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"Gosford Park" is a 2001 film directed by Robert Altman. In usual Altman's style, the film features an ensemble cast. Screenplay was written by Julian Fellowes, but Ribert Altman and Bob Balaban are credited for the idea.

In best Altman's tradition, the movie features an ensemble cast. The film was marketed as a murder-mystery, including the (in)famous tagline: "Tea At Four. Dinner At Eight. Murder At Midnight." However, the film is a social study of the British class system in the 1930s. It shows wealthy (upstairs) class, as well as servants, and their complex relationships and tensions.

The film is set in 1932, in an English country house, where a group of wealthy people (accompanied by their servants) gather for a shooting weekend. The central (and unexpected) event of the weekend is the murder that needs to be solved. However, this film is not a murder mystery or "who dunnit".

Instead of a mystery, "Gosford Park" explored Birtish class system in the 30s and its tensions. Everything is shown from both guests' and servants' perspective, which makes this movie a study of the British class system rather than a detective story. There are many subplots, some of which are only hinted, that show all the complexity of the relationships among the characters.

"Gosford Park" was universaly acclaimed by critics, and it received many major awards, including the Academy Awards for the best original screenplay and BAFTA Award for the best British film.

Production

Altman had a list of actors he intended to appear in the film before it was cast formally. The film's writer Julian Fellowes, said the screenplay was "not an homage to Agatha Christie, but a reworking of that genre."

The film was shot with two cameras, both moving perpetually in opposite directions. The cameras pointed toward no specific area, intended to cause the audience to move their eyes throughout the scene.

Filming was conducted at Wrotham Park for the exteriors, staircase, dining room and drawing room, and Syon House for the upstairs bedrooms. The opening sequence outside Lady Trentham's home was shot at Hall Barn, near Beaconsfield, Bucks, whose grounds were also used as the scene for lunch after the hunt.

Awards

The film was nominated for number of major awards, and it won several. Namely, it was nominated for 7 Academy Awards: best film, best director, best original screenplay, best actress in a supporting role (Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith), best art & set direction and best costume design. It won one, for the best original screenplay. The movie was also nominated for 9 BAFTA awards, including best British film (which it won), and 5 Golden Globe awards (Robert Altman won for the best director). Also, Patrick Doyle won soundtrack composer of the year award at World Soundtrack Awards. Screen Actors Guild awarded the film with two awards, for outstanding cast and outstanding actress in a supporting role (Helen Mirren), and Writers Guild of America awarded Julian Fellowes for the best original screenplay.

Soundtrack

The composer of the soundtrack was Patrick Doyle. Altman told him that the soundtrack "should not attempt to direct the audience to any particular part of the film, but to support it nonetheless". As a focal point for compositions, Doyle used character Mary (who is considered by some to be the main character).

Cast

Guests:
Michael Gambon as William McCordle
Kristin Scott Thomas as Sylvia McCordle
Maggie Smith as Constance Trentham
Camilla Rutherford as Isobel McCordle
Natasha Wightman as Lavinia Meredith
Tom Hollander as Anthony Meredith
Geraldine Somerville as Louisa Stockbridge
Charles Dance as Lord Raymond Stockbridge
Jeremy Northam as Ivor Novello
Bob Balaban as Morris Weissman
James Wilby as Freddie Nesbitt
Claudie Blakley as Mabel Nesbitt
Laurence Fox as Rupert Standish
Trent Ford as Jeremy Blond

Servants:
Helen Mirren as Mrs. Wilson
Kelly Macdonald as Mary Maceachran
Clive Owen as Robert Parks
Eileen Atkins as Mrs. Croft
Emily Watson as Elsie
Alan Bates as Jennings
Derek Jacobi as Probert
Richard E. Grant as George
Ryan Phillippe as Henry Denton
Jeremy Swift as Arthur
Sophie Thompson as Dorothy
Meg Wynn Owen as Lewis
Adrian Scarborough as Barnes
Teresa Churcher as Bertha

Visitors:
Stephen Fry as Inspector Thompson
Ron Webster as Constable Dexter

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