Another Country

Another Country

Director: Marek Kanievska

Cast: Marek Kanievska, Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Frederick Alexander

     
 

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A pair of British lads, one gay and one socialist, chafe at the restrictions of boarding school life in this period piece, which was adapted from Julian Mitchell's novel and play of the same name and loosely based on the Burgess-Maclean spy scandal of the 1950s. In the 1930s, upper-class scions Tommy Judd (Colin Firth) and Guy Bennett (Rupert Everett) are both nearing… See more details below

Overview

A pair of British lads, one gay and one socialist, chafe at the restrictions of boarding school life in this period piece, which was adapted from Julian Mitchell's novel and play of the same name and loosely based on the Burgess-Maclean spy scandal of the 1950s. In the 1930s, upper-class scions Tommy Judd (Colin Firth) and Guy Bennett (Rupert Everett) are both nearing the end of their careers at an unnamed public school that bears a striking resemblance to Eton. Tommy, a Marxist intellectual, refuses to participate actively in the school's rigid social hierarchy. But Guy, when not mooning after pretty boys, angles for a position next term as one of the "gods," or master prefects, of his house. When a faculty member stumbles onto the homosexual fumblings of a pair of students, one boy commits suicide and a scandal erupts. The administration and senior students do their best to ensure nothing of this sort ever sullies their reputation again. Considering that homosexual experimentation is rampant and that Guy has slept with most of the prefects in his house, the strict new rules leave a bad taste in his mouth. They also put a damper on his Wildean lifestyle, especially after he falls hopelessly in love with James Harcourt (Cary Elwes), a dreamy boy from one of the other houses. Things come to a head when autocratic prefect Fowler (Tristan Oliver) intercepts a letter from Guy to James and sentences Guy to a savage beating. By film's end, Guy's complicity in the power games of the British class system has been challenged, and his friend Tommy's communist dogma has made a lasting impression; a framing device portrays Guy as an elderly former spy living in exile in Soviet Moscow. Another Country was shot at Cambridge, Oxford, and Althorp Hall (Princess Diana's childhood home) after the producers were denied permission to shoot at Eton. Everett and Firth both appeared in the original London theater production alongside Kenneth Branagh and Daniel Day-Lewis; on-stage, it was actually Firth who played Guy. For a more factual account of the Burgess-Maclean affair, see the TV movie An Englishman Abroad.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
Although the protagonist of this measured, elegiac coming-of-age story is loosely based on Guy Burgess, an Englishman who spied for the Soviets and defected in the '50s, the events of the film are almost wholly fabricated. They're also deeply moving -- an alternately brutal and tender examination of class, status, disillusionment, and longing. Set to a mesmerizing, subtly mournful score by Michael Storey, Another Country deftly introduces its audience to the complicated world of British public schools, then methodically exposes the cracks in the system of oppression that holds such institutions together. Rupert Everett and Colin Firth give strong, economical performances as the homosexual dandy and the fervent Marxist who, for different reasons, chafe at the restrictions of their society. Both characters are callow and self-absorbed, but Firth's principled thinker and Everett's ambitious romantic undergo subtle transformations that make them ultimately sympathetic. The rest of the cast is uniformly fine, especially Anna Massey as Bennett's propriety-minded mother. Cary Elwes doesn't have to do much besides look exceptionally handsome and blush a lot as the dashing young man who steals Bennett's heart. But the restrained love scenes -- shot in the same wistful style as the rest -- are a lot hotter than the more explicit ones that have become the standard in years since. Julian Mitchell's witty, nostalgic script may not do enough to connect the dots between the main action and the framing device that establishes Bennett's later career as a spy. But the prologue and epilogue do set the film's melancholy tone and provide Everett with an absolute corker of a closing line. In short, the tart and thoughtful Another Country may not stick to the facts, but its sustained sense of yearning gives it a compelling emotional power.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/07/2013
UPC:
0759731415026
Original Release:
1984
Rating:
PG
Source:
Henstooth Video
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:30:00
Sales rank:
7,670

Special Features

Audio commentary by director Marek Kanievska and cinematographer Peter Biziou; Original preview trailer

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Rupert Everett Guy Bennett
Colin Firth Tommy Judd
Frederick Alexander Jim Menzies
Michael Jenn Barclay
Robert Addie Delahay
Philip Dupuy Martineau
Crispin Redman Prefect
Rupert Wainwright Devenish
Tristan Oliver Fowler
Ralph Perry-Robinson Robbins
Cary Elwes Harcourt
Adrian Ross-Magenty Wharton
Anna Massey Imogen Bennett
Betsy Brantley Julie Schofield
Nicolas Rowe Spungin
Jeffry Wickham Arthur
Tristam Wymark Henderson
Christopher Milburn Batsman
John Line Best Man
Kathleen St. John Ivy
Guy Henry Head Boy
Gideon Boulting Trafford
Llewellyn Rees Senior Chaplain
Arthur Howard Waiter
Ivor Roberts Chief Judge
Martin Wenner Batsman
Tristram Jellinek Nicholson
Geoffrey Bateman Yevgeni

Technical Credits
Marek Kanievska Director
Andy Armstrong Asst. Director
Peter Biziou Cinematographer
Simon Bosanquet Production Manager
Clinton Cavers Art Director
Robert Fox Executive Producer
Celestia Fox Casting
David Garfath Choreography
Gerry Hambling Editor
Pat Hay Makeup
Alan Marshall Producer
Julian Mitchell Screenwriter
Sarah Monzani Makeup
Brian Morris Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design
Penny Rose Costumes/Costume Designer
Julian Seymour Executive Producer
Aaron Sherman Makeup Special Effects
Michael Storey Score Composer
Ken Weston Sound Mixer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Another Country
1. Start [6:05]
2. Boarding School [8:43]
3. Cricket Game [8:49]
4. Loneliness [5:16]
5. Guy's Mum [8:07]
6. "Help" [8:14]
7. Who Is Last? [5:38]
8. All A Fake [8:16]
9. Inspection [11:04]
10. Prefect [9:02]
11. I Don't Understand [8:21]
12. End Credits [2:41]

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