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I don't know why so many people always give short shrift to Paul Newman when he appears with his wife, Joanne Woodward, in a film. They are both stunning actors at the peak of their acting powers in this movie. There really is no need to compare and contrast perfection itself. Merchant-Ivory is wonderful at handling the upper classes, whether they be British or American, in London, or, in this case, Kansas City, in the 1930s and 1940s. What stands out most vividly to me is that Mr. Bridges' heart condition is really not treatable back then.

We are so used to heart surgery now, that life lived with a heart condition back in the 1930s and 1940s is forgotten as being an entirely different situation. The movie is about this couple and their extended family and the crises they weather. This, however, is basically what every Merchant-Ivory film is about and this one covers every nuance within the Bridges' family's structure and behavior. I really love the beautiful body of film work by Merchant-Ivory and I'm really glad that some of it is American, set in our heartland, with the cream of our acting crop.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
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on August 14, 2001
If you are looking for violence, lots of sex and fast cars, wrong movie! But if you are looking for a thought provoking, tender, poignant and often funny story, you've hit the jackpot. I am running out of adjectives for my two favorite actors (Newman and Woodward ought to be declared America's royalty) They shine here. Much deserved Oscar nomination for Woodward and should have been one for Newman, who never ceases to amaze. Blythe Danner is a plus as well. I thouroughly enjoyed it.
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on February 23, 2006
Both Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward perform expertly in this adaptation of the Evan S. Connell novels. Newman is Walter Bridge, a stiff, by-the-book, passionless man, and Woodward his reticent, subservient wife, India. Although Woodward is unhappy in this relationship, the movie is not about an oafish, bullying husband and his dominated wife - it's a lot more subtle than that. Set in the 1930s, it's a time when the upper crust was still expected to act this way (although times were a-changing). Intelligent in a way lost to Hollywood in recent times, the movie doesn't take any of the shortcuts one might expect. The characters are not black and white, good and evil; they have interesting shadings about them - and our feelings about them and responses to them are also shaded. It's a very good movie; definitely worth a watch.
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on April 9, 2001
This is one of those films with a lot of those "Memorable Moments" that you will remember years after viewing it. The scene where Mr. Bridge refuses to let a dangerous storm spoil his dinner. The hotel bedroom scene where Mr. and Mrs. Bridge find themselves sleeping akwardly in front of a mirror. The scene where Mr. Bridge takes Mrs. Bridge to a cabaret in France filled with scantily clad women doing the Can-Can and the priceless look that Mrs. Bridge has on her face.
It's about two traditional people thrust into a new world filled with free thinkers and sexual awakenings and the honest, but humerous reactions as they try to deal with it all. Everytime I watch this film I'm suprised at what I didn't catch before, and even the scenes I remember always seem to catch me off guard.
The humor comes from the humanity within the two main characters, and it's often more funny than the best comedies you will ever watch.
Highly recommended!
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on November 5, 1999
I adore this movie. The performances of Paul and Joanne are near perfect. This is no "leave it to beaver " family but a group of individuals all struggling to make sense of their surroundings and ultimately failing to connect with each other. India is the most touching character, estranged from her family, she seeks solace in her best friend. The last scene was a touch puzzling, but I figured it was meant to represent Mrs. Bridge's isolation and helplessness. I thought Blythe Danner was excellent too as the kooky wife battling the bourgeois conformity that surrounded her.
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on April 2, 2014
This movie is a true classic, as it slowly and simply takes you through life for an average middle class family in the 30s and 40s. There are no highs or lows, just ordinary living with excellent acting. However, if you look closely, there are some issues which are brought up that make you realize that all was not well then either. Will be keeping this movie in my collection to watch again and again, and each time I know I will see something new that was missed previously. A very delightful story and I think the Newmans thought so as well when they signed on to play the lead characters.
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on November 1, 2008
It is just a wonderful movie that did not get any play in the theatre or anywhere else. I rented it for the first time because of the cast and loved it, that is why I have added it to my collection. If we all live long enough we will go through the same thing, it's also a different period of time, but I could relate since I was on the fringe of that generation and as I look at things now maybe it was not all that bad. We have lost such an icon in Paul Newman,but I am glad that his wife is still with us. That is another thing that makes this movie so wonderfu is that Joann Woodward stars in it as his wife. They are always great and wonderful together. I'm so glad to have been able to follow Mr. Newman's career, as I'm 70y/o and saw it from the beginning.It seems that we are so caught up in special effects that we have forgotten what it's like to see a movie that is just a GOOD story and this one meets all those requirements and more. The special effects are Good acting and Great actors. ENJOY!!!
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on November 7, 2014
Another complex, brilliant, subtle and sophisticated Merchant-Ivory-Prawer film. Why do Ismail Merchant (producer) and James Ivory (director) get all the credit for their wonderful films? Isn't the most important element of any great film truly a great script? Many if not most of the greatest Merchant-Ivory films had scripts written by Ruth Prawer. Let her climb out of the shadows and receive her due accolades.

This film about Mr. & Mrs. Bridge demonstrates that, while upper-class white Anglo-Saxon Protestants may appear to be uptight, conformist and overly repressed, there is a subtle but fascinating interplay of complex emotions below the surface. When I first saw this film a quarter century ago on a first date, my female companion was impressed that I liked a "chick flick". Liking this film has nothing to do with being a chick, I replied, it has to do with having a brain. What is a chick flick, anyway? Evidently, any film in which no gun is fired, and no carnage occurs.
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on February 12, 2014
What a wonderful movie by Merchant-Ivory. Beautifully played by both Joanne and Paul, a couple to be treasured for all time. They add so much to this elegant movie by their subtle nuanced ability to play the scenes to fit the characters. I highly recommend this movie! It is not for everyone. You have to be a fan of these kinds of movies; which I am. Merchant Ivory is well known for such movies and "Wings of a Dove" and "Howard's End" --fix a cup of tea and sit back and enjoy!
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on April 15, 2015
I loved this movie years ago and I still like it...it is probably too deep and too slow for todays generations but if you like personality movies....this one is good...Paul and Joanne..how can you lose
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