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Monday, May 14, 2007

GREENLIGHT #137: After the Wedding (with "The Philadelphia Story" and "Scenes from a Marriage")

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Ann and Les feel like they can live happily ever after now that they've seen After the Wedding (2006.) This Danish film is a beauty. It stars Mads Mikkelsen who until now was best known as the latest James Bond foe. He plays the head of an Indian orhpanage who returns to his native Denmark in search of financial support from the character played by Rolf Lassgard but instead gets invited to his daughter's wedding and finds out a whole lot about himself. The mother-of-the-bride turns out to be a former girlfriend played "luminously" (Ann says) by Sidse Babett Knudsen. It sounds a bit soap opera-ish but rest assured director Susanne Bier handles it with utmost maturity. For their GREENLIGHT Rentals, Les recommends another lovely film about a wedding that opens the eyes of many involved called The Philadelphia Story (1940.) This masterpiece of charmingly sophisticated wit has Cary Grant playing C.K. Dexter Haven the ex-husband of the extremely patrician Tracey Lord played by Katherine Hepburn. Haven appears the day before Lord is to marry an extremely sensible man which, Haven thinks, doesn't make sense. Then arrives a newspaper man played by Jimmy Stewart who was all ready to write about the snobbish excesses of the wedding but falls for the bride instead - or at least he thinks he does - requiring much patience from his longtime partner played by Ruth Hussey. Every scene in this movie is divine but pay special attention to the ones with Hepburn and Hussey. Women at their best. Les is sure director George Cukor remembers this one fondly. Ann recommends a film about what really happens after a wedding. Ingmar Bergman created a 36-hour Swedish television series about the life of a married couple played thoroughly convincingly by Liv Ullman and Erland Josephson. Fortunately for American audiences, he edited it all down to an exquisite two-hour film called Scenes from a Marriage (1973.)

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