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Mr. and Mrs. Bridge

Overview

Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (played by real-life "Mr. and Mrs." Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward) are well-to-do residents of Kansas City in the 1940s. So far as the Bridges are concerned, however, it's the 1920s, with Mr. Bridge treating his wife like property, regarding his grown children as if they're still adolescents, and habitually voting against that upstart Roosevelt. Though the underlying painfulness of such an archaic arrangement is never ignored, Mr. Bridges' obstinancy is for the most part amusing. The scene ...
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Overview

Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (played by real-life "Mr. and Mrs." Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward) are well-to-do residents of Kansas City in the 1940s. So far as the Bridges are concerned, however, it's the 1920s, with Mr. Bridge treating his wife like property, regarding his grown children as if they're still adolescents, and habitually voting against that upstart Roosevelt. Though the underlying painfulness of such an archaic arrangement is never ignored, Mr. Bridges' obstinancy is for the most part amusing. The scene that seemed to please the audience most was the one in which Mr. Bridge orders Mrs. Bridge not to leave their table at their country club despite tornado warnings (they sit quietly in the deserted dining room while the building shakes and shudders). As for Mrs. Bridge, her "life" is totally defined by those around her--which in any other film would be a tragedy, but which here seems a logical extension of all that's gone before. Based on two separate novels by Evan S. Connell, Mr. & Mrs. Bridge is a rare excursion into Americana by the Ismail Merchant-James Ivory team.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
James Ivory and Ismail Merchant are better with the repressed emotions of Brits than Americans, but their track record eliciting memorable performances remains intact with Mr. & Mrs. Bridge. Though the film's real-life husband-and-wife team, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, were both roundly praised for their work, Woodward is the real standout, as the timid housewife whose few gestures toward independence get matter-of-factly squashed by her stern and humorless husband. Woodward is on the losing end of so many tiny skirmishes, most focused around the simple goals of lightening the mood and making people happy, that she eventually misplaces all of her resistance mechanisms. What's left is the apologetic laughter at her own foolishness, which Woodward acts with the perfect blend of practiced social grace and ingrained humiliation. Newman should be commended for accepting a part that's such a departure from his usual onscreen persona, but the performance is not without strain. It registers as so stiff and unyielding that one wonders whether it's Newman or the character who can't loosen up. A crucial flaw is that the characters never undergo transformation, a usual staple in narrative filmmaking; this could be because the script lacks spine and momentum, existing more as a series of illuminating windows into the Bridge world than a structured story. Merchant's story does produce telling observations about the inertia of idle American socialites, but they don't crystallize in a way that would deliver the film to lasting importance.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/13/2001
  • UPC: 026359053320
  • Original Release: 1990
  • Rating:

  • Source: Hbo Home Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Cinemascope (2.35:1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Surround
  • Language: English
  • Time: 2:07:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Paul Newman Walter Bridge
Joanne Woodward India Bridge
Kyra Sedgwick Ruth Bridge
Blythe Danner Grace Barron
Margaret Welsh Carolyn Bridge
Simon Callow Dr. Alex Sauer
Robert Sean Leonard Douglas Bridge (grown-up)
Malachy McCourt Dr. Forster
Austin Pendleton Mr. Gadbury
Diane Kagan Julia
Saundra McClain Harriet
Gale Garnett Mabel Ong
Marcus Giamatti Gil Davis
Linden Ashby
Joanna Merlin
John Bell Douglas Bridge as a Boy
Remak Ramsay Virgil Barron
Al Christy Judge
Robyn Rosenfeld Genevieve
Roch Leibovici Watch Seller on the Quai
Hubert Saint-Macary Copyist in the Louvre
Nora Denney Second Bridge Player
Robert Levine Avrum Rhinegold
Richard Ross Jazz Musician
Tom Hall Aztec Room Waiter
Melissa Newman Young India at the Pool
Technical Credits
James Ivory Director
Humbert Balsan Associate Producer
Humphrey Dixon Editor
David Gropman Production Designer
Robert Halmi Sr. Producer
Robert Halmi Jr. Executive Producer
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Screenwriter
Mary Kane Associate Producer
Ismail Merchant Producer
Joanna Merlin Casting
Tony Pierce-Roberts Cinematographer
Larry Pizer Cinematographer
Carol Ramsey Costumes/Costume Designer
Richard Robbins Score Composer
David Sardi Asst. Director
Karen Schultz Art Director
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Scene Index

Chapters
0. Chapters
1. Meet the Bridges [6:52]
2. The Theory of the Leisure Class [7:39]
3. Ruth [14:09]
4. The Eagle Scout [3:05]
5. The Tornado [5:53]
6. European Vacation [11:12]
7. Grace [8:01]
8. Time for "The Talk" [3:11]
9. Caroline's Engagment [8:12]
10. A Wedding [3:00]
11. One Rainy Night [9:39]
12. Contingency Plans [7:04]
13. "What Is It All About!?" [3:03]
14. The Marriage Myth [7:47]
15. Letters From Ruth [2:11]
16. Mrs. Barron Is Not At Home [8:21]
17. A Visit From Air Corporal Bridge [3:33]
18. Car Trouble [7:33]
19. Epilogue/ End Credits [4:12]
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Menu

Main
Play Movie
   Menu Group #1 with 20 chapter(s) covering 02:04:46
Cast & Crew
   Paul Newman
   Joanne Woodward
   Blythe Danner
   Simon Callow
   Kyra Sedgwick
   Robert Sean Leornard
   Margaret Welsh
   James Ivory
   Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Subtitles
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