My first clue should have been the fact that "The Winslow Boy" was one of those films I never seem to tire of watching. Then again, so were many other Mamet films, e.g. "The Spanish Prisoner" and "Glengarry Glen Ross." (I remember shopping for a sofa once and bonding with the salesman over the latter, which we were almost compulsively quoting to one another).
I always just assumed what made "The Winslow Boy"stand out somehow was the period setting. But that wasn't true. I'd seen "Boston Marriage," after all. No, it was the way I felt at the end of it. Uplifted. I couldn't say that about "Glengarry Glen Ross," that's for sure.
There were many things about "the Winslow Boy" that I found uplifting. But the most intriguing aspect was the romance. Subtle, subtextual, but romance nonetheless. Between a reserved man of great power and a woman who has some very strong opinions against him.
Sound familiar? That's right, "Pride and Prejudice." It hit me tonight, after watching the film for perhaps the fifth time. There are other similarities between "The Winslow Boy" and "Pride and Prejudice," but I won't spoil it for you.
Do see it for yourself. It stars the incomparable Jeremy Northam (can we ever forget his Mr Knightley in the Douglas McGrath"Emma"?), Rebecca Pidgeon, Nigel Hawthorne, and Gemma Jones (she played Mrs Dashwood in the Ang Lee "Sense and Sensibility.")
"The Winslow Boy" is based on real events, adapted by David Mamet from the play by Terence Ratigan, and directed by Mamet as well.