The Age Of Innocence


2h 13m 1993
The Age Of Innocence

Brief Synopsis

A 19th-century lawyer risks his place in society when he falls in love with his fiancee's married cousin.

Film Details

Also Known As
Age of Innocence, Oskuldens tid, edad de la inocencia, La, temps de l'innocence
MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Period
Adaptation
Release Date
1993
Distribution Company
Sony Pictures Releasing
Location
Kaufman Astoria Studios, Astoria, New York, USA; Troy, New York, USA; New York City, New York, USA; Paris, France; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 13m

Synopsis

Set amid the stifled world of New York high society during the 1870s, an aristocratic lawyer struggles with his growing passion for his fiancee's beautiful cousin, an expatriate countess who has abandoned her marriage.

Crew

Pierre Abraham

Gaffer

Michael Adkins

Wardrobe Assistant

Sandrine Ageorges

Unit Location Manager

Elizabeth Aldrich

Consultant

Gina R. Alfano

Assistant Sound Editor

Yasmine Amitai

Apprentice

Jean-pierre Avice

Unit Production Manager

Letitia Baldridge

Special Thanks To

Florian Ballhaus

Assistant Camera Operator

Michael Ballhaus

Other

Michael Ballhaus

Director Of Photography

Elaine Bass

Titles

Saul Bass

Titles

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Music

Joanne Belonsky

Art Assistant

Elmer Bernstein

Music

Emilie A Bernstein

Music Arranger

Leonard Bernstein

Song Performer

Margaret Bodde

Assistant

Christine Bodelot

Production Accountant

Len Brooks

Animal Wrangler

Suki Buchman

Music Editor

Joseph Burns

Assistant Director

Joanny Carpentier

Production Coordinator

Phillip V Caruso

Photography

Kathryn M Chapin

Script Supervisor

Laura Civiello

Dialogue Editor

Jay Cocks

Screenplay

Alesandra M Cuomo

Production Coordinator

Steven Danenberg

Music Contractor

Alan Dangerio

Hair

Daniel R Davis

Assistant Art Director

Barbara De Fina

Producer

David Dunlap

Camera Operator

Syd Dutton

Special Effects

Rick Ellis

Other

Fleet Emerson

Extras Agent/Coordinator

Enya

Song Performer

Enya

Song

Sylvia Fay

Extras Agent/Coordinator

Dante Ferretti

Production Designer

Chris Fielder

Assistant Sound Editor

Susan Fiore

Assistant Director

Brian Fitzsimons

Dolly Grip

Tom Fleischman

Rerecording

Robert J Franco

Set Decorator

Charlie Freess

Key Grip

Dennis Gamiello

Key Grip

Eugene Gearty

Sound Effects Editor

Mark Ginsberg

Color Timer

Michele Giordano

Art Department Coordinator

Charles Gounod

Song

Vincent Guarriello

Grip

Amy Henkels

Assistant

Julie Herrin

Production Assistant

Patricia Doherty Hess

Unit Manager Assistant

Patricia Doherty Hess

Location Manager

Joel R Hirsch

Assistant Editor

Richard Holston

Transportation Co-Captain

Speed Hopkins

Art Director

Jean-michel Hugon

Art Director

Michael Hyde

Transportation Captain

Joseph Iberti

Other

Katherine A Kennedy

Other

Frank Kern

Foley Editor

Cheryl Kilbourne-kimpton

Wardrobe

Michael Kriston

Hair Stylist

Louise Lamanna

Assistant

Vincent Lascoumes

Assistant Director

Lynn Ledgewood

Mechanical Special Effects

Alisa Lepselter

Assistant Editor

Hal Levinsohn

Adr Editor

Ellen Lewis

Casting

Skip Lievsay

Sound Editor

Marissa Littlefield

Dialogue Editor

Lily Lodge

Consultant

John B Lowry

Grip

Amy Lynn

Assistant

Julie A Madison

Casting Associate

Mike Maggi

Special Effects

Tod A Maitland

Sound

Tamara Malkin-stuart

Art Assistant

Bobby Mancuso

Assistant Camera Operator

Jim Manzione

Lighting

Amy Marshall

Set Decorator

James Mazzola

Property Master

Jeff Mazzola

Assistant Property Master

Larry Mcconkey

Steadicam Operator

David Mcfadden

Props

Felix Mendelssohn

Song

Sylvia Menno

Assistant Sound Editor

Anastas Michos

Steadicam Operator

Tim Monich

Dialect Coach

David Montgomery

Consultant

Michael Nickodem

Other

Heather Norton

Assistant

T. J. O'mara

Boom Operator

John Ottesen

Special Effects Coordinator

Ron Ottesen

Special Effects

Peter Owen

Wig Supplier

Alina Panova

Assistant Costume Designer

Suzana Peric

Music Editor

Gabriella Pescucci

Costume Designer

Ron Petagna

Construction Coordinator

George Potts

Assistant Costume Designer

Robert Preziola

Assistant Art Director

Bruce Pross

Foley

Bruce S Pustin

Coproducer

Bruce S Pustin

Unit Production Manager

