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The Shooting Party


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Shooting Party, The (1985) (DVD)

Amazon.com

At last, the British film classic The Shooting Party receives the digital restoration that does justice to its sweeping vistas and heartbreaking snapshots of an era in its death throes. Set in 1913 England, on the brink of what would be the war to end all wars, the film focuses on an assortment of upper-crust acquaintances who gather for a weekend of hunting and society niceties (billiards, cards, draping oneself in jewels the evening after stomping around all day in the muck). Presiding over the festivities is a masterful James Mason as Sir Randolph Nettleby, a sort of benevolent dictator of his breathtaking estate, as his family and friends dip in and out of the action, adhering to the strict code of class conduct for all of their affairs--sport, self-advancement, illicit love. Though the weekend is supposed to be a holiday, there is subtle, ominous foreshadowing in the very first scenes, of the men lined up in a meadow, as though troops on a battlefield, taking out ducks and hares with an almost dispassionate relish. The 2006 remastering allows full appreciation of the cinematography of Fred Tammes, the muted greens, grays and tweedy browns of the English countryside combining to make a painterly backdrop for this drama of manners. Mason as Nettleby has rarely been better--crisp, bemused, comfortable in his role but not quite in his own skin. The score by John Scott is transportative. Extras include a making-of documentary; a tour of the Knebworth House, the stately home here the film was shot; rare stills, and more. Splendid! --A.T. Hurley

Special Features

  • New digital restoration
  • "The Shooting Party: A Retrospective" featurette
  • "Knebworth: Playing Nettleby" featurette
  • Location report
  • Scrapbook gallery
  • Original theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Mono, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 17, 2006
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000GRUQLU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,881 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Shooting Party" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

This is a wonderful movie, so well acted.
R. Crane
It is very much a film which holds the interest of anyone interested in the life styles and moral standards of Edwardian England.
J. Lesley
James Mason is perfect as the tired, end-of-an-era lord, while Sir John Gielgud is perfect as the upcoming liberal society.
Patrick Carroll

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Shooting Party shows the decline of the British aristocracy (and why they became irrelevent) through the story device of a weekend of country shooting and the relationships among the manor head (James Mason), those he has invited, those who are retainers on his estate, and those protesting the shoot.

Mason is absolutely superb. He was a subtle actor who made some awful role choices in his career. This was one of his great roles. In the Shooting Party, he embodies the sadness of the loss of values he treasures as well as an understanding of why these values are being lost.

Update as of November 3, 2006: Please note that I have just looked through the BBC Video's new release of the film. It does the the movie justice. The picture is just a little soft, but the colors are rich and the transfer has clarity. The audio is excellent. The BBC's version is worthy of the film. If I could now change my rating to five stars, I would.

Jusr remember that the version from Jef Films, for all practical purposes, is unwatchable. It looks and sounds as if it had been made from a fifth generation home recorded video tape. Color is faded, the images are out of focus, the sound is variable.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 11, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
After a long wait, the quality of this DVD is dissapointing, and not worth it at any price. Without the deep fall colors and contrasts of the original, "The Shooting Party's" minor flaws, its sentimentality and heavy symbolism, take over. The print look like a fifty year old Kodachrome slide--washed out, flat contrast and no shadow detail. And the sound is almost as bad.
That said, the secenes between James Mason as the estate owner, and John Guielgud as the animal rights activist, are priceless. But why should this print be worse than the one shown on television...?
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. Lesley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 29, 2007
Format: DVD
I have to say immediately that I have no technical knowlege concerning this DVD. I know absolutely nothing about film technology. All I can say is that I now own this movie in the DVD version by the BBC and it is simply fabulous. I never saw this either in a movie theatre or on video cassette so I have no point of reference concerning quality. The story appeals to me because of the subject matter and the quality of the casting. The location, costumes and makeup are simply the best. It is very much a film which holds the interest of anyone interested in the life styles and moral standards of Edwardian England. So many things are about to change in the lives of all these people and yet they cannot know this and go on about their lives just as they always have. One of the most moving aspects of the film for me is at the end when the characters names are flashed on the screen with the information of what happened to them during the war. Also, the extra feature where the casting and location details are discussed adds much to the enjoyment of this fine film.

Highly recommended for anyone interested in period English drama. I also purchased the book by Isabel Colegate and read it. I found that the film was very, very faithful to the book. In the extra features included with the DVD the author seemed to be well pleased with the efforts made by the producers to present her work as she would have wished. Good, enjoyable entertainment. Well worth it for any true Anglophile.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By M. P. Vincent on April 30, 2004
Format: DVD
Having waited for ages to find a DVD of this, one of my favourite films, I was thrilled to find it available Across the Pond in R1. That thrill has now turned to despair, however ! This is a classic example of an otherwise beautiful movie ruined by a truly appalling transfer. The perpetrators of this monstrosity should be punished by being locked in a darkened cell for a year, fed only on a diet of bread, water, and a perpetual tape of Britney Spears (any album will do).
Save you money for the professional version.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 14, 2005
Format: DVD
(VHS, not DVD, edition.) Set in the autumn of 1913, just before the outbreak of World War I, this stunning film captures the last days of a way of life--the English country life of large estates, shooting parties, and aristocratic leisure--all of which will be swept away with the war and the subsequent industrialization of the country. Director Alan Bridges emphasizes this theme symbolically in the opening scenes of this 1985 film, as a litter is borne across a field against a backdrop of brilliant autumn foliage.

A lively cast of characters has been invited to Sir Randolph Nettleby's 1000-acre park for a weekend shoot, and as the characters converse, interact, and dally romantically, the reader learns the details of their "civilized" lives, their attitudes and prejudices, and their understanding of their code of behavior. James Mason stars in his final film role as Sir Randolph, a man who loves his aristocratic obligations as host, but who also enjoys associating with some of the locals who live around his estate. Tom Harker, wonderfully played by Gordon Jackson, is a beater and also a poacher, with whom Sir Randolph has a tacit understanding and friendly relationship.

Sir John Gielgud playing an activist who opposes blood-sports has only a small role, but his confrontation with Sir Randolph (Mason), following his attempt to interrupt the shoot, becomes one of the most memorable scenes in filmdom--two greats at the peak of their powers. Personal rivalries develop among several of the guests, who adhere to the "correct" etiquette of their class even as they deal with injuries to their pride--a nicety of behavior that will soon vanish with war.
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