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Downton Abbey is a 2019 historical drama film written by Julian Fellowes, series creator and writer of the television series of the same name,[1] and directed by Michael Engler. The film is produced by Carnival Films and Perfect World Pictures, and it continues the storyline from the series, with much of the original cast returning.[2] The film, set in 1927, depicts a royal visit to the Crawley family's stately home in Yorkshire. As royal staff members descend on Downton, an assassin has also arrived and attempts to kill the monarch. The Crawleys and their servants are pitted against the royal entourage, including the Queen's lady-in-waiting, who has fallen out with the Crawley family, especially the Dowager Countess, over an inheritance issue.

Gareth Neame and Fellowes started planning a feature adaptation in 2016, shortly after the series ended. It was officially confirmed in July 2018 and filming began later that month, lasting through to November. The film was released in the United Kingdom on 13 September 2019 by Universal Pictures, and in the United States on 20 September 2019 by Focus Features.[3] It received generally positive reviews from critics and grossed $194 million worldwide. A sequel, Downton Abbey: A New Era, is scheduled to be released on 29 April 2022.

Plot

In 1927, the Crawleys receive word that King George V (Jones) and Queen Mary (James) intend to visit Downton during their royal tour of Yorkshire, exciting both the family and the staff. As the servants begin preparations, Lady Mary (Dockery) feels that Barrow (James-Collier) is ill-equipped to manage such an important event and thus recruits Carson (Carter) to briefly exit retirement in order to assist, much to Barrow's chagrin. Shortly thereafter, members of the royal staff begin to arrive at Downton in advance of the King and Queen themselves. While Richard Ellis (Brown), the King's valet, treats the Downton staff kindly, the rest of the entourage are arrogant and rude, making it clear that the royal staff intends to supplant that of Downton for the duration of the visit.

Lord and Lady Hexham (Hadden-Paton and Carmichael) arrive the day before the royal couple is due to visit. Later that evening, chairs for the parade seating are delivered during heavy rain, and Lady Mary leads a messy group effort to position the chairs for the next day. The weather clears and the King and Queen arrive at Downton, where they are introduced to the Crawley family. Violet (Smith) exchanges cold pleasantries with the Queen's lady-in-waiting Maud (Staunton), who is Robert's (Bonneville) first cousin once removed, and Tom (Leech) meets her maid Lucy Smith (Middleton). Violet begrudges Maud for her decision to bequeath her estate to Lucy rather than Robert.

Meanwhile, in the village, Tom encounters a mysterious man identifying himself as Major Chetwode (Moore), whom Tom initially believes is assessing security ahead of the royal visit and parade. Later, when the parade is set to begin, Chetwode prepares to assassinate the King in the staging area but is thwarted by Tom, whom he mistakenly believed was an ally because of their shared Irish origins, and Lady Mary, who disarms him after Tom pins him to the ground. After the parade, Tom encounters a woman sobbing on Downton's lawn. Unbeknownst to him, the woman is Princess Mary (Phillips). She laments her failing marriage, but Tom lifts her spirits and ultimately motivates her to remain with her husband.

Inside, Anna (Froggatt) discovers that Miss Lawton (Lynch), the Queen's dresser, is stealing small items from the house. Anna leverages Lawton's crimes to compel her to alter a gown for Lady Hexham. Following this, Anna and Mr Bates (Coyle) rally the Downton staff in retaking control of Downton's operations while the royal couple is still visiting. Barrow and Ellis trick Mr Wilson (Haig), the Page of the Backstairs, into ordering some of the royal staff to return home to London early. Anna slips a strong sedative into the tea of the royal chef, Monsieur Courbet (Spall), and Wilson himself is "accidentally" locked in his room. Then the Downton staff, with the assistance of Mr Molesely (Doyle) and Albert (Watson), manage the dinner that marks the end of the royal visit. The revised menu elicits high praise from the King, which in turn prompts Molesely to break protocol and announce that it was the Downton staff, not the royal staff, that produced it.

