The Winslow Boy
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Product Description

Many thought The Winslow Boy was an odd choice of material for David Mamet. It was originally a Terence Rattigan play from 1946, taken from a true incident in England in 1908 about a boy, 13, discharged from Royal Naval College for allegedly stealing and cashing a five-shilling postal order. The boy's father, Arthur Winslow (Nigel Hawthorne), mounts a lengthy and expensive legal campaign to clear his boy's and by extension his own name, with the rallying cry, "Let right be done!" The resultant notoriety, the dwindling fortune of the Winslows, as well as the punishment this pressure exacts on them, form the surface action of the story. Yet underneath the staid manners of the dialogue there roils a whole emotional life hardly hinted at in the actors' faces. The famous lawyer engaged to defend the boy, Sir Robert Morton (Jeremy Northam), makes a suitable sparring partner for the Winslows' daughter, Catherine (Rebecca Pidgeon), a suffragette whose suitors are scared off by the family's legal battle. The unspoken romance between these two is more the point than whether right is done or not. Pidgeon brings the same inscrutable countenance that complicated her role in Mamet's previous film, The Spanish Prisoner, to this film--but here everybody seems to have it. As the differences between appearance and actuality reconcile themselves, Mamet builds bridges to his other works, House of Games and The Spanish Prisoner, for instance, for the ways in which dialogue is a cover for someone's true nature. The Winslow Boy is masterful in its quiet treatment of human mysteries. --Jim Gay

Customer Reviews:

  • What a Delightful Surprise!
    It took me several years to get around to purchasing "The Winslow Boy". Although I was certain that I would like it--after all, Nigel Hawthorne was in it--I had no idea that I was in for an hour-and-a-half of such absorbing drama. In one of his last roles, Hawthorne brings a poignant combination of strength and tenderness to the role of the patriarch, whose determination to "let right be done" almost breaks apart the family that he is trying to preserve. His scenes with Gemma Jones--torn apart by her conflicting roles as loyal wife and loving mother--are especially moving. Because of the ensemble acting of the entire cast, the family dynamic is entirely believable.

    The real surprise for me, however, was Jeremy Northam in the role of Sir Robert Morton, KC, MP. Although Northam's performances in films such as "Gosford Park" and "Enigma" have been enjoyable, his portrayal of the aristocratic barrister quietly sizzled with sensual undertones that would do a handsome brooding Jane Austen hero proud. I found myself waiting for him to come onstage, as it were; and wishing that I could hear his moving summation to the jury; and that I might be allowed to follow Sir Robert's romantic pursuit of Miss Winslow. The last lines of the film are simply tantalizing.

    Much of this "wanting more of Morton" derives not only from Northam's portrayal, but also from playwright Terrance Rattigan's technique of having the action take place offstage. The technique, which dates back to Greek tragedy, contributes to the dramatic tension of "The Winslow Boy." The very device of having characters relate the events taking place elsewhere, however, will likely render the drama inaccessible to some viewers, who demand fast-paced visual action. But for those who savor a riveting drama of quality, "The Winslow Boy" will not disappoint....more info
  • Good not great; unfulfilled potential.
    With this being one of the last, if not the last, performances by Nigel Hawthorne, my wife and I expected something really good. Moreover, other reviewers had generally rated the show with five stars. We enjoyed the story, to be sure, but giving it five stars may do an injustice to other outstanding British and other productions we've seen lately. Not least of these have been "North and South" and "Pride and Prejudice." Both the 1979 and 1995 renderings of the latter fall into a five star mode for us.

    The story line revolves around the Winslow family, with Nigel Hawthorne as patriarch. He and his wife, played by Gemma Jones, have three offspring, a daughter and two sons. The younger son, Ronnie, gets into trouble at his Navy prep school when he's only 13 years old. A money order is stolen, forged, and cashed, and Ronnie is accused of the crime. After a one-sided review, Ronnie is expelled in disgrace and sent home. Mr. Winslow is outraged and spends the next several years of his life, along with a great share of the family fortune fighting for legal justice. The Winslow daughter, portrayed by Rebecca Pidgeon, is also drawn deeply into the case with little or no reward for her efforts.

    Pacing of the show is noticeably slow. It plods along for the better part of 1 hour and 45 minutes with no hint of what will come. There is little wit and humor that you'd expect from a cast featuring Mr. Hawthorne. This is a dead serious drama all the way. One wonders if more background music would have helped. Also, as with other British productions, it may be advisable for we Americans to switch on subtitles. British idioms and sayings are not easy for us to pick up and the actors move on quickly with their dialogue.

