Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Yep, another Livejournal Philadelphia Story review

This time, from "anonypooh".

The cast was awesome .. hee didn't know Julia McKenzie was in it too! ... Particularly loved the girl playing Dinah .. and the one playing Tracey of course - but they were all perfect to a actor. Kevin Spacey outshines everyone though :).. perfect timing, had us all giggling quite a lot.

Malas noticias

I e-mailed The River King's Spanish distributor, Filmax, about the release date for the film.

Response in Spanish:
Por el momento, la fecha de estreno en cine no está definida. Lo más posible es que sea de cara a 2006.

Babel translation + a little linguistic common sense:
At the moment, the date of opening in cinemas is not defined. It is most likely that it will be in 2006.

Other possible release dates from other sources:
  • Play.com says that the DVD will be released on Oct 10th, 2005 and allows pre-ordering for that date.
  • Reelwest.com reports that the film will be released in Winter 2005.
  • Tribute.ca, on the other hand, reports that it will be released in Fall 2005.
  • Julian Rhind -Tutt says that the film will be released in Spring 2005.
  • Monday, May 30, 2005

    Parky interviews Spacey

    Michael Parkinson interviews Kevin Spacey on his radio show about Mr Spacey's artistic directorship of the Old Vic and his role in Philadelphia Story; the part about the play begins at around 1 hour and 16 minutes.

    Mr Spacey calls Jennifer Ehle "luminous" and says that he adores her. He also says at around 1 hour and 26 minutes:

    I should say too, the great thing about Jennifer Ehle's performance in the piece is that in no way [something indistinct] is she trying to do the movie or trying to do Hepburn, she has created her own woman who is strong and fragile and beautiful and funny...and I particularly love the third act with her every night.

    Philadelphia Story Livejournal review #x

    A sympathetic review from headrush100. [edit: quote deleted]

    More notes from another River King extra

    I e-mailed a guy from the IMDB board on The River King who seemed like he was involved with the film, asking for any details he could give me. Here's the reply:

    I auditioned for Nathanial Gibb. I didn't get a chance to read the entire script, just the audition lines. From what I heard however, Jennifer had the female lead in the movie.

    I remember the day we shot the set had to be done up with fake snow (it was april) then about half way through the day, there was a random unexpected snowfall (unpredictible maritime spring weather!) which really made things look beautiful.

    [edit: one part about Ms Ehle removed because of new posting policy]

    One other thing, not really related to jennifer but to the movie: I remember a man working as an extra got upgraded to actor (big deal, lots more $$$) after someone gave him directions yell "get to class" to the extras in a shot. This rarely happens on purpose, which leads me to believ one of the AD's might have done tis by accident.
    Thats really all I can remember, like I said I only had a chance to work one day on it.

    Sunday, May 29, 2005

    Quality or quantity of news?

    There is a reader poll up at the forum . The question is whether you would prefer to see less frequent and higher quality news, or frequent and lower quality news (eg. including negative, half-baked blog and forum reviews, trivia, etc).

    [edit] Turns out that you need to be registered to answer polls. If you're not, just leave a message.


    Jude Law and Jennifer Ehle share the same birthday, the 29th of December, though he was born in 1972 and she in 1969. They were both in Wilde as Bosie and Constance.

    Saturday, May 28, 2005

    Women in Theatre interview with Rosemary Harris

    In this 2002 video interview, Rosemary Harris speaks about her career on the stage and screen on both sides of the Atlantic, the state of American theatre, and a little about her private life. Highlights include her coup de foudre story with John Ehle and her description of the family log cabin in North Carolina. There's also a sweet anecdote about her very first performance as a little girl in India/Pakistan.

    She mentions Jennifer Ehle when talking about how she needed advice from her daughter about screen acting since it's quite new to her, and also how they shared their roles in Sunshine and Camomile Lawn. In the latter, they wore the same perfume and earrings.

    Running out of ideas for titles

    Bits and pieces from here and there.

  • Some controversy and further reviews of The Philadelphia Story in the comments at A Flickering Light
  • Short amateur review of Philadelphia Story at sffworld.com

    [edit: one dot point deleted in accordance with new posting policy]
  • Wood and Vale: "Sparkle's gone"

    Wood and Vale's Bridget Galton thinks The Philadelphia Story "dated and sleight as a stage play", but likes Jennifer Ehle in it.

    In the Hepburn/Grace Kelly role, Ehle seems to be in a quite different play. She succeeds in imbuing Tracy with humanity and hubris as her inability to tolerate faults in others comes crashing down and her passionate nature is released by a bucketful of champagne and a naked dip with a tabloid hack.

    Ehle is too good an actress not to mine the thin material for all its worth, and although her naturalistic performance is out of kilter with the light heartedness of the proceedings, she gives a moving portrait of a woman who finally finds herself.

    Front Row: "Three times a lady"

    On Monday, Front Row of BBC Radio 4 broadcasted a feature on the various screen adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, from the 1940 version to Bridge Jones and Bride and Prejudice. There are some clips of Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet in the 1995 series. Click on "Monday" on the "Listen again" sidebar.

    23rd May 2005
    Presented by Mark Lawson

    Three Times A Lady
    Jane Austen's best-known novel inspired Gurinder Chadha's Bollywood-style musical 'Bride and Prejudice' and the Bridget Jones films, while later this year sees a new Hollywood version of 'Pride and Prejudice' itself. Mark Lawson explores why Austen's story has been so inspirational in cinema and TV.

    River King book excerpt

    Read the first chapter of Alice Hoffman's book that the movie is based on.

    It was possible to tell at a glance that Betsy would be the subject of even more gossip than any ongoing feud. It wasn't only Betsy's fevered expression that drew stares, or her high cheekbones and dark, unpredictable hair. People couldn't quite believe how inappropriate her attire was. There she was, a good-looking woman who apparently had no common sense, wearing old black slacks and a faded black T-shirt, the sort of grungy outfit barely tolerated on Haddan students, let alone on members of the faculty. On her feet were plastic flip-flops of the dime-store variety, cheap little items that announced every step with a slap. She actually had a wad of gum in her mouth, and soon enough blew a bubble when she thought no one was looking; even those in the last row of the library, could hear the sugary pop. Dennis Hardy, geometry, who sat directly behind her, told people afterward that Betsy gave off the scent of vanilla, a tincture she used to dispel the odor of darkroom chemicals from her skin, a concoction so reminiscent of baked goods that people who met her often had an urge for oatmeal cookies or angel food cake.

    I had doubts whether the photo provided by Myriad Pictures was Jennifer Ehle or not since it looks so unlike her, but I guess this confirms it.

    River King photos

    Behind the scenes photos of The River King from an Ed Burns site. None of Jennifer Ehle.

    More from River King filming

    Finally figured out how the archives on Elana's blog works, and found a post with a bit more about her on-set experience. Elana is the extra who answered my questions earlier.

    From the River King screening

    Another blog from someone who worked on The River King! This time it's by a production exec (I think that's her) who writes about the film screening for the cast and crew.

    So last night's movie was...um, well....it looked good...

    Still, i'm glad i went to see it. It was the first time i've ever seen my name on the big screen, because most of the things i've worked on are bad TV movies, and those only credit the important people. The theatre was filled with crew, and some cast showed up too. Some people even flew in to see it!

    The movie had some great shots, it was well acted by at least some of the cast (i thought there was also some over-acting though) but they had to cut a lot of the original script out. That was too bad. One thing i realized though: all the actors look way better in person than they did on screen. Strange, because often it's the other way around.

    Afterwords, they had a gathering in a restaurant that was upstairs, in the stuffiest, warmest room i've ever been in. It was full of egos.

    Friday, May 27, 2005

    On the set of Paradise Road

    I was curious about the filming of Paradise Road since Jennifer Ehle seems to have made a number of close friends on that set- Cate Blanchett and Julianna Margulies, for example. The latter even attended her wedding.

    Well, here's an interview with Ms Margulies from that time which might explain how such close friendships developed.

    Philadelphia Story review

    A thorough and thoughtful, albeit critical, Philadelphia Story review from "A Flickering Light".

    As for Ehle, I am sorry to say that, beautiful though she certainly is, her performance here was one-dimensional and mono-register. At one point she says, “I don’t want to be worshipped, I want to be loved,” but frankly I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to do either. It’s doubtless unfair to compare her performance with Hepburn’s – and I agree with those critics who praised her choice not simply to attempt to present a carbon copy of Hepburn’s voice and mannerisms. [more]

    Philadelphia Story rehearsal photos

    On David's Weblog there is a review of The Philadelphia Story - positive but not mentioning Ms Ehle - as well as some rehearsal photos which look like they're from the program.

