OH! WHAT A LOVELY WAR
1969, Paramount, 136 min, UK, Dir: Richard Attenborough

In this dazzling directorial debut from Richard Attenborough, a working class family is confronted with the unfathomable realities of World War I, after three brothers witness trench warfare first hand. This is no ordinary war film, however, as Attenborough injects humor, dazzling camera effects, and music into this otherwise stark reality. Thus by fusing the surreal with the factual, and juxtaposing savagely funny satire with quiet sorrow, Attenborough creates a powerful anti-war statement like no other. Based on the stage musical by the same name, OH! WHAT A LOVELY WAR features a stellar cast that includes Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, John Mills, John Gielgud, Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave, Ian Holm, Dirk Bogarde and Susannah York.


HOWARDS END
1992, Sony Repertory, 140 min, UK, Dir: James Ivory

Class conflicts boil beneath the genteel surfaces of early 20th century England in this film of E.M. Forster’s novel. Howards End is an estate that Ruth Wilcox (Vanessa Redgrave) intends to bequeath to her friend, Margaret (Emma Thompson), but Ruth’s starchy spouse, Henry (Anthony Hopkins), is not about to let the house pass out of the family. Winner of three Oscars, for Best Actress (Thompson), Adapted Screenplay and Art Direction.


LEE DANIELS' THE BUTLER
2013, The Weinstein Company, 132 min, USA, Dir: Lee Daniels

Forest Whitaker gives one of his finest performances as Cecil Gaines, a White House butler who serves eight consecutive U.S. presidents during a tumultuous period in American history. Director Lee Daniels neatly balances Gaines’ personal story with the broader social implications of the times. With Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, Robin Williams and Jane Fonda.


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