    Conclusion of the show is particularly bothersome as we are told that the case is eloquently argued in court by the hero, Sir Robert Morton, well played by Jeremy Northam. But we don't get to see any of the key proceedings and the long-sought victory is almost treated as an afterthought. To top it off, Sir Robert makes a vague comment to the Winslow daughter that might suggest a romantic follow-up on his part. But there the story ends abruptly. What could David Mamet, the writer and director, have been thinking? Did he run out of money? Or, maybe Mr. Hawthorne's failing health may have affected the production?

    As to the "making of" featurette, it was skimpy to say the least. Yes, there were brief interviews with Mr. Mamet and Mr. Hawthorne, but very little else.

    For those interested in period dramas, there are better choices, as noted above. For us, "The Winslow Boy" was good but not great and sadly does not fulfill its potential.


    ...more info
  • Worthwhile, But See Donat Version
    This is an excellent film, and J.N. and N.H. are especially good, but I had two major reservations. First, I did not at all care for R.P.'s smirking performance as Kate Winslow; I did not feel that there were great unspoken depths--on the contrary, I found her entirely one dimensional. There was also some excellent dialogue in the first film version that was not carried over to the second. I have not read or seen the play, and do not know if the dialogue I missed was in fact part of the original screen adaptation, but even if it was Mamet should have retained it. What I specifically have in mind is the moment when Kate and Sir Robert meet. In the first film, Kate is expecting her fiance and flings open the front door with a "John, you're late!", only to find Sir Robert standing there, looking very posh and remote in his evening clothes. She says, "Oh, I'm sorry, I was expecting a friend." As it turns out, of course, it is Sir Robert and not John who turns out to be the truest friend to her and her family.
    A scene that was carried over to the new version is the one in which Winslow wants to drop the case because it may threaten Kate's engagement, and Kate assures Sir Robert that her fiance will remain loyal. In the original, Robert queries Kate on this in a sudden and abrupt way that makes it clear he is testing her resolve, and Kate replies in a way that makes clear that although she claims John will hold firm, she's pretty sure that he will not. When Sir Robert sees that she is prepared to sacrifice her future to the principle of right (for, like Sir Robert, she cares more about the principle involved than clearing her brother), he softens towards her. Indeed, although this film is a fine romance (of the stiff-upper-lip school), thanks to Leighton's performance it is also far more appealingly feminist than the remake.

    Leighton and Hardwicke are quite marvelous in the 1940s version, but at the center of it is the great Robert Donat, with his white-faced handsomeness, his dark gaze, his beautifully melancholy voice, and his sadly detached manner. The delicacy with which he works his way through the film, with his restraint and remoteness making the moments of emotion or flirtation all the more affecting, is extraordinary. Northam's performance is in the same vein, and also superior, but don't miss Donat!...more info
  • A quietly brilliant gem
    The Winslow Boy is easily my favorite movie experience of 1999. There are too few films like this with its superb (and profanity-free!) dialogue and thought-provoking characterizations. I believe this new version's omission of the final courtroom dramatics (mentioned by an earlier reviewer) was a brilliant decision of director Mamet's. Here, the out-of-court dialogues and polite parlor interplay tell the story in crafty, ultimately revealing layers... Yes, there is a touch of ambiguity in some of the characters' motives which, for me, makes all the undercurrent discoveries more exciting and personal. These people are very real and express their feelings only to the point that real people tend to air their souls... which is to say, not that much! The subtle ambiguity reminds me of the novels of master-author Henry James. Intelligent, psychologically fascinating, detective-y almost, and romantic. It's beautifully directed -- Mamet excels at twisty, mind-bending plots and I think his trademark touches weave very well into a multi-character study like this one. The actors are universally charismatic and memorable. It's certainly Jeremy Northam's and Rebecca Pidgeon's best work... and when isn't Nigel Hawthorne amazing? He's brilliant here. And for such an elegant, mannered period movie, it gives off unexpected electricity. There's nothing like great dialogue to create great chemistry!...more info
  • This film stands for: "less sometines means more"
    Movies, these days, come loaded with such a definitely bombastic style that they appear to deny the existence of the notion that restraint has its peculiar virtue and beauty. In this sense, the "Winslow Boy" will only be truly appreciated by those who do have a good grasp of that notion. The film is a perfect example to illustrate that an underplayed performance is much more effective and satisfying than an overplayed one; that self-restraining style has more meaning and class than a say-all-you-feel style. Put in other words, isn't it more exciting to see a beautiful woman in a suggestive dress than see her in the nude! Yes, leave the rest to one's own imagination and intimacy! Despite the grave nature of the legal issue raised in the movie, every aspect in it is underplayed and delivered with an appropriate touch of reticence that the conflicts it generate seem more real and honest. The Winslow Boy incident is nothing but a catalyst and a tool to develop characters, conflicts and relationships. Among them the relationship between Rebecca Pidgeon and Jeremy Northam is a model of adult sexuality at its finest. In essence, this movie is a drama which hides a covert, clever, smoldering romance which has an atypical happy ending that stimulates your imagination beyond the movie. Deep underneath their skin one can feel the sexual tension between them that is kept in check by their cool heads and the notion that it is always better not to let one's emotions just explode all at once. Emotions should be managed and not let run loose at will. After the ending, one comes to the realization that long lasting relationships are built step by step, with time and effort, and with a good dose of intellectual foreplay to top it off. By the way, this DVD comes with an alternative audio commentary by the director and the principal cast that is very informative and entertaining, and it is also a good example of why every good film should add such a track to its DVD format. This may have been the best performance by Jeremy Northam (he certainly has a resemblance and style of Laurence Olivier) , and Rebecca Pidgeon was perfect in her role, and those who critized her for being too cold and emotionless, and other aspects of this movie, just do not get the deliberate design of this movie....more info
  • THE WINSLOW BOY - A "MUST TO SEE" MOVIE
    Period movie drama that has superb acting from the main characters: Jeremy Northam, Rebecca Pidgeon, Nigel Hawthorne, Gemma Jones, Matthew Pidgeon, and Guy Edwards. A real family drama. A big fan of Jeremy Northam, he was so good here as a lawyer, Rebecca Pidgeon as the big sister and daughter, Matthew as the big brother to Guy and a very understanding son, Gemma Jones as the supportive wife and mom, and Nigel Hawthorne as the head of the family trying to clear his boy's name, and the family's as well. This movie is a "Family Movie" since there are no lewd scenes, showing how a family deals with a circumstance such as this. Family values! Excellent acting from Guy Edwards, very convincing....more info
  • Fascinating snapshot of an English family and their politics
    Sometimes the silences in movies are as important as the dialogue. Mamet uses both brilliantly and deliberately in this intriguing film.

