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A Month by the Lake (1995)

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For 16 years Miss Bentley has been spending April at an elegant hillside villa on Lake Como. This year, 1937, her London society artist father has recently died and the only other ... See full summary »

Director:

John Irvin

Writers:

H.E. Bates (from: the novella "A Month by the Lake" by), Trevor Bentham (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Vanessa Redgrave ... Miss Bentley
Edward Fox ... Major Wilshaw
Uma Thurman ... Miss Beaumont
Alida Valli ... Signora Fascioli
Carlo Cartier Carlo Cartier ... Mr. Bonizzoni
Alessandro Gassmann ... Vittorio Balsari (as Alessandro Gassman)
Natalia Bizzi Natalia Bizzi ... Signora Bonizzoni
Frances Nacman Frances Nacman ... 1st American Lady
Paolo Lombardi Paolo Lombardi ... Enrico
Riccardo Rossi ... Guido
Sonia Martinelli Sonia Martinelli ... Maria
Veronica Wells Veronica Wells ... 2nd American Lady
Carlotta Bresciani Carlotta Bresciani ... Bonizzoni Angel
Bianca Tognocchi Bianca Tognocchi ... Bonissoni Angel
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ayanta Barilli Ayanta Barilli
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Storyline

For 16 years Miss Bentley has been spending April at an elegant hillside villa on Lake Como. This year, 1937, her London society artist father has recently died and the only other English-speaking guests are brash Americans. Then Major Wilshaw arrives. He suggests they meet for cocktails and Miss Bentley stands him up -- not even thinking about it -- as she helps the new nanny of an Italian family settle in. Miss Beaumont, a tall, young American who has dropped out of finishing school in Switzerland, is bored and finds some amusement in flirting with the major, whose libido is awakened for the first time since before the great war. And Miss Bentley now finds more about the major to admire than his ears. Written by Dale O'Connor <daleoc@interaccess.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A charming, wealthy English gentleman. Two beautiful women. If it only takes a moment to fall in love, imagine what can happen in...

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for moments of sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 September 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amor à Beira do Lago See more »

Filming Locations:

Lake Como, Lombardia, Italy

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,196,534
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Anuline, Miramax See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Miss Beaumont's name means 'beautiful mountain'. This is in reference to the considerable height difference between Beaumont (Uma Thurman) and Major Wilshaw (Edward Fox). See more »

Goofs

When Miss Bentley is listening to the BBC broadcast it reports a meeting between "M.P. [Member of Parliament] Winston Churchill" and German foreign minister Ribbentrop over German demands that, if not granted, would lead to war. The movie takes place in April 1939, and Churchill was not prime minister until May 10, 1940, and not yet a member of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's cabinet until September 3, 1939. While Churchill was still an influential member of the Tory party, it would have been unusual for the German Foreign Minister to confer with him and not Lord Halifax, who was Britain's Foreign Secretary at the time. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Miss Bentley: The story begins on Lake Como, many years ago during the last fantastic summer before the war.
Miss Bentley: Returning to the lake has always seemed like coming home. Everyone is so friendly. Everyone is welcome. The Villa Barbianello basks all day long in the lakeside sun, which is hotter than usual for late April.
See more »


Soundtracks

A Tripoli
Written by C. Arona
Performed by Accademia Musicale Italiana
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User Reviews

 
Picturesque Period Romance with Redgrave in Rare, Breezy Form
22 April 2006 | by EUyeshimaSee all my reviews

Since George Clooney and his rat pack seem to be bringing back a certain cachet to Italy's Lake Como, it's worth revisiting this picture-postcard pretty 1995 romantic comedy directed by John Irvin since it is set there before the onset of WWII. The lightweight plot focuses on a beautiful, elegant villa in the summer of 1937 where Miss Bentley has already spent sixteen summers with her father. Adored by the staff, she spends her first summer there after her father has died, and on her first day, she is immediately drawn to the polite but rather pompous Major Wilshaw. In typical movie-only fashion, they meet repeatedly, awkwardly and fractiously, in particular, over a tennis match where she defeats the major with ease in front of a most enthusiastic group. There is unavoidable but unspoken chemistry between the two, but further complications ensue with the arrival of Miss Beaumont, the young, flirtatious nanny of a wealthy Italian family staying at the villa. Miss Beaumont manages to convince Wilshaw that she loves him, and he becomes instantly enamored. On her side, Miss Bentley attracts the attention of a much younger admirer named Vittorio, a local Vespa-riding lothario intent on seducing her amid his raging hormones.

As you can imagine, the complications sort themselves out, but the clever way that Irvin and screenwriter Trevor Bentham handle the story, while patently old-fashioned, is also charming and sometimes quite perceptive about how more mature people approach love. In a rare comedic turn that immediately recalls Kate Hepburn circa 1955's "Summertime", Vanessa Redgrave redefines any preconceived image one would have of a spinster, as she brings buoyant energy and a blessed lack of self-consciousness to the independent Miss Bentley. Even though she makes no attempt at assimilating into the period with her most contemporary look, she shows off a deft skill for romantic foreplay for likely the first time since she was a mod swinger in the 1960's with movies like "Morgan!". Her athleticism is also impressive whether on the tennis court or in the lake swimming the backstroke, though her rather androgynous look wouldn't seem like it would attract the not altogether unwelcome attentions of horny Italian boys.

The other points of the triangle are not as fully drawn. Edward Fox plays the major with a stiff upper lip and glowers appropriately in every scene where he loses his dignity - which is often. Fresh off "Pulp Fiction", Uma Thurman plays a man-eating vamp in broad strokes, and her constant delight in humiliating the major gets tiresome. Her beauty, however, is inarguable and Wilshaw's obsession understandable. There is some intriguing casting on the sidelines - as the moony Vittorio, Alessandro Gassman (son of actor Vittorio Gassman) would play the viral maniac in "Transporter 2" a decade later; and the proprietress of the villa, Signora Fascioli, is played by Alida Valli 46 years after her seductive turn as Harry Lime's lover Anna in Carol Reed's "The Third Man" with only her still-sultry eyes recognizable (sadly she passed away today - April 22, 2006). The beauty of Lake Como is captured in all its shimmering light by cinematographer Pasqualino De Santis, and Nicola Piovani's music score provides the right evocative flavor for the period. It's a sweet, entertaining movie, brief at 91 minutes, and definitely for viewers fond of travelogue movies like Mike Newell's "Enchanted April" and Audrey Wells' "Under the Tuscan Sun". The 2003 DVD has no extras.


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