Book Vs Movie: The Age of Innocence
The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novel Vs the Martin Scorsese Film
The Margos take a trip back in time when the social strata in America were restrictive in all aspects of your life from where you lived, worshipped, and mostly–who you wanted to marry. Our author this time is Edith Wharton who grew up in America and Europe in a luxury lifestyle with the top aristocracy of the mid 19th century.
Born Edith Newbold Jones (the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses refers to her father’s family) the future Pulitzer prize winner was a world traveler at a young age who would become fluent in French, German, and Italian. She eschewed the usual fashions and expectations of women at the time.
She also wrote poetry and short stories which were not considered proper for a woman in the high society of the time. In the 1880s she returned to New York and put her writing to the side as she became a debutant and looked for a proper husband.
We talk more about the fascinating life of Edith Wharton and how she came to write The Age of Innocence in 1920. (And why she won the Pulitzer Prize versus the always political Sinclair Lewis.) There have been a few adaptations over the years from stage to screen but this time we want to focus on Martin Scorsese’s 1993 film.
The story of Newland Archer who is engaged to the lovely (and kind of boring) May Welland and is intrigued by soon-to-be divorcee Ellen Olenska. Ellen is older than May and considered a rebel for not only ending her marriage to a Polish Count (he’s an abusive creep) but she treats her staff as equals and prefers to travel alone.
Newland and Ellen have a passionate (but chaste) romance which causes tension. Does he leave the social world of New York behind and live with Ellen? Or should he stay home and marry May as a proper gentleman should.
Listen to this episode to hear us talk about the book & movie and decide which we like better.
In this ep the Margos discuss:
- The fascinating life of Edith Wharton
- The world of high society in America in the 1800s & early 20th century
- The controversial ending of the story
- The cast: Daniel Day-Lewis (Newland Archer,) Michelle Pfeiffer (Ellen Olenska,) Winona Ryder (May Welland,) Richard E. Grant (Larry Lefferts,) Alec McGowen (Sillerton Jackson,) Geraldine Chaplin (Mrs. Welland,) Mary Beth Hurt (Regina Beaufort,) and Stuart Wilson (Julius Beaufort.)
- The Age of Innocence trailer
- May offers him a chance to end their engagement
- Ellen and Newland have a brief encounter
- The final end of the affair
- Music by Elmer Bernstein
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