    Click to enlarge.

    Thursday, May 26, 2005

    Jennifer Ehle on Wikipedia

    The Wikipedia entry on Jennifer Ehle is a little skimpy at the moment. Might I suggest that someone attempt a more detailed biography? Anyone can edit Wikipedia pages.

    Philadelphia Story viewer reviews

    One from Michelle, a Kevin Spacey fan. She says Jennifer Ehle was "very good".

    Another from a Livejournaler: "Jennifer Ehle was miscast, though I do like her as a rule".

    And a new on from WhatsOnstage. Not nice.

    Otherwise, a slow news day.

    "Happy Birthday, dear Geraldine"

    I bought the Bedrooms and Hallways DVD and watched it for the first time today; my very first contemporary Jennifer Ehle movie. Quite a change from Pride and Prejudice, Possession and Sunshine! The story is about...well, it's hard to define, actually. The main character is Leo, a 30-year-old gay London bloke who goes along to his straight friend's male support group, where he falls for a supposedly straight guy, Brendan. Brendan happens to be in the middle of a break-up with Sally (Jennifer Ehle's character) who was Leo's high school sweetheart. Hilarity ensues.

    My verdict? Very funny, frank and sexy. If you want more details, browse through the proper critics' reviews.

    Can't seem to find any DVD reviews online, so I'll give you a run down of the features. There are no subtitles or audio options, but the special features are decent. There's a "featurette" with behind-the-sceens footage and short cast interviews, as well as an interview section with most of the cast and the director. Jennifer Ehle only has 40 seconds of interview time, and part of this is repeated in the featurette. Here's what she says:

  • On what Sally wants:
    "I think she wants to sort of get back in touch with who she wanted to be when she was, you know, sixteen, who she dreamt about being. She hasn't quite become that person. So, she's kind of on a bit of a confused quest and it seems to work out ok."

  • On her reaction to the script:
    "I loved it, there was just an irreverence about it, and it's very funny, very very funny. And I haven't come across any sort of, um, any British comedy that was like this, that was original and fresh"

    There's also a "behind the scenes" section of shots from the production without any commentary.

    Buy the DVD in the US, UK or Australia (Aussies: I bought it at JB Hifi for $17).
  • Wednesday, May 25, 2005

    Rosemary Harris is "a pistol"

    Rosemary Harris recounts how she got the part of Aunt May through Jennifer Ehle's connection with Cate Blanchett.

    She admits nabbing the role of Peter Parker’s aunt was fate.

    “My daughter (Jennifer Ehle) is a great friend of Cate Blanchett. Cate was filming the movie The Gift in Georgia and wanted me to play her grandmother in one tiny scene. I was on Broadway at the time (opposite Lauren Bacall) in Waiting in the Wings and only had Mondays off.

    “It seemed that year that every Monday had an awards show or something so I kept saying no.”

    Blanchett persisted, waiting until Harris had a free Monday.

    “When that happened, I flew down right after my Sunday matinee … and flew back in time to start my Tuesday performance.”

    She then concludes her story slyly: “The gift of movie was all mine because the director was this wonderful young man named Sam Raimi. When it came time to cast Aunt May he called and asked if I’d do it.

    Lunching with Jennifer Ehle #2

    [edit: this was formerly a post by an actress in The River King who attended a brunch with Jennifer Ehle and family. It's removed due to the new posting policy]

    Channelling Maud and Roland

    Are you a nosy, thorough, incredibly bored and/or obsessed North Carolinan fan? Well, you can dig through at John Ehle's materials at the University of North Carolina library, containing some correspondence with and about Rosemary Harris and "various Ehle family members", family photos, etc. Alternatively, seek professional help.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2005

    Whiskey and soda

    A cute ad-libbed moment at the final performance of Design for living as recounted by a Jennifer Ehle fan and an Alan Cumming fan. From the same site, a poster for the show with critics' comments.

    In the part where he has to get whiskey from the table, he sprayed himself in the face again by mistake. He was thrown off, and said “Just in the nick of time,” waited a beat while Jennifer almost cracked, smirked and dramatically wiped his face, bringing the house down.


    The British American Drama Academy lists Jennifer Ehle as one of its alumni. Incidentally, Rosemary Harris and Kevin Spacey have been on the faculty.

    Wickham returns

    Whatsonstage reports that Adrian Lukis will be taking Kevin Spacey's role while he is away filming Superman Returns. Which would explain this mysterious sighting.

    Monday, May 23, 2005

    New Philadelphia Story poster

    The Old Vic page now has a poster of The Philadelphia Story with a photo of Jennifer Ehle in her gold dress and a Times quote: "JENNIFER EHLE is truly excellent" (amen). If you click on the photo, you'll see a few more review snippets as well.

    "One of the great faces"

    Older, from the Possession days, but it's always nice to hear other people gushing about Ms Ehle! Movie Maker interviews Neil Labute:

    MM: Jennifer Ehle is probably better known as a stage actress than for her work in movies. She won a Tony several years back for The Real Thing. She was competing against her mother, Rosemary Harris, so of course she’s got great acting genes. But talk about casting her and Jeremy Northam?

    NL: She is just wonderful. She has an amazing face to watch—really one of the great faces. And they had both had done a lot of period work and again, you just know they’re going to be able to carry the weight of that, but they made it fresh. They made it feel like a couple from today. It wasn’t precious: real concerns and real fears and laughter. They were great to work with. They just kind of get the job done so there’s not a lot of angst about acting and ‘It’s my soul!’ They are well-trained and they’re very emotional as well, but they’re trained to find it. Even if they can’t find it, they manufacture it.

    Make-up artist's photo

    Thanks to "floater" from the forum for a great photo find! This looks like it's from the shoot where Jennifer Ehle sits on a red armchair.

    To find a larger version, go to Paola Recabarren's site, go to "scrapbook", and click on the ninth picture.

    Philadelphia Story review from the forum

    Joy! Our first review from the JE blog forum. Thanks Carrie!

    I saw the Philadelphia Story last night, having seen National Anthems twice, i decided to see this one due to kevin spacey again appearing in it. I didn't know what to expect didn't really know the story so couldn't comment on the likeness to the film, though i feel thats a good thing. Jennifer looking and sounding very different to the only other role i have seen her in (Pride and Predjudice) looked great and wearing the red wig which suited, her performance to start with, i felt like she was pushing a little too hard to impress but seemed to relax as the play went on. I felt that overall her performance was great along with the rest of the cast, as i felt no one really stood out apart from each other.

    [edit] Oops, actually not the first. Lisa also posted one:

    TPS was quite good--I saw it on May 4th (I live in the U.S., but was vacationing in London at the time and in fact booked my ticket back in February--I was sooo excited when I realized that this show would be opening during the time of my trip)--I have to agree with some reviewers that JE did seem a little stiff, and in fact, I thought, too, that she was trying too hard to emulate Kate Hepburn's manner/overly-assertive demeanor at times...she seemed more comfortable in the second half...and, keep-in-mind, this was only the second night of the show...

    I didn't attempt to see her after the show, but sure enjoyed the pic posted on this blog of the person who did! I think I remember from the post that he (?) was at the show the same evening as I was! Again, she is also very beautiful and has an attractive figure and a very "rich" voice. I truly had considered attempting to get another ticket for that following Sat. matinee, but didn't--and I regret it!

    Painter of dishonour photo

    Another EhleNews find from the RSC archives. Yes, that is a halo.

    (Click on RSC link to zoom in)

    Sam Mendes at the Donmar excerpt

    Was fossicking through the EhleNews archives again, when I found this excerpt from Matt Wolf's book:
    "It just seemed impossibly cool for somebody like me to be involved in something at the Donmar. I had seen Nine there and knew that the theatre had that thing about it - that sheen and also the glamour of the Nicole Kidman play that had caused a stir. Somehow the place just works, and you forgive it any problems that there are because that's part of what makes the whole experience just special. I think its imperfections help with the intimacy, although the whole thing only works because so often the plays are so good. You know at the Donmar when you agree to do the play that you are getting paid 200-odd quid a week. And still you're gagging to go, gagging to do it."
    The Brantley review had called Dillane "immensely appealing" and Ehle "delectable" and the Tony voters went on to decide as much. On June 4, both stars and the revival itself collected trophies, marking the only time that a contemporary play has won actor and actress prizes for two sets of performers across 2 productions. Ehle's win was the more peculiar, simply because the competition in her category included her own mother, who was nominated for that season's premiere of Noel Coward's Waiting in the Wings. "it was lovely - dream come true," Rosemary Harris says of her daughter's victory. Ehle, for her part, remembers thinking "Leave us alone; let us go home. I just want to go out for a curry with my mum." In any case, notes Ehle with appealing modesty, "Even though Glenn had won it and had been so wonderful, I never thought Annie was a Tony-winning part because she in so many ways is the supporting role; it's Henry's play"

    Thanks to "pinky".

    Sunday, May 22, 2005

    New fan review of Philadelphia Story

    From Driving Mr Spacey.
    It was a fabulous evening. Luckily Jennifer Ehle decided not to *do* a Katherine Hepburn and so made the part of Tracy Lord her own.

    Backbeat trailer

    From the New York Times. My dialup is too slow to watch it properly, can't even tell if Ms Ehle is in the clip.

    Millennium documentary

    Every time I think I've scraped the internet dry of information on Jennifer Ehle, I find a new scrap lurking in some corner. Today it's some audio from the BBC/CNN documentary Millennium: A thousand years of history. That link should lead you to the 11th century. From there, click on "Multimedia recap" and choose the "Japan: the world inside" segment, in which Jennifer Ehle expressively narrates a quarrel between lovers.

    Saturday, May 21, 2005

    New Jennifer Ehle forum

    Hundreds of you pass silently through here each day, enough for a potential community. Let's not be strangers: come visit the new forum and introduce yourself. It's not intended to supplant the venerable EhleNews group; I just thought it'd be good to have a discussion area that doesn't require Yahoo membership so that you can just pop in and out easily to share your news and views. Registration is not necessary.

    Don't be shy!

    "Ful-philling" vs "a sinking feeling"

    These reviews don't seem to be up on the web; I found them by misusing my university library access. The full text is up at the EhleNews Yahoo group.

    From The Sun:
    Jennifer Ehle, an award-winner for TV's Pride And Prejudice, also follows in illustrious footsteps as the spoilt Tracy -the role was written for Katharine Hepburn. But Jennifer, although as waspish as Kate in the delivery of some lacerating put-downs, wisely sets out to make the part her own as Tracy learns about humility.

    The Independent on Sunday is a tad more critical:
    Jennifer Ehle"s sorely disappointing Tracy sounds as if she's got a mouthful of Copydex. She is luminously beautiful and, I think, means to look statuesque, but the effect is desperately wooden. The sexual chemistry is non-existent.

    Lunching with Jennifer Ehle and family

    [edit: formerly a post about an actress in The River King who was lucky enough to have brunch with Jennifer Ehle and her husband and son. Removed due the new posting policy]

    River King behind the scenes goss

    Elana, the extra from The River King, very obligingly shares some more details about the film shooting: dead bodies, snow, jokes with the actors and crew, etc. Good news- seems like there will be a making-of feature on the DVD.

    At the IMDB page for the film, there's also a thread with some comments from other extras.

    Older TV and radio recordings at the British Library

    Recordings of many older works with Jennifer Ehle are available at the British Library's National Sound Archives. Access requires a reader's pass and appointment.

    The links below lead to the catalogue records. I also note the call numbers, which you'll need to listen to or watch these works. The catalogue is rather muddled and confusing; I'm not even sure whether some of these are audio or video.
  • Summerfolk video recording. H11350-H11351 T1-2 ARCHIVE.
  • Beyond Reason video recording. V3377/2.
  • Pleasure video recording. V3222/1.
  • Playing the wife sound recording. H8760/1.
  • Self catering video recording. V3205/1.
  • Keystone sound recording. B9249.
  • Anniversary: part one and two sound recordings. B9370/4 and B9376/5.

    Refer to the filmography (rather, everything-ography- what's the word for that again?) chez Debby Wan for dates and some details.
  • Friday, May 20, 2005

    CurtainUp review of Philadelphia Story

    I do hope I haven't already posted this. All these reviews are melding together. This CurtainUp one is nicer than many of the others, however.

    Spacey's biggest challenge was to find a leading lady who could rival the celluloid memories of Hepburn and Grace Kelly. He chose well. Jennifer Ehle, daughter of Rosemary Harris, is a British actor known for her talent and her luminescent beauty. She wowed the nation when she appeared on BBC television as Jane Austen's Elizabeth Bennett to Colin Firth's Mr D'Arcy. She was nominated for a 2000 Best Actress Tony (her mother was another contender for the same award that year) for her part in the revival of Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing.
    The third act is a delight, with Spacey and Ehle in tip top comic form as Tracy has to face up to her actions of the night before.
    Ehle is almost too charming from the beginning. Her best scene is the morning after when the trail of incriminating objects tend to suggest that Mike might have been in her bedroom. Dexter describes her symptoms as "a feeling of fright accompanied by a headache". And as she remembers the events of the evening, her eyes, heavy with a hangover, closed up until now, pop open in shock.

    Books mentioning Jennifer Ehle

  • A theatrical feast in New York, by Elizabeth Sharland, with a foreword by none other than Rosemary Harris. Buy it or read the synopsis:
    The author has delved into the glittering world of the Broadway theatre to regale us with a collection of delightful anecdotes about legendary theatre people and their favourite places to eat. From Dorothy Parker to Lillian Gish, Ellen Terry to John Gielgud, Cole Porter to Marlon Brando, and Judi Dench to Jennifer Ehle, the great, the good, and the infamous of British and American actors are included in this book. A vibrant mix of anecdote and entertainment.

  • Sam Mendes at the Donmar : stepping into freedom, by Matt Wolf. Buy it at Amazon. It contains interviews from Donmar alumni, including Jennifer Ehle, Nicole Kidman and Gwyneth Paltrow.
  • Update from River King extra

    [edit: formerly a link to a post by an extra from The Rivker King about working with Ms Ehle. Deleted because of the new posting policy]

    River King DVD

    Play.com reports that the River King DVD will be available on the 10th of October this year. I don't know how reliable this information is given that the theatrical release date hasn't even been announced yet.

    On the River King set

    Though there is no mention of Jennifer Ehle, I thought you might like to have a look at a blog post by one of her fellow actors an extra about her experience on the River King set.

    "Motherhood must agree with her"

    From Pemberley, a lovely report on The Philadelphia Story.
    I saw this today in London at the Old Vic Theatre, which Kevin Spacey is managing for the next ten years or so, and it's terrific. It's great to see JE back on the London stage and she looks extraordinarily beautiful-- motherhood must agree with her. She and Kevin are marvelous together. He's wickedly funny and really gives Tracey a hard time and the rest of the cast, especially Julia Mckenzie and Nicholas Le Provost, is superb. Reviews have been good enough if not ecstatic, but the audience today was rapturous, so hurry up and get a ticket before it sells out.

    Thursday, May 19, 2005

    theatreVOICE and BritEvents reviews of Philadelphia Story

    A discussion-style review is up at the Flash-based audio theatreVOICE magazine. Very jerky on a dialup connection. Basically the reviewers thought the cast too old, the script "creaky", the timing "plodding", the play "ho-hum" overall, though not an "absolute turkey" at least. Here is a transcript I typed up of the parts concerning Jennifer Ehle. May she and God forgive me also, but news is news.

    -Jennifer Ehle too is this ice maiden that's supposed to thaw - and actually I didn't feel her thawing at all
    -I liked her actually, but...
    -She was quite warm from the get-go...that was her problem. I think she's got various problems, I think she's, you know...if Jennifer Ehle is listening to this, please forgive me, and God also forgive me, but the...you know, I think she's a terrific actress but in this she's too mumsy for the part really, and she looks, uh, she has this kind of serious, deep look and she needs to be more self-serving, I think, as a personality at least to start off with, to undergo this sort of transformation. She doesn't have any versatility in her voice, and she needs to be spiky and shrill and sensuous and all sorts of things, and she just hits one tone from start to finish and it really does nothing for the part
    -I think she was trying to be statuesque, wasn't she, but she actually looked incredibly nervous and wooden, I think
    -I think actors should never try to look statuesque, it's a road to ruin

    On the other end of the scale is a refreshingly enthusiastic review at BritEvents.

    Lastminute.com: Philadelphia Story relaxed, funny, cosy

    Nothing on Jennifer Ehle's performance in this Lastminute.com "Week in theatre" round up, although she "looks great in a dress by Tom Rand".

    Daily Express reviews Philadelphia Story

    Although the Daily Express doesn't have any online content, there is a snippet of a review available at the London Theatre Ticket Web site.
    The current Vic cast under their Broadway director Jerry Zaks, achieve near-perfect comic timing, but class and style are less easily taught across 60 years, and Jennifer Ehle has a tough time banishing memories of Hepburn in the 1940 movie.

    Ehle evangelism

    Love us? Link us. If you enjoy this blog and know people who would be interested in Jennifer Ehle news, you can help promote it by linking to it in your forum signatures, e-mail signatures, on your blog or websites, or by posting it to mailing lists, UBBs, etc. A single link can bring significant amounts of traffic. Also if a particular post is interesting, you can click on the icon below the post which looks like an envelope to mail it to your friends.

  • HTML: [a href="http://jenniferehle.blogspot.com"]Visit the Jennifer Ehle blog[/a] (replace square brackets with pointy brackets ie. <>)
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  • Wednesday, May 18, 2005

    Camomile Lawn

    In 1992, Jennifer Ehle was plucked from drama school to play Calypso in Peter Hall's television adaptation of Mary Wesley's novel, The Camomile Lawn. Here are a few resources about the film.

  • Buy the DVD at Amazon.co.uk
  • iofilm review of the film and DVD
    Felicity Kendal gives a lovely performance as the scatty, snobbish, but endearing Aunt Helena and Jennifer Ehle steals the show as the magnificently vampish Calypso - a kind of grand wartime Samantha, who goes on swearing that she only ever married her husband for his money well after everyone else has realised she secretly married him for love.
  • Photos from Debby Wan's site, some rather washed-out screen caps from a Toby Stephens site, and a few clearer shots from the same site.
  • User reviews from IMDB. If you click on "external reviews" on the left, note that the Scoopy one is adults-only.
  • International Herald Tribune and Backstage mentions

    Jennifer Ehle is mentioned in passing at Backstage.com (and again called a "British actress").

    Thankfully, the International Herald Tribune gets it right, and appreciates her performance as well.

    The Philadelphia Story," the 1939 American comedy by Philip Barry newly revived at the Old Vic, gets the hardest part right: finding an actress to play the tricky central role of the Philadelphia socialite Tracy Lord who can banish memories of the role's legendary stage and screen originator, Katharine Hepburn. It's not just that Hepburn's inimitable voice seems etched into such exclamations as "Golly Moses," with which Tracy greets the goings-on in her elegant family home on the eve of her second wedding. But class and breeding, too, can be hard to communicate on stage these days without it looking as if you're commenting on the role. All praise, then, to Jennifer Ehle, who has stepped up to a rather daunting task and provides the one unalloyed bright spot of an otherwise dullish evening.
    Thank heavens, then, for Ehle, the Anglo-American actress (her mother is the British-born Broadway mainstay, Rosemary Harris) returning to the London stage for the first time in five years, her natural authority only deepened over time. While the writing itself can tilt toward archness, Ehle is always real, as she ricochets between at least three suitors, an errant father, and a terrifyingly precocious younger sister. And at the end, when her character melts, the audience does, too. Whereas "Billy Elliot" is about a young boy who finds a new life, "The Philadelphia Story" tells of a heroine who, much to her own surprise, discovers a new self.

    Suds! Daily Mail Philadelphia Story review

    A review of The Philadelphia Story from the Daily Mail is available at the EhleNews group (Yahoo membership required). I can't find the article on the Daily Mail site yet.

    Nicholas Le Provost is a comic delight as the bottom-pinching uncle but not even the exquisitely lovely Jennifer Ehle can prevent Tracy's ever-ready exclamation,'Suds!', from grating.

    Blog review of Philadelphia Story

    A Kevin-Spacey-oriented review from Liz's blog.

    It was subtle and seemed old fashioned but all the performances were good. Jennifer Ehle stole the show (as Tracy Lord, the Hepburn part) and was fantastic.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2005

    Another Philadelphia Story program

    Tim has kindly sent me a scan of his program which has an impressive collection of autographs from the Philadelphia Story cast. As usual, click to enlarge.

    Capital, capital

    More photos of Jennifer Ehle, charmingly tousled, from the Philadelphia Story after-show party. Via Capital Pictures which requires free registration.

    Click to enlarge. Photos copyright Adam Houghton/Capital Pictures.

    Livejournal comments on Philadelphia Story

    With positive reviews being in short supply, I thought you might be interested in following the comments in Schehrezade's Livejournal, which was linked here earlier. Note that this site contains some R-rated Buffy fanfic. Use Ctrl + F and search "Ehle" to skip straight to the relevant comments.

    She was stunning in the part Katherine Hepburn played in the film - the whole production was AWESOME!
    I thought she handled herself perfectly and her performance was spotless - her accent was flawless (unlike Julia Mckenzie who I think said her first three lines in a very faltering accent and then abandoned it). Jennifer carried the production in my opinion, it was a hard role to do so many lines and she is pratically a constant presence onstage. Only negative thing I would say is her final outfit - not flattering at all!

    Monday, May 16, 2005

    The Stage Online: Philadelphia Story saved by the last act

    This brief review at The Stage Online features an interesting low-angle shot of Jennifer Ehle.

    This amusingly hectic last half-hour successfully erases the memory of the previous two and shows Kevin Spacey at his best in the role of Dexter, a charmer but somehow dangerous and unpredictable without explaining just how and why. Jennifer Ehle, as Tracy, is prompted to sparkle in this scene as well, convincing us that only Dexter, for all his unspelt-out faults, is the man for her.

    Western Mail reviews Philadelphia Story

    Three stars.

    The play depends on a great central performance from its Tracy, and Miss Ehle, after a barely audible start, doesn't look comfortable until a very late stage.

    Philadelphia Story a "frothy meringue of a play"

    So sayeth Judith Steiner of TheatreWorld.
    Katherine Hepburn was at a turning point in her career when she brought Barry's play to Broadway in 1939. Rejected by Hollywood, because her films didn't earn enough money, she went back East to prove herself, and prove herself she did. Smart enough to buy the film rights, she never looked back. Not bad for an actress essentially playing herself. That is a major part of the problem with this production. Jennifer Ehle who plays the Hepburn role of Tracy Lord is a very pretty, buxom English actress, but she isn't whippet thin; she has the soft round face of a country girl, and she doesn't look in any way like old Philadelphia money. Zaks has her speak her lines out to the audience in a flat, dated performance that has little to do with the other actors on the stage. Adding insult to injury, Costume Designer Tom Rands has dressed her in a series of the most unflattering frou-frou frocks that no self-respecting between the wars debutant would have been caught dead in.

    There is also a review on Arena Images. The site isn't loading for me, but the Google cache of the site lets you read the text at least.
    What it does have, though, is the glacial, raven-haired beauty of Jennifer Ehle, in the role of Tracy Lord originally immortalised on the Broadway stage and subsequently the silver screen by Katharine Hepburn, and then in the subsequent musical version by Grace Kelly. Watching this ice-maiden of a principled prig eventually thaw is one of the chief dramatic pleasure of the convoluted plotting that also involves a tabloid journalist and his photographer partner stalking the proceedings.

    Philadelphia Story season extended

    The London Theatre Guide reports that The Philadelphia Story season will be extended to the 3rd of September.

    Sunday Times Philadelphia Story review

    A paid subscription is required to read this four-star review on the Sunday Times site, but you can also find it at Legacy-Unleashed.
    Tracy is Miss Perfectionist: quick-witted, high-minded, imperious and quite without warmth. It takes Macaulay Connor (DW Moffett), the abrasive journalist, to see that she’s “lit from within”. That is a quality Ehle herself has in plenty, but not enough of it is coming through. If Tracy is worth rescuing from cold perfection, you ought to be able to sense that there might be a warm spring under the icecap.

    Thanks to Natalie for the tip.

    The Real Thing on video #2

    You can watch Jennifer Ehle in The Real Thing and in an AIDS benefit performance at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Advanced booking necessary.

    Found in an ancient message at the EhleNews board.

    Sunday, May 15, 2005

    River King Canadian release date

    ReelWest reports that The River King will start showing in Canada in Winter 2005, with a platform release of 35 prints in the first week and 25 in the second.[pdf] [Google HTML version]

    Virgin.net Philadelphia Story review

    I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news (or rather, reviews) yet again.

    The Philadelphia Story is very much an ensemble piece and unfortunately Jennifer Ehle founders as ice maiden socialite Tracy Lords. Affecting a spooky impersonation of Laura Linney (who was reportedly one of the first choices for the role), she gamely struggles with a rasping American accent that leaves little room for comic timing or heartfelt emotion.

    Oh please, someone send in a gushing fan review with lots of exclamation marks!!!! Just for variety.

    Theatreguide London Philadelphia Story review

    Owch. Harsh doesn't even begin to describe this review.