Ray Quinlan

Lighting Technician

Nic Ratner

Music

Joseph Reidy

Assistant Director

Joseph Reidy

Associate Producer

Manlio Rocchetti

Makeup

Deborah Rudy

Extras Agent/Coordinator

Nicky Ryan

Song

Roma Ryan

Song

Mark Sawicki

Matte Painter

Wendy Sax

Assistant

Thelma Schoonmaker

Editor

Martin Scorsese

Screenplay

John De Simone

Production Assistant

Antonio Soddu

Hair

James Sorice

Scenic Artist

Ronnie Specter

Makeup

Carl J Sprague

Assistant Art Director

Robin Standefer

Consultant

Philip Stockton

Dialogue Consultant

Johann Strauss

Song

Johann Strauss I

Song

Michael Stricks

Other

Robert Stromberg

Matte Painter

Catherine Sudolcan

Production Manager

Chris Sullivan

Animal Wrangler

John Sullivan

Matte Painter

Bill Taylor

Special Effects

Hartsell Taylor

Wardrobe Supervisor

Mary Rae Thewlis

Dga Trainee

Sara A Thorson

Production Assistant

Melissa Unger

Assistant

Matilde P Valera

Production Accountant

David H Venghaus

Production Assistant

Steve Visscher

Foley Editor

Mark Von Holstein

Other

Dave Weinman

On-Set Dresser

Allen Weisinger

Makeup

Edith Wharton

Source Material (From Novel)

David S Williams

Photography

Deirdre N. Williams

Wardrobe Supervisor

Michael X Zelenak

Other

Videos

Movie Clip

Age Of Innocence, The (1993) - Their Strong Right Hand Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) in a more cordial parting with Countess Ellen (Michelle Pfeiffer), with May (Winona Ryder) and her mother (Geraldine Chaplin), Joanne Woodward narrates to his dinner, with his mother and sister (Sian Phillips, Carolyn Farina) and Jackson (Alec McCowen), in Martin Scorsese’s The Age Of Innocence, 1993.
Age Of Innocence, The (1993) - The Talk Will Be Of Little Else Martin Scorsese’s opening, shooting at the Philadelphia Academy Of Music, introducing Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis), gossips Lefferts and Jackson (Richard E. Grant, Alec McCowen), May (Winona Ryder), Mrs Welland (Geraldine Chaplin) and Countess Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer), in The Age Of Innocence, 1993.
Age Of Innocence, The (1993) - Shattered By A Whisper From the opening opera sequence, with one of a series of single takes as remarkable as any by director Martin Scorsese and cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, with Joanne Woodward’s enthralling narration from the Edith Wharton novel, following Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis), in The Age Of Innocence, 1993.
Age Of Innocence, The (1993) - Tell Me What You're Running From Director Martin Scorsese breaks with narrative convention, with Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) after attending a play, involving yellow roses, with Countess Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer), then joining her upstate, their desire still repressed, when Beaufort (Stuart Wilson) appears, in The Age Of Innocence, 1993.

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
Age of Innocence, Oskuldens tid, edad de la inocencia, La, temps de l'innocence
MPAA Rating
Genre
Romance
Drama
Period
Adaptation
Release Date
1993
Distribution Company
Sony Pictures Releasing
Location
Kaufman Astoria Studios, Astoria, New York, USA; Troy, New York, USA; New York City, New York, USA; Paris, France; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 13m

Award Wins

Best Costume Design

1993
Gabriella Pescucci

Award Nominations

Best Adapted Screenplay

1993

Best Art Direction

1993
Dante Ferretti

Best Original Score

1993

Best Supporting Actress

1993
Winona Ryder

Articles

The Age of Innocence -


When Martin Scorsese finished Age of Innocence (1993), the lavish, costumed period drama seemed out of place in his canon. It didn't focus on gangsters or religious guilt masked as violence. But it did focus on sexual and emotional repression, something Scorsese had been exploring throughout his career, and something that the classic Edith Wharton novel, upon which is the film is adapted, is awash. The characters of Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) and the Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer) are adrift in a sea of repressed desires, unwilling to brave the storm of social judgment to accept what their hearts are telling them. And it all takes place in New York. This is Scorsese all the way.

