novel would be a natural segue for her.
While this is a lush and beautiful period piece, the problem with it is that it is somewhat dull. Despite stellar performances by Barbara Hershey and the supporting cast, the main star, Nicole Kidman, is out of her league, though she is a luminous beauty and has some acting ability. The problem is that her performance lacks the presence or depth necessary to transcend the material and make this a truly interesting film. She just is not good enough an actress to be able to carry this type of storyline and engage the viewer in the lead role of wealthy expatriate, Isabel Archer.
Moreover, while John Malkovich gives a wonderful performance as the malevolent Gilbert Osmond, he is decidedly miscast as he is simply not charismatic enough to make it believable that Isabel Archer would throw caution to the wind over such an unattractive and, decidedly, sinister man. It is unfortunate, as the film is an otherwise fairly faithful adaptation of Henry James' complex novel of the same name. It could have been a contender.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine adaptation
Sensitive direction, wonderful location work and some excellent performances made this a very satisfying viewing experience. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Mrs.Patricia A Halliwell
2.0 out of 5 stars Upsetting waste of time and money
I am into great stories, I read a lot and I like adaptations. This was a horrible one. Her accent to start with was diapointing. She was suppose to be an American!! Read more
Published 10 months ago by Veronika
5.0 out of 5 stars dvd
Purchased as a gift for a family member who likes films starring Nicole Kidman.Very pleased with the price I paid
Published 12 months ago by crafterann
2.0 out of 5 stars Differs from the book!
How can you have someone with an Australian accent playing the main character! The book is far better. They miss out on parts of the book which always frustrates me. Read more
Published 12 months ago by kit
5.0 out of 5 stars stunning DVD
the DVD is stunning, top quality, but I have a problem: the DVD cover arrived here totally damaged, broken. The DVD wasn`t involved - fortunately. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Anna Susanna
3.0 out of 5 stars A no from me, but who knows?
I did not like it, but to be fair it is good if you want to see masochistic tendencies of somebody with an open mind submitting to a tiran.
Published 15 months ago by Brother Jung
5.0 out of 5 stars An atmospheric film
I always enjoy a film adaptation of a novel by a really good writer. This has the slow, ponderous pace of a Maugham novel and gives the feel of his writing even in the cinematic... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Lisamay
3.0 out of 5 stars better than the book but...
Jane Campion's work is always thought provoking but in this instance John Malkovich and Richard E Grant should probably have swapped roles in order for this version of the story to... Read more
Published 20 months ago by thetruthshallsetyefree
3.0 out of 5 stars Some parts beautifully filmed but Nicole Kidman miscast
I loved the Henry James novel but felt that Nicole Kidman was miscast as Isobel Archer. She interpreted the role with too much coldness for me. Read more
Published on 12 Mar 2012 by Happyuser
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb Jane Campion film.
Excellent adaptation of a beautiful, but difficult, novel. It certainly helps to read the book as well, but film keeps close to the text in most important respects. Read more
Published on 7 Mar 2012 by JK
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