That evening, Barrow and Ellis make a trip to York. Ellis visits his parents, while Barrow waits for him at a pub. A man at the pub invites Barrow to an underground gay nightclub, but shortly after their arrival there, police raid the venue and arrest the attendees. Ellis, also a closeted gay man, soon learns what happened and uses his position in the royal household to get Barrow released from police custody. Isobel (Wilton) deduces that Lucy is Maud's illegitimate daughter, which is why she stands to inherit Maud's estate. Isobel challenges Maud to explain the situation to Violet.

The next morning, Henry (Goode) returns home after traveling abroad and joins the Crawleys at Harewood House, along with the royal family. During the ball that evening at Harewood, Princess Mary informs her parents that Tom helped save her marriage by convincing her to remain with her husband, and she encourages the King to speak with Tom. He approaches Tom and expresses gratitude, also implying that he's aware of Tom's role in thwarting the assassination attempt at the parade.

The King releases Bertie from his obligation to join the Prince of Wales on a three-month tour of Africa, which the King had requested earlier in the visit. Bertie had initially accepted the commitment, but he later wished to back out of the trip after learning of Edith's pregnancy. Thanks to Cora (McGovern) and the Queen's intervention, the King had a change of heart and rescinded his request. Meanwhile, Maud privately confesses to Violet that Lucy is her daughter, which is why she made Lucy her heir instead of Robert. Violet finally understands the situation, and the two reconcile. Violet then begins plotting to keep Maud's estate in the Crawley family in the future through a union of Tom and Lucy, as she had taken notice of the pair's budding romance earlier.

Finally, Lady Mary quietly asks Violet about her visit to London. Violet informs her that she had gone for a doctor's visit, during which she learned that she may not have long to live. Mary is distraught, but Violet assures her that Downton and its legacy are safe in Mary's hands. As this conversation carries on, Tom finds Lucy on the terrace, and the two dance in the dark while listening to the music played inside at the ball.

Cast

Template:Cast listing

Production

File:Highclere Castle (April 2011).jpg

Highclere Castle in Hampshire, the stately home used to film the fictional Downton Abbey estate

Development

The original television series, Downton Abbey, ended in 2015, after 52 episodes[4][5][6] with its final episode set at New Year's Eve, 1925.[7] In April 2016, it was revealed that a film adaptation was being considered,[8] with Julian Fellowes working on an outline plot.[9] A script was distributed to original cast members early in 2017.[10][11]

On 13 July 2018, the producers confirmed that a feature-length film would be made,[12] with production commencing mid-2018.[13][6] The script was written by Fellowes. The producers are Gareth Neame, Liz Trubridge and Fellowes.[14] The film is distributed by Focus Features and Universal Pictures International.[15] In late August 2018, it was reported that Brian Percival had stepped down as director and Michael Engler took on this job. Percival, in addition to Nigel Marchant, would be an executive producer.[16][17]

The plot of the film is based on an actual trip by the British royals to Wentworth Woodhouse in 1912 in order to demonstrate the importance of the monarchy. The estate itself was used as part of the shooting locations because of the story's link to that history.[18]

Casting

Original cast members including Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael and Maggie Smith, were confirmed to return as their characters from the series,[14][19] with Joanne Froggatt confirming her involvement in a separate announcement.[20] Lily James, who played Lady Rose MacClare, stated she would not be reprising her role for the film,[21][22] as did Ed Speleers who played footman Jimmy Kent.[23]

An August 2018 announcement indicated that newcomers Imelda Staunton, Geraldine James, Tuppence Middleton, Simon Jones, David Haig, Kate Phillips, and Stephen Campbell Moore would be among the cast of the film.[17] The producers told the news media that Simon Jones and Geraldine James play the King and Queen, respectively (although not shown in the trailer), while David Haig appears as the King's butler (The Page of the Back Stairs).[24]

