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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Utterly Delightful Surprise!
It took me several years to get around to purchasing "The Winslow Boy". Although I was certain that I would like it--after all, Nigel Hawthorne was in it--I had no idea that I was in for an hour-and-a-half of such absorbing drama. In one of his last roles, Hawthorne brings a poignant combination of strength and tenderness to the role of the patriarch, whose determination...
Published on 16 Feb 2009 by F. S. L'hoir

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but not as good as the original
Remakes always have to go some to shape up to the standard of the original. It seems to be one of the laws of cinema, though we'll call it a rubber rather than an iron law, since there are quite a few exceptions: The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005) comes to mind immediately, and so does Alexander Korda's 1940 version of The Thief of Bagdad.

This one has a...
Published on 22 Feb 2009 by Humpty Dumpty


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Utterly Delightful Surprise!, 16 Feb 2009
By 
F. S. L'hoir (Irvine, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Winslow Boy [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
It took me several years to get around to purchasing "The Winslow Boy". Although I was certain that I would like it--after all, Nigel Hawthorne was in it--I had no idea that I was in for an hour-and-a-half of such absorbing drama. In one of his last roles, Hawthorne brings a poignant combination of strength and tenderness to the role of the patriarch, whose determination to "let right be done" almost breaks apart the family that he is trying to preserve. His scenes with Gemma Jones--torn apart by her conflicting roles as loyal wife and loving mother--are especially moving. Because of the ensemble acting of the entire cast, the family dynamic is entirely believable.

The real surprise for me, however, was Jeremy Northam in the role of Sir Robert Morton, KC, MP. Although Northam's performances in films such as "Gosford Park" and "Enigma" have been enjoyable, his portrayal of the aristocratic barrister quietly sizzled with sensual undertones that would do a handsome brooding Jane Austen hero proud. I found myself waiting for him to come onstage, as it were; and wishing that I could hear his moving summation to the jury; and that I might be allowed to follow Sir Robert's romantic pursuit of Miss Winslow. The last lines of the film are simply tantalizing.

Much of this "wanting more of Morton" derives not only from Northam's portrayal, but also from playwright Terrance Rattigan's technique of having the action take place offstage. The technique, which dates back to Greek tragedy, contributes to the dramatic tension of "The Winslow Boy." The very device of having characters relate the events taking place elsewhere, however, will likely render the drama inaccessible to some viewers, who demand fast-paced visual action. But for those who savor a riveting drama of quality, "The Winslow Boy" will not disappoint.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A First-Class David Mamet Film, by way of Terrence Rattigan, 3 Aug 2007
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Winslow Boy [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
The Winslow Boy is a first-class David Mamet film of indirection, understatement and cool emotion. A young cadet at the Royal Naval Academy has been expelled for stealing a five-shilling postal order from another cadet. He swears to his father that he didn't do it and his father believes him. At that point Arthur Winslow (Nigel Hawthorne) becomes determined to prove his son innocent. He is rebuffed by the Admiralty because, as part of the Queen's government, the Admiralty can do no wrong and cannot be sued. He engages a famous solicitor, Sir Robert Morton (Jeremy Northam), who agrees to take the brief. Morton eventually succeeds in bringing the case before the House of Commons on a petition of right, where even the lowest of the Queen's subjects can have the opportunity "to have right be done." All this takes years. The Winslow family suffers ridicule and financial distress. Arthur Winslow's daughter, Catherine (Rebecca Pidgeon), a prickly and intelligent suffragette, sees her opportunity for an advantageous marriage evaporate. His son is forced to leave Oxford and take a banking job. His wife sees so much of the security of the home vanish in the costs of the case. The case, based on a true happening, finally is won.

Mamet's screenplay is based on the Forties play by Terrence Rattigan. It's a solid piece of work that keeps the story moving and concentrates on the characters. The interplay among the characters is excellent, especially between Catherine Winslow and Sir Robert Morton. The dialogue may be on the surface exquisitely courteous, but underneath runs unexpected currents that are a lot of fun to witness. Northam's Morton is smart, secure, successful and not at all sympathetic to suffragettes. But it gradually becomes clear he rather likes intelligent women and that the end of the case may not be the last Catherine Winslow sees of him:

Sir Robert Morton: You still pursue your feminist activities?
Catherine Winslow: Oh yes.
Sir Robert: Pity. It's a lost cause.
Catherine: Oh, do you really think so, Sir Robert? How little you know about women. Good-bye. I doubt that we shall meet again.
Sir Robert: Do you really think so, Miss Winslow? How little you know about men.

