Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Winslow Boy 1999

     This film is based on a play written by Terence Rattigan.  The setting is England early in the twentieth century.  The Winslow family is just celebrating the engagement of their daughter Catherine to Captain John Watherstone.  Catherine is a supporter of women’s suffrage but John is more conservative.  The youngest son of the family, Ronnie was not due home until closer to Christmas.  He has returned home early because he has been expelled from the royal naval academy at 14 years old.  He is accused of stealing a five-shilling postal note and everyone in the family is very upset over this incident.  Ronnie claims he is innocent of the charges and the family enrolls him in another school.  Arthur, Ronnie’s father and his sister Catherine are willing to risk income, security, health, domestic peace and her engagement to obtain justice for Ronnie. They are defeated in the military court of appeals but they take their case to Sir Robert Morton.  He is a brilliant barrister and a Member of Parliament.  Sir Morton questions Ronnie and at first the family is devastated that Sir Morton thinks Ronnie is guilty but this is not the case.
     I had a difficult time maintaining my interest in this film.  Even though it is a minor offense, I can see why the family will do everything they can to prove that Ronnie is innocent.  He should not have to go through life from this young age with this charge hanging over his head.  It is just not as interesting as it should be?  I did like the characters and I thought the social etiquette of this period was interesting.   Sometimes I have a problem with films based on a play.  They can be awkward to translate to a different art medium.  2 1/2* (This movie is just so-so) 

104 min, Drama directed by David Mamet with Rebecca Pidgeon, Jeremy Northam, Nigel Hawthorne, Gemma Jones, Lana Bilzerian, Sarah Flind, Aden Gillett, Guy Edwards, Colin Stinton, Eve Bland, Sara Stewart.

Note:  Imdb 7.4 out of 10, 97% critic 76% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 130 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in London, England, UK.  Another version of this film was released in 1948.  An interesting fact is that Neil North played the First lord of the Admiralty in this film and he played Ronnie in the 1948 version.

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