Dustin Hoffman announces his directorial debut with a new comedy-drama, Quartet. This new movie is based on a play by Ronald Harwood under the same title and stars Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins and Billy Connolly. Quartet revolves around the story of retired opera singers who have made it a tradition to put on a concert to celebrate Giuseppe Verdi’s birthday every year. Although this year Jean (Maggie Smith), an eternal diva and ex-wife of Reg (Courtenay) disrupts the equilibrium. Theatrical temperaments and old rivalries start to resurface and it is unclear if there will be a show. Check out the latest buzz on Quartet below:
“Quartet: Dustin Hoffman’s Directorial Debut Film
Making “Quartet,” a film about life in the spotlight and the drive to stay in the game, doesn’t seem like much of a stretch — or a risk — for Dustin Hoffman. With a storied career that is still lively at 75, he certainly knows the terrain.
But instead of delving into the human psyche, as he’s done so unflinchingly in too many roles to mention — though I will point to the sheer range that took him from “Midnight Cowboy’s” dying gay grifter, Ratso, to a newly single dad in “Kramer vs. Kramer”— the actor’s first turn in the director’s chair is a genteel comedy.
Not to get xenophobic about it, but “Quartet” is a quintessentially British production from this quintessentially American actor. There are no echoes of “Tootsie” in its humor, or “The Fockers,” for that matter. It’s set in a refined “Masterpiece Theatre”-styled world of aging musicians, their final days being played out in a British retirement home that has the elegant comfort of a squire’s country estate.
Rather than fading flowers, they are a spirited bunch busy rekindling old flames and settling ancient grudges in between practicing scales. Add a mischievous rake and a diva or two and you’ve got a delightful ensemble piece that hums along nicely, but lightly.
No doubt it was “Quartet’s” heavy-on-the-acting, easy-on-the-action foundation that drew Hoffman’s attention. He has certainly stacked the deck in the casting department. Cherry-picking from the United Kingdom’s upper crust, the movie stars Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon and Pauline Collins. You can feel the depth of their experience on screen.
The film, which Oscar-winning screenwriter Ronald Harwoodadapted from his 1999 play, begins with a day in the life of Beecham House’s various eccentrics. The tightest bond is between three opera singers, who were once part of a quartet. Cissy (Collins) is a daffy delight. When she is not rushing to a forgotten meeting, she’s got music playing through her headphones.
Reginald (Courtenay) is the scholar of the group, trying to make opera relevant for rap-devoted local youths, and his interaction with the teens is one of the film’s best moments. Wilf (Connolly) is the resident rake. Young Dr. Lucy Cogan (Sheridan Smith), the on-staff medic and current object of his affection, is more amused than irritated by the hopeless flirt, his indiscretion chalked up to a mild stroke.”
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Quartet is going to be shown in cinemas on December 28th 2012.
Check out the rest of the “Comedy” films right in this blog