The Remains of the Day (Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]  [Region Free]
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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.
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Most of our great professions (medicine, engineering, law etc.) depend on a precise attention to detail. Human relations and politics are fine in themselves but they can be distractions. If we are taken into an operating theatre or get on board a passenger plane, we would be uneasy if the surgeon or pilot were giving a big slice of his/her attention to emotional attachments or worrying about Trump or Brexit.
It is all a question of balance. Kishiguru deserves credit for getting us to think about this. E.M.Forster did the same sort of thing a few generations earlier.
Every so often, along comes a film that excels above others, maybe for the acting, the direction, or cinematography, this is one of them. Told in flashback, (between the late 30's through to the 50's) this is a brilliant film from Merchant Ivory. There are a number of stars in this film, all of them playing their roles to perfection, but the acting from Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson is outstanding. This is the type of film that Merchant Ivory excels in. (Another being Howard's End). If you enjoy period films, then you will enjoy this.
Picture Quality for this blu ray release is excellent, having a pin sharp image and natural colours. The transfer is in it's original ratio of 2.35:1, and the soundtrack is in 5.1.
This may only appeal to a limited audience, but nonetheless is an outstanding film.
The film also does justice to all the irony surrounding the idea of dignity and what makes a great butler - the major theme in the book. The irony is that Mr Steven's idea of dignity led him to give the best years of his life to serving a naive English gentleman who tried to make peace with the Nazis in the 1930's and even sacked two Jewish housemaids in this cause.
However in the film the main story line is the unexpressed love between Mr Stevens and the house-keeper, Miss Kenton. This builds up slowly to give us a very different sort of irony: that one of the most heart-breaking and romantic scenes in cinema happens without a kiss, just two hands shaking at a rainy bus stop, and then parting. It's virtually the final scene - in both the book and the film.
The film though adds a superb epilogue, which sums up why Mr Stevens never had a love life. A bird is found flying around one of the large rooms at Darlington Hall where Mr Stevens served. The bird is taken to the window and flies free into the Oxfordshire skies. Mr Stevens stays in the hall - with his duty and dignity - to live out the remains of his day.
My taste in films may not be the same as yours so if you want to know about this film I suggest that you use the internet to find 2 or 3 reviews by experienced film reviewers and make your judgment whether or not to buy this film.
I have watched over 600 films in my life and have a collection of over 200 Blu-Ray's and I rate this one 8/10.
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