OT: An “Enchanted” movie favorite


Miranda Richardson enjoying the beauty of San Salvatore in "Enchanted April."

Joan Plowright, Josie Lawrence, Polly Walker and Miranda Richardson are the four British women who undergo a transformation in the film "Enchanted April."

I don’t know when I first ran across this movie on television, but it caught my interest immediately–good actors, gorgeous scenery, period costumes. I have watched it several times since then. Enchanted April, made for British television in 1991 and released theatrically in the U.S. the following year, boasts a talented cast of actors, many of whom were or became favorites of mine.

Based on a novel written in the 1920s by Elizabeth Von Armin and first filmed in 1935, Enchanted April follows the adventures of four English women–an elderly grande dame, a spoiled society girl, and two housewives who feel as if all the romance has gone from their live– who all find themselves longing for escape of one form or another.
One of the women, Lotty, played by Josie Lawrence, decides to rent a villa in Italy for the month of April and invites three other ladies to join her and share in the expenses.

Just as the spring flowers open and blossom beautifully around the Villa San Salvatore, so do we see a blossoming of these four women as they enjoy their stay in this magical place. When their husbands join them, the men find themselves falling under the spell of San Salvatore, too. There is humor and poignancy and the breathtaking scenery of Italy.

The film was actually shot in the same Italian villa that inspired the novelist to write her book, and the filmmakers do a great job capturing the period look and feel. Josie Lawrence, Miranda Richardson, Polly Walker and Joan Plowright are ably joined by Jim Broadbent, Alfred Molina and Michael Kitchen in this charming, slow-paced and truly enchanting story.

Only recently was the film made available on DVD, but it is definitely one I plan to add to my collection.

19 responses »

  1. Oh how I love this movie so – it’s when I first fell under the spell of Polly Walker! Nice write up and lovely to hear they used the actual location. I wasn’t aware it was based on a book. Back then I only enjoyed and didn’t look deeper into books or actors or actresses for that matter ..

    • Hey, Iz, πŸ˜€

      Yeah, this movie was on my mind the other day and I thought it would be a good one to share with others who might not have seen it or just needed a reminder. I think I have a touch of spring fever after largely being stuck in the house the past few months. πŸ˜‰

      Polly is lovely in it and really, what a wonderful group of Brit actors! And the setting is lovely. I did some further reading and learned about the background of the story and film. There is also a stage version of EA, too–I wasn’t aware of that! πŸ˜€

      • I started cleaning out my closet instead of editing my posts – throwing out shoes but then again itching to buy a new pair πŸ™‚ spring fever alright – can’t wait for the daffodils about to bud ..
        It must be a lovely play and what a dream it would be to actual do “the villa in Italy” thing.

        • I am sure that movie could have only helped tourism in Italy. πŸ˜‰ It certainly makes one long to visit it. I bet the play is enjoyable. Our daffodils have been blooming for a while here and some new grass is sprouting up. My back (or should I more correctly say, my tailbone) has been acting up and it’s hard for me to do much in terms of cleaning, although it mightily needs it.

  2. I saw this film ages ago, and I really loved it! I love Polly Walker, she’s a great actress! She was fantastic in “Rome” as Atia. Scheming, deceitful and vengeful. She got her comeuppance in the end though.

      • I thought Rome was absolutely superb. I did occasionally have to look away from the screen during the violent scenes (they were very graphic) but otherwise I enjoyed it enormously. Fantastic production values, good writing, stellar cast! πŸ™‚

  3. Angie, have you seen “A Month by the Lake”? It’s also set in Italy. The main characters are played by Vanessa Redgrave, Edward Fox and Uma Thurman. If you haven’t seen it, check it out, it’s pretty good, the scenery is gorgeous as well (Lake Como) ! πŸ™‚

  4. Sorry, this is OT, but I don’t know where else to put it: I catalouged my DVDs yesterday and realized that I have 2 copies of BBC’s Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle version)! Both DVD sets are new, have not been watched, so if any of you know of anybody who’d like to receive it as a present, I’d be happy to post it to you. They’re region 2 original DVDs.

    • Judit, that’s so funny because last year I realized I had two copies of the same DVD, P&P! I ended up giving the extra one to one of my sisters. That’s very generous of you.

      • Well, I can’t give it to my sis since she doesn’t speak English plus she has her own P&P DVD (the dubbed Hungarian version)! I figured somebody here might want it. I also “advertised” it on Facebook but nobody seems to be interested! (I suppose everybody who might have been interested already owns the DVD! it IS a classic after all! πŸ™‚ I just don’t want to throw it out. OT again (sorry), but I’m getting worried about my Impressionists, N&S, Frozen and Shakespeare Retold DVDs, the package was dispatched on the 28th Feb and it hasn’t arrived yet, and the BTS DVD which was dispatched 2 days later has already been delivered! I’ve used Amazon multiple times and no order has ever been lost, I can’t believe it would start with my RA DVDs of all things! 😦

        • I have never had any problems with Amazon orders being lost, either, so that gives me hope your order has simply been delayed. I have had things arrive out of order before. You can always contact Amazon to follow up. Does your shipping carrier have a way to check on packages in transit? Amazon uses UPS and Fed Ex here and you can track your packages. Hope they turn up soon!

          • They sent it by Royal Mail but not registered (first class) or whatever they call it. I’ve already contacted Amazon UK!

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