Gosford Park

Set in the 1930s. At the opening, an elderly countess (Maggie Smith), her chauffeur and her maid, Mary, leave their home in the rain to travel to a country house where a variety of members of the English gentry arrive for a house/shooting party. Among the guests are a film star, an American producer and several others, including a valet (Ryan Philippe) who is not what he seems. The host of the party, Lord William Stockbridge, is an unpopular and unpleasant man, holding the purse strings of his family and wife in a bitter marriage. Over the weekend he pulls out of an investment scheme and threatens to cut off the countess' allowance, and one night at dinner it is revealed that he is sleeping with the housemaid Elsie. The guests retreat to the parlour to pretend nothing is wrong, but are forced to face reality when Lord Stockbridge is murdered in his study. The police are sent for; a bumbling detective (Stephen Fry) and his sharper subordinate. Though they get nowhere, the countess' maid, Mary, is poking around on her own and ultimately it is she who comes to the correct conclusion.

Continuity mistake: In the red drawing room, Freddie Nesbitt can be seen behind his wife, Mabel, putting his coffee cup on a bureau. They cut away to a wider shot, and he is holding the cup again.

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Lady Sylvia McCordle: Oh, don't worry about him. He's just an American staying with us.

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Trivia: The character, Ivor Novello, played by Jeremy Northam, was a real-life actor and composer. Six of his songs were included in Gosford Park's soundtrack. His film, "The Lodger" that Lady Constance mentions as being a flop, was a real movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock, based on Jack the Ripper.

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Question: Why is Jennings drunk and worried about the situation? Is he just upset? I can't understand why the other maid said she would do anything he asked.


Answer: Jennings' drinking problem stems from his having been a World War I conscientious objector, for which he was imprisoned. He has kept this secret and is worried the police investigation will uncover his past and jeopardize his job. The maid, Dorothy, is secretly in love with Jennings and wants to protect him.

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