I Capture the Castle 2003

The novel takes place between April and October in a single year in the 1930s. The Mortmain family is genteel, poor, and eccentric. Cassandra’s father is a writer suffering from writer’s block who has not published anything since his first book, Jacob Wrestling (a reference to Jacob wrestling with the angel), an innovative and “difficult” modernist novel that sold well and made his name, including in the United States. Ten years before the novel begins he took out a forty-year lease on a dilapidated but beautiful castle, hoping to find either inspiration or isolation there. Now his family is selling off the furniture to buy food.

The widowed Mortmain’s second wife, Topaz, is a beautiful artist’s model who enjoys communing with nature, sometimes wearing nothing but hip boots. Rose, Mortmain’s elder daughter, is a classic English beauty pining away in the lonely castle, longing for a chance to meet eligible and preferably rich young men. She tells her sister Cassandra that she wants to live in a Jane Austen novel. Cassandra, the younger daughter and the first-person narrator of the novel, has literary ambitions and spends a lot of time developing her writing talent by “capturing” everything around her in her journal. Stephen, the handsome, loyal, live-in son of the Mortmain’s late maid, and Thomas, the youngest Mortmain child, round out the cast of household characters. Stephen, a “noble soul,” is in love with Cassandra, which she finds touching but a bit awkward. Thomas, a schoolboy, is, like Cassandra, considered “tolerably bright”.   …more

 

 


 

A Room with a View  1985

Synopsis by Hal Erickson

Room with a View 1985

Adapted by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala from the novel by E.M. Forster, A Room with a View is a shining example of Merchant-Ivory’s ability to achieve maximum quality and opulence at minimum cost. Set during the Edwardian Era, the film stars Helena Bonham Carter as Lucy Honeychurch, who like all proper young British ladies is compelled to tour Europe in the company of an older chaperone — in this instance, her spinster cousin Charlotte Bartlett (Maggie Smith). While in Italy, the ladies make the acquaintance of a wide variety of personalities; the most fascinating of their fellow tourists — at least in Lucy’s eyes — is free-spirited George Emerson (Julian Sands). Aware that her cousin is becoming too familiar with Emerson, Charlotte demands that Lucy return to England posthaste. Lucy complacently settles for the tiresomely traditional courtship of nerdish Cecil Vyse (Daniel Day-Lewis) — and then Mr. Emerson moves into the neighborhood. Lucy now finds herself on the horns of a dilemma: Should she opt for a safe, proper marriage to Cecil, or the bohemian unpredictability of the charismatic Emerson? A winner of three Academy Awards, A Room with a View is not what one could call fast-moving, but fans of the Merchant-Ivory team will enjoy luxuriating in the film’s leisurely pace and stimulating cast of characters

Helena Bonham Carter, Julian Sands, Maggie Smith,

Post Edwardian 1907

Cafe Society 2016

A New Yorker named Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg) moves to Hollywood in the 1930s to work for his uncle Phil (Steve Carell), a powerful and well-connected agent. He soon falls for Phil’s secretary Vonnie (Kristen Stewart), unaware that she’s secretly having an affair with his uncle. In time, a disillusioned Bobby returns home to run a nightclub for his gangster brother (Corey Stoll). Written and directed by Woody Allen, Cafe Society made its world premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.