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The Wings of the Dove (1997)

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An impoverished woman who has been forced to choose between a privileged life with her wealthy aunt and her journalist lover, befriends an American heiress. When she discovers the heiress is attracted to her own lover and is dying, she sees a chance to have both the privileged life she cannot give up and the lover she cannot live without.

Director:

Iain Softley

Writers:

Henry James (novel), Hossein Amini (screenplay)
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 28 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Helena Bonham Carter ... Kate Croy
Linus Roache ... Merton
Alex Jennings ... Lord Mark
Charlotte Rampling ... Aunt Maude
Ben Miles ... Journalist 1
Philip Wright Philip Wright ... Journalist 2
Michael Gambon ... Kate's Father
Alexander John Alexander John ... Butler
Alison Elliott ... Milly
Elizabeth McGovern ... Susan
Shirley Chantrell Shirley Chantrell ... Opium Den Lady
Diana Kent Diana Kent ... Merton's Party Companion
Georgio Serafini Georgio Serafini ... Eugenio
Rachele Crisafulli Rachele Crisafulli ... Concierge
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Storyline

Kate Croy's mother was born to wealth and privilege, but she threw it all away to marry Kate's father, a penniless opium addict who admits to having stolen from his wife. After her mother's death, Kate is offered an opportunity to return to the life her mother gave up. There is a condition, however: Kate must sever all of her old ties, not only to her father, but also to her lover, the muck-raking journalist Merton Densher, whom she has promised marriage. Kate reluctantly agrees to this, and in the meantime becomes friendly with "the world's richest orphan," Millie Theale, an American making the Grand Tour. Desperate to see Kate, Merton crashes a party that she and Millie are attending, and Millie is attracted to him. When Kate learns that Millie is dying, she comes up with a plan to have her cake and eat it too...but all does not go as planned. Written by RK

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A couple with everything but money. An heiress with everything but love. A temptation no one could resist.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 March 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Las alas de la paloma See more »

Filming Locations:

Italy See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$183,610, 9 November 1997

Gross USA:

$13,692,848

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$13,692,848
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Miramax, Renaissance Dove See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some of the distinctive pleated gowns worn in the Venice scenes are designed to look like gowns produced by the Italian designer Fortuny. Fortuny pleated gowns were popular among wealthy European women in the early 1910s for their simplicity, form-fitting design and Greco-Roman influences. The gowns in this film, however, were created by contemporary husband and wife team Charles and Patricia Lester, who create modern gowns with a similar pleat. See more »

Goofs

The tile pattern on the Underground stations the train passes through at the beginning of the film are identical in pattern and color for each station. Each station on the Piccadilly line had its own tile pattern and color scheme so that the illiterate could still recognize their station without needing to read the station name. See more »

Quotes

Kate Croy: These wretched aristocrats can't even heat their houses.
See more »

Connections

Version of BBC Play of the Month: The Wings of the Dove (1979) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Carter showcase of very good movie
2 March 1999 | by SKG-2See all my reviews

This was not one of my favorite novels when I read it (for James, I prefer THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY), but this is a very good film. Director Iain Softley and writer Hossein Amini made the smart decision to move this up in time to the 1910's, which enables them to get to the passions more than James does here. Softley also makes this darker than most literary adaptations, in look and in tone, without suffocating it, and he avoids making this a film about production design rather than about a story. He does labor a bit in trying for tragedy, but that's only a quibble.

Alison Elliot, a good actress (I liked her in THE UNDERNEATH and the otherwise flawed THE SPITFIRE GRILL), takes awhile to warm up as Millie, because she seems a little too modern, but she avoids easy sentiment as the dying heiress. Linus Roache, who I thought was a little awkward in PRIEST, here avoids the trap of being the third wheel, making us understand what both Millie and Kate see in Merton. But the real triumph here is Helena Bonham Carter, who gave the best performance of the year. One character says of Kate, "There's something going on behind those beautiful lashes," and that can usually be said of the characters Carter plays, but sometimes she's overly detached. Here, she's completely engaged, and she pulls off the difficult trick of never losing our sympathies even when her character does something despicable. And where James sort of made Kate just manipulative, Carter makes her human and longing.


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