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The Remains of the Day (Special Edition)

4.7 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, John Haycraft, Christopher Reeve, Caroline Hunt
  • Directors: James Ivory
  • Writers: Kazuo Ishiguro, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
  • Producers: Donald Rosenfeld, Ismail Merchant, John Calley, Mike Nichols, Paul Bradley
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Canadian Home Video Rating : Parental Guidance (PG)
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: Nov. 6 2001
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00003CXC9
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,458 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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