In September 2018, it was confirmed that Matthew Goode, who played Lady Mary's husband Henry Talbot in the final series, appears only briefly due to other commitments,[25] while Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Kevin Doyle, Harry Hadden-Paton, Rob James-Collier, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Sophie McShera, Lesley Nicol and Penelope Wilton were confirmed to be reprising their respective roles, with Max Brown joining in a new, undisclosed role.[26][27]

Costumes

Costumes were designed by Anna Mary Scott Robbins working with John Bright of the costume company COSPROP in London, which specialises in historic, period costumes.[28] The company has some of Queen Mary's real wardrobe, studied for details of construction.[28] Geraldine James' Queen Mary costume was constructed using material from one of the Queen's actual dresses.[28] During the Ball scene, both Michelle Dockery and Elizabeth McGovern wore vintage dresses that were embellished with additional work. Dockery's beaded French gown had beads lengthened to the floor by hand. While Michelle Dockery wears Swarovski crystals in her tiara, Maggie Smith's is a 19th-century platinum piece[28] from Bentley & Skinner of Piccadilly jewellers by Royal appointment[29] with 16.5 carats of diamonds. Smith's ball gown was found in a vintage shop in Paris and dye was used to alter the turquoise colour to lilac.[28]

Filming

Principal photography started in London in late August 2018.[30][17] By 20 September, some filming was under way at Highclere Castle, Hampshire, which had been the main location for the television series.[31][32] Also in September, filming was under way in Lacock, Wiltshire, with Dame Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern and Michelle Dockery as well as two new cast members, Imelda Staunton (wife of Jim Carter) and Geraldine James; scenes shot in Lacock included a celebration with horses from the Royal Artillery.[33] Exterior scenes set in York were filmed on location at Beamish Museum, complete with operational trams.[34] The Heritage Railways scenes were filmed on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway with Pickering terminus representing Kings Cross. The Royal Mail Sorting Office Coach was borrowed from the Great Central Railway at Loughborough. Filming concluded in November 2018.[35]

Soundtrack

Downton Abbey: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
John Lunn
Released 13 September 2019 (2019-09-13)
Recorded 2019
Length 53:07
Label * Decca Gold
  • Decca
  • Universal Music Canada
Produced by John Lunn

Downton Abbey: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the film's soundtrack album and musical score album of the same name, composed by John Lunn, conducted and orchestrated by Alastair King, edited by Mark Willsher and performed by The Chamber Orchestra of London with additional music composed by Chris Egan and prepared by Tristan Noon, while the music for the film's trailer was composed by David James Rosen. It was released on 13 September 2019 on CD, digital download and vinyl by Decca Gold, Decca Records and Universal Music Canada.

All music is composed by John Lunn.

No. Title Length
1. "A Royal Command"   4:49
2. "Pillar of the Establishment"   1:48
3. "Gleam and Sparkle"   2:48
4. "God Is a Monarchist"   3:02
5. "Two Households"   5:00
6. "Incident at a Parade"   2:57
7. "Sabotage"   3:33
8. "Maud"   1:28
9. "Honour Restored"   2:39
10. "Never Seen Anything Like It"   2:27
11. "Not Entirely a Bad Night"   2:59
12. "May I?"   3:08
13. "Taking Leave"   2:26
14. "Resolution"   2:15
15. "You Are the Best of Me"   2:44
16. "Sunset Waltz"   3:51
17. "One Hundred Years of Downton"   5:13
Total length:
53:07

Release

A companion book and guide to the feature film was available for pre-orders as early as August 2019 to be published on 17 September,[36] that is a behind the scenes look at the film production.[37][38] The film was released in Australia on 12 September 2019, in the United Kingdom on 13 September 2019, and in the United States on 20 September 2019.[39] It premiered at Leicester Square on 9 September 2019.[40]

Box office

Downton Abbey grossed $96.9 million in the United States and Canada, and $97.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $194.2 million.[41][42] Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $88 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues.[43]

