The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence

DVD - 2018
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Tells the story of Newland Archer, whose engagement to an innocent socialite binds him to the codes and rituals of his upbringing. When her cousin arrives in town on a wave of scandal after separating from her husband, she ignites passions in Newland he never knew existed. Swelling with exquisite period detail, this film is an alternately heartbreaking and satirical look at the brutality of old-world America.
Publisher: [Irvington, NY] : The Criterion Collection, [2018]
ISBN: 9781681434131
Branch Call Number: Fic
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (138 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.


From Library Staff

Shown at the St. Louis Public Library - Buder Branch's Senior Film Series on 6/1/2016 when the theme was "Pageturners: American Literature Classics on Film."

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Jul 06, 2018

Enhancement suggestion: Have you considered adding to DVD entries a link to trailers or a film clip? That is, maybe those movies that are new enough to have clips in the internet archives?

Jun 15, 2018

I took a trip to a distant library; the catalog listed this available there. There was another Wharton treatment as well (Buccaneers). Both were apparently missing. When I suggested they might have been pilfered by a Wharton fan, the librarian replied that a Wharton fan wouldn't do that. The sumptuous life style on view was known to Edith Wharton and some glimpse of it can be had today by visiting her masterwork, 'The Mount' in Lenox, Mass. The movie is an awesome accomplishment, probably only people on Scorcese's level could possibly have given it a go, and how many are there? Some might wonder why he would want to since his accounts of transgression previously have tended toward the violent. I am going to guess it was in large part to honor his father to whom the film is dedicated. In going somewhat outside his comfort zone, he might be seen here and there trying a bit too hard. No harm done. I was quite able to sympathize with the privileged Newland Archer, as many will be. Especially the walking wounded.

Apr 10, 2018

This is a 18th century movie with beautiful costumes of this time with great performance of a team of known actors. the story is long and not a lot of substance to the story.

Mar 14, 2018

Set among the ornate brownstones and gilded ballrooms of 1870s New York society, Martin Scorsese’s sumptuous adaptation of Edith Wharton’s story is one of his most restrained and therefore most powerful films. Apparently he deemed this his “most violent film” not for any physical action but for its sheer depth of emotion. indeed, despite their waxed moustaches and butterfly dresses, the refined gentlemen and ladies depicted here are able to flash the most dazzling of smiles even as they twist their knives further in for they live by a rigid social code more impenetrable that that of any primitive tribe. A wistful, heartbreaking, and deeply romantic piece with a baroque score and erudite script—partially narrated by Joanne Woodward—all set off by Michael Ballhaus’ golden cinematography, Gabriela Pescucci Oscar-winning costume designs, and set decorations which make old New York’s monied class come to life once more, if only for a few hours.

Mar 17, 2017

A beautiful recreation of a very different time. And you couldn't ask for better performances from Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, and even Winona Ryder who is cast in a role that plays to her strengths. And yet...this is a long movie. Very long, considering its lack of story. If it had been made in the classic Hollywood era of the 1930s and 1940s, most probably they would have added some drama and humour, picked up the pace, and known when to end. Or avoided doing it at all. I see there was a 1934 version starring Irene Dunne, but perhaps it is not surprising it is not a well-known film today.

Mar 16, 2017

Because Martin Scorsese made his reputation with movies that were set in the poor neighborhoods of " Mean Streets " and " Taxi Driver " or the violent world of the mob, it was originally baffling to the public that he would attempt Edith Wharton's "The Innocent Age", set in the upper class society of 1870's New York. This surely, should be done by the Merchant-Ivory team, thought some. Others saw it as a stunt, the director trying to show he could do such a movie. Many people expected that Scorsese had overreached himself and awaited a failed film.
Instead, this is a great film and depicts a world where invisible rules bind everyone and violation of those rules could lead to total disaster. These people talk more softly than the people in Goodfellas, have much better taste, and do everything in a circumspect fashion, but cross the rules of society and you would receive a social death virtually as fatal as a more primitive whacking by the mob.

Feb 19, 2017

what is catchy about this movie is the details. I was fascinated by the table settings and the furniture ! Daniel , Michelle and Winnona were amazing, however,the massage was not that empowering. repressed love!!! if you want to enjoy the the production, the scenes, the golden area ...ect. then it is recommended, otherwise you would feel disappointed because there is no evolving in the movies's characters ...they just stay as they are from the start to the end.

Aug 07, 2015

Interesting film view into 1870's high crust New York - almost not American, more European.

I enjoyed Daniel Day-Lewis (again) and rather enjoyed Michelle Pfeiffer whom I hadn't seen before (that I can remember).

d2013 Aug 07, 2015

Fantastic movie with some of the best movie actors around. Great production!

Dec 07, 2013

The first thought that came to me when I watched The Age of Innocence was that of repression. When portrayed correctly, it can lead to wonderful tension and excitement. When portrayed incorrectly, it can lead to bewilderment and disinterest. This is the first film that I have seen that achieved neither. The tension between the Pfieffer and Day-Lewis is suitably, if not overtly stated. However, it is the tension between Day-Lewis and Ryder that interested me more.
You see, in this film, Daniel Day-Lewis plays a charming lawyer in 1870's New York. He's engaged to the daughter of another family that wields considerable influence in the city. The daughter, played by Winona Ryder, is a pretty young girl, but she's a bit bland. Day-Lewis's life is turned upside down when Ryder's cousin, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, arrives in the city. Day-Lewis is fascinated by her, and finds himself looking at his life through clear eyes for the first time. Will his attempts to break free from his stiff, upper class life reward him with love?
Well, there is no doubt, The Age of Innocence, despite its flaws, is very enjoyable. This is not due mainly to the film itself, but instead to the terrific flair that Martin Scorsese displays as a director here. The suffocating love triangle is brought to life in a very conventional way, by a most unconventional director. I don't think I'd be the first to say that when my thoughts turn to Scorsese, they land more on violence and flair than repressed love stories.
Not to say he wasn't the right choice of course, his filmmaking is sublime. He tones down his approach and creates a very old school style of filmmaking. There are swift camera movements, great colour rich cinematography (which reminded me of those old Powell and Pressburger Technicolour films) and abrupt lighting changes that result in extreme colour saturations and the screen going dark while a bar of light shines solely on a characters eyes, to express their inner torment.
What's so ultimately frustrating is that the material is not only elevated by the director, but also the cast, that you cannot help but wonder what he could have done with better material. Indeed, Daniel Day-Lewis gives a typically amazing performance. He perfectly establishes the character's inner torment while expressing his refined exterior. He is fascinating to watch, and to see him underplay is a rare pleasure. He makes a character that could have easily collapsed under sheer boredom into something entertaining, and wonderfully expressive.
He is also backed up by a good performance by Michelle Pfeiffer, who manages to appear both worldly and childish at the same time. However the character I found most interesting was that of Winona Ryder's. At times she felt like a child, unaware of anything around her, and at times she felt like a master manipulator.
It's not the sets and old fashioned touches that undermine Scorsese; it's that they don't quite come together. Scorsese's vision is great, and at times you can see a hidden, untapped greatness bubbling just below the surface. Unfortunately, it never surfaces.
The Age of Innocence was never going to be Scorsese's greatest film. At the least, it's a great companion piece to Kundun, if one is feeling in the mood for a different kind of Scorsese. At the most, it is a tantalizing what-if. While Scorsese would return to this world with Gangs of New York, but that film was a lot more of a flamboyant piece than this. Its sad Scorsese has never tried anything quite like The Age of Innocence again, because with a little better material, he might just craft a masterpiece.

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