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The Remains of the Day (Special Edition)

Anthony Hopkins , Emma Thompson , James Ivory    Unrated   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 14.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Product Description

Amazon.ca

This excellent film is probably best described as subtle elegance. Framed in the present, the movie deals with the lives inside an English country home just prior to World War II. Reunited with the filmmakers from Howards End are Emma Thompson as Miss Kenton, the head housekeeper, and Anthony Hopkins as Stevens, the impeccable butler. The bittersweet story centers on Stevens and his dedication to his master, Lord Darlington (a suitably officious and slyly pompous James Fox). Stevens summarizes: "I don't believe a man can consider himself fully content until he has done all he can to be of service to his employer." Enveloping Stevens's world are the pending war with Germany, Darlington's horribly misguided interests in said war, and, most effectively, his relationship with Miss Kenton. Stevens is the very essence of repression, but as played by Hopkins he is neither piteous nor self-righteous. Like his master, Stevens becomes misguided in his loyalties, although his is an emotional deprivation, possibly condemning him to lifelong regret. There's so much going on in this film, and yet the action is skillfully depicted through understanding and knowing glances, through emotions expressed only through eye contact. Like other Merchant-Ivory-Ruth Prawer Jhabvala collaborations, this film is sumptuous to look at, capturing the period effectively and affectingly. Jhabvala respectfully adapts from the Kazuo Ishiguro novel. Excellent in supporting roles are Christopher Reeve, Ben Chaplin, and Hugh Grant. --N.F. Mendoza

Product Description

Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins, Hugh Grant, Christopher Reeve. In this story of blind devotion and repressed love, a proper English butler becomes caught in the crossfire of world events and swirling passions. 1993/color/134 min/PG/widescreen.


Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Price of Being Perfect June 5 2004
Format:DVD
THE REMAINS OF THE DAY is one of my all time favorite books, but when I heard about the film, way back in 1993, I was sure the book wouldn't translate well. It was far too interior and quiet. When I saw the film for the first time, I was really surprised. Merchant/Ivory, along with the extraordinary talented screenwriter, Ruth Prawer Jhabuala, seemed to have done the impossible and I knew I'd buy the DVD the day it was released.
THE REMAINS OF THE DAY takes place in 1958 as James Stevens (Anthony Hopkins), a man of late middle age and the head butler at the sumptuous Darlington Hall, begins a motor journey across southern England to the West Country. The purpose of his trip, we learn, is to persuade Ms. Sally Kenton (Emma Thompson), once head housekeeper at Darlington Hall, to resume her old position and, perhaps, a bit more.
Most of the story is told in a series of flashbacks and we gradually come to know Stevens, Ms. Kenton and Lord Darlington (James Fox). Although THE REMAINS OF THE DAY centers on the relationship between Stevens and Ms. Kenton, there are subtle, but definite, political undertones in this film, for Lord Darlington is, of all things, a Nazi sympathizer who wants to prevent war. I've heard criticisms of the film because this subplot wasn't explored in greater detail, but I think Ishiguro (and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala) wrote just enough. To have expanded this subplot might have been interesting, but it would have definitely detracted from the more interesting main plot line, the relationship between Stevens and Ms. Kenton.
Almost from the beginning of the film, it's clear that Stevens and Ms. Kenton love each other. While Ms.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite Film Feb. 14 2012
By Argus TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Superlative acting, an absorbing story and exquisite English settings are all hallmarks of "The Remains of the Day." Along with "Howard's End" or "A Room With a View" this is probably the Merchant-Ivory team's greatest accomplishment. Here they deliver a richly-textured screen adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel, full of subtlety and understatement, about a butler's devotion to service and the price he pays for it.

The story takes place in the country home of Lord Darlington (James Fox) and involves a relationship of sorts between the butler Stevens (Anthony Hopkins) and the housekeeper, Miss Kenton (Emma Thompson). Events, in flashback, play out over 20 years or so from the 1930s with the ominous rise of fascism to the post-war breakdown of class structure. Pervasive throughout is an ambience of doomed resignation that is simultaneously exasperating and heartrending. A poignant sadness unfolds as the main characters come to terms with profound loss, personal and otherwise, that mistakes in their lives have brought them.