The film begins with the camera hurriedly chasing glimpses around the opera as we are introduced to the characters via both narrator (Joanne Woodward) and character gossip. There is the aforementioned Newland Archer and Countess Elllen Olenska, but there is also May Welland, Ellen's cousin and the fiancée of Newland. They are seated together at the opera as Newland journeys over to greet them in their box seats. The conversation is banal but New York society has already taken notice. The Countess, a New Yorker by birth, has returned from Poland having separated from her husband, a Count. She intends to get a divorce and the well-established socialites find all of it just a bit distasteful. Newland, however, is kind and gracious with her and the two quickly develop unspoken feelings for one another. When the Countess becomes determined to get a divorce, the law firm that employs Newland, sends him to dissuade her. Their passion only grows deeper but Newland cannot break with society and leave May.

Scorsese's first stab at a lavish costume drama was not entirely successful. Audiences didn't flock to it as they had his previous movies but the movie generally received positive reviews. Now, however, decades after its release, it looks to be one of Scorsese's best films. A story like this requires the push and pull of both expressionism and restraint. Scorsese does not abandon his cinematic style but, rather, adapts it. The camera still moves fluidly but it swirls around characters and situations locked in place, paralyzed by fear and social standing. The narration is formal but revealing. The character's feelings and emotions are nuanced but seething. And the acting through all of it is superb.

Scorsese had his actors listen to tapes of people speaking from the period, recorded nearly a century before, to get a feel for how dialogue was expressed and where inflections were made. Daniel Day-Lewis does such a good job of mimicking the cadences of the day that it feels like another actor than the one we know from so many expressive performances. And Michelle Pfeiffer is simply heartbreaking as the Countess, a woman who could not understand why the world was so decidedly against her freedom. And Winona Ryder, especially to anyone who has read the book, is simply perfect as May. She embodies both the physicality and psychology of May to such an expert degree that it feels like the May of the novel has leapt off the page and onto the screen.

Of course, there are so many other notable performances in the film that it's hard to keep up. From Joanna Woodward's expert narration to Michael Gough's Henry van der Luyden and Richard E. Grant's Larry Lefferts, the performances keep the movie rooted in a time and place that feels exactly right. Above all, there is Miriam Margolyes as Mrs. Mingott. Her performance as the grandmother of May, and the unofficial arbiter of New York society, is possibly the best in the film.

The settings were largely real locations in New York and Pennsylvania, instead of studio built sets. Sites included the Luykas Van Alen House in Kinderhook, NY, the Paine Mansion in Troy, NY, and the Philadelphia Academy of Music in Philadelphia, PA. This gave the film a feel of authenticity for which sets might not have allowed.

The screenplay was written by Martin Scorsese and Jay Cocks, an American film critic that Scorsese had started working with years before on an adaptation of Gangs of New York. That production, also taking place in historic New York, would not be made until 2002, even though Scorsese and Cocks began work on it in 1976. Age of Innocence would be the first one to see release and the movie that served as a stepping stone to the second. Although it did not receive a nomination for Best Picture, it did win the Oscar for Costume Design, and Winona Ryder was nominated in the supporting category. Other nominations included the screenplay, score and art direction. Age of Innocence remains one of Martin Scorsese's most beautiful and enduring works.

Director: Martin Scorsese Screenplay: Martin Scorsese, Jay Cocks Producers: Barbara De Fina, Bruce S. Pustin, Joseph P. Reidy Music: Elmer Bernstein Cinematography: Michael Ballhaus Film Editing: Thelma Schoonmaker Production Design: Dante Ferretti Art Direction: Speed Hopkins Set Decoration: Robert J. Franco , Amy Marshall Costume Design: Gabriella Pescucci Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis (Newland Archer), Michelle Pfeiffer (Ellen Olenska), Winona Ryder (May Welland), Richard E. Grant (Larry Lefferts), Alec McCowen (Sillerton Jackson), Geraldine Chaplin (Mrs. Welland), Mary Beth Hurt (Regina Beaufort), Stuart Wilson (Julius Beaufort), Miriam Margolyes (Mrs. Mingott)

