Kate & Leopold

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Kate & Leopold
Kate and leopold ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Mangold
Produced by Cathy Konrad
Written by Steven Rogers
James Mangold
Starring Meg Ryan
Hugh Jackman
Liev Schreiber
Breckin Meyer
Natasha Lyonne
Music by Rolfe Kent
Cinematography Stuart Dryburgh
Edited by David Brenner
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release dates
  • December 25, 2001 (2001-12-25)
Running time
123 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $48 million (est)[1]
Box office $76,019,048 (Worldwide)

Kate & Leopold is a 2001 romantic-comedy fantasy that tells a story of a duke who travels through time from New York in 1876 to the present and falls in love with a woman in modern New York. The film is directed by James Mangold and stars Meg Ryan, Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber.


In 1876, Prince Leopold Mountbatten, Duke of Albany (Hugh Jackman), is a stifled dreamer. He has created a design for a primitive elevator, and has built a small model of this device (coincidentally, the family butler's name is "Otis.") His strict uncle Millard (Paxton Whitehead) has no patience for his disrespect for the monarchy, chastising him and telling him he must marry a rich American, as the Mountbatten family finances are depleted. After his uncle told him that on his "thirtieth birthday he had become a blemish to the family name", Leopold counters that the new nobility is to be found in those who pursue initiatives, hence his interest in the sciences and inventions.

One day, the Duke finds Stuart Besser (Liev Schreiber), an amateur physicist (and descendant of Leopold) in his study perusing his schematic diagrams and taking photographs of them. He had seen him earlier at Roebling's speech about the Brooklyn Bridge, after he was laughing at the word "erection." Leopold follows Stuart and tries to save him from falling off the unfinished bridge, only to fall with him into a temporal portal between centuries that Stuart has used to travel to 1876.

Leopold awakens in 21st century New York City. He is at first confused and thinks that he has been kidnapped. Stuart says that he has created formulae to forecast portals in the temporal universe and that Leopold must stay inside his apartment until the portal opens again a week later. As Stuart takes his dog out, he is injured by falling into the elevator shaft, and is eventually institutionalized for speaking about his scientific discovery. (According to Stuart's books, Leopold's unintentional time travel to the 21st century has caused a disruption of all elevators, on account of his leaving the 19th century before he could register for a patent for his own device.)

Leopold is intrigued by the cynical and ambitious Kate McKay (Meg Ryan), Stuart's ex-girlfriend, who comes to the apartment for her Palm Pilot stylus. He observes that she is a "career woman" and that her field, market research, is a fine avocation for a woman and states that he once dated a librarian from Sussex. Kate dismisses him and demands that he take Stuart's dog for a walk. Leopold is overwhelmed to see that Roebling's bridge is still standing. Back at the apartment, he befriends Charlie (Breckin Meyer), Kate's brother and an actor between gigs, who believes him to be an actor as well, steadfast to his character.

Kate and Leopold become romantically involved as they dine and tour New York.

When shooting begins on the commercial in which Leopold has agreed to act, he finds the product, diet margarine, disgusting. He cannot understand how Kate would have him endorse a flawed item without qualms, and declares that "when one finds oneself participating in an endeavour entirely without merit, one withdraws." Echoing his uncle, Kate says that sometimes one has to do things one doesn't want to. He chides her about integrity. She retorts, "I don't have time for pious speeches from two hundred year old men who have not worked a day in their life". Their dalliance seems at an end.

Stuart escapes from the mental hospital, and sends Leopold back to his own time. In his apartment, looking at the pictures he took while in 1876, Stuart and Charlie notice Kate at Leopold's ball (where he was to announce his engagement). They then realize that Kate was there in 1876, and that her destiny must be with Leopold as his wife (and Duchess of Albany). That night, while Kate is accepting her promotion at a company banquet, he and Charlie are racing to meet her. Moments before she goes on stage, they arrive and produce the pictures from Stuart's camera that show her in 1876. Stuart says that he had thought he disrupted the spacetime continuum, but actually "the whole thing is a beautiful 4-D pretzel of kismetic inevitability".

Kate chooses a life with Leopold over her career, and the three of them escape to the Brooklyn Bridge. There, catching the portal before it closes at midnight, Kate vanishes into 1876, where Leopold appears resigned to be pragmatic, as Kate and his uncle had advised him, and marry Miss Tree for her family fortune; but, just as he is about to announce his intention to become engaged to Miss Tree, as he opens his mouth to speak, he sees Kate and announces her name, Kate McKay, as his bride-to-be.

