Monday, June 16, 2014

"Age Of Innocence" Shows Martin Scorsese Love For Opera

Ms. Pfeiffer (facing camera) at the opera in the film Age of Innocence. Read a wonderful article documenting the history of opera in the life of director Martin Scorsese by clicking here.
"The Age of Innocence is a 1993 American film adaptation of Edith Wharton's 1920 novel of the same name. The film was released by Columbia Pictures, directed by Martin Scorsese, and stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Winona Ryder. The film won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, and was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Winona Ryder), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Art Direction. The film was dedicated to Martin Scorsese's father, Luciano Charles Scorsese, who died before it was completed." [Source] The opera scene that opens the movie is from Gounod's Faust and shot at the Philadelphia Academy of Music. Watch the scene and read the movie plot, after the jump.

"Newland Archer (Daniel Day Lewis) is planning to marry the respectable May Welland (Winona Ryder). May's American cousin, the Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer) has returned to New York which causes a shock in society circles. The Countess unwisely married a Polish Count and the Count took her fortune and mistreated her and she left him to return to New York. May's family is boldly and publicly standing by the Countess in the face of malicious gossip, and Archer admires it. Archer prematurely announces his engagement to May, but as he comes to know the Countess, he begins to appreciate her unconventional views on New York society and he becomes increasingly disillusioned with his new fianceé May and her innocence, lack of personal opinion, and sense of self. After the Countess announces her intention of divorcing her husband, Archer supports her desire for freedom, but he feels compelled to act on behalf of the family and persuade the Countess to remain married. When Archer realizes that he is in love with the Countess, he abruptly leaves the next day to be reunited with May and her parents who are in Florida on vacation. Archer asks May to shorten their engagement, but May becomes suspicious and asks him if his hurry to get married is prompted by the fear that he is marrying the wrong person. Archer reassures May that he is in love with her. When back in New York, Archer calls on the Countess and admits that he is in love with her, but a telegram arrives from May announcing that her parents have pushed forward the wedding date. After their wedding and honeymoon, Archer and May settle down to married life in New York. Over time, Archer's memory of the Countess fades. When the Countess returns to New York to care for her grandmother (Miriam Margolyes), she and Archer agree to consummate their affair. But then suddenly, the Countess announces her intention to return to Europe. May throws a farewell party for the Countess, and after the guests leave, May announces to Archer that she is pregnant and that she told Ellen her news two weeks earlier. The years pass: Archer is 57 and has been a dutiful, loving father, and a faithful husband. The Archers have had three children. When May died of infectious pneumonia, he had honestly mourned her. Archer's son, Ted (Robert Sean Leonard) convinces him to travel to France. There, Ted has arranged to visit the Countess Olenska at her Paris apartment. Archer has not seen her in over 25 years. Ted confides to his father May's deathbed confession that "... she knew we were safe with you, and always would be. Because once, when she asked you to, you gave up the thing you wanted most." Archer confesses that she never asked him. That evening outside the Countess' apartment, Archer sends his son alone to visit her. While sitting outside the apartment, he thinks about their time together and gets up and walks away."

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