The English Patient (film)
|The English Patient|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Anthony Minghella|
|Produced by||Saul Zaentz|
|Screenplay by||Anthony Minghella|
|Based on||The English Patient
by Michael Ondaatje
Kristin Scott Thomas
|Music by||Gabriel Yared|
|Editing by||Walter Murch|
Tiger Moth Productions
|Distributed by||Miramax Films|
|Running time||162 minutes|
The film's invocation of fate, romance, and tragedy unfolds in World War II Italy through the story of a burn victim, a once-dashing archaeologist whose sacrifices to save the woman he loves spell his end.
In the final days of the Italian Campaign of World War II, Hana, a French-Canadian nurse in a bombed Italian monastery looks after a critically burned man who speaks English but refuses to reveal even his name.
David Caravaggio, a Canadian Intelligence Corps operative ostensibly trying to disarm the partisans, arrives with bandaged hands and an acute interest in both the morphine supply at the monastery and the English patient's past.
In the late 1930s, the Hungarian cartographer Count László de Almásy maps the Sahara as a co-leader of a Royal Geographical Society archeological and surveying expedition in Egypt and Libya with the Englishman Peter Madox. They are academics at heart and naïve about the brewing war. Their expedition is financed by a British couple, Geoffrey and Katherine Clifton. He is often away mapping; Katherine and Almásy fall in love. Their intense romance founders on her guilt and his jealousy.
The Count studies an ancient Saharan site, the Cave of Swimmers, until a British order stops work in the camp at the onset of fighting. Madox secretes his Tiger Moth at Kufra oasis before the two go their separate ways.
Caravaggio was a professional thief; he lost his thumbs in an interrogation by a German Army officer and has avenged himself on two of the men he holds responsible. Only Almásy remains and now he accuses the English patient of being the Count and betraying the British. The burn victim insists he has it backwards: he was betrayed by the British.
When Geoffrey discovers the affair, he lures Katherine aboard their plane and pilots it into the camp in a crash aimed at the Count. He is killed instantly, she is seriously injured, but Almásy only narrowly hit. He takes her to the cave, leaving her with provisions, and begins a three-day walk in scorching heat looking for help. Dazed and dehydrated, he stumbles into British-held El Tag and desperately attempts to explain his non-British name and Katherine's plight. Under questioning, he loses his temper, is detained and transported in chains on a train north to Benghazi. He escapes behind German lines and trades the British maps to them for gasoline. He flies the Tiger Moth to the cave, but is too late.
He attempts to return with Katherine but a German anti-aircraft battery shoots them down. Her body is not recovered; he is horribly burned and rescued by Bedouin.
"I had the wrong name," the English patient explains. Caravaggio is ready to forgive. On the last day of the war, Hana's fears are put to rest when Kip disarms a frightening live explosive. She cannot refuse Almásy's wish for a fatal dose of morphine. Kip's new post is north of Florence; she catches a ride that way.
The physical appearance of Almásy is commonly linked to the fictional character Indiana Jones: tanned skin, khaki attire and similar hat. Male archaeologists portrayed in film seem to fit one or more of these stereotypical traits 
- Kristin Scott Thomas as Katherine Clifton
Originally, 20th Century Fox wanted Demi Moore in the role but the producers refused and so the studio backed out, to be replaced by Miramax and Scott Thomas.
- Willem Dafoe as David Caravaggio
- Juliette Binoche as Hana
- Naveen Andrews as Kip
- Colin Firth as Geoffrey Clifton
- Julian Wadham as Peter Madox
- Jürgen Prochnow as Major Muller
- Kevin Whately as Sgt. Hardy
- Clive Merrison as Fenelon-Barnes
- Nino Castelnuovo as D'Agostino
- Hichem Rostom as Fouad
- Peter Rühring as Bermann
- Geordie Johnson as Oliver
- Torri Higginson as Mary
- Liisa Repo-Martell as Jan
- Raymond Coulthard as Rupert Douglas
- Philip Whitchurch as Corporal Dade
- Lee Ross as Spalding
- Anthony Smee as Beach Interrogation Officer
- Matthew Ferguson as Young Canadian Soldier
- Jason Done as Kiss Me soldier
- Roger Morlidge as Desert Train Sergeant
The study of a prehistoric Saharan cave with "swimming figures" (Cave of Swimmers") was made by Hungarian László Almásy (October 1933) during the Leo Frobenius expedition. The location was aided with an airplane owned by an expedition member. This site is portrayed in both Ondaatje's novel and Minghella's film. If the storyline of the film was the same as real life then it would appear to be that the reference made by Katherine of being made aware of Almásy's monograph would be this site but of course that is the quandary of real life versus fiction.
Some archaeology was conducted during World War II in Egypt and lead to the significant Tanis find with intrinsic, artistic and cultural value similar to others but due to the time of its discovery it has not been as made well known as Tutankhamen. The deprivations caused by World War II do not support that as wide-scale archaeology continued during World War II as has previously or after. But it does have to be acknowledged the use of World War II aerial photography being used to evaluate the study potential of sites, particularly the large ones.
Saul Zaentz made known his wish to work with Anthony Minghella after he saw the director's film Truly, Madly, Deeply (1990); Minghella brought this project to the producer's attention. Michael Ondaatje, a Sri Lankan-born Canadian, worked closely with the filmmakers. The film was shot on location in Tunisia and Italy. with a production budget of $31 million.
