Fresh off of its multiple nominations at the 2001 Academy Awards, and Academy’s winner of the Best Original Screenplay, comes Gosford Park to DVD. Most who have seen this film have fallen in love with it, I on the other hand, felt the story moved far to slow, and my interest waned as the film progressed. Though I was not captivated by the film itself, the acting was superb, and the premise was solid.
“It is November, 1932. Gosford Park is the magnificent country estate to which Sir William McCo…dle and his wife, Lady Sylvia, gather relations and friends for a shooting party. They have invited an eclectic group including a countess, a World War I hero, the British matinee idol Ivor Novello and an American film producer who makes Charlie Chan movies. As the guests assemble in the gilded drawing rooms above, their personal maids and valets swell the ranks of the house servants in the teeming kitchens and corridors below-stairs.But all is not as it seems: neither amongst the bejewelled guests lunching and dining at their considerable leisure, nor in the attic bedrooms and stark work stations where the servants labor for the comfort of their employers. Part comedy of manners and part mystery, the film is finally a moving portrait of events that bridge generations, class, sex, tragic personal history and culminate in a murder. (Or is it two murders?)Ultimately revealing the intricate relations of the above and below-stairs worlds with great clarity, Gosford Park illuminates a society and way of life quickly coming to an end.” – Universal
Right from the opening sequence the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track sounds wonderful. The soundstage is filled with ambient sound, and the overall feel of the film is great. Independently worn microphones were used throughout the filming of Gosford Park, creating clean dialog, but also creating a muffling of ambient room sounds. The soundtrack is clever and effective, great job Universal.
The video quality on this disc is hit and miss. The flesh tones are very natural, and colors are all very solid. And while not compression was noticeable, there are a number of sequences in which halo effects are visible. The 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer looked washed out at times, and some grain was apparent (but not distracting).
The most important special feature that is included on the DVD is the Making-of Gosford Park. This 20 minute featurette includes most everything one should need to know about how this film was made. The main topics covered are how the film was conceived, and a behind-the-scenes look at the film.
I am glad that the Making-of featurette was so good, because the two audio commentaries are not that worth while. Both commentaries (the first includes the Director, Producer, and Production Designer, while the second includes the screenwriter) are dry and do not cover much important information regarding the film. This lack of decent content is a shame… this film deserved more.
Lastly, this disc includes 20 minutes worth of deleted scenes (with or without commentary), an 8 minute featurette on the Authenticity of Gosford Park, a 25 minute Cast & Crew Q&A, and DVD basics such as the trailer and production notes.
Most people will absolutely love this film and DVD. Though the story moves slower then a turtle, the plot and acting are both extremely solid. The audio sounds great, and the special features are solid. You will most likely want to check this disc out.
Special Features List
- Two Audio Commentaries
- Making-Of Gosford Park
- Authenticity of Gosford Park
- Deleted scenes
- Filmmakers Q&A session