    As Tracy Lord, ice goddess who has to discover her own frailties to forgive those of others and thus be ready to love, Jennifer Ehle gives one of the most lumpen performances I have ever seen from a professional actress. She almost seems to have a heavy cold and to be wandering around in an antihistamine haze, so little does she relate to anyone else and so rarely is she able to work up any hint of life behind her dead eyes.

    Yes, I know the character is meant to be a bit of a stick, but the point is that we have to see the wit and energy that make her worth saving, and worth her ex-husband's love, and Ehle is just a shell with nobody home inside.

    Jennifer in the Sky with Diamonds

    The European (Region 2) DVD version of Backbeat will be released on June 6th, so reports Play.com.

    In this film about the early years of the Beatles, Jennifer Ehle plays the role of Cynthia Powell, who would later become John Lennon's first wife.

    Extras wise, it looks like the European version will be the same as the American one, which was recently released as a special edition, and is reviewed here. Unfortunately, the review does not mention Ms Ehle other than in the credits, not have I been able to find any other reviews which comment on her performance. If any of you know, please write in!

    Guardian: "In the mood for dancing"

    From the same critic who reviewed The Philadelphia Story in the BBC Night Waves program, where the word "stinker" was used. You've been warned.

    It would take a really first-rate, snapping-tongued, production to make this come to life: Jerry Zaks's isn't it. A cast of accomplished actors moves around as if they've been ironed. Spacey is the most at ease but is muted, and there's no spark between him and Jennifer Ehle, who looks stuck-up rather than starchy.

    Reviews Gate: "Solid gold revival of silver-age American comedy"

    Running out of commentary. Go read.
    Acting and production stumble at these nocturnal self-revelations. It’s not just that Jennifer Ehle hasn’t quite established the ice-princess identity – a tough job now that female sweeties delighted with male attention are no longer order of the day. Sandwiched between the 2 high comedy roles of Julia Mackenzie’s spot-on matriarch and Talulah Riley’s outspoken younger sister, Ehle has a tough role here.

    There’s something unconvincingly declamatory about the acting around her. Even Kevin Spacey, who turns a comic point with a sustained look or a louche angle on a chair-arm in the outer scenes, becomes actorishly emphatic with his more earnest night-time dialogue.

    British Theatre Guide Philadelphia Story review

    Worth reading for the photo of Ms Ehle in an as-yet unseen blue dress.
    The Philadelphia Story has its moments but Jennifer Ehle doesn't look comfortable in the critical central part of Tracy until it is too late. As one would expect from such a strong cast, there are good supporting performances but it is only when Spacey appears and takes over that sparks really fly and the comedy flows.

    Possession obsession

    Eight, yes, eight, pages of Possession reviews from a site about "films by Latter-day Saint filmmakers" (!!). If I see "Jennifer Ehle", "Meryl Streep" and "French Lieutenant's Woman" in a sentence one more time, I think I'm going to implode.

    Saturday, May 14, 2005

    Rogues and Vagabonds Philadelphia Story review

    For those who have £10 to spare, have a look at the Rogues and Vagabonds review of The Philadelphia Story. The free synopsis reads:
    The Philadelphia Story was always the seductive box office choice with which to end the season, boosted by the sentimental affection in which so many people hold the two famous movie treatments. It turns out that Philip Barry’s original 1939 stage play is a star vehicle full of problems for subsequent productions.

    There is also a free article defending Kevin Spacey against the critics' "xenophobic sour grapes or intellectual snobbery".

    IndieLondon reviews Philadelphia Story

    IndieLondon's unwieldy headline, "Ehle and Spacey deliver dynamic performances that make The Philadelphia Story worthy of acclaim", is redeemed by their glowing review of Jennifer Ehle's performance:
    Miss Ehle is very much an actress in the same mould [as Katharine Hepburn]; an attractive, vigorous persona who first came to my notice as a strong and very persuasive Elizabeth Bennet in the BBC’s version of Pride and Prejudice.

    As Tracy Lord, she gives the same powerful performance, dominating her mother, a rather subdued, in every sense, Julia Mackenzie, and trying to control her wilful sister while fending off the insidious advances of her former husband.

    It is the performance which saves the play and her relaxation into feminity in the last act was quite delightful, especially as she made you realise that the tigress may have put on the mantle of a lamb, but she was still a tigress nonetheless.

    Journalism by the people, for the people

    I'm thinking of sending a fan letter with an interview/questionnaire thing to Ms Ehle. If you can't find news, create it, right? So, does anyone have suggestions for questions? Post them in the comments or e-mail them. Here are a few I've come up with. If they've already been answered elsewhere, or you think they're totally idiotic, please notify me.

  • What roles would you really, really, really like to play? And what is it about Tracy Lord that made her the one exception to your no-theatre-before-George-is-three rule?
  • Are there any people (actors, directors, etc) you’d really, really, really like to work with?
  • Do you have any work lined up for after The Philadelphia Story? You’ve said that you think of yourself as a mother first and actress second; does that mean you’ll be doing even less work from now on?
  • Are you going to be doing any touring or promotion for Alpha Male and River King? Can you tell us anything about those films, your role in them and why you chose them?
  • In an older interview, you said you became an actress because you had a desire to become someone else. Now that you have a happy, stable life outside of acting, has this drive – and hence your passion for acting – diminished?
  • In her ATW seminar, your mother said she was a great mimic as a kid, even tricking her mother into believing she was a grownup. Did you also manifest your talent at a young age, or was it more of a conscious decision to work at becoming an actress?
  • Friday, May 13, 2005

    Royal Shakespeare Company videos

    If you're near Stratford-Upon-Avon, have a look at the Shakespeare Centre Library. You can watch Jennifer Ehle in the Royal Shakespeare Company's 1995 productions of Richard III, Painter of Dishonour and The Relapse. It costs £3 for up to 2 people for a 3.5-hour session. Book at least 3 hours in advance: phone 01789 201813 for enquiries and 01789 204016 for bookings.

    The Real Thing on video

    If you missed Jennifer Ehle's Tony-award-winning performance in The Real Thing the first time around, you can watch the video at the National Museum of the Performing Arts' Study Room.

    The museum is currently moving its research collections, but will re-open on the 8th of June at Blythe House in Kensington Olympia. The Study Room will be open from Wednesday to Friday, 10.30am to 4.30pm, and you need to make an appointment first by calling +44 (0)20 7943 4727 within office hours. Book two weeks in advance.

    Isifa Philadelphia Story photos

    Isifa seems to have the largest collection of The Philadelphia Story photos. As usual, search for "Philadelphia Story". Only the first page and second pages are relevant.

    JE in TPS, close-up

    "About as satisfying as a breeze in the Hamptons"

    So says the Theatre Monkey, a venerable critic of London West End theatre life, about The Philadelphia Story. But while he seems rather pleased with the play overall, a review by one of his readers is very harsh indeed. Not recommended reading for those faint at heart!

    The Monkey frowns heavily on people quoting texts from his site (and throws bananas at them, I suppose), so read further here. The page also contains useful information for those wishing to attend the play.

    Son of Darcy is born

    Being somewhat of a throwback to a distant age when gallantry was still considered to be among man's greatest virtues, I find it nigh impossible to ignore a lady's call for assistance. So when Jennite asked for help editing the Jennifer Ehle blog, I gladly volunteered.

    As for when and why I entered Jennifer Ehle fandom, my name should give it away. My interest in this extraordinary actress was recently rekindled by films such as Possession, and her appearance in the stage play The Philadelphia Story, which I have recently attended.

    But enough talking, (back) to business!

    Times: "Sassy Phillies give a smart slap to boho"

    Courtesy of HC of the Legacy-Unleashed group, an article about The Philadelphia Story's fashion - particularly Tracy Lord's costumes - in the Times.
    The five costumes designed for Ehle in the new production of The Philadelphia Story (in which Kevin Spacey co-stars), by Tom Rand, capture the breezy, spirited elegance of the era but have been subtly updated (although, truth to tell, some of them, like the originals that Hepburn wore, look a bit clunky today). But what’s striking is that those mannish trouser suits, flared skirts, shapely jackets, sequins, strong shoulders and occasional Mexican ruffle look as though they stepped straight from the latest collections. In other words, God’s in his Heaven and there is an alternative to boho.

    BBC Radio 3 Philadelphia Story feature

    On Tuesday the 10th, the BBC Radio 3 program "Night Waves" broadcasted a segment on The Philadelphia Story. Click on "Tuesday"; the relevant part starts at around 36 minutes. There is also a synopsis of the program available.

    [edit] NB. Not very nice at all.