Several weeks before its release in the United States, Fandango announced Downton Abbey's first day advance ticket sales were pacing ahead of all other adult dramas in 2019, including Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ($41.1 million debut that July).[44][45] A week prior to its release the film held advanced screenings, where it made $2.2 million.[46] Overall, it was originally projected to gross $16–25 million from 3,076 theaters in its opening weekend.[47] After making $13.8 million on its first day, including $2.1 million from Thursday night previews, estimates were raised to $31 million. It went on to debut to $31 million, topping the box office and marking the largest opening in Focus Features' history.[48] The film made $14.5 million in its second weekend, finishing second behind newcomer Abominable, then $7.9 million in its third, finishing third.[49][50]

Reception

Critical response

At the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of Template:RT data based on Template:RT data reviews, with an average rating of Template:RT data. The website's critics consensus reads: "Downton Abbey distills many of the ingredients that made the show an enduring favorite, welcoming fans back for a fittingly resplendent homecoming."[51] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 64 out of 100, based on reviews from 42 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[52] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average 4.5 out of 5 stars and a 72% "definite recommend".[48]

June Thomas writing for Slate praised the film, writing: "The plot of the Downton Abbey movie is brilliant, not so much because it is surprising, but because it allows every member of the cast to do what we expect of them".[53] In a more lukewarm reaction, Peter Bradshaw, writing for The Guardian, said: "The Downton Abbey movie is not as spectacularly star-studded as Gosford Park, but it's got its share of A-list talent, however: Maggie Smith, of course, as the dowager Countess of Grantham, Hugh Bonneville as Lord Grantham (absent-mindedly fondling his retriever at breakfast) – there's also Imelda Staunton in a new role and Jim Carter as the beetle-browed former butler Mr Carson. All are very underused".[54]

Writing in the British publication Radio Times, Eleanor Bley Griffiths writes that Downton the film is "frankly disappointing". She explains that "What the film lacks is any sense of real jeopardy. As we found out from the trailer, the big plot-line is this: the King and Queen are coming to dinner and Downton must be made perfect! But that simple story is stretched out to a full two hours of incredibly low-stakes, predictable drama with an overabundance of sub-plots". Griffiths goes on to unfavourably compare the new film with the TV series: "On TV, there was time to explore different threads and highlight specific characters as the series went on; but the movie gives us a whole series-worth of storylines draped over one lacklustre main plot".[55]

Popular culture

The cast and crew were featured in a short interview segment on PBS public television on 20 September 2019, as recognition of the influence which the film and related series have had on American popular culture.[56]

Accolades

List of awards, accolades and nominations
Year Award Category Nominee Result
2020 Movies for Grownups Award Best Supporting Actress Maggie Smith Nominated
2020 Movies for Grownups Award Best Ensemble Downton Abbey Nominated
2020 Movies for Grownups Award Readers' Choice Nominated
2020 EDA Special Mention Award Actress Defying Age and Ageism Maggie Smith Nominated
2020 Awards Circuit Community Award Best Costume Design Anna Robbins Nominated
2020 Critics' Choice Movie Award Best Production Design Donal Woods
Gina Cromwell
Nominated
2020 Critics' Choice Movie Award Best Costume Design Anna Robbins Nominated
2020 CinEuphoria Award Best Supporting Actress – International Competition Maggie Smith Nominated
2020 CinEuphoria Award Best Ensemble – International Competition Hugh Bonneville
Laura Carmichael
Jim Carter
Michelle Dockery
Joanne Froggatt
Robert James-Collier
Allen Leech
Elizabeth McGovern
Maggie Smith
Imelda Staunton
Nominated
2020 CDG Award Excellence in Period Film Anna Robbins Nominated
2020 GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Film – Wide Release Downton Abbey Nominated
2020 Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Award Best Period and/or Character Hair Styling – Feature-Length Motion Picture Anne Oldham
Elaine Browne
Marc Pilcher
Won
2020 Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Award Best Period and/or Character Makeup – Feature-Length Motion Picture Anne Oldham
Elaine Browne
Sam Smart
Nominated
2019 Hollywood Film Award Costume Designer of the Year Anna Robbins Won
2019 SDFCS Award Best Costume Design Nominated
2019 SDFCS Award Best Production Design Donal Woods Nominated
2019 SDFCS Award Best Ensemble Downton Abbey Nominated
2019 Satellite Award Best Costume Design Anna Robbins Nominated
2019 Seattle Film Critics Award Best Costume Design Nominated

