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Last September [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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It tells of a family, the Naylors, who "try hard not to notice" that the prevailaged, Protestant world of which they are part is being swept away. Louis, the daughter of the house is more concerned with falling in love, but when she does so, the relationship is terminated by her mother, who considers her beau not to be of the right background - his suburban Middlesex home being an unsuitable match for glamorous County Cork. Across the beatiful lawns of their house we see distant, shadowy figures running Rebublican errands and outwitting the British soldiers stationed nearby.
The Naylors, and Louis in particular, are placed in an awkward dilemma: their livelyhood depends upon a certain amount of goodwill from their Republican neighbours and tennants, but everyone presumes them to be in league with the British. The consequenses of this conflict of interests touches every aspect of the Naylors' lives.
This is director Debora Warner's first venture into cinema: it is a brave choice for a first-timer. Elizabeth Bowen's book is one of atmospheres and emotions rather than a linear plot, and Warner use lengthy shots of deserted clockwork gramophones and rope-swings spinning from trees to illustrate the pungent passages of prose for whch Bowen was famous (Seamus Heanney refered to them as Bowen 747s). But these cinematic interludes, though beatufully shot, can never fulfil the purpose of descriptive prose.
However, the cast is suberb and Maggie Smith is wonderful as the aparently absent-minded mother, Lady Naylor. It is the cast that save this film and it is worth seeing for their performances alone.Read more ›
This period of Irish history, and this group of aristocratic people, the Anglo Irish, are new to most film-goers, and the story of their lives and the decline of the "old ways" marks this out as a less syrupy, though still sumptuously watchable "Brideshead Revisited".
It really is a feast for every sense and well worth seeking out: a magnificent film in every way.
Sir Richard, played by Michael Gambon and Lady Myra, played by Maggie Smith are the owners if the manor. She notices that her niece Lois, played by Keeley Hawes is sweet on Gerald Colthurst, played by David Tennant, a British captain. Lady Myra warns her niece that the match won't do. But,who inows what Lois has in mind. She is also interested in the Irishman who is killing the local English army. It us a mess, and tge saving grace if this film is Marda, played by Fiona Shaw. She is an older woman just at the age of becoming an old maid, but has found a man to marry. He has money and will keep her comfortable. She us smart and saucy and keeps the film alive. It is both Marda and Lady Myra who run the film. Maggie Smith is as always the thrust of the film. It took their performances to keep this film alive.
Recommended. prisrob 05-14-14
The DVD details stated that it played in all regions. Well, it wouldn't play on my Region 2 DVD player. Very disappointed.
At first blush this is Doctor Who meets Harry Potter as the main players come on the scene. Seriously though, it is hard towatch this for a while given the proximity of the stars of the movie similar to that of the Potter movies. A bit of a distraction.
Maggie Smith has made this sort of role her own and in this I am strongly reminded of her portrayal in Private Function, a film which has many parallels here.
It is easy to mistake the setting for rural England, which to me is a deliberate perspective of the Director. There is a powerful impetus to assume that the central charcters are, in fact, English, but as the plot unfolds, the underlying sypathies are exposed as an identity, and a greater connection to the historical roots.
Of course, the romance involving an English officer (and thus gentleman) in direct contrast to the Fenian freedom fighter (Irish gentry) is very symbolic. The traditional roles are inverted and twisted but eventually, the officer is killed by his republican rival metaphorically representing the separation of the two lands and the division of the heart of the object of their affection.
The problem is, appreciation of the full scope of the film is limited to those who have read the book and who have a different perception of the story and those who have some rudimentary knowledge of history, politics and class. That is not to say that the regular viewer is left completely in the dark, but merely, that the richness of colour and tone is lost to that person.
For that reason I can only countenance four stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This US dvd was not compatible with my dvd player. Could not use.Published 19 months ago by Mrs R M Hodson
This film shows a turning point in the early 1900s. How status was changing, the Irish were beginning to rebel and "place" was not held to so firmly. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Claudia
DVD not compatible with English player so not able to view at all, therefore unable to rate the film - useless!Published on 10 Jan. 2014 by Ann E. Wilkinson
Couldn't even play it. The first and only time I buy a US import. Had no idea it would not work on my DVD player and seller did not provide advice. Bit fed up about it.Published on 19 Oct. 2013 by Gillian Barr
I was very unhappy about this product. I read the information very carefully before l bought it and looked forward to getting the DVD. Read morePublished on 13 Jun. 2013 by Marilyn