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Enchanted April

( 46 )

Overview

Previously filmed in 1935 with Ann Harding, Enchanted April, a romantic novel by Elizabeth von Arnim, was remade in 1992. The first film skips along superficially at 66 minutes: the second, directed by the always intriguing Mike Newell, runs 101 minutes, allowing for richer characterizations and a bottomless reserve of brilliant dialogue. Two cloistered, married English women Josie Lawrence, Miranda Richardson impulsively rent an Italian villa and embark upon a vacation without their spouses. They are joined by ...
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Overview

Previously filmed in 1935 with Ann Harding, Enchanted April, a romantic novel by Elizabeth von Arnim, was remade in 1992. The first film skips along superficially at 66 minutes: the second, directed by the always intriguing Mike Newell, runs 101 minutes, allowing for richer characterizations and a bottomless reserve of brilliant dialogue. Two cloistered, married English women Josie Lawrence, Miranda Richardson impulsively rent an Italian villa and embark upon a vacation without their spouses. They are joined by two other ladies: the high-flown aging widow Joan Plowright, and elegant upper-crust beauty Polly Walker whom they've never met. Under the spell of an exotic new location, the foursome are in for quite a few life-altering experiences, many of them amusing, and not a few very surprising. Impeccably accurate in its recreation of European manners and mores in the 1920s, Enchanted April is sheer bliss from fade-in to fade-out.
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Special Features

Feature commentary by director Mike Newell and producer Ann Scott
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Essentially a Merchant-Ivory production made without the participation of either Ismail Merchant or James Ivory, Enchanted April is a charming period piece that delivers on the enchantment implied in its title. Mike Newell has directed in a delicate, almost fragile style that imbues the film with an ethereal, magical atmosphere that is hard to resist. This is the kind of balancing act that is much harder to pull off than it looks -- one false utterance, inappropriate gesture, or anachronistic attitude can destroy the spell, and too much adherence to maintaining the tone can induce ennui in the viewer. Newell and his excellent cast make it work, aided greatly by Peter Barnes' sensitive screenplay and some quietly stunning visuals of the castle and its environs. Josie Lawrence is a giddy delight, and her performance is nicely balanced by Miranda Richardson's subtle and serene portrayal. Joan Plowright plays the crusty old lady to the hilt, Alfred Molina and Jim Broadbent hit just the right notes as husbands not sufficiently aware of their wives' virtues, and Michael Kitchen conveys a boyish excitement underneath his mature reserve. Perhaps too much a grown-up fairy tale for some, Enchanted April's unreality has an undeniable appeal.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/15/2011
  • UPC: 031398137405
  • Original Release: 1992
  • Source: Miramax Lionsgate
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound
  • Time: 1:33:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 1,506

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Miranda Richardson Rose Arbuthnot
Joan Plowright Mrs. Fisher
Josie Lawrence Lottie Wilkins
Alfred Molina Mellersh Wilkins
Polly Walker Lady Caroline Dester
Michael Kitchen George Briggs
Jim Broadbent Frederick Arbuthnot
Vittorio Duse Domenico
Neville Phillips Vicar
Stephen Beckett Jonathan
Matthew Radford Patrick
Davide Manuli Beppo
Adriana Facchetti Francesca
Anna Longhi Costanza
Neil Richardson Conductor
Technical Credits
Mike Newell Director
Dick Allen Editor
Elizabeth Von Arnim Screenwriter
Peter Barnes Screenwriter
Richard Rodney Bennett Score Composer
Matthew Hamilton Associate Producer
Rex Maidment Cinematographer
Sheena Napier Costumes/Costume Designer
Simon Relph Executive Producer, Producer
Ann Scott Producer
Mark Shivas Executive Producer, Producer
Malcolm Thornton Production Designer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Enchanted April
1. Wisteria and Sunshine
2. Blatant Extravagances
3. Keys to the Castle
4. Two More Tenants
5. Getting Away
6. A Bumpy Start
7. Smoothing Feathers
8. Sharing Love
9. Catching "Cold"
10. Awkward Introductions
11. Reaching an Understanding
12. Clever and Attractive
13. A Visitor
14. Feeling Young
15. Frederick Arbuthnot
16. Wonderful Inside
17. Pairs
18. End Credits
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Enchanted April
   Play
   Scene Selection
   Audio Commentary
      View the Film With Commentary by Director Mike Newell and Producer Ann Scott: On
      View the Film With Commentary by Director Mike Newell and Producer Ann Scott: Off
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      Subtitles
         English for the Hearing Impaired
         Subtitles: None
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   Sneak Peeks
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      Blu-ray Disc
      Miramax Films
      Confessions of a Shopaholic
      The Proposal
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 46 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(38)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 46 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Lovely Movie

