Merchant Ivory’s extravagant production design enhances this adaptation of the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. A butler (Anthony Hopkins) who sacrificed body and soul to service in the years following World War II realizes too late how misguided his loyalty has been. The arrival of a new housekeeper (Emma Thompson) brings into question the possibility of romance and the butler’s employer’s ties with the Nazis, which tests the butler’s steely facade.
“A stinging comedy of manners set against a background of political and emotional turmoil.” —Rolling Stone
About the house: Darlington Hall uses the exterior of Dyrham Park (Somerset). The interiors are a composite of the staircase, music room, library and domed ceiling from Powderham Castle (Devon), the entrance hall and conservatory in Badminton House (Gloucestershire), and Corsham Court’s library and dining room. (Wiltshire)