By Greg Ferrara
The Age Of Innocence -

The Age of Innocence -

When Martin Scorsese finished Age of Innocence (1993), the lavish, costumed period drama seemed out of place in his canon. It didn't focus on gangsters or religious guilt masked as violence. But it did focus on sexual and emotional repression, something Scorsese had been exploring throughout his career, and something that the classic Edith Wharton novel, upon which is the film is adapted, is awash. The characters of Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) and the Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer) are adrift in a sea of repressed desires, unwilling to brave the storm of social judgment to accept what their hearts are telling them. And it all takes place in New York. This is Scorsese all the way. The film begins with the camera hurriedly chasing glimpses around the opera as we are introduced to the characters via both narrator (Joanne Woodward) and character gossip. There is the aforementioned Newland Archer and Countess Elllen Olenska, but there is also May Welland, Ellen's cousin and the fiancée of Newland. They are seated together at the opera as Newland journeys over to greet them in their box seats. The conversation is banal but New York society has already taken notice. The Countess, a New Yorker by birth, has returned from Poland having separated from her husband, a Count. She intends to get a divorce and the well-established socialites find all of it just a bit distasteful. Newland, however, is kind and gracious with her and the two quickly develop unspoken feelings for one another. When the Countess becomes determined to get a divorce, the law firm that employs Newland, sends him to dissuade her. Their passion only grows deeper but Newland cannot break with society and leave May. Scorsese's first stab at a lavish costume drama was not entirely successful. Audiences didn't flock to it as they had his previous movies but the movie generally received positive reviews. Now, however, decades after its release, it looks to be one of Scorsese's best films. A story like this requires the push and pull of both expressionism and restraint. Scorsese does not abandon his cinematic style but, rather, adapts it. The camera still moves fluidly but it swirls around characters and situations locked in place, paralyzed by fear and social standing. The narration is formal but revealing. The character's feelings and emotions are nuanced but seething. And the acting through all of it is superb. Scorsese had his actors listen to tapes of people speaking from the period, recorded nearly a century before, to get a feel for how dialogue was expressed and where inflections were made. Daniel Day-Lewis does such a good job of mimicking the cadences of the day that it feels like another actor than the one we know from so many expressive performances. And Michelle Pfeiffer is simply heartbreaking as the Countess, a woman who could not understand why the world was so decidedly against her freedom. And Winona Ryder, especially to anyone who has read the book, is simply perfect as May. She embodies both the physicality and psychology of May to such an expert degree that it feels like the May of the novel has leapt off the page and onto the screen. Of course, there are so many other notable performances in the film that it's hard to keep up. From Joanna Woodward's expert narration to Michael Gough's Henry van der Luyden and Richard E. Grant's Larry Lefferts, the performances keep the movie rooted in a time and place that feels exactly right. Above all, there is Miriam Margolyes as Mrs. Mingott. Her performance as the grandmother of May, and the unofficial arbiter of New York society, is possibly the best in the film. The settings were largely real locations in New York and Pennsylvania, instead of studio built sets. Sites included the Luykas Van Alen House in Kinderhook, NY, the Paine Mansion in Troy, NY, and the Philadelphia Academy of Music in Philadelphia, PA. This gave the film a feel of authenticity for which sets might not have allowed. The screenplay was written by Martin Scorsese and Jay Cocks, an American film critic that Scorsese had started working with years before on an adaptation of Gangs of New York. That production, also taking place in historic New York, would not be made until 2002, even though Scorsese and Cocks began work on it in 1976. Age of Innocence would be the first one to see release and the movie that served as a stepping stone to the second. Although it did not receive a nomination for Best Picture, it did win the Oscar for Costume Design, and Winona Ryder was nominated in the supporting category. Other nominations included the screenplay, score and art direction. Age of Innocence remains one of Martin Scorsese's most beautiful and enduring works. Director: Martin Scorsese Screenplay: Martin Scorsese, Jay Cocks Producers: Barbara De Fina, Bruce S. Pustin, Joseph P. Reidy Music: Elmer Bernstein Cinematography: Michael Ballhaus Film Editing: Thelma Schoonmaker Production Design: Dante Ferretti Art Direction: Speed Hopkins Set Decoration: Robert J. Franco , Amy Marshall Costume Design: Gabriella Pescucci Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis (Newland Archer), Michelle Pfeiffer (Ellen Olenska), Winona Ryder (May Welland), Richard E. Grant (Larry Lefferts), Alec McCowen (Sillerton Jackson), Geraldine Chaplin (Mrs. Welland), Mary Beth Hurt (Regina Beaufort), Stuart Wilson (Julius Beaufort), Miriam Margolyes (Mrs. Mingott) By Greg Ferrara

Elmer Bernstein (1922-2004)


Elmer Bernstein, the film composer who created unforgettable music for such classics as The Magnificent Seven, To Kill a Mockingbird, and won his only Academy Award for Thoroughly Modern Millie, died of natural causes at his Ojai, California home on August 17. He was 82.

Elmer Bernstein, who was not related to Leonard Bernstein, was born on August 4, 1922, in New York City. He displayed a talent in music at a very young age, and was given a scholarship to study piano at Juilliard when he was only 12. He entered New York University in 1939, where he majored in music education. After graduating in 1942, he joined the Army Air Corps, where he remained throughout World War II, mostly working on scores for propaganda films. It was around this time he became interested in film scoring when he went to see William Dieterle's The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941), a film whose score was composed by Bernard Herrmann, a man Bernstein idolized as the ideal film composer.

