DVD Rating: ***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Metropolitan

Whit Stillman's commentary is more of an overview. He discusses the usual difficulties that first time directors with no money have when putting a film together. Finding locations proved extremely difficult, which is surprising, since most are interiors of smart apartments and with his connections - he went through the deb season himself, reluctantly - he must have had a zillion contacts. In the end, he was allowed to use a few rooms at the Alan J Lerner Institute after hours.

He doesn't talk about the actors, except Carolyn Farina, who plays Audrey. "Her mother said she got into acting because she was so painfully shy." Audrey is painfully shy, too. Typecasting? "She's a wonderful actress," he adds, wondering aloud why she hasn't done more since Metropolitan. In fact, none of the actors have, except in Stillman's next two films (Barcelona, The Last Days Of Disco), which is a shame.

Copy picture

Finding the money was a drama. Keeping the actors awake all night was another. Finding someone at one o'clock in the morning to tell him the rules of bridge was another ("I started calling people in California because of the time difference"). These are passing anecdotes in a monologue that can be listened to with the picture off.

At first, the film was turned down at Sundance ("I don't know. Someone didn't like it") and later accepted in the First Directors category, where it caused quite a stir. "A famous casting director came up to me and said, 'Loved the film, but you broke all the rules'." What rules, Stillman wondered. "Apparently, you should never cast a red-haired actor in the lead."

Finally, after many false starts, New Line brought it out and it played for seven months in New York ("It was on a lot of Top Ten lists") and he received an Oscar nomination for the screenplay. "When it played in Europe and on the Continent, it was not seen so much as a comedy, but as a sociological study."

Reviewed on: 31 Jul 2006
Share this with others on...
Metropolitan packshot
The self-contained cynicism and bitchy banter of New York’s young contenders at the debutantes’ after parties.
Amazon link

Product Code: MTD5225

Region: 2

Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic widescreen

Sound: Dolby Digital

Extras: Commentary with writer/director Whit Stillman, trailer

Search database: