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Yes, I Capture the Castle is based on the novel of the same name by author Dodie Smith, who may be better known for her novel 101 Dalmatians, upon which the Disney animated film was based.
The lead character Cassandra is attempting to learn how to write fiction and practices by keeping a diary. "Capturing the castle" is her attempt to present her life and family in all its detail.
The "R" rating stems from a brief but clear shot of a woman's breasts (the woman is "communing with nature" in the nude, and the scene is not sexual).
No. During a picnic with their children, Cassandra's mother and father had a quarrel during which James Mortmain picked up a cake-knife and pointed it at his wife. A neighbour watching the quarrel believed that Mrs. Mortmain was in danger and attacked James. Therefore Cassandra's father was not sent to prison for attempting to murder his wife, but for accidentally injuring the neighbour. (If you look closely at Cassandra's flashback of meeting her father as he released from prison, you can see that Mrs. Mortmain is also there, unharmed.)
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