Bernstein, who originally intended to be a concert pianist and gave several performances in New York after being discharged from military service, decided to relocate to Hollywood in 1950. He did his first score for the football film Saturday's Hero (1950), and then proved his worth with his trenchant, moody music for the Joan Crawford vehicle Sudden Fear (1952). Rumors of his "communist" leanings came to surface at this time, and, feeling the effects of the blacklist, he found himself scoring such cheesy fare as Robot Monster; Cat Women of the Moon (both 1953); and Miss Robin Caruso (1954).

Despite his politics, Otto Preminger hired him to do the music for The Man With the Golden Arm, (1955) in which Frank Sinatra played a heroin-addicted jazz musician. Fittingly, Bernstein used some memorable jazz motifs for the film and his fine scoring put him back on the map. It prompted the attention of Cecil B. De Mille, who had Bernstein replace the ailing Victor Young on The Ten Commandments (1956). His thundering, heavily orchestrated score perfectly suite the bombastic epic, and he promptly earned his first Oscar® nod for music.

After The Ten Commandments (1956), Bernstein continued to distinguish himself in a row of fine films: The Rainmaker (1956), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Some Came Running (1958), The Magnificent Seven (a most memorable galloping march, 1960); To Kill a Mockingbird (unique in its use of single piano notes and haunting use of a flute, 1962); Hud (1963); earned a deserved Academy Award for the delightful, "flapper" music for the Julie Andrews period comedy Thoroughly Modern Mille (1967), and True Grit (1969).

His career faltered by the '80s though, as he did some routine Bill Murray comedies: Meatballs (1980) and Stripes (1981). But then director John Landis had Bernstein write the sumptuous score for his comedy Trading Places (1983), and Bernstein soon found himself back in the game. He then graced the silver screen for a few more years composing some terrific pieces for such popular commercial hits as My Left Foot (1989), A River Runs Through It (1992) and The Age of Innocence (1993). Far From Heaven, his final feature film score, received an Oscar® nomination for Best Score in 2002. He is survived by his wife, Eve; sons Peter and Gregory; daughters Emilie and Elizabeth; and five grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole

Elmer Bernstein (1922-2004)

Elmer Bernstein, the film composer who created unforgettable music for such classics as The Magnificent Seven, To Kill a Mockingbird, and won his only Academy Award for Thoroughly Modern Millie, died of natural causes at his Ojai, California home on August 17. He was 82. Elmer Bernstein, who was not related to Leonard Bernstein, was born on August 4, 1922, in New York City. He displayed a talent in music at a very young age, and was given a scholarship to study piano at Juilliard when he was only 12. He entered New York University in 1939, where he majored in music education. After graduating in 1942, he joined the Army Air Corps, where he remained throughout World War II, mostly working on scores for propaganda films. It was around this time he became interested in film scoring when he went to see William Dieterle's The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941), a film whose score was composed by Bernard Herrmann, a man Bernstein idolized as the ideal film composer. Bernstein, who originally intended to be a concert pianist and gave several performances in New York after being discharged from military service, decided to relocate to Hollywood in 1950. He did his first score for the football film Saturday's Hero (1950), and then proved his worth with his trenchant, moody music for the Joan Crawford vehicle Sudden Fear (1952). Rumors of his "communist" leanings came to surface at this time, and, feeling the effects of the blacklist, he found himself scoring such cheesy fare as Robot Monster; Cat Women of the Moon (both 1953); and Miss Robin Caruso (1954). Despite his politics, Otto Preminger hired him to do the music for The Man With the Golden Arm, (1955) in which Frank Sinatra played a heroin-addicted jazz musician. Fittingly, Bernstein used some memorable jazz motifs for the film and his fine scoring put him back on the map. It prompted the attention of Cecil B. De Mille, who had Bernstein replace the ailing Victor Young on The Ten Commandments (1956). His thundering, heavily orchestrated score perfectly suite the bombastic epic, and he promptly earned his first Oscar® nod for music. After The Ten Commandments (1956), Bernstein continued to distinguish himself in a row of fine films: The Rainmaker (1956), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Some Came Running (1958), The Magnificent Seven (a most memorable galloping march, 1960); To Kill a Mockingbird (unique in its use of single piano notes and haunting use of a flute, 1962); Hud (1963); earned a deserved Academy Award for the delightful, "flapper" music for the Julie Andrews period comedy Thoroughly Modern Mille (1967), and True Grit (1969). His career faltered by the '80s though, as he did some routine Bill Murray comedies: Meatballs (1980) and Stripes (1981). But then director John Landis had Bernstein write the sumptuous score for his comedy Trading Places (1983), and Bernstein soon found himself back in the game. He then graced the silver screen for a few more years composing some terrific pieces for such popular commercial hits as My Left Foot (1989), A River Runs Through It (1992) and The Age of Innocence (1993). Far From Heaven, his final feature film score, received an Oscar® nomination for Best Score in 2002. He is survived by his wife, Eve; sons Peter and Gregory; daughters Emilie and Elizabeth; and five grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

The Age of Innocence (1993)


A dramatic change of direction occurred in 1993 when director Martin Scorsese's film adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel The Age of Innocence debuted. Wharton's 1920 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of manners and social mores in 19th-century New York was a marked departure from Scorsese's usual stomping ground of street-savvy criminals and mobsters in films like Mean Streets (1973) and GoodFellas (1990).