It has always seemed strange to me that those who like Mamet almost never mention this movie, yet it appears to me that this is one of his most solidly directed and written films. It may be that, like Scorsese's Age of Innocence, it just doesn't fit into preconceived notions of what the director's films should be like. At any rate, this is a clever and satisfying movie, and very well acted. Perhaps one day we'll see a DVD of the version with Robert Donat and Margaret Leighton. It's first rate, too.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slow and meticulous, 11 Feb 2003
This review is from: The Winslow Boy [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
This film is no different from any other David Mamet film. No car chases here! It feels like a stage play, where all the action comes from dialogue and you can almost feel the subdued passion between the characters. It's a wonderful period piece, but you feel like you're watching the intricacies of the acting profession, like you're watching an acting exercise. All the actors are brilliant, from the old "school" Nigel Hawthorne, to Mamet's wife Rebecca Pidgeon, as suffragette daughter Kate who drops like a ton of bricks for the always very sexy Jeremy Northam.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will Wins(low) you all around", 9 Dec 2002
By 
Kate Lincoln (Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Winslow Boy [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
A funny, elegant and rip-roaring tale, which has a very prominent message for today, as it's writer Terrence Rattigan was also a modern man. His plays are always intelligent and in a class all of their own. Hugely funny with scathing wit and underlying romance makes this a film to captivate you all the way through. Try it out from your local library first, and when your hooked you'll have to get it for your collection!!!
Go on it's a winslow formula!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant remake of a classic film, 20 July 2000
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This review is from: The Winslow Boy [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
A brilliant up to date version of a classic film, which I would have missed if a friend from Colorado had not drawn my attention to it. With a Brilliant English cast this film spent very little time in the cinema in England; their loss. Nigel Hawthorne as the father was totally believable, Jeremy Northam confirms his ability to appear as an Victorian / Edwardian gentleman. More please in this mould and yes I prefer this to the orginal film and the BBC Play for the day which starred a certain Emma Thompson. Buy watch and enjoy regularly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mamet has impeccable taste, 26 July 2011
By 
Ms. Anne Millane "lovedips" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Winslow Boy [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
Terence Ratttigan's original play is a Masterpiece....layer upon layer upon layer...it would make Pinter weep and is worthy of Ibsen...A courtroom drama that amazingly puts the human condition on trial....Rattigan's searing insight into the human condition is also savagely portrayed in 'The Browning Version#
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Winslow Boy, 27 Jun 2010
By 
GERRY MCMENEMY (Argyll,Scotland.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Winslow Boy [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
This production is unusual in that it is superior to the original Robert Donat film which is itself highly regarded.The cast is superb with Nigel Hawthorne and Jeremy Northam particularly outstanding.The story is powerful and moving and it is based upon true events about the treatment of Cadet Winslow by the Admiralty in Edwardian England.The film was crafted from a play by Terence Rattigan and scripted by Rattigan himself.Not to be missed!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mamet gives strong showing in Merchant & Ivory territory., 22 April 2000
By 
A. C. Walter "awalter" (Lynnwood, WA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Winslow Boy [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
A beautiful, subtle film. One of the year's best.
A shock, a surprise, a revelation--David Mamet's idiosyncratic style is a fine match for the era.
The story and performances are nearly flawless, and the ending scene is a masterpiece of careful emotion--I can only compare it to certain scenes in 'Remains of the Day.'
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER WONDERFUL PERIOD PIECE..., 13 Feb 2003
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Winslow Boy [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
All lovers of period pieces should enjoy this one. This remake, based upon the play by Terrence Rattigan, takes place in the early part of the twentieth century, before the advent of World War I. A thirteen year old Naval cadet is excused of stealing a postal order and subsequently expelled. He claims that he did not do it, despite seeming evidence to the contrary. His upstanding and prosperous family rally around him. After going to the Naval academy from which he was expelled and having their entreaties fall upon deaf ears, they decide to take the unprecedented step of suing the Crown.
The family retains the services of a well respected barrister, Sir Robert Morton, played with British reserve by the always wonderful Jeremy Northam, who agrees to represent the boy. The case becomes a cause celebre all over England, and Sir Morton's client becomes known as that Winslow boy, a notoriety that shakes the boy's very proper family to its core. While the case wends its way through the English legal system, tension between the boy's intelligent, bluestocking sister, gravely played by Rebecca Pidgeon, and his barrister bubbles to the surface.
The courtroom scenes do not dominate the drama, though they are interesting. The outcome of the lawsuit is, of course, predictable. Yet, it is of no consequence, since the movie is not really about the resolution of the case. The movie ends on a note of romantic hope, as it wittily augers what is surely to come.
