I found this DVD at a discount in a chain store and promptly purchased it. The DVD is a double feature containing two of of my favorite period dramas - Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day and Austen's Sense and Sensibility.
DVD Info -
The Remains of The Day
Running Time: 134 mins (PG)
Languages: English 5.1 (Dolby Digital), English, French, Spanish, Portuguese (Dolby Surround)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai
Mastered in High Def, aspect ratio 2.35:1, anamorphic widescreen
Sense and Sensibility
Running Time: 136 mins (PG)
Languages: English, Spanish (Dolby Surround), English 5.1 (Dolby Digital), Portuguese
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai
Mastered in High Def, aspect ratio 1.85:1, anamorphic widescreen
The picture quality is good, though not as crisp as I would have liked. However, if you're looking for a value buy of two great movies, then this DVD set will do nicely.
Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day was a masterpiece, and yet this movie adaptation is not only faithful to the novel, but in my opinion outshines the book. One reason is the excellent casting. Sir Anthony Hopkins plays the by-the-book butler whose icy demeanor actually belies a fondness and even love for his efficient and charming housekeeper, played excellently by Emma Thompson. His insistence on decorum and adherence to the politics of the houselhold cause him to refrain from ever proclaiming his true feelings for his housekeeper, and so also goes his chance of personal happiness. Fast forward years later, and the aging Hopkins now has a new master, an American [played by Christopher Reeve]...he has the opportunity of engaging a new housekeeper, and thinks of his old housekeeper...but things are not as easy as he believes...and whether he gets to rectify his past mistakes makes up the rest of the story. A well-told tale of love lost, and also a good movie that provides a glimpse of politics in England during a time when Germany was rising in power.
Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility (1995) never fails to enthrall me. It has everything one would expect of a classic movie - a good plot [ thanks in large part to Emma Thompson's excellent screenplay], stellar casting, gorgeous sets, costumes and lush scenery of the entrancing English countryside.
The story of Sense & Sensibility is at heart a warm and insightful portrait of two sisters and their relationship wit each other, as well as their romantic interests and a powerful social commentary of society in regency England. Those who are familiar with Jane Austen's works will appreciate how perceptive an observer she was of society at large and remarkable in her capability to capture powerful human emotions on paper.
The plot of Sense & Sensibility the movie revolves around the Dashwood sisters, Elinor & Marianne, who upon the death of their beloved father are forced to move [together with their mother and younger sister] to a cottage in the English countryside and live on a paltry 500 pounds a year [due to English law at the time where property passes down through the male line]. Elinor [played excellently by the talented Emma Thompson] is the older, and more wise [sensible] sister, who tries not to let her emotions rule her, in direct contrast to her younger, feisty sister Marianne [Kate Winslet] who is passionate, outspoken and open in displaying her emotions.
Elinor falls for Edward Ferrars [an awkward yet deferential & handsome Hugh Grant] who due to a youthful indiscretion is unable to follow through on his attachment to Elinor. Marianne, on the other hand falls hard for dashing rogue Willoughby [Greg Wise], ignoring propriety and openly displaying her affections.
The rest of the story deals with how the Dashwood sisters resolve their plight, and the story is made even more compelling by the other characters who certainly add to the depth of the storytelling - Colonel Brandon, a retired officer, who though much older, harbors a deep affection for Marianne [Alan Rickman], the callous sis-in-law Fanny Dashwood [Harriet Waller], the scheming Lucy Steele [Imogen Stubbs]and numerous other characters, who though secondary to the plot, are certainly memorable.
Taiwanese director Ang Lee [of Eat Drink, Man Woman & Wedding Banquet fame] certainly proves his mettle here and manages to flesh out amazing performances from his cast, and delivers a gem of a movie, and a true classic.