Sequel

Main article: Downton Abbey: A New Era

After the release of the film, the creator Julian Fellowes and the cast stated that they already had ideas about producing a sequel.[57]

It was announced on 19 April 2021 that the sequel, titled Downton Abbey: A New Era, was already in production, with the entire cast set to return, alongside new arrivals Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye and Dominic West. Engler will not return as director, with Simon Curtis replacing him. It will be released on 18 March 2022.[58]

References

  1. Julian Fellowes List of Movies and TV Shows | TV Guide. CBS Interactive Inc..
  2. Downton Abbey bosses reveal why they didn't bring back Lily James for the movie. Radio Times (23 December 2018).
  3. Focus Features Announces Production on the Downton Abbey Movie (in en).
  4. (13 November 2018) Television Finales: From Howdy Doody to Girls. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 978-0-8156-5447-6. 
  5. Debra Birnbaum (6 March 2016). 'Downton Abbey' Series Finale Recap: The End of An Era – Variety.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Downton Abbey Is Returning, With The Original Cast, To The Movies. Forbes (15 July 2018).
  7. Citation.
  8. "Downton creator Julian Fellowes: 'Why the personal attacks hurt so much'", The Telegraph, 10 April 2016. 
  9. Julian Fellowes: I'm plotting Downton Abbey film. BBC News (14 April 2016).
  10. Downton Abbey movie 'could be filmed this year'. BBC News (20 March 2017).
  11. Downton Abbey's Phyllis Logan reveals production on the movie begins 'any minute now'. Radio Times (12 August 2018).
  12. Downton Abbey film (finally) confirmed. BBC News (13 July 2018).
  13. Downton Abbey film confirmed to shoot this summer with series cast returning. The Guardian (13 July 2018).
  14. 14.0 14.1 Desta, Yohana (13 July 2018). It's Happening: Downton Abbey's Original Cast Is Reuniting for a Movie. Vanity Fair.
  15. 'Downton Abbey' Movie Is on the Way. The New York Times (13 July 2018).
  16. 'Downton Abbey' Movie Due to Begin Filming as Cast Grows, Director Replaced. Collider (31 August 2018).
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 McNary, Dave (30 August 2018). Imelda Staunton, Geraldine James Join 'Downton Abbey' Movie. Variety.
  18. Jasmine Ting (16 September 2019). When Does The 'Downton Abbey' Movie Take Place? It's A New Era for the Household. BUSTLE.
  19. Maggie Smith, 83, to Return for Downton Abbey Big Screen Movie Alongside TV Show's Main Cast. People.
  20. A 'Downton Abbey' Movie Is Coming and Joanne Froggatt and Michelle Dockery Are Beyond Excited About It. Access. KNBC (13 July 2018).
  21. Lily James Reveals Why There's 'No Space' for Her in Downton Abbey Movie. People (15 July 2018).
  22. "Lily James will not be returning for the Downton Abbey movie", The Telegraph, 16 July 2018. 
  23. Downton Abbey star Ed Speleers won't be returning for the film. Digital Spy (11 November 2018).
  24. "'Downton Abbey' is back with an all-new movie trailer", 24 May 2019. 
  25. Matthew Goode confirmed for Downton Abbey movie – but he says he will only be "popping in at the end". Radio Times.
  26. D'Alessandro, Anthony (19 September 2018). 'Downton Abbey' Movie Sets Fall 2019 Opening. Deadline Hollywood.
  27. D'Alessandro, Anthony (27 September 2018). 'Downton Abbey' Movie Adds 'The Royals' Max Brown. Deadline Hollywood.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 Rosy Cordero (13 September 2019). Diamonds! Vintage gowns! Inside the Downton Abbey movie costumes fit for a queen.
  29. Welcome to Bentley & Skinner – Bentley & Skinner, the Mayfair antique and bespoke jewellery shop in the heart of London. Bentley & Skinner (Bond Street Jewellers) Ltd.