British actor Daniel Day-Lewis stars in The Age of Innocence (1993) as Newland Archer, a well-connected, socially correct lawyer, beginning to question the rigid code of behavior that governs the upper-class society in which he lives - even as he makes plans to further guarantee his place within its conservative ranks. By marrying the equally refined but unimaginative, vapid May Welland (Winona Ryder), Newland will be assuring his safe, dull position within this emotionally constrictive world.

Newland is jolted out of his complacency and a predictable future, however, by the arrival in New York of May's cousin, the mysterious, controversial but exquisitely beautiful Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer), who has fled Europe and a disastrous, unhappy marriage to a philandering Polish aristocrat. In Ellen, whose sordid, dissolving marriage places her on the periphery of polite society, Newland also sees a woman who marches to her own unique tune. With her Continental sophistication and intelligence, Newland glimpses the chance for an escape from repressive, deadening propriety and a hope of true love. That dramatic choice, between two entirely different life courses, between conformity or rebellion provides the pulse-quickening tension and eroticism in Scorsese's beautifully realized treatment of suffocating social codes and how they deform Newland's chance for real happiness.

Some critics were quick to look beyond the opulent opera and dining room settings of The Age of Innocence and find a common ground between the closed society of 1870s New York and the separate worlds of criminals found in other Scorsese ventures. A shared, rigid, unbreakable code of honor and loyalty exists amongst these aristocrats and Scorsese's more familiar duty-bound mobsters.

Though nominated for five Academy Awards, the film's almost reverential treatment of the plush, perfect order of Wharton's sumptuously appointed wealthy upper class, from its elaborate table settings to its exquisite ball gowns, struck many as strained and artificial, and evidence of Scorsese's uncharacteristic awe of this posh aristocratic milieu. Others noted Scorsese's inability to fully convey Wharton's observant authorial "voice" and her satirical skewering of the same social class she also revered. Wharton's vantage is delivered throughout the film by voice-over narration taken directly from Wharton's book, spoken by Joanne Woodward. In an unusual attempt to stick to the rhythms of Wharton's prose, Scorsese actually fit scenes around Woodward's narration, so that shots were planned after the fact, to fit the rhythm and context of the narration.

Others were rightly amazed at Scorsese's ability to render so much of the tone and look of Wharton's world, as well as the heartfelt manner in which the director treated this painful story of unconsummated love. Laden with complex levels of repression, The Age of Innocence reveals depths of characters and knowledge previously hidden, most startlingly in the supposedly passive May, who reveals a stronger will than Newland ever imagined. Ryder won an Academy Award nomination for her nuanced performance as the lovely but inert May. The Age of Innocence also boasted strong performances from key and peripheral characters as well. Michelle Pfeiffer's subtle expressions of fear and sadness are especially moving, making the frustrated passion between Newland - yearning for one woman while promised to another - sizzle with a genuine erotic charge noted by several critics.

Critics like New York magazine's David Denby were especially impressed by how convincingly the principal actors conveyed emotion in a society that refused to acknowledge passion or intense feeling of any kind. Said Denby of Day-Lewis's pained, moving performance, "Newland is in a state of despair that his training as a gentleman gives him no way of expressing." The secondary performances in The Age of Innocence are equally noteworthy, especially Miriam Margolyes as the obese, sedentary society matron Mrs. Mingott, who holds court in her lush Manhattan mansion and holds the fates and fortunes of many of New York's upper class in her hands.

Approaching the elaborate codes of behavior of Wharton's world with some trepidation, Scorsese devoted a full 18 months to research. Evoking that lost world of 19th-century society proved not mere affectation, but crucial to the director's vision for the film. As Scorsese observed of the need for historical accuracy, "If you can make the world where Newland Archer lives real, and his obligations real, then you can make his passions real." But Scorsese's script (co-written by New York Times critic Jay Cocks) and astute direction managed to convey the painful gravity to people who give up everything they desire for propriety's sake, and wind up empty and unfulfilled for their fear. The Age of Innocence, which had been adapted twice before by Hollywood (in 1924 and 1934), continued a recurring theme in Scorsese's films, of individuals gravely rebelling against social constraints. Though it was said to take the notoriously non-bookish Scorsese seven years to read The Age of Innocence, it proved intoxicating to the director as a way to treat the theme of unconsummated love in a modern age when the very concept was anachronistic.

While some similarity could be found between the rigid codes of the New York aristocracy in Wharton's time and the criminal demimonde of Scorsese's film universe, the novelist herself bore some resemblance to the iconoclastic, maverick Scorsese, who was part of an elite coterie of directors including Francis Ford Coppola, Brian De Palma, Paul Schrader, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas -- who redefined cinema in the seventies. A complicated woman and rebel of some degree herself, Wharton was almost 60 when she wrote The Age of Innocence, considered her best work. And though she came from the world she wrote about, Wharton was also an outsider who managed to thrive outside its rigid codes. Divorced from a passionless husband, Wharton took a lover in middle age and fled - like Countess Olenska - to the relative freedom of Europe, where she dabbled in writing pornography and was a friend to writers Sinclair Lewis and Aldous Huxley.

Producer: Barbara De Fina
Director: Martin Scorsese
Screenwriter: Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese, from the novel by Edith Wharton
Director of Photography: Michael Ballhaus
Production Design: Dante Ferretti, Robert J. Franco
Music: Elmer Bernstein
Principal Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis (Newland Archer), Michelle Pfeiffer (Countess Ellen Olenska), Winona Ryder (May Welland), Alexis Smith (Louisa Van Der Luyden), Geraldine Chaplin (Mrs. Welland), Mary Beth Hurt (Regina Beaufort), Alec McCowen (Sillerton Jackson), Richard E. Grant (Larry Lefferts), Miriam Margolyes (Mrs. Mingott).
C-139m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Felicia Feaster

The Age of Innocence (1993)

