Gosford Park

The plot for the 2001 British mystery film Gosford Park was conceived and written in the style of the traditional British detective fiction - absolutely brilliant and a long time coming! I mean there are so very few of them being made these days aren't there, apart from the various current British detective or crime television series, which themselves have more modern scripts, and do not entirely follow the traditional mystery pattern. For those of you who are die-hard British detective fiction fans, you will know exactly what I'm talking about.

Thank goodness I can still watch, whenever I choose to, my older, or newer, as the case may be, more traditional series, albeit not necessarily on television, like Caroline Graham's Midsomer Murders, Agatha Christie's Poirot, Agatha Christie's Marple, Ngaio Marsh's The Inspector Allen Mysteries, Margery Allingham's Campion, the various series productions of Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey, Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse and its spin-off Lewis, Alan Hunter's Inspector George Gently, ... I could go on ... maybe I will make a list for you ... in another post perhaps.

But back to Gosford Park, the story is witty and charming, and so alive and colourful, in the dialogue especially, and it does not tend to prolong any scene unnecessarily. In that sense the film is quite 'fast-paced', the story unfolding in a natural, comfortable flow. I do admit some British programmes can be a little staid, platonic and dry sometimes. The witty part of the film is mostly due to Dame Maggie Smith's character, sharp-tongued, snobbish Constance, Countess of Trentham, and Stephen Fry's obtuse, slow-moving Inspector Thompson. I absolutely love Dame Maggie Smith! She brings to the characters she plays exactly what is needed and in exactly the right amount.

So to all aficionados of the traditional British detective fiction, you must watch Gosford Park ... but I suspect you already have ... well, no harm in watching it again ... yes, it is that sort of film that one can watch over and over again ... as such makes for an excellent gift.

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