"Mr. And Mrs. Bridge" Is Released

Mr. & Mrs. Bridge is a 1990 Merchant Ivory Film based on the novels by Evan S. Connell of the same name.

It is directed by James Ivory, with a screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and produced by Ismail Merchant.

The film tells the story of a traditional family living in the Country Club District of Kansas City, Missouri, during the 1930s and 1940s. The Bridges grapple with changing mores and expectations. Mr. Bridge, played by Paul Newman, is a lawyer who resists his children's rebellion against the conservative values he holds dear. Mrs. Bridge, played by Joanne Woodward, labors to maintain a Pollyanna view of the world against her husband's emotional distance and her children's eagerness to adopt a world view more modern than her own.

The movie features Blythe Danner as Mrs. Bridge's troubled friend, Simon Callow as a foreign psychiatrist the Bridges find unsavory, Saundra McClain as the Bridges' maid, and, as the Bridge children, Kyra Sedgwick, Robert Sean Leonard, and Margaret Welsh. It was filmed entirely on location in Kansas City, Paris, France, and Ottawa, Canada. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress (Joanne Woodward).

Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (played by real-life "Mr. and Mrs." Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward) are well-to-do residents of Kansas City in the 1940s. So far as the Bridges are concerned, however, it's the 1920s, with Mr. Bridge treating his wife like property, regarding his grown children as if they're still adolescents, and habitually voting against that upstart Roosevelt. Though the underlying painfulness of such an archaic arrangement is never ignored, Mr. Bridges' obstinancy is for the most part amusing. The scene that seemed to please the audience most was the one in which Mr. Bridge orders Mrs. Bridge not to leave their table at their country club despite tornado warnings (they sit quietly in the deserted dining room while the building shakes and shudders). As for Mrs. Bridge, her "life" is totally defined by those around her--which in any other film would be a tragedy, but which here seems a logical extension of all that's gone before. Based on two separate novels by Evan S. Connell, Mr. & Mrs. Bridge is a rare excursion into Americana by the Ismail Merchant-James Ivory team. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide