Remains of the Day

In conjunction with its “Houghton Hall” exhibition, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston presents the film series Drama in the House, showcasing some other stately English dowager mansions ready for their closeup. First is Merchant/Ivory’s Remains of the Day (1993), adapted from Kazuo Ishiguro’s prize-winning novel. Beautifully crafted — the hallmark of every Merchant/Ivory production (Room With a View, Howard’s End, Maurice) — Remains is a lush yet intimate study of the serving class, with Anthony Hopkins as repressed butler Stevens (who has no life except to serve), Emma Thompson as his unrequited love interest, Miss Kenton, and James Fox as the lord upstairs. Ever since the classic Upstairs, Downstairs aired on PBS in the early 1970s, the lives of those below who served the ones above has spawned an entire generation of Anglophiles on this side of the pond, culminating in the phenomenal success of Downton Abbey, whose fifth season is anxiously awaited in January. But magnificently detailed houses need to be seen on the big screen. This period piece surveys Hopkins’s face with the same introspection and awe that it does the polished bannisters and velvet swags of the fictional Darlington Hall. Love may elude the servants, but the audience certainly falls in love with the grand house seen onscreen.

5 p.m. July 13, 1 p.m. July 17. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7550 or visit mfah.org. $9. D.L. Groover
Sun., July 13, 5 p.m.; Thu., July 17, 1 p.m., 2014

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D.L. Groover has contributed to countless reputable publications including the Houston Press since 2003. His theater criticism has earned him a national award from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) as well as three statewide Lone Star Press Awards for the same. He's co-author of the irreverent appreciation, Skeletons from the Opera Closet (St. Martin's Press), now in its fourth printing.
Contact: D. L. Groover