    Jeremy Northam finally gets to use his intelligence and acting skill in this film, so for all you Northam fans this movie is a must-see. The rest of the actors are fine as well, especially Mamet's wife Rebecca Pidgeon. I haven't liked many of her previous roles in his films, but she is well-matched to Northam and really shines here.

    The music, cinematography, and set design are all excellent....more info

  • Ronnie good looking? What utter rot!
    When I first watched the Winslow Boy I had no idea what I was in for.

    I should say for starters that this movie was cast with a brilliant array of actors. From Northam to Jones, this film was so much more then the quiet cover portrayed. I had never seen Jeremy Northam in a movie before and was thrilled to find yet another wonderful British actor.

    The story of the Postal order and the family who tries to clear its name is wonderful. The family interacts like a true family would showing just enough affection without being sappy. Stiff upper lip and all that rot. I was fond of Dickie and his way of saying everything in such a P.C way. I loved the loving way that Arthur dealt with Ronnie....that was a beautiful scene. A father never wants to think that his son has lied to him, but the close relationship they had was lovely.

    "For a lie cannot be had between us. I shall know it Ronnie. I shall know it. Did you steal this postal order?"

    "No Father I didn't."

    What a shame that more family can't share that kind of honesty. I was also touched by the way that everyone looked out for the boy. But I have to say that my favorite characters were Sir. Robert Morton (Northam) and Catharine Winslow ( Mamet ) Their banter back and forth was superb! They each gave as good as they got and finally found themselves coming together I a kind of secret romance.

    "Perhaps I shall see you there again? Up in the gallery?"

    "No. Across the floor. One day."

    "You still continue your feminist actives?"

    "Oh, yes."

    "Pity. It's a lost cause."

    "Do you think so? How very little you know about women. Goodbye, I doubt we shall meet again."

    "Oh do you Miss Winslow? How very little you know about man."