  30. The Downton Abbey Movie Has Officially Started Filming. Cinemablend. Gateway Blend (1 September 2018).
  31. Downton Abbey movie: FIRST images of the lavish country set are unveiled as filming on the eagerly anticipated film gets underway at Highclere Castle. MSN Entertainment. MSN (20 September 2018).
  32. DOWNTON ABBEY MOVIE CONFIRMED. express.co.uk. Highclere Castle (5 August 2018).
  33. Moore, Joanne (1 October 2018). Downton stars return to Lacock for movie filming (in en).
  34. New Downton Abbey Film at Beamish Museum.
  35. Allen Leech on Making 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and the 'Downton Abbey' Movie. Collider (8 November 2018).
  36. New book reveals behind the scenes secrets of the 'Downton Abbey' movie – British Period Dramas. British Period Dramas (14 August 2019).
  37. Caroline Hallemann (20 June 2019). A Downton Abbey Film Book Will Feature Photos and a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Filming. Hearst Magazine Media, Inc..
  38. George Simpson (9 September 2019). Downton Abbey movie behind-the-scenes: King George V and Lady Mary | Films | Entertainment | Express.co.uk.
  39. Everything you need to know about the Downton Abbey movie. Good Housekeeping UK (2 November 2018).
  40. Downton Abbey' stars arrive for world premiere of movie spin-off. CNN (9 September 2019).
  41. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named BOM
  42. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named NUM
  43. D'Alessandro, Anthony (15 April 2020). 'Downton Abbey's Royal Bank Makes It No. 16 On Deadline's 2019 Most Valuable Blockbuster Tournament. Deadline Hollywood.
  44. Anthony D'Alessandro (21 August 2019). 'Downton Abbey' First Day Fandango Presales Bigger Than 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again'.
  45. Chris Kornelis (15 September 2019). Writer Julian Fellowes Prepares 'Downton Abbey' for the Big Screen. The Wall Street Journal.
  46. D'Alessandro, Anthony (18 September 2019). Will The 'Downton Abbey' Gang Take Out 'Rambo'? – Weekend Box Office Preview.
  47. Fuster, Jeremy (17 September 2019). 'Ad Astra,' 'Downton Abbey' and 'Rambo' to Bring Box Office Back to Full Speed.
  48. 48.0 48.1 D'Alessandro, Anthony (22 September 2019). 'Downton Abbey' $31M Opening Reps Record For Focus Features – Final Update.
  49. D'Alessandro, Anthony (29 September 2019). Dreamworks Animation-Pearl Studios' 'Abominable' Bigfoots B.O. With Near $21M Opening Weekend. Deadline Hollywood.
  50. D'Alessandro, Anthony (6 October 2019). Warner Bros. Laughing All The Way to the Bank With 'Joker': $94M Debut Reps Records For October, Todd Phillips, Joaquin Phoenix & Robert De Niro.
  51. Downton Abbey (2019). Fandango.
  52. Downton Abbey reviews. CBS Interactive.
  53. Thomas, June (9 September 2019). In the Downton Abbey Movie, the Servants Finally Revolt!.
  54. Bradshaw, Peter. "Downton Abbey review – ridiculous, vanilla-flavoured fun", The Guardian, 9 September 2019. 
  55. Eleanor Bley Griffiths. "Downton Abbey movie is a disappointing nostalgia trip – spoiler-free review", Radio Times, 10 September 2019. 
  56. PBS News Hour. Downton Abbey Film Interviews. 20 September 2019. Interviews with Judy Woodruff.
  57. Downton Abbey team says they already have ideas for a potential sequel (24 September 2019).
  58. Wiseman, Andreas (19 April 2021). 'Downton Abbey 2': Cast, Director & Release Date Confirmed As Production Gets Underway.

Bibliography

External links

Template:Downton Abbey Template:Julian FellowesTemplate:Michael Engler Template:George V

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