A cavalcade of English life from New Year's Eve 1899 until 1933 seen through the eyes of well-to-do Londoners Jane and Robert Marryot. Amongst events touching their family are the Boer War,... See full summary »
A cavalcade of English life from New Year's Eve 1899 until 1933 seen through the eyes of well-to-do Londoners Jane and Robert Marryot. Amongst events touching their family are the Boer War, the death of Queen Victoria, the sinking of the Titanic and the Great War. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is an extraordinary film, from a play by Noel Coward. Starting on New Years Eve in 1899, the film goes on an emotional ride through 33 years of British history - ending on New Years Eve 1932. Through the lives of the members of one household (and two families one upper class, the other their servants)we visit the Boer War, the death of Queen Victoria, the Titanic, World War One and the Jazz Age. The film ends with the hope of a more peaceful world - a hope saddened by our knowledge that 1933 was to be the year that Hitler came to power.
This is very much an anti-war film, with the World War One scenes very powerful and the sad loss of a mother portrayed vividly as a woman learns of the death of her son as the rest of the world celebrates the end of the war. You won't forget this image.
Sumptuously shot and beautifully directed, the film is best when it is visual as it does suffer some of the sound problems associated with early talkies - and some of the acting is a little melodramatic. Diana Wynard's performance alternates between magnificent and hammy constantly - suggesting she was a little uncertain how to act for the camera. And look out quickly for an early portrayal of a gay male couple (snuck in by Coward I suspect!).
But this film is astonishingly relevant to us as we move into a new century. Let's not repeat the mistakes of the last. Coward speaks to us strongly from the grave.
14 of 19 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?