Tuesday, October 13, 2009


The Age of Innocence (1993) film directed by Martin Scorsese. Starring Daniel-Day-Lewis and Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder. It is from the book of the same name. The film won an Academe Award for Best Costume Design.
THE AGE OF INNOCENCE, is my favorite Martin Scorsese film. And the film that got me hooked on "Period Films". The story is about Newland Archer, an affluent New York lawyer of the 1870s, engaged to May Welland, a beautiful socialite.

Newland begins to question the life he has planned for himself after the arrival of May’s cousin, the sophisticated Countess Ellen Olenska . Ellen wants a divorce from her abusive husband, a Polish count, which has made her a social outcast. Her family is concerned that her divorce will give the family a bad name. As Newland love grows for Ellen, he convinces her not to go forward with the divorce. He becomes disappointed with society and the idea of entering into a loveless marriage with May. He struggles with whether he will follow his family's wishes, or follow his own heart.

I was amazed at the wonderful attention to details Martin Scorsese showed in the film. I thought it was amazing how he brought out the hidden emotion of his characters. One of my favorite scenes is when Newland Archer waits for the Countess Olenska at her home, looking at the paintings on the wall, and her small collection of treasures from around the world. Through what he sees and what he touches he sees the Countess in his mind. Then we hear the arrival of a carriage, he still seems to be under her spell.((((sigh))) I love this movie.

I loved all the beautiful 1870’s Victorian costumes. Filmed in New York, with a few scenes in St. Augustine (Florida) and Paris.

Video: Documentary first of 3.

Fun Facts:

The lady standing to the right of Winona Ryder and admiring her engagement ring at the Beauforts' ball (just before Archer approaches and bows) is Tamasin Day-Lewis, sister of Daniel Day-Lewis, who was in town to visit her brother and drafted by Martin Scorsese to take the part. She's better known as the author of a series of cookbooks.

The interior of Mrs. Mingott's house was filmed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house in downtown Troy, NY, home to about 35 men at the time. Setup and filming took approximately three weeks and was done while school was still in session. The first floor was the only one used for filming and during shoots members of the house had to remain silent upstairs or leave the house. The shot of the house as a solitary structure on a small hill is movie magic, as the house is surrounded on both sides by other buildings.

Winona Ryder had written a book report in ninth grade on this very novel.

The film is dedicated to Charles Scorsese, father of director Martin Scorsese, who died just before the film was completed. He and his wife Catherine Scorsese (the director's mother) have a cameo appearance in the scene at the station.

Just past the middle of the movie, an exterior image of New York is shown. One of the buildings has "Schoonmaker's Painters Supply Store" painted on it. Thelma Schoonmaker has been Martin Scorsese's editor for years.

Jay Cocks first gave his friend Martin Scorsese a copy of Edith Wharton's novel back in 1980. At the time, he told Scorsese, "When you do that romantic piece, this one is you". It took Scorsese seven years to finally get around to reading the book.

The three lead actors - Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder - were all Martin Scorsese's first choices for the parts.

The painting of two Native Americans about to kill a young woman is a depiction of the death of Jane McRea. The event took place in 1777 in upstate New York, shortly before the battle of Saratoga, and was a key event in rallying Patriot militia. Jane McRea was the woman on whom James Fenimore Cooper based the character of Cora in "Last of the Mohicans". This book was made into the film The Last of the Mohicans, which also starred Daniel Day-Lewis.

Co-stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Daniel Day-Lewis both share the same birthday in real life.

Director Cameo Martin Scorsese: the photographer taking May's wedding picture.

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