A dramatic change of direction occurred in 1993 when director Martin Scorsese's film adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel The Age of Innocence debuted. Wharton's 1920 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of manners and social mores in 19th-century New York was a marked departure from Scorsese's usual stomping ground of street-savvy criminals and mobsters in films like Mean Streets (1973) and GoodFellas (1990). British actor Daniel Day-Lewis stars in The Age of Innocence (1993) as Newland Archer, a well-connected, socially correct lawyer, beginning to question the rigid code of behavior that governs the upper-class society in which he lives - even as he makes plans to further guarantee his place within its conservative ranks. By marrying the equally refined but unimaginative, vapid May Welland (Winona Ryder), Newland will be assuring his safe, dull position within this emotionally constrictive world. Newland is jolted out of his complacency and a predictable future, however, by the arrival in New York of May's cousin, the mysterious, controversial but exquisitely beautiful Countess Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer), who has fled Europe and a disastrous, unhappy marriage to a philandering Polish aristocrat. In Ellen, whose sordid, dissolving marriage places her on the periphery of polite society, Newland also sees a woman who marches to her own unique tune. With her Continental sophistication and intelligence, Newland glimpses the chance for an escape from repressive, deadening propriety and a hope of true love. That dramatic choice, between two entirely different life courses, between conformity or rebellion provides the pulse-quickening tension and eroticism in Scorsese's beautifully realized treatment of suffocating social codes and how they deform Newland's chance for real happiness. Some critics were quick to look beyond the opulent opera and dining room settings of The Age of Innocence and find a common ground between the closed society of 1870s New York and the separate worlds of criminals found in other Scorsese ventures. A shared, rigid, unbreakable code of honor and loyalty exists amongst these aristocrats and Scorsese's more familiar duty-bound mobsters. Though nominated for five Academy Awards, the film's almost reverential treatment of the plush, perfect order of Wharton's sumptuously appointed wealthy upper class, from its elaborate table settings to its exquisite ball gowns, struck many as strained and artificial, and evidence of Scorsese's uncharacteristic awe of this posh aristocratic milieu. Others noted Scorsese's inability to fully convey Wharton's observant authorial "voice" and her satirical skewering of the same social class she also revered. Wharton's vantage is delivered throughout the film by voice-over narration taken directly from Wharton's book, spoken by Joanne Woodward. In an unusual attempt to stick to the rhythms of Wharton's prose, Scorsese actually fit scenes around Woodward's narration, so that shots were planned after the fact, to fit the rhythm and context of the narration. Others were rightly amazed at Scorsese's ability to render so much of the tone and look of Wharton's world, as well as the heartfelt manner in which the director treated this painful story of unconsummated love. Laden with complex levels of repression, The Age of Innocence reveals depths of characters and knowledge previously hidden, most startlingly in the supposedly passive May, who reveals a stronger will than Newland ever imagined. Ryder won an Academy Award nomination for her nuanced performance as the lovely but inert May. The Age of Innocence also boasted strong performances from key and peripheral characters as well. Michelle Pfeiffer's subtle expressions of fear and sadness are especially moving, making the frustrated passion between Newland - yearning for one woman while promised to another - sizzle with a genuine erotic charge noted by several critics. Critics like New York magazine's David Denby were especially impressed by how convincingly the principal actors conveyed emotion in a society that refused to acknowledge passion or intense feeling of any kind. Said Denby of Day-Lewis's pained, moving performance, "Newland is in a state of despair that his training as a gentleman gives him no way of expressing." The secondary performances in The Age of Innocence are equally noteworthy, especially Miriam Margolyes as the obese, sedentary society matron Mrs. Mingott, who holds court in her lush Manhattan mansion and holds the fates and fortunes of many of New York's upper class in her hands. Approaching the elaborate codes of behavior of Wharton's world with some trepidation, Scorsese devoted a full 18 months to research. Evoking that lost world of 19th-century society proved not mere affectation, but crucial to the director's vision for the film. As Scorsese observed of the need for historical accuracy, "If you can make the world where Newland Archer lives real, and his obligations real, then you can make his passions real." But Scorsese's script (co-written by New York Times critic Jay Cocks) and astute direction managed to convey the painful gravity to people who give up everything they desire for propriety's sake, and wind up empty and unfulfilled for their fear. The Age of Innocence, which had been adapted twice before by Hollywood (in 1924 and 1934), continued a recurring theme in Scorsese's films, of individuals gravely rebelling against social constraints. Though it was said to take the notoriously non-bookish Scorsese seven years to read The Age of Innocence, it proved intoxicating to the director as a way to treat the theme of unconsummated love in a modern age when the very concept was anachronistic. While some similarity could be found between the rigid codes of the New York aristocracy in Wharton's time and the criminal demimonde of Scorsese's film universe, the novelist herself bore some resemblance to the iconoclastic, maverick Scorsese, who was part of an elite coterie of directors including Francis Ford Coppola, Brian De Palma, Paul Schrader, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas -- who redefined cinema in the seventies. A complicated woman and rebel of some degree herself, Wharton was almost 60 when she wrote The Age of Innocence, considered her best work. And though she came from the world she wrote about, Wharton was also an outsider who managed to thrive outside its rigid codes. Divorced from a passionless husband, Wharton took a lover in middle age and fled - like Countess Olenska - to the relative freedom of Europe, where she dabbled in writing pornography and was a friend to writers Sinclair Lewis and Aldous Huxley. Producer: Barbara De Fina Director: Martin Scorsese Screenwriter: Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese, from the novel by Edith Wharton Director of Photography: Michael Ballhaus Production Design: Dante Ferretti, Robert J. Franco Music: Elmer Bernstein Principal Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis (Newland Archer), Michelle Pfeiffer (Countess Ellen Olenska), Winona Ryder (May Welland), Alexis Smith (Louisa Van Der Luyden), Geraldine Chaplin (Mrs. Welland), Mary Beth Hurt (Regina Beaufort), Alec McCowen (Sillerton Jackson), Richard E. Grant (Larry Lefferts), Miriam Margolyes (Mrs. Mingott). C-139m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Felicia Feaster

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Limited Release in United States September 17, 1993

Released in United States Fall September 17, 1993

Wide Release in United States October 1, 1993

Expanded Release in United States October 8, 1993

Released in United States on Video April 6, 1994

Released in United States 1993

Released in United States September 13, 1993

Released in United States 2013

Shown at Venice Film Festival (out of competition) August 31 - September 11, 1993.

Edith Wharton's novel has been adapted at least twice before: in 1924 by director Wesley Ruggles; and in 1934 by director Philip Moeller, starring Irene Dunne.

Project was at 20th Century Fox before it was put into turnaround and picked up by Columbia.

Martin Scorsese was named best director of the year by the National Board of Review (1993). Winona Ryder was also cited as best supporting actress.

Completed shooting June 26, 1992.

Began shooting March 24, 1992.

Platform release in USA September 24, 1993.

Limited Release in United States September 17, 1993

Released in United States Fall September 17, 1993

Wide Release in United States October 1, 1993

Expanded Release in United States October 8, 1993

Released in United States on Video April 6, 1994

Released in United States 1993 (Shown at Venice Film Festival (out of competition) August 31 - September 11, 1993.)

Released in United States September 13, 1993 (Shown September 13, 1993 in New York City to benefit New York Historical Society.)

Released in United States 2013 (Revivals)

Martin Scorsese was nominated for outstanding directorial achievement by the Directors Guild of America. Scorsese was previously nominated for "Taxi Driver" (USA/1976), "Raging Bull" (USA/1980) and "GoodFellas" (USA/1990).