    I would say that anyone who loves a good British film should get this movie. But I have to ask why movie like this are only made in other countries and American films are usually such trash?
    ...more info
  • Let Right Be Done
    One of the most interesting films of '99, The Winslow Boy may not be for everyone. No cars careen around corners and explode, no guns are fired. Instead David Mamet (House of Games, The Spanish Prisoner, Glengarry Glen Ross) in his movie adaption of Terrance Rattigan's ever popular British play, based on a true story, creates an English world of 1910 on the eve of WWI, women's sufferage and the rest of the modern age. With dramatic, precisely crafted dialogue he raises such questions as: the standing of the least before the highest, justice vs. moral truth, the costs of the pursuit of truth and the difficulty seperating truth from lies. Featuring Jeremy Northam (Emma, The Net), Nigel Hawthorne (Madness of King George), Rebecca Pigeon (Spanish Prisoner, and also David Mamet's wife), her brother Matthew Pigeon, Gemma Jones (Sense & Sensibility), Colin Stinton, and thirteen year old Guy Edwards as Ronnie Winslow, the accused. They all do fine job, but particularly outstanding are Northam as Sir Robert Morton, Hawthorne as the father Arthur Winslow, Jones as Grace Winslow and Edwards. Benoit Delhomme's John Singer Sargeant like cinema photography brings to life end of Victorian England. As Mamet wrote in Three Uses of the Knife: "During the O.J. Simpson case..it occurred to me that a legal battle consisted not in a search for truth but in jockeying for the right to pick the central issue."...more info
  • Mamet gives strong showing in Merchant & Ivory territory.
    A beautiful, subtle film. One of the year's best.
    A shock, a surprise, a revelation--David Mamet's idiosyncratic style is a perfect match for the era. The story and performances are nearly flawless, and the ending scene is a masterpiece of careful emotion--I can only compare it to certain scenes in 'Remains of the Day.'...more info
  • Love This Film
    Love this film. I am a David Mamet fan, but more so a Jeremy Northam admirer. I cannot stop looking at every movement of Mr. Northam in any film he has made and I have 90% of them in my collection. The Winslow Boy is such a wonderfully written and acted film; my sister and I viewed it again and again. How sensual two people can be (Rebecca Pidgeon and Jeremy Northam) without blunt demonstrations. Oh yes!...more info
  • a subtly sexy family film!
    Rebecca Pidgeon and Jeremy Northam's fine performances fuel the supremely sexy subtext of a film that at first glance tackles the topic of honor and truth. Equally fascinating is David Mamet's (I repeat: David Mamet's!)profound exegesis of a topic rarely explored by modern filmmakers--namely, a happy family. His portrayals of parental, filial, fraternal and of course romantic love are in my opinion unparalleled in any movie, ever. Furthermore,of particular interest is The Winslow Boy's fine use of costume and production design (Mamet's editing is also noteworthy)which not only stunningly recreate a specific time in English history, but also serve to advance the very interesting story with innovation and creativity. After your initial viewing, do take the opportunity to listen to the director and principal actors' comments for a deeper understanding of the myriad brilliant technical components of this deeply touching film. ...more info
  • Most of you missed the point
    It must be discouraging to Mamet to have so many completely miss the point of this movie. This movie is not about "right" or "justice" or "honor" or "perseverance" or any of the stuff mentioned by many other reviewers (at least the several that I read). It is about epigamic differentiation, a biological phenomenon known to most of you as "love at first sight". It is a romance, completely and entirely, between Pidgeon's character (Catherine) and Northam's (Sir Robert). It is all there, but disguised by the apparent story about a boy falsely accused of cheating at school, or whatever. Sir Robert falls in love with Catherine on first seeing her in his office and all his actions from then on are driven by it. She does not catch on until the last scene. It is delicious. ...more info
  • Great film; terrible DVD transfer
    It appears that the other reviewers have neglected to remark on the video transfer quality of this wonderful film. It is, in a word, dreadful. Anyone watching this DVD on a widescreen monitor--even a computer monitor--will notice that it appears to have been transferred from an out-of-focus, low quality original print. Such a pity! The subtle visual nuances of the original film are obscured; the gross imperfections are very distracting....more info
  • Intelligent and thought provoking
    This is a very intelligent, profound and remarkable film, for both the acting and the character interaction. The plot and subject matter are superb, this is a film for those that like to think, be moved, and relish profundity. This film is one that will not easily be forgotten in the mind of the viewer, I would recommend to take the time to watch this film carefully, so as to be properly prepared and experience it fully....more info
  • Evocative Turn of the Century Film
    I saw this movie in the library and decided to try it based on the director being David Mamet, whose previous work such as Glengarry Glen Ross and House of Cards I really enjoyed. I knew nothing about the movie otherwise and don't even remember it being released. What a surprise! Even though the plot (the younger son of a middle class British family is kicked out of the Osborne Naval Academy for cheating and his family sets out to prove his innocence) doesn't sound that interesting, the story kept me on the edge of my seat. Mamet has several key events happen off screen and the actors responding to second hand notice of these events and this actually seemed to heighten the suspense. Jeremy Northam is brilliant in a pivotal role. If you want a change from the summer blockbusters, this is the perfect movie!...more info
  • good use of viewing time
    Loved it -Great plot and performances = Watched it the second time with my 13 year old - the truth is the truth and the film shows the power and cost of this belief. I set out to be entertained and I was and too my surprise so was my daughter. We had lots to talk about after seeing the film. We have recommended it to others....more info
  • A perfect family movie! Brilliantly acted!
    My family tends to be very strict when it comes to movies so we were a bit wary when it came to watching this- but it has become of my favourite films. There is *no* bad language, no sexual insinuations, no "bed scenes", nothing that makes you blush. It is a beautiful story about a family who is willing to do anything for the boy's innocence. Hollywood should be applauded for making a movie like this- it is so very clean & such a wonderful story!...more info
  • Jeremy Northam Is Wonderful!
    I think the video box shows you exactly who dominates this film: Jeremy Northam, on the top left. That's where my eye feels impelled to travel! He plays the English barrister who represents the boy who is let go from his school for allegedly stealing. He strikes you at the start of the movie as a great barrister but also an unbending man, cold as ice and as handsome as a chiseled ice sculpture. The young woman, the boy's sister, is seemingly the barrister's opposite on everything. As the family's resources are drained while the case drags on, it becomes apparent that the reason Northam is such a great barrister is that there is tremendous passion in his inner convictions which lies under his outside edifice. This has one of the best movie endings I've ever seen and the dialogue between the barrister and the sister is absolutely perfect. David Mamet did a wonderful job of adapting the Terrence Rattigan play. Mamet's wife plays the boy's sister....more info
  • If you're a parent,, you'll love this movie
    Saga of an early 20th century British family whose youngest son is tried and convicted of stealing at a military school. An education in parenting, sacrifice and endurance as they fight to save the honor of a young boy. Brilliant screenplay and acting. One of my favorite movies of all time!...more info
  • Everyone needs to see this!
    This is a lesson in how to take the "High Road" or as the movie say, "Let right be done." A tightly written and acted movie with excellent performances by ALL the actors. This one is hard to beat!...more info
  • A fine movie from a fine play
    When I saw this movie, I didn't know that it is based on Terence Rattigan's play. Then I had an opportunity to read the play and found that director David Mamet adapted it remarkably. He kept original plot, characters, and even dialogues from the play, yet, he altered several scenes(for example, sir Robert Morton's powerful speech at the House of Common) which make the movie more vivid. "Winslow Boy" is based on a true story which involves a lawsuit, but, it is focused on Winslow family rather than Winslow case in the court. So, it could be an unexpected approach. People who expected thrilling arguements in the courtroom might be somewhat disappointed. But this unexpected approach gives a real value to this movie and it makes it masterful. Anyone who is tired of seeing typical hollywood movie will find a pleasant surprise in this film....more info
  • Mamet's Merchant&Ivory
    David Mamet's "Winslow Boy" is a break from his usual conventions. Instead of exploring contemporary American society,Mamet goes back in time to bring Terence Rattigan's play to life. Set in pre-WWI England, Mamet captures a society in transition. Catherine Winslow (Rebecca Pidgeon,Mamet's wife) is a suffragette. War on the Continent looms on the horizon. Set in 1908,the Russian Revolution is only a few years away. Beneath the calm,cool exterior,British society is roiling.

