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Age of Innocence [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder, Linda Faye Farkas, Michael Rees Davis
  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Writers: Martin Scorsese, Edith Wharton, Jay Cocks
  • Producers: Barbara De Fina, Bruce S. Pustin, Joseph P. Reidy
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • VHS Release Date: January 20, 1998
  • Run Time: 139 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (276 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767802799
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #698,356 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

magine living in a world where life is governed by intricate rituals; a world "balanced so precariously that its harmony [can] be shattered by a whisper" (Wharton); a world ruled by self-declared experts on form, propriety and family history - read: scandal -; where everything is labeled and yet, people are not; where in order not to disturb society's smooth surface nothing is ever expressed or even thought of directly, and where communication occurs almost exclusively by way of symbols, which are unknown to the outsider and, like any secret code, by their very encryption guarantee his or her permanent exclusion. Such, in faithful imitation of Victorian England, was the society of late 19th century upper class New York. Into this society returns, after having grown up and lived all her adult life in Europe, American-born Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer), after leaving a cruel and uncaring husband. She already causes scandal by the mere manner of her return; but not knowing the secret rituals of the society she has entered, she quickly brings herself further into disrepute by receiving an unmarried man, by being seen in the company of a man only tolerated by virtue of his financial success and his marriage to the daughter of one of this society's most respected families, by arriving late to a dinner in which she has expressly been included to rectify a prior general snub, by leaving a drawing room conversation to instead join a gentleman sitting by himself - and worst of all, by openly contemplating divorce, which will most certainly open up a whole Pandora's box of "odditi

Customer Reviews

And Michele Pfeifer--well, I just can't believe she didn't go on to do better things than she did on film.
Leslie Karen Rigsbey
With stunning period costumes, lavish interiors and lush outdoor scenes Scorsese's THE AGE OF INNOCENCE has to be one of the most beautiful movies ever filmed.
Susan K. Schoonover
Countess Olenska has fled from her European husband into the stuffy society of upper crust New York; Archer falls madly in love with her.
Bomojaz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

164 of 170 people found the following review helpful By Themis-Athena on June 7, 2004
Format: DVD
Imagine living in a world where life is governed by intricate rituals; a world "balanced so precariously that its harmony [can] be shattered by a whisper" (Wharton); a world ruled by self-declared experts on form, propriety and family history - read: scandal -; where everything is labeled and yet, people are not; where in order not to disturb society's smooth surface nothing is ever expressed or even thought of directly, and where communication occurs almost exclusively by way of symbols, which are unknown to the outsider and, like any secret code, by their very encryption guarantee his or her permanent exclusion.

Such, in faithful imitation of Victorian England, was the society of late 19th century upper class New York. Into this society returns, after having grown up and lived all her adult life in Europe, American-born Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer), after leaving a cruel and uncaring husband. She already causes scandal by the mere manner of her return; but not knowing the secret rituals of the society she has entered, she quickly brings herself further into disrepute by receiving an unmarried man, by being seen in the company of a man only tolerated by virtue of his financial success and his marriage to the daughter of one of this society's most respected families, by arriving late to a dinner in which she has expressly been included to rectify a prior general snub, by leaving a drawing room conversation to instead join a gentleman sitting by himself - and worst of all, by openly contemplating divorce, which will most certainly open up a whole Pandora's box of "oddities" and "unpleasantness": the strongest terms ever used to express moral disapproval in this particular social context.
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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 18, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Martin Scorsese has made a reputation of conveying the essence of the human spirit through images of toughness and violence. On the surface, The Age of Innocence seems about as far removed from films like Raging Bull and Goodfellas as east is from west. But look a little closer and you'll see that this is most definitely a Scorsese film. For it's the characters, and rightly so, that have always been Scorsese's "means to the end." In this movie, it is the characters and the potent tension building among them that takes center stage. The Age of Innocence could be compared to a sumptuous and lavish banquet. Elmer Bernstein's score is powerful and moves along in perfect counterpoint to cinematographer Michael Ballhaus's visuals and their vivid colors--the crimsons and yellows of voluptuous roses, the flashes of red and white that mark transition scenes, the full-course gourmet meals. The costumes and set design are so perfect that it's not hard to believe one has travelled back in time to nineteenth-century New York City. The Age of Innocence is an adaptation of the 1921 Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Edith Wharton. Set in New York City in the 1870s, America is, at that time, every bit as Victorian as England ever was and even a hint of immorality can bring ruin to a family. Enter Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer) who has lived most of her life in Europe and is now attempting to escape from a disatrous marriage. Her first meeting with Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) is quiet and proper, yet smoulders with yet-to-be-spoken desires, for Archer is engaged to Ellen's cousin, May (Winona Ryder).Read more ›
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67 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 2, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This 1993 film, directed by Martin Scorsese, brings the Edith Wharton novel to life. Here it is -- all the social comment and smoldering unrequited passions originally intended by the author. And now it's in living color with academy award winning costume design reflecting New York society in the 1870s.
Daniel-Day Lewis is cast as Newland Archer, the upper class young man in conflict between social convention and desire. Michelle Pfieffer plays the Countess Ellen Olenska, who has already defied convention by marrying a European and is further defying convention by leaving her husband and returning to New York. However, in spite of his attraction to the countess, Newland Archer marries the beautiful but seemingly simple May Welland, played by Wynona Ryder, whose outstanding performance won her an academy award nomination.
The film is woven together by the excellent off-screen narration by Joanne Woodward, reading excerpts from the book describing the nuances of social behavior and unspoken thoughts of the characters. The entire package comes across as a small masterpiece. I loved the book, but there is nothing like actually seeing the ballrooms, the gowns, the dinnerware and the food. There is nothing like seeing how very subtle gestures of a glance, a raised eyebrow or a change in tone of voice can have so much meaning. And there is one scene in which Newland Archer struggles with the buttons of the Countess's glove that captures an erotic sensuality in a very special way.
However, a book can be read over many days or weeks. It can be put down and thought about, the characters carried in the mind's eyes for a while. The subtleties and nuances have time to live with the reader. A film, however, must be watched all at once.
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