White Countess (DVD, 2006)
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Most relevant reviews
- tripleblackdiam...Jun 28, 2006by
White Countess, intelligent, artistry 1930's Shanghai
The White Countess is an intelligent, artistic film set against the backdrop of 1930's Shanghai, China. It is the last film for Director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant who collaborated together on 28 films (Merchant died in 2005). Todd Jackson (Ralph Fiennes) is a former diplomat who dreams of owning the perfect little bar in Shanghai. He is a blind man who dreams of owning a bar "in his mind" down to the last detail. He says to a friend, "With a good team of bouncers, you could run the place like an orchestra." Always a little drunk Mr. Jackson meets a mysterious Japanese man, Matsuda, at a local establishment who unbeknown to Jackson is the advance man for the soon to be invading Japanese Army. As the two men converse during the evening, Matsuda learns of the eccentric world of Mr. Jackson and his nightclub plans. Jackson tells him, “you would like to visit the bar of my dreams" and they soon become friends. Meanwhile the elegant Countess Sofia Belinsky (Natasha Richardson), once Russian Royalty, supports her exiled family as a taxi dancer and sometimes prostitute. Mr. Jackson and Countess Sofia meet by chance at the nightclub where she works after Sofia realizes two unsavory characters are planning to rob the blind Jackson. She escorts him home and he realizes immediately she is the "centerpiece" for his perfect bar which he later names The White Countess. He assembles his bar with great jazz, clientele and the right bouncers. In one year Mr. Matsuda returns to find Mr. Jackson's dream a reality except for one thing, political intrigue, Mastuda obliges, and a host of political rivals enter Mr. Jackson’s cabaret. A friendly formal relationship develops "inside the walls" of The White Countess between Mr. Jackson and the Countess. "Outside the walls" the Japanese invasion is imminent. Casablanca comes to mind, right? While not as sweeping as Casablanca, it does not disappoint. It is a long and sometimes slow film as Directors Ivory and Merchant seem to cater to a literate crowd. Watch it with a date, she will be impressed!Read full review
- bookstrishaJan 18, 2008by
Serendipity on film
I discovered this film one quiet afternoon and luckily had the time to sit down and watch it. As a film fan and former History teacher, I have always wished I could find a class which used film to review history. This is the story of two displaced people, one is a former very successful businessman who has lost his way due the loss of his young daughter and his eyesight to a terroist's bomb on a tram in 1939 Shanghai. The other person is a White Russian Countess who, with her husband's family, has escaped the Soviet purge and is living in Shanghai. The Countess is beautiful and earns her living as a hostess and dance hall girl in a cafe. This is a Redgrave family film, and the performances by Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave as well as Natasha Richardson are excellent. The businessman is played by Ralph Fiennes with an American accent. The family is willing to live off of Richardson's job, but tries to sneak out on her when it becomes necessary to leave Shanghai, taking the Countess' daughter. This is a story of people holding on by their fingertips. Some of them hang on to the old life, some of them move forward. One wishes we could watch the Countess, the Businessman and her daughter as they leave on a boat sans the husband's family but hopeful they are moving toward safety.Read full review
- quintessence_pr...Nov 20, 2010by
The White Countess( DVD, 2006)
Natasha Richardson portrays "Countess Sophia", a young, beautiful Russian refugee in 1930's Shanghai, China. She works "odd jobs" to help support her once-aristocrat family, now led by Lynn Regrave's character, Olga. Ralph Fiennes is the blind but functional US Diplomat that stumbles upon Countess Sophia, and they endure the Japanese takeover and the dangers that entail. Well-done, and a "must see" movie.
- rose-sonataOct 26, 2015by
A great movie which keeps your attention and also a movie to come back to when you need to do something else. My daugahter also really enjoyed it.
Verified purchase: Yes | Condition: Used
- tru264Oct 04, 2007by
The White Countess
I really liked this movie, though it was a bit like a documentary - not overly exciting to view.
It deals with a lot of emotional issues of rightness and wrongness and in between and how sometimes good people are less loving and forgiving than people who struggle to do good.