    Ancient Astra ad

    Some trivia from the Daily Mirror's Jon Tickle Q&A:
    Ian Collier wrote:
    Can someone point me to more information about Jennifer Ehle on the Net. If I remember correctly she was taken straight from acting school to star in "The Camomile Lawn". She appeared in some car ads with Tom Conti and Nigel Hawthorne (can't remember which car - that ad was effective!)

    Jon Tickle responded:
    It was for the Vauxhall Astra. Atkins took her out for a date in the countryside, got her back home and was about to get a goodbye snog when he nudged the button that opened the roof of the convertable. JD saw them at it, and Atkins nearly jumped out of his skin. Well funny :) BTW, the movie database at Cardiff is always a good place to start looking for these sorts of queries. You probably need Netscape though.

    Broadway.com: "Were London critics wowed by Spacey & Ehle in The Philadelphia Story?"

    A collection of review snippets at the US-based Broadway.com site.

    Independent: "Dated, but a crowd pleaser"

    Three stars and another mixed review from The Independent (sense a theme here?).
    Jennifer Ehle, playing Tracy, is no Katharine Hepburn. Her patrician put-downs and imperious manner lack the right thoroughbred comic spirit. Her de haut en bas manner should come across as effortless, but here you can sense the strain. She is a great deal better at conveying Tracy's scalded hurt and surprise when she discovers that people regard her as a cold virgin goddess with a snooty intolerance of human weakness.
    Zaks paces the final scene, where Tracy unhitches herself from both her censorious fiancé and her platonic journo fling, with a real feel for the emotional gravity behind the frivolity, and Ehle rises to the occasion with aplomb.

    More after-show party photos on Rex Features

    Again, just thumbnails available at Rex Features. Search "Philadelphia Story".

    Financial Times review

    A short review available on the FT website:
    The lovely Jennifer Ehle never has Tracy's supposed "magnificence", least of all in her dull contralto voice.

    Philadelphia Story after-show party images

    There is a sweet photo of Jennifer Ehle and Kevin Spacey grinning cheekily at each other at the Philadelphia Story after-show party. It's available at Getty Images (if that doesn't work, just go to the home page and search for "Jennifer Ehle"). There's some scary-looking legal gobbledegook so I won't embed it.

    Thanks to Jen, Kevin Spacey fan, for the tip.

    Thursday, May 12, 2005

    Seeking co-editors

    I need a co-editor for this blog to help keep up with the news. You needn't have any technical expertise; I've written a short guide about linking, photos, how to find articles, etc. Besides, the Blogger interface is quite intuitive. All you need is commitment and an internet connection!

    E-mail me at jenniferehle AT gmail DOT com if you're interested or want more information.

    Toby Young reviews Philadelphia Story

    An unfavourable review from Toby Young's blog:
    The play turns out to be much more of an ensemble piece than the film and requires a degree of integration among the cast that the performers in this production don't come close to achieving. This may partly be because there are both British and American actors an stage and, stylistically, they are poles apart. Jennifer Ehle, for instance, is rather mannered and stilted, as though she's appearing in a touring production of 'The Importance of Being Earnest', while the Broadway actor DW Moffett, who plays Mike Connor, is much more loose limbed and naturalistic.
    When the curtain went up, the actors seemed very awkward and stiff, particularly Jennifer Ehle, but I was willing to put that down to press night nerves.

    New user reviews on WhatsOnStage

    The average rating is 3.67, with five 5-star reviews and two 1-star reviews at the WhatsOnStage user reviews page.

    An incredible joy to watch. Huge expectations totally fulfilled. Spacey and Ehle are amazing, completely redefine Dex and Tracy. Original and moving. hilarious. Fine supporting all around. Its a treat to see such a classic reinvented for the better; yes, better. I love the film, but this is live and joyous. Ehle breaks everyone's heart by shows end. she's fantastic.

    I enjoyed every minute of this wonderful play. It's a terrific production, with a great cast, snappy dialogue and really beautiful sets and lighting. Jennifer Ehle is a joy as Tracey Lord. She makes the role her own and I'm glad she didn't try to emulate Katharine Hepburn.

    I know I should see it on it's own merits - but really Jennifer Ehle just doesn't have anything of Hepburn. I couldn't work out why all these men would want to chase her.

    Evening Standard: "Jennifer injects pathos and joy"

    This review isn't loading for me, but have a look. The title is promising!

    [edit] Evelyn from the EhleNews group has a typed up version. Here are some of the bits mentioning Ms Ehle. NB. Major spoiler!
    After Hepburn on celluloid, all arch and artificial as Philadelphia heiress Tracy, Jennifer Ehle offers a fresh and terrific attraction. Miss Ehle portrays a haughty, huffy girl who lets champagne and the smitten writer-journalist Macaulay almost, but not quite, get the better of her virtue in the swimming pool. She transmits real pathos.

    By turns priggish and vulnerable, she seethes with old resentments as she confronts her unwanted fiancé, her unloving father and a desired new man. Unfortunately this psychologically convincing approach rather starves the comedy of the oxygen of frivolity and amusement.
    Yet at the happy, unexpected marital ending, Ehle's flushed outburst of joy makes this Philadelphia Story as charged with emotion as the film original.

    Autographed Philadelphia Story program

    Derk from the Pemberley boards has kindly sent me scans of his The Philadelphia Story program. They're quite big, so I'll link rather than embed them. Here's the cover and the autographed page, which has both Jennifer Ehle's and Kevin Spacey's signatures, and a photo of them. Many thanks, Derk.

    BBC Radio 4 mp3 and Variety review

    I've recorded the BBC Radio 4 snippet about The Philadelphia Story in my Yahoo Briefcase. I'm still not sure whether the public sharing feature works or not.

    There's also a review of The Philadelphia Story in Variety, which requires paid subscription.

    [edit] Evelyn from the EhleNews group has provided a full typed version. As always, here are the Ms Ehle bits:
    And yet, far from concluding the inaugural lineup on a high, Zaks' first staging to originate in Britain encases Jennifer Ehle's delicious star turn in a sexless package, alternately sluggish and manic.
    Coming relatively late to a casting process that weighed numerous potential leading ladies, Ehle turns out to be the distinguishing feature of an evening that for the most part feels oddly desultory, as if the Anglo-American company had yet to establish its rhythm.
    That leaves Ehle stranded in ways unknown to Tracy, which isn't fair to an actress marking her return to the British stage after five years. In robust voice and with none of the archness that seems to inhabit some of the lines (it's no cinch making remarks like "golly Moses" sound utterly casual), the actress gives us a so-called goddess winningly brought down to earth in a production that too rarely takes flight.

    Telegraph: "Spacey rides to the rescue at last"

    A rather unfavourable (to Ms Ehle) review of The Philadelphia Story in the Telegraph:
    Jennifer Ehle in particular seems dismayingly subdued as the posh, rich heroine about to embark on second marriage to a self-righteous bore, entirely missing Hepburn's fizzy high spirits and bone-dry wit.
    In his [Spacey's] presence, Ehle's performance blossoms too, and though she still short-changes the audience when it comes to wit, she displays a heart-catching vulnerability in the great central act when first Dexter, and then her father, upbraid this cold queen of high society for her intolerance of human frailty.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2005

    BBC Radio 4 review of Philadelphia Story

    There will be a broadcast from the Philadelphia Story opening night and a review on BBC Radio 4's program "Front Row" tonight at 7.15-7.45pm. "Front Row" keeps programs for a week, so don't worry if you miss it live.

    Inciting Scenes review of Philadelphia Story

    This is written by Knobby (aka Terri Knudsen) of Knobby's blog, quoted below. The full review is at Inciting Scenes.
    The person that impressed me the most with her American accent was Jennifer Ehle, one explanation might be that she's half American, andanother might be that she's married to an American.

    WhatsOnStage review of Philadelphia Story

    A 2-star review this time from WhatsOnStage.
    As for the casting, well, anyone would suffer from comparisons with the Hepburn, Grant and Stewart triumvirate so best not to draw any. Ehle, of course, has the most daunting task in not only taking on a role so closely associated with another actress but one which was written specifically for her and tailored to her personality and physicality. Happily, Ehle doesn’t attempt to impersonate Hepburn. Sadly, while she’s often luminous, neither she nor any of the other Lords does enough to make us feel that they belong to a privileged class far beyond the reach of other mere mortals. There’s something far too common about the lot of them.

    More Philadelphia Story photos

    From Corbis, copyright Robbie Jack and Corbis. Search "Jennifer Ehle". It's also interesting to compare these with the photos from the Hepburn film; search "Philadelphia Story".

    Click to enlarge.

    Philadelphia Story photos

    Go to Rex Features for some lovely photos from the show, though to see the full image you need a registered account. Tip from Driving Mr Spacey.