In the closing scene, they kiss and the camera is drawn outward showing a grandfather's clock depicting 12:15.


Alternative versions[edit]

The DVD edition contains two versions of the film: one, the original theatrical release, runs for 118 minutes while the director's cut version runs for 122. One scene in the director's cut shows Ryan's character in a test screening for a new film and also features a cameo by Mangold. An additional scene stresses the Duke's ancestry of Stuart, suggesting that Kate may be related to her ex-boyfriend.

Film score[edit]

The soundtrack to Kate & Leopold was released on December 25, 2001.

Kate & Leopold (Music from the Miramax Motion Picture)
No. Title Artist Length
1. "A Clock in New York"   Rolfe Kent 1:26
2. "I Want Him Resplendent"   Rolfe Kent 1:25
3. "Leopold Chases Stuart to Brooklyn"   Rolfe Kent 1:54
4. "That Was Your Best?"   Rolfe Kent 1:17
5. "Let's Go!"   Rolfe Kent 3:03
6. "Leopold Sees the Completed Bridge"   Rolfe Kent 0:49
7. "You Did So Great (Kate's Theme)"   Rolfe Kent 1:18
8. "Galloping"   Rolfe Kent 1:21
9. "Dearest Kate..."   Rolfe Kent 2:14
10. "Prolixin / Leopold & Charlie Buy Flowers"   Rolfe Kent 2:20
11. "Charlie Wins Patrice, Leopold Wins Kate"   Rolfe Kent 3:41
12. "Secret Drawer"   Rolfe Kent 2:01
13. "Time for Bed"   Rolfe Kent 2:14
14. "Charlie Realizes Leopold Was for Real"   Rolfe Kent 1:31
15. "Kate Goes to the Awards"   Rolfe Kent 2:24
16. "Kate Sees the Pictures - "I Have to Go""   Rolfe Kent 2:54
17. "You Have to Cross the Girder"   Rolfe Kent 1:51
18. "Back in 1876 - Waltz"   Rolfe Kent 2:12
19. "Back Where I Belong"   Jula Bell 2:49
20. "Until..."   Sting 3:11
Total length:


Kate & Leopold received mixed reviews from critics, as the film holds a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 126 reviews with the consensus: "Though Hugh Jackman charms, Kate & Leopold is bland and predictable, and the time travel scenario lacks logic."

Award and nominations[edit]

Hugh Jackman was nominated in 2001 for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Song for the song "Until...", written and performed by Sting. The same song was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song.[3]

Historical inaccuracies[edit]

In the film, Leopold was pulled from his own time on 28 April 1876. Prince Leopold's family name—Mountbatten—did not exist in 1876, because it was originally adopted on 14 July 1917 by a branch of the Battenberg family due to rising anti-German sentiment among the British public during World War I.

In the film, Leopold must return to the 19th century to patent the elevator, marry, and become Stuart's great-grandfather. Leopold names the elevator company after his valet Otis; however, the real Elisha Otis, who created the "safety elevator" and in 1853 founded the Otis Elevator Company, had quite a different personal history.

Leopold and Stuart first see each other at John A. Roebling's speech at the Brooklyn Bridge, but the famous engineer actually died in 1869, seven years before their meeting, and the bridge did not actually open until 1883, seven years later.

When Leopold awakens to find himself in Stuart's apartment and demands to know where he's being held, he tells Stuart "As far as I'm concerned, you might be Jack the Ripper!" The Whitechapel murders, however, took place between 1888 and 1891, much too late for Leopold to know of them.

Leopold mentions having seen the premiere of the Pirates of Penzance "last month" (March 1876), though Penzance actually had its world premiere in New York City on 31 December 1879.

Kate's boss J. J. Camden is trying to impress Kate with his knowledge about the opera La bohème (by Giacomo Puccini), and Leopold corrects Camden's mistakes about the opera (concerning the name of the male lead and the language in which the opera is sung). However, the Puccini opera had its world premiere on 1 February 1896 in Turin, Italy, twenty years after Leopold's travel to the future. The opera has its origin in a novel published by Henry Murger in 1851. This means that Leopold can know about the novel, but not the opera, since it is not yet composed. In the Italian version of the movie, the opera "La Traviata" is used instead in this dialogue. La Traviata premiered in 1853, making the story plausible.


External links[edit]