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Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont

Mrs Palfrey At The ClaremontAmusing and heart-warming,
  Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont tells
  the story of an elderly widow
 
who decides to go to live in London
 
to be near her grandson and is
  rescued by a young stranger who
  becomes an important part of
  her life...”


HAVING SEEN THE CLAREMONT HOTEL at Lancaster Gate advertised in a newspaper, the recently-widowed Mrs Sarah Palfrey (Joan Plowright: The Entertainer) decides it is the sort of place she'd like to live particularly as it has such "excellent cuisine".

However, on arrival at the hotel she finds that things are not quite as she thought. All in their twilight years, the long-term residents have experienced pain and loss but never seem to have visitors. They take an interest in her — particularly when she tells them she has a grandson, Desmond, who will come to see her.

Sarah Palfrey settles in with her new companions: the forthright Alvira Arbuthnott (Anna Massey: Peeping Tom); the frivolous Shirley Burton (Georgina Hale: The Commander, The Devil You Know); the inquisitive Vera Post (Marcia Warren); the theatrical Lorna De Salis (Millicent Martin) and her son Willie (Michael Culkin); and Mr Osborne (Robert Lang). But when Desmond fails to materialise after some months, they refer to him as her "mythical" grandson and Sarah is almost resigned to being alone.

There are a number of humorous remarks, including when Shirley describes a television programme as being "spicy" and adds: "Something we desperately around here!"

While out one day, a chance encounter gives Sarah a new lease of life.
After a fall in the street, the youthful Ludovic Meyer (up-and-coming star Rupert Friend: Pride and Prejudice) gives her first aid. Ludo — as he is known — is a writer and busker who shares her love of poetry. Mrs Palfrey invites him to lunch at The Claremont. And so begins the unusual, easy-going relationship based on mutual respect that is to change both their lives.

Due to a misunderstanding, the residents believe that Ludo is Desmond. He goes along with it, asking "Sasa" (as he calls her) if she will share her memories as he has an idea for a story. "Good Lord," he says as they have lunch, "we're trapped in a Terrence Rattigan play!"

Based on Elizabeth Taylor's best-selling novel of the same name, Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont is a well observed and highly-amusing study of attitudes to lives and relationships. When husband Arthur died, Sarah had to call on "strengths I never knew I had" and she began to appreciate independence.

Ludo had never got on with his own mother (Clare Higgins), who finds it difficult to show her emotions, and he is astounded at Mrs Palfrey's positive affect on her when they meet. "I visit her on her planet but she never visits mine; and I always leave feeling like a stranger," says Ludo. And he observes, sadly: "It's very important to praise people early on otherwise they might die of disappointment."

How will Mrs Palfrey react to a friend's proposal? What will happen when the real Desmond (newcomer Lorcan O'Toole) eventually turns up — followed by Sarah's daughter Elizabeth (Anna Carteret)? And will Sarah's relationship with Ludo suffer when he meets Gwendoline (newcomer Zo Tapper: Stage Beauty) at the DVD shop — and she invites him home to watch Brief Encounter?

Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont is dedicated to the memory of Robert Lang, who plays Mr Osborne. The film is directed by Dan Ireland and Produced by Lee Caplin. The Screenplay is by Ruth Sacks; Director of Photography is Claudio Rocha; the Music is by Stephen Barton and the Score Produced by Harry Gregson-Williams. From the novel by Elizabeth Taylor, Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont also features Timothy Bateson as Summers; Carl Proctor as The Manager; and Emma Pike as Violet the Waitress. The feature is very well cast.

Acorn Media is delighted to announce the DVD release of Dan Ireland's award-winning bittersweet comedy-drama Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont, starring esteemed actress Dame Joan Plowright and up-and-coming star Rupert Friend. As well as a stunning performance from award-winning actress Plowright, the film stars a wonderful ensemble cast of some of the greatest and most respected British actors.

Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont is released on 7 July, 2008, priced at 16.99. Running Time: 103 mins approx | Certificate: PG | Catalogue No: AV9659.

Special features: Elizabeth Taylor Biography and Bibliography, Cast Filmographies, Subtitles and Picture Gallery.

A tie-in edition of the novel by Elizabeth Taylor with this gentle and touching drama is available from Virago Press.

"The movie is a delight, in ways both expected and rare" — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"A juicy morsel for the great British actress Dame Joan Plowright" — New York Times

"Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont is a well observed and highly-amusing study of attitudes to lives and relationships" — MotorBar