    Bad news about Peter Pan

    I e-mailed BBC Radio 3 about where to buy or download "Peter Pan at the Players". Here's the reply from Bill Lloyd, a Radio 3 producer:
    Sadly not. And owing to the rigorous rules of the American musicians' unions, we won't be able to repeat it either. So it was just a glorious one-off for the Peter Pan centenary. I hope you enjoyed it anyway.

    So unless anyone recorded it, it's lost forever I'm afraid.

    First newspaper reviews of Philadelphia Story

    Piping hot off the press, some mixed reviews.

  • From the Times, a 3-star review. The reviewer is smitten with Jennifer Ehle:
    The Philadelphia Story is far more fun than the plays that have preceded it. And with Jennifer Ehle shining in the part Barry wrote for Katherine Hepburn in 1939, and Spacey himself at his most debonaire in the role played by Cary Grant onscreen, it’s sure to bring the crowds to the Waterloo Road.
    Jerry Zaks’s production is fluent enough, but can’t hide the fact that Barry makes too little of his most promising comic situation, the pretence to the intrusive journo that Tracy’s bottom-pinching uncle is actually her father; but then it’s not well motivated in the first place. Julia McKenzie, Nicholas Le Prevost and others add lustre to the evening, but only Ehle is truly excellent. Whatever the cavils, she’s an Artemis with a bit of Amazon in her heart — and, it emerges, a touch of Dionysus in her soul.

  • And another 3 stars from the Guardian:
    Wisely, Jennifer Ehle makes no attempt to impersonate Hepburn; and she is very good in the early scenes at capturing both Tracy's lordliness and starched sexiness. She also conveys Tracy's pain at being cruelly told by her scapegrace father that what she lacks is "an understanding heart". But, although Ehle has Tracy's moneyed style, I missed the melting eroticism of the scene where she drunkenly unbends with the adoring journalist: Jerry Zaks' fastidious production never quite captures the sense that we are seeing a new, more emotionally generous woman.
  • Yet another LiveJournal Philadelphia Story review

    From Bytheriver:
    On the topic of Important London Things, I missed my opportunity to report on my Kevin Spacey sighting. On Wednesday night I saw The Philadelphia Story on stage starring Jennifer Ehle and Kevin Spacey (as C.K. Dexter Haven). It was a good production, and I enjoyed it a lot — except I’ve seen the movie too many times to ever be content with anyone but Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart. Accept no substitutes. After the show I went with a couple other Brown kids around to the stage door, and had both Jennifer Ehle (who is extremely pretty in person) and Kevin Spacey (who is short, and magnetic, and wore a newsboy cap) sign my ticket. Strange to find that celebrities are real, touchable.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2005

    Playbill: "Kevin Spacey opens The Philadelphia Story at London's Old Vic May 10"

    This is basically just an announcement of the opening of The Philadelphia Story today. I'm a little confused since some sources say the official opening was on the 7th; perhaps the article refers to the press night. In any case, I imagine and hope it's the first of what will be an influx of articles.

    It’s a high-profile night even amidst an unusually hectic week for reviewers (other openings this week include Billy Elliott — The Musical and Blood Wedding at the Almeida), as the show closes Spacey’s first season running the venue.


    Spotted by Evelyn of the EhleNews group: an encounter recounted at the Pemberley boards. There's also a brief, slightly critical but forgiving review in the thread.

    [edited as requested]

    BBC radio 3: "Peter Pan at the Players" and other audio

    Apparently, last December, the BBC's "Stage and Screen" radio program broadcasted a parlour reading of "Peter Pan" with Rosemary Harris and Jennifer Ehle among other actors.
    Edward Seckerson introduces a centenary parlour reading of Peter Pan, complete with John Crook's original incidental music from the 1905 Broadway production. Specially recorded for Stage and Screen in the Edwardian splendour of New York's Players Club, with an all-star cast including Rosemary Harris, Hayley Mills, Jennifer Ehle, Michael Allinson and Matthew Blumm.

    Another site indicates that this is available on CD; however, there's no mention of it anywhere else that I can find.

    I've also found a place where you can buy the tape of Aladdin, which was broadcasted by BBC Radio 4 in 1999: send a cheque to Above the Title for £6.99. Jennifer Ehle stars as Princess Mahjong; the cast also includes Robbie Coltrane.

    For a non-related amusing bit of (mis)information from Jennifer Ehle's alma mater, the North Carolina School of the Arts, have a look at their alumni newletter [pdf] [Google's HTML version]. They say that Jennifer Ehle married a "Michael Turner" and that the couple currently lives in Scotland.

    Another strange find is a site on Ms Ehle's smoking status, logging when she smokes on-screen and references to smoking in her interviews. Very odd. NB. though the link above is safe(ish), it contains links to other unsavoury sites. Click at your own risk.


    Robb Perry of the American Theatre Wing has called to my attention the fact that the link to the Working in Theatre seminar, in the "Hors d'oeuvres" post, was wrong. Apologies, and here's the right link: Spring 2000. If you just want to hear Jennifer Ehle's bits, these are recorded as mp3s on the EhleNews group's file section.

    Another viewer review of Philadelphia Story

    Thanks to "anon" from the tag-board for alerting me to this review from All That Chat.

    Last night, I went to see THE PHILADELPHIA STORY at the Old Vic. Ran into Jerry Zaks, who was directing it, on the way in. He was optimistic. He certainly does surround himself with wonderful actors. Jennifer Ehle is another one I'd pay to have read the telephone book. She's a wonderful Tracy, so different from other things I've seen her do. I also particularly liked DW Moffett as Mike, the reporter, and Lauren Ward as Liz, who's with Mike and secretly in love with him. The production was fine, getting steadily better. The third act was the best, in my opinion.

    Monday, May 09, 2005

    Autographed Wilde script available

    Buy this script at eBay, featuring signatures by Stephen Fry, Jude Law and of course Jennifer Ehle (hers is the one to the right). It was used by Jack Knight, the actor who played Oscar Wilde's son Cyril. Currently listed at USD$50.

    Speaking of Wilde, I just discovered this "making of" site containing some quotes by Ms Ehle on her character, Constance:
    Jennifer Ehle admires the woman she plays: "I think that Constance's story bears testament to her strength of character -her strength as a person. She refused to run for cover when things got rough and she showed great patience, forbearance and loyalty during the times when Oscar started to spend more and more time away.

    "She had great belief in him. He had some prospects when they married, but in no way was his future assured. But she believed in him and I think she believed him to be a genius. I do think there was something in her that wanted to attach herself to somebody that she could almost live vicariously through. As a woman in those days you couldn't stand on your own and be successful. To have a successful husband was quite a wonderful and valid ambition. She was very, very bright and loved Oscar a great deal."

    See also the reviews page, which has a whole slew of them (keep clicking "next"), with many praising Ms Ehle.


    There doesn't seem to be, on all the internets, a single clip of Jennifer Ehle speaking in her natural American accent. If anyone knows where one is, or is willing to record one (via mobile phone, USB mp3 player/recorder, iPod + iTalk, DVD snippets...), please notify me.

    Philadelphia Story galore

    It's heating up at last. These are mostly from the EhleNews Yahoo group, from the ever vigilant HC and Evelyn.

    Photo from the Telegraph, below, and probably copyrighted by the Telegraph.

  • Telegraph: "Critic's choice":
    Things haven't been going swimmingly for Kevin Spacey since he took over as artistic director of the Old Vic last year, so a good deal is resting on the revival of Philip Barry's comedy The Philadelphia Story, best known as the great George Cukor film starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. The luminous Jennifer Ehle (above) plays the heiress Tracy Lord while Spacey steps into Grant's shoes as her first husband, still smitten and intent on wrecking her second wedding. The supporting cast includes Julia McKenzie and Nicholas Le Prevost, with the highly experienced Jerry Zaks directing. The show is booking until Aug 6, but Spacey leaves the cast on June 18. Old Vic, London SE1, now previewing, opens Tues

  • From the Daily Mail's Baz Bamigboye (not yet online), found by Aishling, posted by Evelyn:
    "Jennifer Ehle makes a luminous return to the London stage in Philip Barry's The Philadelphia Story. Ms Ehle plays Tracy Lord, an heiress regarded - by her own father no less - as 'the goddess who has no regard for human frailty'. Tracy has money and position in society but she's a prig and lacks an understanding heart.

    Although it's a comedy, staged with some zest by Jerry Zacks (it's in preview at the Old Vic so it'll be more zestful by opening night), Ms Ehle, who famously starred as Elizabeth in TV's Pride and Prejudice, enables us, between the laughs, to see the sadness underpinning the false pride.

