5.0 2
Director: Dustin Hoffman

Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly


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An opera company filled with retired performers reunite once a year to stage a fund-raiser for their theater in Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut. Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, and Billy Connolly star.  See more details below


An opera company filled with retired performers reunite once a year to stage a fund-raiser for their theater in Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut. Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, and Billy Connolly star.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tim Holland
Septuagenarian Dustin Hoffman makes his directorial debut with Quartet, a slight but immensely charming romantic comedy that is perfectly performed by a regal cast headlined by Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, and Pauline Collins. Oscar-winning screenwriter Ronald Harwood (The Pianist) adapted his 1999 play, which was inspired by Tosca's Kiss, a 1984 documentary about a home for retired opera singers in Milan. In Quartet, the setting is Beecham House, an opulent English estate that is home to Britain's finest retired opera singers and musicians. Beecham's residents are a spry, if aged, bunch. They may no longer be young, but their zest for life remains undiminished. This youthful exuberance is readily seen in flirty Wilfred Bond (a delightful Billy Connolly), whose randy but innocent talk generates much of the film's laughter, and in perpetually happy Cissy (Pauline Collins), a sweet soprano in the early stages of dementia. More serious is tenor Reginald Paget (Tom Courtenay). He teaches a music-theory class to local students who are more interested in rap than opera. But Reggie's sedate world, and indeed, the entirety of Beecham House, is upended when diva extraordinaire Jean Horton (Maggie Smith) reluctantly arrives. As one resident says, "She's as large as life and twice as terrifying." And Jean more than lives up to that billing, as Smith expertly spouts tart retorts to unwitting underlings that would make Downton Abbey's Lady Grantham proud. Reggie is unhappy to see Jean, not because of her reputation, but because he was once married to her for an all-too-brief time. To say things ended badly between them is an understatement: He's never forgiven her for breaking his heart, and worse, he's never fallen out of love with her. Now here she is again, and her presence sends him into a funk, as he is forced to recall their painful past. But as fate -- or script contrivance -- would have it, the financially flailing Beecham House is hosting a fund-raiser in an effort to prevent it from closing its doors. Wouldn't it be great if these four honored opera stars, who once sang together in a quartet and all now conveniently live at Beecham, reunited one last time to perform at the benefit? That would certainly sell a lot of tickets. There's just one problem: Jean doesn't want to do it. "I was someone once," she says. She would prefer to live on her past laurels, rather than risk tarnishing her revered reputation. But Wilfred, Cissy, and eventually Reggie insist that she join them. What follows is fairly predictable, but also wholly satisfying. Hoffman obviously loves his actors (no surprise there) and lets them shine at every opportunity. He also gives ample screen time to real-life opera sensation Gwyneth Jones, who plays Beecham's reigning diva before the arrival of Jean, and allows her an aria. Hoffman, who is a trained pianist and once dreamed of becoming a jazz musician, pushes Quartet's sumptuous music to the forefront, and it's as important to the film as Harwood's delicate, witty script. The only surprising thing about Quartet is that Hoffman spent 45 years in front of the camera before he decided to step behind it. His assured debut, thin on plot but rich in performance and atmosphere, is a loving tribute to seniors, much like himself, and their ability to contribute meaningfully to society. And it serves notice that this talented rookie director just may have a future behind the camera.

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Product Details

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[Wide Screen, Color]
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Special Features

Feature commentary with Director Dustin Hoffman; Dustin Hoffman behind-the-scenes featurettes

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Maggie Smith Jean Horton
Tom Courtenay Reggie Paget
Billy Connolly Wilf Bond
Pauline Collins Cissy Robson
Michael Gambon Cedric Livingston
Sheridan Smith Dr. Lucy Cogan
Andrew Sachs Bobby Swanson
Gwyneth Jones Anne Langley
Trevor Peacock George
David Ryall Harry
Michael Byrne Frank White
Ronnie Fox Nobby
Patricia Loveland Letitia Davis
Eline Powell Angelique
Luke Newberry Simon
Shola Adewusi Sheryl
Jumayn Hunter Joey
Aleksandra Duczmal Marta
Denis Khoroshko Tadek
Sarah Crowden Felicity Liddle
Colin Bradbury Olly Fisher
Patricia Varley Octavia
Ronnie Hughes Tony Rose
Jack Honeyborne Dave Trubeck
John Rawnsley Nigel
Nuala Willis Norma McIntyre
Melodie Waddingham Marion Reed
Cynthia Morey Lottie Yates
John Heley Leo Cassell
Graeme Scott Fred
John Georgiadis Bill
Ita Herbert Regina
Ania Duczmal Eva
Cyril Davey "Flat piano" Resident
Esmy Penry-Davey Young Pianist
Virginia Bradbury Daisy
Isla Mathieson Young Violinist Isla
Ionia Mathieson Young Violinist Iona
Claudia Mellor Lady Gaga Girl
Penelope Zagoul Cleaner
Helen Bradbury Daisy's Mother
Jennifer Spillane Waltzing Neurologist

Technical Credits
Dustin Hoffman Director,Executive Producer
Christian Balite Associate Producer
Lucy Bevan Casting
Beverly Binda Makeup
Christoph Daniel Executive Producer
John DeBorman Cinematographer
Odile Dicks-Mireaux Costumes/Costume Designer
Finola Dwyer Producer
Glenn Freemantle Sound/Sound Designer
Rodrigo Gutierrez Camera Operator
Ronald Harwood Screenwriter
Jamie Laurenson Executive Producer
Stewart Mackinnon Producer
Xavier Marchand Executive Producer
Dario Marianelli Score Composer
Andrew McAlpine Production Designer
Malcolm McClean Camera Operator
Philippa Naughten Production Manager
Matthew Penry-Davey Asst. Director
Barney Phillips Editor
Amanda Posey Associate Producer
Tapio Salmi Makeup
Kle Savidge Musical Direction/Supervision
Marc Schmidheiny Executive Producer
Thorsten Schumacher Executive Producer
Mark Shivas Associate Producer
Ben Smith Art Director
Dickon Stainer Executive Producer
Dario Suter Executive Producer

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