Senior HTF Member
- Jul 3, 1997
- Real Name
- Ronald Epstein
Film Length: 138 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
Tea At Four. Dinner At Eight. Murder At Midnight.
By all rights, I should not be reviewing this DVD.
There is nothing more than I enjoy least than
watching a boorish film about uptight English people.
Had it not been the fact that pressure has been put
on me to review this film, I would have not done so.
Watching Gosford Park was about as fun as
having a root canal. I feel really bad saying it,
because I know this film has received so much
critical acclaim including Oscar nods.
Director Robert Altman's whose 30 year stretch
of films include MASH and THE PLAYER, brings us
a film about a murder mystery at an English country
mansion. But the film is more than just that --
it's a subtle satire of the division between the
classes. Half the cast make up the "wealthy" class
and the other half are their servants. For exactly
1 hour and 18 minutes, I was forced to sit and
watch the droll interaction between these two
classes waiting for something....something to
What starts out as a dinner and shooting party
suddenly turns into a night of murder. After this
murder takes place emotions unfold and secrets from
the past are revealed that help the characters - and
the audience - solve the mystery.
It's hard to really talk about the people and
the characters in this film as they all sort of
meld together in their British accents and tuxedos.
The only person who stood out for me is Maggie Smith,
as the notable cranky Countess of Trentham.
How is the transfer?
I was not impressed with this transfer at all.
The entire film looks way too soft, as if filmed
through a cloth. There is a noticeable amount of
video noise evident -- especially in the red walls
and draperies which look oversaturated. The flesh
tone colors are way too red. Overall, the picture
The 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround is nothing to
rave about, either. Most of the rear surrounds
support Patrick Doyle's score, which is one of
the rare enjoyments I found in this film. This
score provided an ample amount of LFE bass response.
Other than shots that were fired during the film's
pheasant hunt, there really wasn't any effect
noises that the surrounds made use of.
A Feature Commentary with Director
Robert Altman is provided on this DVD.
There are over a dozen deleted scenes,
most transitional. One is of Henry Denton having
drinks with the people upstairs, which is a social
no-no. Another scene taking place after the murder
shows the servants snubbing Denton, as they are
pissed off at him. Another scene has the servants
listening to the Inspector on the telephone and
a subplot about changing the will.
These scenes can be played with or without
commentary from Robert Altman.
(length: approx. 20 minutes)
The Making of Gosford Park introduces
us to Robert Altman. Altman is shown on the set
directing his cast, as interviews with cast
members reveal how much fun they had on this
film project. Altman never followed the script,
and rarely has any idea what goes on in the
script until after the scene is filmed and he turns
to his script supervisor to make sure it all went
well. You really get a feel for Altman's
unstructured method of directing, as you watch
him throughout this featurette. Finally, we
watch Altman's modest speech upon winning the
Best Director at (I think) the Golden Globe Awards.
(length: approx. 19 minutes)
The Authenticity of Gosford Park dwells
into the technical advisors of this film, most
who were butlers and other assorted service
people themselves. These advisors, like the
cook for example, were on hand to properly show
the actors how to authentically cook food according
to that period. Even the mannerisms of Jennings
the Butler were perfected with the help of a real
butler who had been in service. An interesting
look at how filmmakers strive to make their films
(length: approx. 8 minutes)
The film's original theatrical trailer is
included as are Cast and Filmmaker Filmographies
that are divided into those ABOVE STAIRS and those
Coming Attractions includes a short promo
for the film's soundtrack as well as promos for
the DVDs Family Man, K-Pax and Patch
I almost feel like I am trashing an artistic
masterpiece that has received so much positive
attention. While I will admit that Gosford Park
is a sophisticated piece of film work with impeccable
acting, directing and design, it just isn't my
cup of tea. Frankly, unless you are into these
kind of films, you won't find it your cup of tea,
Release Date: June 25, 2002