Another version of this film, released in 1948, is just as good as this one. It is easy to make the comparison, since both films are nearly word for word the same. One is shot in black and white, the other in color. They are both, however, excellent.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let Right Be Done, 22 Dec 2005
By 
Kurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (London, SW1) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Winslow Boy [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
--Prologue--
To quote Mel Brooks, 'it's good to be the king'. The King, in England, cannot be sued. It is a presumption in law that King, being the embodiment of civil authority, can do no wrong. Consequent to this, all parts of the King's establishment, household, etc. also carry this immunity by extension.
So, when a 13 year old boy was accused of theft in Osbourne Naval College on the Isle of Wight, and summarily dismissed, the family had little recourse. And only one hope.
The King can allow a suit to go forward, essentially by an act of grace, by proclaiming that despite the legal immunity and presumption of infallibility (and you thought only the Pope claimed infallibility!) that there is a just cause at stake. So, he can let the case be examined and tried, using the proclamation: 'Let Right Be Done!'
--The Case--
George Archer-Shee was the accused. Despite the suspicion of several cadets, Archer-Shee was the only one expelled. This was in 1908. His father, Martin Archer-Shee, a Liverpool banker, believed his son's insistence of innocence, and pursued the case through legal and political channels to the extent that his influence would permit.
It became quite a celebrity cause, complete with all of the trinkets, hats, shirts, etc. that one more recently would ascribe to the antics surrounding the O.J. Simpson trial. People waited impatiently for the latest press reports, and the final verdict in favour of the boy sent the public into cheering.
--The Play--
This movie is based on a play by Terence Rattigan, which opened first in 1946. It was previously made into a film (in 1950), and has enjoyed periodic resurrection on the stage, most recently in 1994 as a West End production by Wyn Jones.
Rattigan changed details, not least the names involved: he changed the sister and brother, both ardent Conservatives, into liberal and, in the case of the brother, less than diligent personages. He moved the date forward, and the age of the boy back, and dropped the religious aspect, to try to make this a tale more involved with justice against the Crown (representing any unfeeling, uncaring, faceless authority).
David Mamet, best known for movies such as Glengary Glenross, The Spanish Prisoner, and Homicide, adapted the play. 'In adaptation, at first it would seem like the other fellow's doing all the work,' says Mamet. 'But when you get into it, you see it's not true. The previous work exists in its own right and for very good reasons, but you have to make changes to adapt it to the medium of the screen. But to the degree that this succeeds, it's because it's a great piece of dramaturgy on the part of Rattigan.' The play actually takes place completely within the confines of the Winslow drawing room.
--The Film--
Mamet of course did not confine the movie to the confines of one room. Also, he changed the dialogue around such that much of it occurs in a rat-a-tat-tat fashion much of the time. Mamet is not one for a great deal of action in a physical sense, but keeping track of the dialogue can be positively tiring.
Sir Nigel Hawthorne, best known currently as the star of the title role in 'The Madness of King George', for which he was nominated for an Oscar. He brings his quintessentially British character and presence to this very English family. In the role of the lawyer (Sir Robert Morton), Jeremy Northam (perhaps most recently seen in 'An Ideal Husband') brings an insight into the cost of career and the distance created from an image of greatness, while maintaining the basic humanity of the character who cares for justice. Rebecca Pidgeon, who worked with Mamet earlier in 'The Spanish Prisoner' plays the pivotal role of the accused boy's sister, Catherine, who sacrifices her marriage to the cause (for the husband-to-be wants a less controversial life, er, wife). In this picture (and play) Catherine is a dedicated Suffragette (Rattigan finally got the real sister to accept his revision of her life -- remember, she was an ardent Conservative).
The acting is superb, seems to be a bit slow at times but that is due more to the intentional style rather than any fault of acting. This is a cinematic style of presenting an essentially dialogue-based play that becomes a bit laboured. Much better in the theatre (either as a play or a film) than on home video, where the minor distractions of the home make it more difficult to concentrate. This film requires concentration.
--Epilogue--
In the end, the case is won. In the film, no discussion is made of the aftermath, for this is a single-pointed story - 'Let Right Be Done'. Of course, right can be defined in different terms. Despite being acquitted, the young Archer-Shee never got much benefit of this. He was killed shortly afterward serving in the military in 1914, near the beginning of World War I. His older brother (portrayed in the film as a slacker-student) in fact became a Conservative Member of Parliament, and pressed the case to win back for the family a compensation of 3000 (a princely sum in that time) plus court costs. However, the Admiralty never issued an apology and never rescinded the charges.
Such a minor case. Such a major issue.
A pity so few will ever see this film. Be part of an exclusive set who do.
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The Winslow Boy [DVD] [1999]
The Winslow Boy [DVD] [1999] by David Mamet (DVD - 2003)
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