    The play is a delightful comic concoction, with a cast that includes Julia MacKenzie, Kevin Spacey, Lauren Ward, D W Moffett and a winning stage debut by Talulah Riley as Tracy's sister Dianah."

  • From WhatsOnStage.com:
    OPENING TUESDAY, 7 May 2005 (previews from 3 May), The Philadelphia Story is the final, and arguably most keenly anticipated, production in Kevin Spacey’s inaugural season as artistic director of the West End’s Old Vic (See News, 30 Mar 2005). Spacey stars (to 18 June only) as ex-husband CK Dexter Haven to Jennifer Ehle’s spoilt heiress Tracy Lord in the revival of Philip Barry’s 1939 Broadway comedy, which was famously made into George Cukor’s 1940 Oscar-winning film, starring Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn.

  • Another LiveJournal review, this time positive, from Schehrezade [NB. this link contains some, erm, raunchy R-rated Buffy fanfic]:
    Back from the theatre and BTW Kevin Spacey AWESOME!! Really amazing production Jennifier Ehle carried the show and she was amazing. She was the girl who played opposite whatshisname in Pride and Prejudice in the BBC production I want to say Colin Firth is that right?

    Anyway I highly recc The Philadelphia Story for anyone UK based and can get hold of tickets (I think it's sold out but there maybe returns?)
  • More Philadelphia Story audience reviews

    From "Birthday Girl" of Driving Mr Spacey, another not-so-positive review (first day nerves perhaps):
    It was the first night for 'The Philadelphia Story' and it showed! There were fluffed lines, unco-operative props and a door that just wouldn't stay shut. I love the film and sometimes it's difficult to forget the one in order th enjoy the other. Tracy Lord was played with curious inertia by Jennifer Ehle - although when she chose to move it seemed to release some much needed energy onto the stage. Nicholas Le Prevost as wicked Uncle Willie was quite marvellous, completely at home as was Julia McKenzie and the charming actress who played Tracy's tomboy of a kid sister. But much rested on the padded shoulders of Miss Ehle and she seemed tense. The presence of Kevin Spacey on the stage in a role he could do in his sleep was enchanting and I wish we could have seen more of him. The scenes between him and Tracy were some of the better ones. In spite of knowing the film version quite well (so I thought) I found aspects of the plot rather laboured, but a responsive and appreciative audience forgave all in enthusiastic applause.

    Sunday, May 08, 2005

    Alpha Male story

    From a site about Amelia Warner: in Alpha Male, she's "playing the daughter in a dysfunctional family who is trying to come to terms with her life following the death of her father". Möbius International says "Alpha Male is the story of family life. It is a film about the force of personality, family politics, repressed emotions, great love and devastating loss". Mark Wells, who plays the son, says that it "tells the story of a family coming to terms with their past."

    Scoop! first Philadelphia Story photo

    This is from Dacey, a Kevin Spacey fan, who went to see The Philadelphia Story on the first night. She reports that Ms Ehle was ok but seemed tense.

    Photo: Ms Ehle at the stage door wearing a hat

    If other people have stage door photos and want to share, please e-mail them to me at jenniferehle AT gmail DOT com.

    For the Legacy-Unleashed people I posted to, here are a few photos of your man. The whole batch will be sent to you all tomorrow when I can get broadband access (the files are huge).

    TPS 55

    [edit] Kevin Spacey fans: I've sent the photos to Liss of DrivingMrSpacey, who is prettying them up and posting them at her site.

    [edit #2] Kevin Spacey fans: tried to upload to Legacy, but there are too many for Yahoo to handle. Watch Liss' site.

    [edit #3] Scratch that, I think I figured it out. Try my Yahoo Briefcase. Post in the comments if it doesn't work for you.


  • A brief mention of The Philadelphia Story in The Observer's Comment section:
    Spotted cutting a lonely figure in the bar at the Old Vic theatre last Wednesday evening, a tracksuited Chris Evans. Shortly before the curtain went up, the recently single media mogul was seen to exit stage left into the night. Perhaps he had no stomach for the play, The Philadelphia Story, a comedy about a woman who marries a man only for the relationship to turn sour within a year, sending her into the arms of another.

  • The play has also made it into the UK Web-Box Office top-25 list for ticket sales.
  • Via HC of the Legacy-Unleashed Kevin Spacey list: user reviews of The Philadelphia Story from WhatsOnStage
  • Saturday, May 07, 2005

    Madonna of the slaughtered jews

    Artist Dan Paulos was so inspired by Rosemary Harris in The Holocaust that he created a piece of artwork featuring her. He recounts how he met her and came to work with her on a short film.

    Naturally this piece is mostly about Jennifer Ehle's mother, though there is some mention of her. Moreoever, it's a fascinating story.

    TheaterMania also has a long Rosemary Harris interview from 2000, in which she speaks lovingly and proudly about her daughter.

    River King at Cannes update

    After scouring the irritating Cannes Market website, I can confirm that The River King is going to premiere at Cannes. It's 99 minutes long and will be playing at 6pm on the 14th of May at the Palais K "Bory" and at 12 noon on the 15th of May at the Arcades 2. Source: Cannes Market database. Also confirmed at the Myriad Pictures site.

    Eyes left

    Slow news day today. There has been mention of The Philadelphia Story in the following articles:

  • Telegraph fashion: "Back to the golden age" An article on the current 40's fashion trend.
  • Independent: "How to get on in high society" Preview of The Philadelphia Story
  • IndieLondon: "DW Moffett reports for The Philadelphia Story" Older article.

    Rachelle Lefevre, who is in The River King, has a site that says the film will be launched at Cannes. The festival is to run from the 11th to the 22nd of May. Nothing on the Cannes site confirms that. [see above ]. However, another cast member does say that the film is to be released in Spring 2005 and will be touring the festivals.

    I'd also like to call your attention to the sites listed on the left. A particular shout-out to AustenBlog for the linkage.
  • Opening night

    Previews are over; The Philadelphia Story officially opens tonight at the Old Vic. Buy your tickets if you haven't already, and have a look at the seating chart and map.

    Audience reviews of The Philadelpha Story

    These are from various blogs, LiveJournals and forums; don't expect the highest journalistic integrity.

    At the What's Onstage forum, there's a thread on The Philadelpha Story. Here are some relevant extracts:
    cast brilliant - especially jennifer ehle. thought that kevin spacey was the weak link as he just camped us ck dexter haven and played the part for laughs. terric costume, set and lighting design - you can tell that there was a broadway director at the helm

    I saw the play on Tuesday and Wednesday and loved every second of it. It's a fantastic production, with such great acting from all the cast, INCLUDING Kevin Spacey, who was so funny. His comic timing is impeccable. Jennifer Ehle should win some awards, she's so good in it. I really love the sets, costumes and lighting too. Top class. I can't wait to see the play again next month.

    On the set:
    there is a drawing room scene and the patio scene. it is superbly designed from a lighting, costume and set point of view

    Miss Perfectlyvague's less than complimentary LiveJournal review:
    Realised that Spacey really is as mesmerising as they say, but that the part was never going to stretch him enough...come back next year and do something spellbinding, please. And Jennifer Ehle's shoulders and voice are abysmal, but there was something charming there - I've never seen Hepburn play Tracy Lord (snigger), but I know by assumption what she would be like, so no excuses, Miss.

    And from Mr Barrysarll:
    I've never seen the film but missfrost has and she confirms my suspicion that Jennifer Ehle is perhaps playing Katharine Hepburn a little too much. I later learn, however, that Ehle claims never to have seen said film. Most rum. This is a minor flaw, though, in a thoroughly entertaining American take on the drawing-room comedy. Kevin Spacey is of course excellent in the role Cary Grant played, though he departs halfway through the run to play Lex Luthor instead.

    Knobby from Knobby's Blog has this to say:
    First part was a bit dry - the following two halves were really good. I love the Dexter character. His sarcasm just falls out of him like when you break a pearl necklace and the pearls fall on the floor one by one. You gotta love someone who can provide good quality sarcasms.

    One thing I have to say is that the American accents were... interesting. I'm guessing about half the cast are *not* American and half the Brits attempting an American accent have never been to America... The most dodgy ones were in the first part, then didn't appear as much after that. Jennifer Ehle's was the most impressive; I don't think she failed once.

    Both Jennifer and Kevin looked a bit confused when they had to kiss ;) But it was romantic. Kind of :p

    Friday, May 06, 2005

    Just a stranger on the tube

    [edit: story about a sighting of Ms Ehle on the tube removed due to new posting policy]