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Presidents’ Weekend Marathon 2:Gosford Park

When a great director makes a stinker like Dr. T and the Women, I worry. I wonder if he’s lost his touch, and I’ll end up suffering through another two or three horrors before I give up. Apparently Altman was just having a bad day, because Gosford Park is a wonderful thing.

For a newcomer to Altman: be patient. It is going somewhere, it just takes time to get there.

Gosford is the usual massive ensemble peopled with a jaw-dropping cast. I understand why it’s done that way–otherwise you’d hardly notice anyone amongst the crowd. Maggie Smith and Helen Mirren both richly deserve their noms in the Supporting Actress category, and it’s tough to choose the better performance. Clive Owen is yummy (imagine that!), and Ryan Phillipe is nicely typecast. I’d tell you more, but it’s a teensy spoiler.

The film is remarkable on many levels, but one thing that delighted me in particular was the blocking–the sheer choreography of getting tons of people around that set as if it were a ballet.

This cross between Upstairs, Downstairs and Clue is not to be missed. It would make an excellent rental for a rainy night; it is a snuggle-up-and-figure-it-out flick.

And now, I’m heading for bed. No, I didn’t intend to stay up through the whole marathon–I’m human, and staying up is for other things. I’ll go back at it in the morning.

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