1981-1990Alan BridgesDramaUnited Kingdom

Alan Bridges – The Shooting Party (1985)

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

1.03GB | 1h 32mn | 853×480 | mkv



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