    The plot is deceptively simple- Ronnie Winslow (Guy Edwards),a young cadet, has stolen a postage stamp. It sounds like a surefire yawner. A Conservative, Sir Robert Morton (the talented&underrated Jeremy Northam),takes up the case because he's smitten with Rebecca.

    Robert&Rebecca's romance is superbly done. While they don't end up making passionate love upon a love seat, their dialogue sizzles. They have chemistry,despite their ideological differences. It's subtle. Robert's love inspires him to give an eloquent speech in defense of Ronnie,a discourse on Justice and Right. There are open-ended questions for the viewer: was Ronnie guilty? Was he kicked out because he wasn't part of the elite class? Do Robert and Rebecca end up together?

    "The Winslow Boy" is Mamet's Merchant&Ivory masterpiece. He's as capable of depicting uptight Edwardian Brits as he is unscrupulous American scam artists. This movie has gotten short shrift. It's a beautiful movie. It echoes the words of Ludwig Wittgenstein,an Austrian philosopher who also lived during that era,"Whereof one cannot speak,thereof one must be silent."...more info
  • Spectacular
    The Winslow Boy is my second DVD, and I disagree with everything degrading said about it. The color is rich and full, the characters clearly outlined, and the story engaging. True, I would have loved to see Sir Robert's final courtroom dramatics, but all in all, it's a great buy, and I'll defintly reccomend it to anyone I come across. The DVD is wonderful! Dramatic to the hilt, the story is believable, and change for the better. There are also some hilarious moments between Kathryn and Sir Robert and the issue of Women's Suffrage. SEE this movie!...more info
  • THE WINSLOW BOY - A "MUST TO SEE" MOVIE
    Period movie drama that has superb acting from the main characters: Jeremy Northam, Rebecca Pidgeon, Nigel Hawthorne, Gemma Jones, Matthew Pidgeon, and Guy Edwards. A real family drama. A big fan of Jeremy Northam, he was so good here as a lawyer, Rebecca Pidgeon as the big sister and daughter, Matthew as the big brother to Guy and a very understanding son, Gemma Jones as the supportive wife and mom, and Nigel Hawthorne as the head of the family trying to clear his boy's name, and the family's as well. This movie is a "Family Movie" since there are no lewd scenes, showing how a family deals with a circumstance such as this. Family values! Excellent acting from Guy Edwards, very convincing....more info
  • 1 Star for the DVD; 5 stars for the film
    This excellent film has been transferred out of focus and improperly timed for color and light. When I saw this movie in a theater, I was very impressed with the overall visual quality of the picture, but the DVD looks overexposed and blurry, and the richness of the color has been lost. A huge disappointment......more info
  • 5 stars for all except Ms. Pidgeon
    This is the film where you cannot help but fall in love with Jeremy Northam. He is absolutely magnetic. He doesn't even come on screen til 47 minutes into it, but he's the one who is the heart of the film.

