THE AGE OF INNOCENCE (1993) C widescreen 133m dir: Martin Scorsese
w/Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder, Alexis Smith, Geraldine Chaplin, Mary Beth Hurt, Alec McCowen, Richard E. Grant, Miriam Margolyes, Robert Sean Leonard
Director Scorsese's richly rendered adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel of 1870s New York society.
From Variety's review of the film: "Present rendition (Irene Dunne and John Boles starred in a forgotten 1934 version) plunges the viewer into the hotbed of high society --- the opera, where the real action is in the boxes, not onstage. The focus of most lorgnettes this evening is Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer), a beautiful American recently returned from Europe after leaving her aristocratic husband.
"Ellen is a cousin of lovely young May Welland (Winona Ryder), who is just now announcing her engagement to socially prominent lawyer Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis), Just as he is urging May to move up the date of their wedding, Newland becomes entranced with the bewitching Ellen, who is tantalizingly different from everyone else in his sphere. ...
"In his attempt to define an era through a thwarted romance set among the trappings of the very rich, director Martin Scorsese conjures up the cinematic worlds of Max Ophuls, notably Madame de ..., and Luchino Visconti, particularly Senso and The Leopard. For a director previously associated mostly with the violence of the lower classes of New York, it's a notable attempt to stretch, and admirable in many ways.
"Day-Lewis cuts an impressive figure as Newland, and the two principal female roles are superbly filled. A great roster of superior actors fills out the supporting roles. Thesps generally affect a mid-Atlantic accent that would seem appropriate to the time. Elmer Bernstein's score is full-bodied and richly romantic."
From The Movie Guide: "Rendered with sumptuous, almost painful accuracy, THE AGE OF INNOCENCE, adapted from the novel by Edith Wharton, seems at first glance an unlikely venture for relentlessly contemporary New Yorker Martin Scorsese. But its loving exploration of the arcane workings of a closed society, that of wealthy, well-bred New Yorkers of the 1870s, has more in common than one might expect with Scorsese's earlier work, from MEAN STREETS through GOODFELLAS. Perhaps the film's most remarkable aspect is how alien its underlying assumptions are to a society saturated with 'Just Do It!' messages. Beneath the delineation of manners and mannerisms, the examination of lushly appointed decor and clothing, the evocation of a time and a place lost to the forward rush of history, THE AGE OF INNOCENCE rests on a moral struggle all but impossible to imagine in a modern-day setting. ...
"THE AGE OF INNOCENCE is a feast for the eyes, and Scorsese brings to stuffy New York society the same keen regard for the rules of social games that characterize his earlier films."
The film won an Oscar for Best Costume Design (Gabriella Pescucci) and was nominated for Best Supporting Actress (Ryder), Adapted Screenplay (Jay Cocks and Scorsese), Art Direction (Dante Ferretti), and Original Score (Bernstein).