    I have loved this movie since I first saw it in the theatre. For years, I had a copy on VHS and would pull it out occassionally when I needed something uplifting and entertaining. The scenery is gorgeous, the story of the women is lovely and the acting is excellent.

    As many, I've waited years for this DVD to be released. And I've watched it twice since I've gotten it.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    AN ENGLISH CLASSIC WRITTEN BY A BARONESS!

    Author, Elizabeth von Arnim, lived around the world and wrote several novels in an easy-going, yet highly visual style. This DVD of her novel The Enchanted April is almost verbatim from the novel. The background music is superb, the details of costumes and interiors of houses are outstanding, London and Italian scenery is outstanding to further capture the emotions of the characters. The absolutely outstanding actors in all the roles is perhaps unsurpassed. All the actors went on to become world-famous after this film. Actress Joan Plowright was the wife of Sir Lawrence Olivier and Queen Elizabeth confered on her the title of Dame - she is from a family of actors. There is nothing lacking in this film. Undoubtedly it is a story which will appeal to women of all ages. My favorite film of all time. Enjoy! (by a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    One of My favorites - EVER

    I have beed waiting for a DVD of this movie for 6 years. Outstanding cast, very well done. This movie is a romance/character study all about human emotions. It's a "women's" movie which this male found facinating.

    Josie Lawrence holds this movie together and is the central character IMHO even though Miranda gets top billing. She is a regular on the British version of "Whose Line is it Anyway". I was absolutely mesmerized by her.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great Humanistic Movie - Disappointing DVD Video & Audio

    Like many, I waited for years for this movie to be issued on DVD. I have a good quality VHS tape but immediately bought the DVD.

    I quickly noticed that the video quality of the DVD looked very similar to the tape so I started to compare the tape and DVD scene by scene using a 26 inch Sony stereo TV that has very good sound.

    The tape has near-equivalent sharpness to the DVD. The DVD has many more visual defects - scrapes, dark and white blotches. It is very disappointing in this regard. The DVD's color is better than the tape's - most noticeable in the scenes at the Italian villa - red/brown's do not appear as brown, reds and pinks are more intense.

    The last issue with the DVD is the use of Dolby Digital 5.0 Surround Sound. On my TV it sounded tubby and the dialogue was muted. The sound on the tape felt richer and clearer. Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo should have been included - an option on many (most?) DVD's.

    Nevertheless, this is a great movie to own. The characters are complex and multi-layered. Its message of emotional and spiritual generousity creating love, gently washing away the dust of impoverished lives and transforming grasping, narrowed-visions into larger qualities of appreciation of the earth, sky and ocean as the ground of existence - this is quite a movie.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2004

    Wish it were available in DVD

    5 stars. A wonderful romantic comedy in a beautiful setting.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2003

    Falling in love...again

    Picture this--we're four adult profesional women, invited for a 'pajama party' (remember them?)--viewing Enchanted April and experiencing our hearts and spirits lifted. Finding ourselves warmed by the unlikely blend of characters, and savoring tidbits of ourselves in all of them. So between the fondu, red wine and friendship it made for an enchanted night. We all felt renewed and left with soft smiles and tender hearts.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    enchants me

    whenever i feel down, i watch this movie. it is full of magic and optimism. wonderful casting, beautiful italian settings, endearing theme.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Charming

    A charming, if improbable fantasy. Very good performances. Stays with you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    A Room with a View...............

