Rupert Graves Online: Film & Television.
The Children.
The Children Spacer

1990 - Film Four International.

Director - Tony Palmer.

Rupert Graves - Gerald Ormerod.
Review / Synopsis.

Based on Edith Wharton's 1928 novel, 'The Children' tells of the comic and dramatic consequences of a chance encounter between Martin Boyne (Ben Kingsley), a solitary middle-aged bachelor, and the seven Wheater children, offspring of a neglectful American couple living in Europe.

As his life becomes entangled with the children's welfare, Boyne finds his long relationship to the recently widowed Rose Sellars (Kim Novak) threatened, not least by his growing attraction to 15-year-old Judith Wheater (Siri Neal).

This 90 minute screen version benefits greatly from Timberlake Wertenbaker's intelligent, faithful screenplay, and above all from strong work in the three leading roles. The passionate encounters between Martin and each of the two women form the heart of the drama, and the intense, vivid performances make the film very much worth seeing. In addition, Mrs. Sellars's Swiss retreat provides an opportunity for some spectacular Alpine footage, and classical music fans will enjoy director Tony Palmer's ingenious use of music by Barber, Britten and Vaughan Williams on the soundtrack.

On the other hand, the supporting players - including Geraldine Chaplin, Joe Don Baker, Karen Black, Britt Ekland, Robert Stephens and Rosemary Leach - aren't always well served by the director's erratic sense of comic tone, and one sequence of scenes is let down by inadequate casting.

There are also signs of last minute cutting, most clearly in the virtual deletion of Rupert Graves's role of Gerald Ormerod, the children's tutor (and Mrs. Wheater's latest lover): much talked about, when he finally appears, in a confusingly edited group scene, it is for a grand total of ten seconds, and he utters not a word.
What a waste !
Nicholas Deutsch.


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