Gosford Park (2001) Poster



Jump to: Director Trademark (1) | Spoilers (1)
In the DVD commentary, director Robert Altman states he included the F-word several times on purpose to get an R-rating because he didn't want kids to see the film - he thought kids wouldn't like the film so he wanted to keep them out (especially 14-year-old boys).
None of the actors who played servants wore any movie make-up although they did wear conventional make-up like lipstick.
The jewelry worn by the upstairs ladies in the film was all authentic and had to be escorted in by armed guards each day.
The camera is always moving (if only slightly) in every shot of the film as requested by director Robert Altman.
There is always a servant present in each scene.
By her own admission, Kristin Scott Thomas was famously difficult on set whilst working on the film. In an interview with a British newspaper in 2005, she said that "when I did Gosford Park (2001) with Robert Altman, apparently I was a complete nightmare. I was very imperious and completely foul and horrible. And I had no idea I was doing it at all. Actually, that's not entirely true; I did wonder why people were giving me sideways looks, and there would be this odd hush whenever I walked into a room. The only explanation I could come up with was that I was half in character the whole time. I was playing this woman who was difficult and so I became difficult. But I did apologize to everyone afterwards."
Ivor Novello (played by Jeremy Northam) was a well known London matinée idol, singer and composer who starred in Alfred Hitchcock's silent classic The Lodger (1927). He had a good voice and starred again in the successful "talkie" remake The Phantom Fiend (1932). In Gosford Park (2001), set in November 1932, Countess Constance (Maggie Smith) refers to The Lodger as a flop.
The wallpaper in Constance Trentham's bedroom is hand-painted, imported from France. Even for this very small set, it would have cost the filmmakers $18,000; however, the manufacturer donated it to the production. Even so, the owners of the house demanded that the walls were re-papered to their liking (to match their bedding) after the production was over.
During group scenes, director Robert Altman had two cameras going at all times, moving about (out of each other's shot, of course). His intention was to prevent the actors from acting to the camera but instead to play the scene more naturalistically.
Maggie Smith, Richard E. Grant, and Jeremy Swift have all appeared in Downton Abbey (2010), which was also written by Julian Fellowes and inspired by this film. (It was originally intended to be a spin off set in the same universe, but this was dropped.)
When Jeremy Northam's character plays the piano, it is actually his brother Christopher who is playing. Christopher Northam is a classically trained pianist.
This movie is singular in that no fewer than seven British Knights of the Theatre are in the cast: Alan Bates, Derek Jacobi, Michael Gambon, Eileen Atkins, Helen Mirren, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Maggie Smith all have received the highest national honor for contributions to drama, though Bates, Mirren, and Thomas would only receive the honor after the film was released.
Bob Balaban recommended to Robert Altman that Julian Fellowes write the screenplay. "Altman asked him to try it, and maybe six weeks later Julian sent the first 75 pages. It was clear that he was brilliant and his knowledge of class society, the workings of it, was encyclopedic. This talented writer, moldering away as a relatively unsuccessful actor! That was a brass ring, and he took it. It's part of the key to his current success, his work ethic. He doesn't procrastinate. He doesn't hide. He works like a demon." (Alex Wichtel, NYTimes 9/2011)
The TV series Downton Abbey, written and created by Fellowes, was originally planned as a spin-off of Gosford Park, but instead was developed as a stand-alone property inspired by the film, set decades earlier.
The name Gosford Park is never once said in the film.
In the documentary Altman (2014), it is stated that Robert Altman was unable to fund this movie, even with most major stars not being paid and lining up to work with him. Eventually he said he won the lottery when the British Lottery funded the film.
There really was a Charlie Chan in London (1934) film made in 1934 and it was indeed a mystery set in an English manor house. While it did feature Alan Mowbray and Ray Milland, it was produced by John Stone, not Morris Weissman (a fictional character).
Ryan Phillippe was cast at the 11th hour, replacing an actor who had withdrawn.
Jude Law was originally cast as Henry Denton, but dropped out.
Eileen Atkins, who plays Mrs Croft the cook, was co-creator (with actress Jean Marsh) of the classic British drama series Upstairs, Downstairs (1971). The movie also features Meg Wynn Owen, who starred in the series from 1973-1975.
Kenneth Branagh was first choice for Inspector Thompson but had to decline owing to a scheduling conflict.
Altman consulted the writer Ezna Sands in depth on the idea before commencing with the project, having wanted to employ his doctoring skills on the script. Sands simply said it was as close to perfect as it could possibly be.
Inspector Thompson never gets a chance to introduce himself properly to the guests, although he is more forceful and brusque with servants.
Maggie Smith plays an aristocrat who looks down on her maid, though she played a lady's maid to a snobby aristocrat played by Bette Davis in Death on the Nile (1978). Davis similarly played a deranged governess to an upper class family in the chiller The Nanny (1965).
Alan Rickman, Joely Richardson and Judi Dench were considered for roles in the film.
Stephen Fry is dressed and moves like Jacques Tati's character Monsieur Hulot. When asked if there was a particular reason for this, producer David Levy replied, "It amused Bob." (Robert Altman).
Alan Bates, Tom Hollander and Michael Gambon all went on to play King George V. Bates played the role in Bertie and Elizabeth (2002), Hollander in The Lost Prince (2003) and Gambon in The King's Speech (2010).
Robert Altman hired a retired cook, valet, and housekeeper as consultants to coach the actors working downstairs.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Although the film takes place in 1932, Ivor Novello is questioned about the failure of his previous film, "The Lodger," which was released five year earlier in 1927 and the actor made eight other films in that time frame. Novello's previous film in the story's chronology was "The Phantom Fiend," a sound remake of "The Lodger."
4 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The ensemble cast includes two Oscar winners: Maggie Smith and Helen Mirren; and five Oscar nominees: Clive Owen, Bob Balaban, Alan Bates, Emily Watson and Kristin Scott Thomas.
7 of 13 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Cast members Alan Bates and Derek Jacobi share two roles with each other: Hamlet, and his uncle, Claudius.
8 of 16 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The film takes place in November 1932.
5 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
In an attempt to keep the dialogue in scenes feeling more natural, Robert Altman read the script as little as possible so he wouldn't know the characters' lines. He relied heavily on script supervisors to ensure that all the important beats in scenes were met, consulting with them after each take.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Although the commentary claims "Charlie Chan in London" is Ray Milland's first film, it is actually his twenty-third.
2 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Neither Una Merkel nor Claudette Colbert appear in "Charlie Chan in London."
2 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Director Trademark 

Robert Altman: [dialogue overlap] Rather than just use a typical boom mike to pick up dialogue, Altman had all the actors wear portable microphones to assist in creating overlapping dialogue. He first developed this technique during A Wedding (1978) and used it several times.


The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

When Denton (Ryan Phillipe) is ravaging Mary Maceachran (Kelly MacDonald) in his room, Denton's vest rides up and there's a quick glimpse of two labels sewn on the waistband of his pants. One label says "Fox Film corporation" and the other says "wardrobe department." The camera focuses on these labels for a few seconds, clearly indicating to the viewers that Denton is not whom he seems.
5 of 6 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

Contribute to This Page