Socialist Worker

Gosford Park: views from below stairs

by Kathy Hayes
Issue No. 1786

Gosford Park, the new film from director Robert Altman, is a whodunit-style murder mystery set in a stately home in Britain in the early 1930s. It has a cast list that reads like a who's who of top British actors. But Gosford Park is more than an Agatha Christie-ish murder mystery.

It is an examination of the cruelties and hypocrisies of the class system. It portrays a world where regiments of servants perform military-style operations to cater for their rich employers. The entourage of valets and maids suffer the indignity of being called by the surname of their master or mistress.

A murder brings to the surface all the tensions and conflicts of this rigid and repressive world. Gosford Park is hugely enjoyable. As the Financial Times described it, 'It's also the film Trotsky might have made if handed a camera, a cast and an English stately home'!

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Sat 9 Feb 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1786
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