    The soul of the film is the imperative of Right. That the need for Right is more important than a son's Oxford education, a daughter's marriage, and a mother's comfort.

    It's a beautifully acted, written and nuanced film. The one glaring detraction in the film is the *itchiness of the Pidgeon character. I don't care how reserved the English are supposed to be, I don't think her character was meant to be so mean, cold and just plain soul-less. Fortunately, every other character makes up for her lack, thus the 5 star rating. Which tells you how strong the other elements are, especially Northam....more info
  • Great movie for a Jane Austen fan
    This an enjoyable film.
    I stumbled upon it in the video store.
    I love movies that are clean and historical in nature.
    I think I might just add this one to my collection....more info
  • The Winslow Boy
    Such a restraint of emotion. At times you just wanted someone to cry or give each other hug. Which in turn gets you emotionally involved in it. I think that is the whole point of the movie: the characters make you react to what they are doing. It involves the audience. It's not a movie where you just sit there and watch the characters emotionally go through their troubles while you are just along for the ride. The movie makes you, the audience, participate by you providing the reactions and emotions. You'll catch yourself looking at the person beside you to see them smile or look hurt. The movie leaves you feeling good as though you accomplished something and were a part of these characters lives. Because of the restraint of emotion you feel the characters are much deeper than they are letting on. The movie ends before they have to show you what obviously will happen. The daughter and Sir Robert will get married. It's like the movie says, "we tried to be intelligent the whole movie and will now not put the Hollywood ending on that you crave. You're intelligent enough to know what will happen. We don't have to tell you". It goes with the whole theme of restraining your emotions and leaving you with the satisfied feeling that they will get together. Wonderfully Rated G. Why does a good movie need sex, violence or swearing, if it is satisfying enough mentally and emotionally. Rent it and pay attention. It's a movie you can't get up and leave from for 5 minutes and then come back and know what's going on. You have to rewind it to catch every word....more info
  • LET RIGHT BE DONE...
    All lovers of period pieces should enjoy this one. This remake, based upon the play by Terrence Rattigan, takes place in the early part of the twentieth century, before the advent of World War I. A thirteen year old Naval cadet is excused of stealing a postal order and subsequently expelled. He claims that he did not do it, despite seeming evidence to the contrary. His upstanding and prosperous family rally around him. After going to the Naval academy from which he was expelled and having their entreaties fall upon deaf ears, they decide to take the unprecedented step of suing the Crown.

    The family retains the services of a well respected barrister, Sir Robert Morton, played with British reserve by the always wonderful Jeremy Northam, who agrees to represent the boy. The case becomes a cause celebre all over England, and Sir Morton's client becomes known as that Winslow boy, a notoriety that shakes the boy's very proper family to its core. While the case wends its way through the English legal system, tension between the boy's intelligent, bluestocking sister, gravely played by Rebecca Pidgeon, and his barrister bubbles to the surface.

    The courtroom scenes do not dominate the drama, though they are interesting. The outcome of the lawsuit is, of course, predictable. Yet, it is of no consequence, since the movie is not really about the resolution of the case. The movie ends on a note of romantic hope, as it wittily augers what is surely to come.

    Another version of this film, released in 1948, is just as good as this one. There, Margaret Leighton does a better job than Rebecca Pidgeon in the role of the bluestocking sister, while the barrister role is better served by Jeremy Northam than Robert Donat. It is easy to make the comparison, since both films are nearly word for word the same. One is shot in black and white, the other in color. They are both, however, excellent....more info
  • A British remake
    The acting is good and they have remained faithful to the earlier script of the 1950's version but I really prefer the first movie. If you are looking for a good British drama, you won't be disappointed but see the older version as well....more info
  • Wonderfully intelligent film
    "The Winslow Boy" is a terrific old fashioned drama that is smartly done by director David Mamet. The story was a compelling account of honor and the fight for what is right no matter what the cost.