Period detail is scrupulously adhered to in terms of locations, costume, mannerisms and so forth. From his research Hopkins recalls carrying into the role advice from a professional butler that his presence in a room should make it seem more empty. Whatever its impact on him personally, the result on screen is extraordinary. The emotional restraint he portrays has to be seen to be believed! Thompson is the perfect foil for Hopkins with an outspoken assertiveness and self-possession. Impressive performances are also given by Christopher Reeve, Peter Vaughan, Tim Piggott-Smith, Hugh Grant and Lena Headey.

Overall this is an intelligent, stimulating and moving piece of film-making. Wonderful stuff!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DVD Release a Technical Disappointment Nov. 10 2001
Format:DVD
Remains of the Day is probably my favorite film of all time. We favor movies that we can identify with. I think author Kazuo Ishiguro's comment was dead on when he said "I think we all can identify with Stevens in one way or another". However, this is not a review of the film. Enough has been said about that. This is, instead, a technical review of the long awaited distribution of the film in DVD format.
My expectation was that when I was able to view the film on DVD in its original wide screen format, all that extra screen space that normally gets cut away to modify the picture for television would be viewable again. I was mistaken. I popped my VHS tape in the VCR and my new DVD in its player and set the TV to show both VHS and DVD side by side (I'd been wanting to do this for years). What I saw surprised me. The VHS version does indeed remove some of the picture from the sides. What I didn't expect is that it has additional picture on the top and bottom that the wide screen release on DVD does NOT. The important issue here is that the additional picture provided in the wide screen film provides LESS usable information toward the visual translation of the film than the 4:3 aspect for VHS/TV which provides more real estate top and bottom. Case and point:
Probably the most important scene in the film is "The Book". Miss Kenton corners Mr. Stephens in his office and pries a book from his hands. This is the most intimate moment for the couple. In the VHS version the struggle with the book in picture can clearly be watched. In the DVD version the bottom of the frame impedes this subject matter; the book and her hands struggling with his.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars but like most movies
Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, and Kazuo Ishiguro. I would give it five stars, but like most movies, it cannot quite deliver on the nuances of the source novel.
Published 9 days ago by Nancy Faraday
5.0 out of 5 stars Review.
This "remains" a classic, and will continue to be so. The actors are first class also the settings and scenery.
Published 3 months ago by Barrie Fisher
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect transfer, but flawed in the menu authoring.
Arguably one of the finest dramas of all time delivered on a beautiful Blu-Ray transfer. There have been some excellent related documentaries included, but this particular edition... Read more
Published 6 months ago by OdysseusCA
5.0 out of 5 stars THE TONY AND EMMA SHOW THAT'S POSITIVELY EXQUISITE
The Remains of the Day 'remains' one of the finest motion pictures to emerge from the mid-1990's, imbued with all the sophistication of a stellar screenplay, and brought to the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Nick Zegarac
4.0 out of 5 stars not one of anthony hopkins gory movies
which is why I liked it - he can go from creepy mind numbing to class act - an all around good actor. Read more
Published on June 23 2012 by Frances
4.0 out of 5 stars Sad Tale
Bought this for the wife. Truly sad tale of the problems and issues that faced britons pre WW2. Also issustrated the truly sad life that many in service had to endure. Read more
Published on Sept. 30 2011 by Michael B. Neuman
5.0 out of 5 stars James Ivory's masterpiece!
This is a slow paced movie, but so well acted and directed that you miss the rhytm. You feel caught from the first images with the voice in off . The photography is splendid. Read more
Published on July 15 2004 by Hiram Gomez Pardo
4.0 out of 5 stars Dignity in Remains of the day
"Dignity in Remains of the day " by Shahzada Gofran
An American mother lost four out of five of her sons at war in Vietnam during 1954. Read more
Published on July 3 2004 by Shahzada Gofran
5.0 out of 5 stars White Ties and Black Shirts
This is a film that is as simple or complex as you want it to be. It's also, for what it's worth, my favourite movie. Top of the list. Read more
Published on May 31 2004 by S. Macintosh
5.0 out of 5 stars THE WHAT-IFs OF LIFE THAT YOU SIMPLY "ACCEPTED"
This Merchant Ivory masterpiece is a must-own DVD: not only if you are intrigued by the labyrinthine world of English genteel lifestyles (butlers, under-butlers, footmen and the... Read more
Published on Nov. 29 2003 by Shashank Tripathi
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