    There is not a woman alive that would not want to go to Enchanted April. I always identify with them in wanting to go away on a trip with my friends, but then wanting my husband with me once I arrive.
    Timeless and true and so romantic...Yummy...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Enchanting viewing

    This is an adult fairy tale of four women, each one seeking something to make their lives have meaning. The rich society girl wants seclusion away from demanding men, the two drab housewives long for the attention of oblivious husbands, but don't know where to begin, and the elderly widow who wants to just sit and think of better times and better men. As the days go by, San Salvatore, the medieval castle where they meet, begins to work its magic amid sun and sea, wisteria and acacia. What seemed to be so unreachable at home, suddenly becomes crystal clear. Lottie invites her husband to join her in "heaven" and urges Rose to do the same. After much soul searching, Rose writes the letter, knowing nothing will come of it, but secretly hoping for a miracle.
    The visual transformation of the four ladies during the film is so subtle that it is almost unnoticeable until near the end when a surprise visitor makes this a fairy tale with a happy ending, just like you long for it to be. The story is charming, the acting superb, but the real star of this film is the fictional castle of San Salvatore and the surrounding countryside.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    enchanting

    I found this film visually beautiful, the acting was good and the scenery stunning. I love this gentle story of these women taking a break to the beautiful Italian coast to find themselves and have a rest from their normal lives and the rain and cold of England.
    It shows them coming into their own and making freinds across class barriers and different backgrounds. Not done in those days.
    The fact that they formed a bond and stood up to their husbands was also inspiring as then women were very much suppressed and under the thumb of their men.
    A gentle escape from the hum drum of their lives and a coming together and strengthening of their relationships. Lovely film.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Enchanted April is a winner!

    Enchanted April is must viewing. It offers romance,escapism, and a pleasant viewing experience. No overt sex, just great acting in a beautiful setting. Definitly two thumbs up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Enchanted April

    The best movie! Probably my favorite of all time! Sounds corny, but as far as visuals and romance and "take -me-away-from-reality movie, this is it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2008

    Enchanting Any Time of Year

    This film is exquisitely beautiful. The scenery is lush, the costumes fine and the actresses and actors are perfectly suited to their roles. Each time I see this film I love it more. To see the characters develop from sad or bitter individuals to fulfilled couples and friends is especially... Enchanting!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2004

    Cant live without this film

    For me and my wife its like taking a vacation. I wish it was on DVD.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2003

    If you like the movie, you'll love it on Broadway!

    Ever since I first saw it, this was my dream; to find my Enchanted April. I watch it whenever I can and I am now purchasing the video. My friend and I just saw the Broadway version. It's wonderful! If you can get there, by all means go!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Ultimate Chick Flick!

    The office closed early today because of snow, and I decided to watch this movie. Everything about the film is wonderful: the acting, the scenery, the costumes, the touch of Italy. The plot gives much to think about and ponder. And it has a happy ending.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    An enchanted escape from reality

    I loved this movie from the first time I saw it and I love it just as much each time I watch it. It is a magical transformation from dreary, bustling, post-war (WWI) London, to a sea-sick steamer ride, to a dark stormy arrival in Italy, to the magical awakening the first morning of bright, clear sunshine and breath-taking views from the hillside castle down to the Mediterranean Sea. The real magic of this film is how the mood and feel is set to the environment, the wonderful performances given by the excellent cast and how the Italian castle, San Salvatore, affects each and every one of them.

    I find it fascinating how these characters take on different moods dependent upon where they are. They are all cranky, stressed and feeling blah in London. They all transform at different rates in the enchanting Italian castle. As the castle's magic takes hold of them, they see life with new eyes. They feel alive and have hope. The stress and disappointment are washed away and they are truly alive with feelings of well-being, child-like wonderment and finally are able to love and be loved unconditionally. You can't help but feel transformed yourself.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    April showers will forever mean italian castles now...

    one of my favorite films...I love the accents, the costumes, the outdoor scenery & the re-creation of the time period in general...when i discovered it was on DVD I had to have it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    My Favorite Movie

    This is my favorite movie, ever! I have been waiting for years for it to come out on DVD as I was afraid my video would become worn out. I love the whole feel of it. Excellent group of actors; the photography and scenery is magnificent and the music is great. I always find it so relaxing to watch this movie because of the feeling it evokes and it almost makes you believe in fairy tales again.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 46 Customer Reviews