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Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (2005)

A Cock and Bull Story (original title)
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Director Michael Winterbottom (Northam) attempts to shoot the adaptation of Laurence Sterne's essentially unfilmable novel, "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman."

Writers:

Laurence Sterne (novel), Frank Cottrell Boyce (screenplay) (as Martin Hardy)
2 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Coogan ... Tristram Shandy / Walter Shandy / Steve Coogan
Rob Brydon ... Capt. Toby Shandy / Rob Brydon
Keeley Hawes ... Elizabeth / Keeley Hawes
Shirley Henderson ... Susannah
Raymond Waring ... Trim
Conal Murphy Conal Murphy ... Young Tristram Shandy - Age 6
Joe Williams Joe Williams ... Young Tristram Shandy - Age 9
Paul Kynman ... Obadiah
Mark Tandy ... London Doctor
Mary Healey ... Midwife
Dylan Moran ... Dr. Slop
Jack Shepherd ... Surgeon
David Walliams ... Parson
Jeremy Northam ... Mark
Benedict Wong ... Ed
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Storyline

Two actors, as their make up is applied, talk about the size of their parts. Then into the film: Laurence Sterne's unfilmable novel, Tristram Shandy, a fictive autobiography wherein the narrator, interrupted constantly, takes the entire story to be born. The film tracks between "Shandy" and behind the scenes. Size matters: parts, egos, shoes, noses. The lead's girlfriend, with their infant son, is up from London for the night, wanting sex; interruptions are constant. Scenes are shot, re-shot, and discarded. The purpose of the project is elusive. Fathers and sons; men and women; cocks and bulls. Life is amorphous, too full and too rich to be captured in one narrative. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Because everyone loves an accurate period piece. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 January 2006 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£2,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£332,582 (United Kingdom), 22 January 2006, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$60,886, 29 January 2006, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,253,413
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The credited writer Martin Hardy is actually a pseudonym for the writer Frank Cottrell Boyce, who had his name taken off the film after a falling-out with longtime collaborator Michael Winterbottom. See more »

Quotes

Walter Shandy: My son is not yet born, and I am already exhausted.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits have (intentional) spacing issues, and mismatched fonts. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The South Bank Show: Michael Winterbottom (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Quintet in E-flat Major Opus 44 (In Moda d'una Marcia)
Quintet for Piano, 2 Violins, Viola and Cello, Op 44
Composed by Robert Schumann
Performed by the Michael Nyman Band
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Film version of a possibly unfilmable--some might say unreadable--novel
8 October 2005 | by klg19See all my reviews

Just saw this at the New York Film Festival, where it was met with the wild enthusiasm and raucous laughter it so fully deserves.

I intentionally avoided reading any reviews before I went, as I was so curious to see how Winterbottom (whose "24-Hour Party People" I had loved) would approach this bear of a book.

The film begins with the two stars getting made-up and chatting about the size of their roles and the color of their teeth (the actors, who appeared with Winterbottom in the post-screening Q&A at the festival, assured the audience that this opening scene, as well as their conversation over the end credits, was completely improvised). The scene shifts to Tristram Shandy beginning the narration of his life with an anecdote about Groucho Marx--and proceeds to go wild from there.

The cast is made up of some of the finest actors in British television--apart from the two leads, Dylan Moran of "Black Books" and David Walliams of "Little Britain" appear, as well as Stephen Fry, Shirley Henderson, and a host of others, including a splendid turn by Keeley Hawes in a role that consists of little more than labor pains and screaming--and one American: Gillian Anderson in a couple of wonderful scenes, one as herself and the other as the Widow Wadman.

As one of the actors observes in the film, Laurence Sterne had written "a post-modern novel before modernism had even been invented," and Winterbottom honors that admirably.


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