Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Quiz: Period Pieces de Resistances 11.o5.99

Ishmael Merchant and James Ivory, the producer/director team, along with their screenwriter collaborator, Ruth Prawler Jhabvala, have made a career out of adapting the literary novels of E.M. Forster, Kazuo Ishiguro and Arianna Huffington into lush period pieces. Together, they made the cinema safe for actors with titles in their names. Thanks to this pair of highbrows, lavish British costume dramas that, prior to the 1990s, would have only appeared on PBS (to be ignored by television viewers who preferred Tony Danza to Tony Hopkins), became box office bonanza.

These Oscar heavy-hitters not only featured extravagant production design, beautiful photography, and superb acting, but also wonderful dialogue that often crackled with wit and pith. More often than not, the most stinging barbs skewered the class struggle or took the piss out of that Stiff Upper Lip. Can you determine which member of the cinematic gentry uttered these immortal words?

1. “The poor are the poor, and one's sorry for them--but there it is.”

2. “England has always been disinclined to accept human nature.”

3. “These wretched aristocrats can't even heat their houses.”

4. “I don't believe a man can consider himself fully content until he has done all he can to be of service to his employer.”

5. “All I want--all I've ever wanted is the quiet of a private life. But my mother wants me distinguished.”

6. “A person is called rich when they are able to meet the requirements of their imagination.”

7. “You're not eating enough. One must not let vanity overrule appetite.”

8. “I have rid England of her enemies. What do I do now?”

9. “She's lived for 400 years and hardly aged a day but, because this is England, everyone pretends not to notice.”

10. “Like most intellectuals, he's intensely stupid.”

11. “I must throw a party for her. Otherwise everyone will feel at once how much I dislike her.”

12. “Mother doesn't like me playing Beethoven. She says I'm always peevish afterwards.”


1. Henry Wilcox (Sir Anthony Hopkins) in Howard’s End
2. Lasker-Jones (Ben Kingsley) in Maurice
3. Kate Croy (Helena Bonham Carter) in Wings Of The Dove
4. James Stevens (Sir Anthony Hopkins) in Remains Of The Day
5. Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant) in Sense And Sensibility
6. Ralph Touchett (Martin Donovan) in Portrait Of A Lady
7. Queen Victoria (Dame Judi Dench) in Mrs. Brown
8. Queen Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett) in Elizabeth
9. Narrator in Orlando
10. Marquise De Merteuil (Glenn Close) in Dangerous Liaisons
11. Emma Woodhouse (Gwyneth Paltrow) in Emma
12. Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) in A Room With A View

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