Two types of plane are used in the film. The De Havilland D.H.82 Tiger Moth appears first when the Count attempts returning Katherine's dead body for interment in the garden of her English seacoast home, a wish she expressed in his Hiroditus histories when she was incapacitated and secreted in the Cave. The plane had been hidden at the Oasis by Peter Maddox, to whom it belonged, following when the British government ordered that by May 1939 all expeditions would stop and Madox and Almasy planned to leave camp. The Clifton's arrived camp aboard a Boeing-Stearman Model 75, purported their own when in fact it was British Government property. Both are biplanes; an aircraft with two main supporting surfaces (wings) usually placed one above the other. They both use fueled that is more characteristic of gasoline than any type of jet fuel. The on-screen registration numbers on each plane were fictitious. The camp crash scene was made with a .5 scale model. Both were commonly used in pilot training and later used extensively in dusting crops in the years after World War II when decommissioned by the governments.
The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film (2002), by Michael Ondaatje is based on the conversations between the author and film editor. Murch, with a career that already included complex works like the Godfather trilogy, The Conversation, and Apocalypse Now, dreaded the task of editing the film with multiple flashbacks and time frames, but once he began the possibilities became apparent, some of which took him away from the order of the original script. A reel without sound was made so scene change visuals would be consistent with the quality of the aural aspect between the two. The final cut features over 40 temporal transitions. It was during this time that Murch met Ondaatje and were able to exchange thoughts about editing the film.
The film received widespread critical acclaim, was a box office success and a major award winner: victorious in 9 out of 12 nominated Academy Awards categories; 2 out of 7 nominated Golden Globe Awards categories; and 6 out of 13 nominated BAFTA Award categories.
The film has a "Certified Fresh" rating of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 61 reviews, concluding. "Though it suffers from excessive length and ambition, director Minghella's adaptation of the Michael Ondaatje novel is complex, powerful, and moving." The film also has a rating of 87% on Metacritic, indicating "universal acclaim". Chicago Sun Times critic Roger Ebert gave the film a 4/4 rating, saying "it's the kind of movie you can see twice – first for the questions, the second time for the answers." In his movie guide, Leonard Maltin rated the film 3 1/2 out of 4, calling it "A mesmerizing adaptation" of Ondaatje's novel, he concluded by calling the film "An exceptional achievement all around".
|1998||AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies||Nominated|
|2002||AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions||#56|
|2005||AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores||Nominated|
|1999||BFI Top 100 British films||#55||1-28-2014|
- "THE ENGLISH PATIENT (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 1996-12-04. Retrieved 2013-03-04.
- The English Patient at Box Office Mojo
- Marwick, Ben (2012). 'Self-image, the long view and archaeological engagement with film: an animated. World Archaeology. pp. 394–404.
- citation needed beyond: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000193/bio; viewed 1-26-2014.
- http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/africa/gilf_kebir_cave_of_swimmers/index.php; viewed 1-24-2014.
- http://www.archaeology.org/0505/abstracts/tanis.html; http://www.archaeology.org/issues/110-1311/trenches/1391-corona-spy-imagery-reveals-roman-forts-in-romania; viewed 1-24-2014.
- Michael Ondaatje, "Remembering my friend Anthony Minghella," The Guardian, 23 March 2008.
- "Film locations for The English Patient". Retrieved August 23, 2010.
- http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Masterful-English-Patient-3112068.php#page-1; viewed 1/24-2014.
- http://www.impdb.org/index.php?title=The_English_Patient; viewed 1-24-2014.
- http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/biplane; viewed 1-24-2014.
- http://www.aviastar.org/air/england/havilland_dh-82.php; http://www.pilotfriend.com/aircraft%20performance/stearman.htm; both viewed, 1-24-2014.
- Random House Inc.
- http://www.powells.com/review/2002_08_31.html; viewed 1-24-2014.
- The English Patient at Rotten Tomatoes
- The English Patient at Metacritic
- The English Patient :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved June 10, 2008.
- Van Gelder, Lawrence (March 25, 1997). "'English Patient' Dominates Oscars With Nine, Including Best Picture". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved June 18, 2008.
- "The 69th Academy Awards (1997) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-10-23.
- "Berlinale: 1997 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
- http://www.listal.com/list/bfis-top-100-british-films; 1-28-2014.
- Further reading
- Blakesley, David (2007). "Mapping the other: The English Patient, colonial rhetoric, and cinematic representation". The Terministic Screen: Rhetorical Perspectives on Film. Southern Illinois University Press. ISBN 0-8093-2488-1.
- Massood, Paula J. (2005). "Defusing The English Patient". In Stam; Raengo, Alessandra. Literature and Film: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Film Adaptation. Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-23054-8.
- Minghella, Anthony (1997). The English Patient: A Screenplay by Anthony Minghella. Methuen Publishing. ISBN 0-413-71500-0.
- Thomas, Bronwen (2000). "Piecing together a mirage: Adapting The English patient for the screen". In Giddings, Robert; Sheen, Erica. The Classic Novel from Page to Screen. Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-5230-0.
- Yared, Gabriel (2007). Gabriel Yared's The English Patient: A Film Score Guide. The Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-5910-6.
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- Official website
- The English Patient at the Internet Movie Database
- The English Patient at Box Office Mojo
- The English Patient at Rotten Tomatoes
- The English Patient at Metacritic
- Laszlo Almásy: the real English patient