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Another Country Movie Review

guy life rupert everett

One of the saddest things about 1987's Less Than Zero (besides watching the way-too-believable performance of real-life substance abuser Robert Downey Jr.) is realizing that the director of that abysmal flick, Marek Kanievska, had helmed one of my favorite films of 1984. How could the man who made Another Country, one of the most sensitive films EVER about homosexuality, appear to give homophobia equal screen time just three years later? Rupert Everett plays Guy Bennett, who's meant to be real-life spy Guy Burgess (1911–63). Journalist Betsy Brantley comes to interview him at his flat in Russia and discovers that the aging traitor is somewhat of a broken-hearted Anglophile. What happened? Guy talks about his schooldays when he befriended a Marxist named Tommy Judd (newcomer Colin Firth at his most luscious) and kvetched about Mummy Imogen (Anna Massey), and fell in love with Harcourt (angelic Cary Elwes before he began to pump iron). Guy wants to be accepted by his schoolmates, but the homosexual activity they enjoy in private and condemn in public is intrinsic to his nature. As his infatuation with Harcourt deepens, Guy becomes increasingly vulnerable to the forces that lead to his break from Great Britain's social structure. Once the break occurs, he accepts his lot as a permanent outsider with resignation, no longer feeling any loyalty to the country of his birth, only a wistful yearning for its trappings. A good companion piece to Another Country is Alan Bennett's An Englishman Abroad, directed by John Schlesinger in 1983 and based on star Coral Browne's (1913–91) real-life encounter with Guy Burgess (Alan Bates). Reportedly, American audiences have a rough time making sense of the Burgess-Maclean-Philby triumvirate or comprehending subsequent revelations about the Queen's de-knighted art historian Anthony Blunt (1907–83). Everett's poignant portrayal really ought to speak for itself, but if not, John Costello's The Mask of Treachery (Collins, 1988) is crammed with over 760 pages worth of information on the subject. Extra Note: As a teenager, the ninth Earl Spencer appeared in several sequences here, one where he sings his sister Princess Diana's favorite hymn, “I Vow to Thee My Country,” and another sequence where he bares his backside in a community shower.

1984 90m/C GB Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Michael Jenn, Robert Addie, Anna Massey, Betsy Brantley, Rupert Wainwright, Cary Elwes, Arthur Howard, Tristan Oliver, Frederick Alexander, Adrian Ross-Magenty, Geoffrey Bateman, Philip Dupuy, Jeffrey Wickham, Gideon Boulting, Ivor Howard, Charles Spencer; D: Marek Kanievska; W: Julian Mitchell; C: Peter Biziou; M: Michael Storey. Nominations: Cannes Film Festival ‘84: Best Film. VHS, LV

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