    Ronnie Winslow (Guy Edwards) is expelled from the Naval College for allegedly stealing and cashing a postal order of five shillings. He is resolute in his denial of the deed and his father Arthur Winslow (Nigel Hawthorne) risks everything the family owns to take up the legal battle to clear his son's name. It was generally an engaging story, although it bogged down in places when it became overly introspective. Too much time was spent on scenes devoted solely to the cost/benefit of the fight. Is it worth it? Yes. But is it really worth it? Yes. There were at least four such scenes when one would have sufficed. This is a minor flaw in an otherwise good script. This story was about a legal fight but oddly had no scenes in court. It would have benefited by a stirring closing argument by Sir Robert. However, the suspense of how the family received the news of the verdict was excellent.

    The direction in this film is superb. The sets and costumes were wonderfully matched to the period. The photography was rich and full of complimentary colors. Mamet was meticulous in subtle details, such as the scene where a hanging piece, as evidenced by its outline, was obviously missing from the wall due to the costly fight for the boy's honor. Mamet uses the camera well to create impact with extreme close ups, like the close up of the wax seal on the letter from the school and another of a passage from the Bible.

    He directs the actors adeptly with just the right mix of restrained passion and proper English demeanor typical of early 20th century England. The dialogue was delivered crisply with rapid fire exchanges, reminiscent of films made in the 40's and 50's, a style that has been all but lost in contemporary films. The portrayal of the subtle romantic tension between natural antagonists Sir Robert, the staunch conservative and Catherine Winslow, the crusading liberal, was marvelous.

    The acting was fabulous. Jeremy Northam (Sir Robert Morton) had an excellent 1999 with this role and his role of Sir Robert Chiltern in "An Ideal Husband". He seems to be inspired by roles where his name is Sir Robert.

    Rebecca Pidgeon reunites with Mamet again after "The Spanish Prisoner" and gives a strong performance of the phlegmatic liberal woman's suffragette who is caught in the maelstrom of her brother's fight. Her's was a difficult role because her character was a highly passionate crusader compelled to restraint due to the constraints of the etiquette of the times. She did a good job of portraying a sardonic disdain for such phoniness delivering simple courtesies with obvious contempt. Yet, she was often a little too deadpan about her own emotions.

    Nigel Hawthorne gave a fine performance as the patriarch. He gave a good rendition of a proud and powerful man in decline as age, his infirmities and the legal fight took their toll on him.

    Newcomer Guy Edwards was excellent as Ronnie Winslow. He was the picture of a proper British boy, but when confronted with the postal order, he would stare you right in the eyes, plant his heels and convince you he didn't do it and that he was telling the truth.

    I gave this film a 9/10. It is yet another terrific British project that is a must see for the intelligent and refined viewer....more info

