"Gosford Park" Is Released

Gosford Park is a 2001 film directed by Robert Altman.

The screenplay is by Julian Fellowes, based on an idea by Altman and producer Bob Balaban. It features an ensemble cast including Michael Gambon, Alan Bates, Derek Jacobi, Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren, Eileen Atkins, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jeremy Northam, Bob Balaban, Ryan Phillippe, Stephen Fry, Kelly Macdonald, James Wilby, Clive Owen, Emily Watson, Camilla Rutherford, Tom Hollander, and Richard E. Grant.

The film is set in 1932 at an English country house. A party of wealthy Britons and Americans accompanied by their servants gather at the home of Sir William McCordle for a shooting weekend. A murder occurs in the middle of the night, the film presenting the murder from both the servants' and the guests' perspective. But rather than a simple mystery to be solved, the film uses the whodunit format to create a drama showcasing the tensions of the British class system. Many intertwining subplots detail the complex relationships among the characters, both above stairs (the wealthy guests) and below (the servants).

Robert Altman, near the peak of his directorial game at 76, melds the staid worlds of "Upstairs Downstairs" and Agatha Christie-style mystery into an acutely observed period whodunit, set in 1932 on a posh country estate. Michael Gambon is the rich "randy old sod" with many enemies who gives a weekend shooting party. Kristin Scott Thomas is the lady of the house. The guests include an American film producer (Bob Balaban) and the matinee idol Ivor Novello (Jeremy Northam). Greed and snobbery reign, and upstairs meets downstairs on the back stairs. The ensemble acting is sublime. – Stephen Holden, The New York Times