  • A Case of Honor...And Potential Romance
    Terrence Rattigan's 1946 play undergoes another onscreen incarnation in this study of a family whose honor is stake. The stereotypical staidness of the British upper-class makes itself felt, even in the elegant well-orchestrated theme music.
    Based on the real-life 1908 case of young George Archer-Shee, the story is about the 13-year old son of a retired banker (Nigel Hawthorne)named Ronnie(a fair and staid looking Guy Edwards, whose sunny complexion stands out against his predominantly brunette family)is expelled from the Royal Naval College after being wrongfully accused of theft and forgery.
    In Edwardian Britain, it was assumed the that the Crown was always right and those punished were always justly punished.
    The publicity surrounding the case has scared off potential suitors for the Winslow's daughter, Catherine(an assertive Rebecca Pidgeon), a suffragette, and takes its toll on Arthur Winslow's wife, Grace(Gemma Jones)and other son, Dickie(Matthew Pidgeon)as well.
    The family's solicitor, Desmond Curry (Colin Stanton) acquires an appointment for young Ronnie to be interviewed by one of England's best barristers, Sir Robert Morton.
    Our first glimpse of Jeremy Northam's Sir Robert Morton is as he in his office readying himself to attend an important dinner. While waiting for the rest of her family to arrive, Catherine , who has often observed Morton from up in the galleries of Parliament previously, speaks with him. The cut away camera shots lend a certain drama to this scene, as do Northam's imposing 6"2" frame, the slight tilt of his head,which places emphasis on his broad shoulders, and sloe-eyed sidelong glances. The subtleties of the actor and the cinematography are a thing of poetry and play off very well on each other.
    The interview convinces Sir Robert of the lad's innocence, and he decides to take the case. It is decided that a petition of right against the crown will be used to bring the case to court.
    The attraction between Catherine and Sir Robert grows, captured in subtle ways at first, in an exchanged glance between Catherine and Robert as she looks through the wire barrier of the galleries while he is on the Parliament floor, and in Robert's signs of being impressed by Catherine's intelligence during her inquiries about issues pertaining to the case, which by now, has so enthralled Britain to the point where the family must find ways around reporters crowding around their home at all hours.
    At one point, Mr. Winslow considers withdrawing the case, as someone close to the family who is in the Admiralty plans to levy grave consequences. But Sir Robert perseveres after convincing Mr. Winslow to delay the withdrawal of the case, and eventually, through the Winslow's faithful maid, Violet (Sarah Flind), we learn of the case's satisfactory outcome.
    Sir Robert presents the family will the statement at their home, and is once more quizzed by Catherine regarding its details. Through all the staidness and reserve, Morton's other motives for winning the case become visible, especially during a slight stammer in response to a statement by Catherine regarding a particular sacrifice he had made for it. The banter between the two has often been highly provocative, but never more so than at this point.
    All I could think while watching that scene is," You've got him, Catherine!"
    Giving it the look and feel of an episode of "Masterpiece Theatre", David Mamet has skillfully directed a variegated love story--a love of justice, a love of right, a love of a father for his son, a love of honor, and the potential love story between a man and a woman....more info
  • The Winslow Boy
    Such a restraint of emotion. At times you just wanted someone to cry or give each other hug. Which in turn gets you emotionally involved in it. I think that is the whole point of the movie: the characters make you react to what they are doing. It involves the audience. It's not a movie where you just sit there and watch the characters emotionally go through their troubles while you are just along for the ride. The movie makes you, the audience, participate by you providing the reactions and emotions. You'll catch yourself looking at the person beside you to see them smile or look hurt. The movie leaves you feeling good as though you accomplished something and were a part of these characters lives. Because of the restraint of emotion you feel the characters are much deeper than they are letting on. The movie ends before they have to show you what obviously will happen. The daughter and Sir Robert will get married. It's like the movie says, "we tried to be intelligent the whole movie and will now not put the Hollywood ending on that you crave. You're intelligent enough to know what will happen. We don't have to tell you". It goes with the whole theme of restraining your emotions and leaving you with the satisfied feeling that they will get together. Wonderfully Rated G. Why does a good movie need sex, violence or swearing, if it is satisfying enough mentally and emotionally. Rent it and pay attention. It's a movie you can't get up and leave from for 5 minutes and then come back and know what's going on. You have to rewind it to catch every word....more info
  • Edwardian bodice buster...
    I attended a play a while back with my Aunt Marge (age 85), and her friends Marie (age 87) and Susie (age 85). While we were waiting for the curtain to rise, I told them I had just seen a great movie entitled "The Winslow Boy" directed by David Mamet. Marie, a retired high school teacher (French) and her sister Susie (a retired Broadway director and producer) both expresssed surprise.

    Marie told me she had directed the play "The Winslow Boy" in high school in the late 1920's -- making the stage play a bit older than the screen play of 1946. Susie played the role of Ms. Winslow in Marie's play.

    This is a great movie. The actors include Gemma Jones (Sense and Sensibility), Nigel Hawthorne (The Madness of King George), and Jeremy Northam (Emma). Not only did Mamet direct the movie and develop the screen play, Gemma Jones was involved in the production design.

    I love the theater, and viewing this movie gave me the sense I was watching live theater. In fact, the camera work is so good, it was better than live theater as I felt present on the stage. It was as if my eye had detached from my body and could float independently--sometimes at bustle level as an actor walked across the floor--or sometimes at eye level, as when young Winslow hesitates in the rain before entering the house to tell his family of his disgrace.

    The story involves a fight for justice. A young boy is expelled from school for cheating. The family might have quietly enrolled him in another school and tried to forget the business, but the boy's father Arthur Winslow (Hawthorne) believes his son is innocent and wants him exonerated. Over the objections of his wife (Jones) and with the help of his daughter (Rebecca Pigeon), he decides to fight the charges. The family hires the very talented Sir Robert Morton (Northam) to take their case. In the end justice triumps.

    The most fascinating aspect of this film is the increible sexual tension that mounts between Sir Robert and Ms Winslow as the case proceeds. They are exact opposites. Ms Winslow is a feminist and engages in all sorts of daring things including smoking cigarettes and writing and distributing literature on behalf of the Women's Movement. Sir Robert is a conservative lord, in line for Prime Minister--if he plays his cards right. He looks askance on her feminist activities, but he cannot overcome his fascination with and attraction to Ms. Winslow. The glances, the looks, the indrawn breaths, and quips that convey feelings are fabulous.

    Time and again, Ms Winslow tells Sir Robert that he simply does not understand women. He makes comments designed to preserve his aloofness, but eventually, Sir Robert's feelings get the better of him. His last impassioned speech on the floor of the House of Lords--which probably sinks his aspirations for PM--is on behalf of the Winslow boy, but it is purely for Ms. Winslow's benefit.

    At the end, standing by the back garden gate, Ms. Winslow thanks Sir Robert for all he has done, and bids him goodbye. He takes her hand, bows, and says, "If you believe that Ms. Winslow, you simply don't understand men."...more info