Streaming free with your Amazon Prime membership is one of my favorite stories, “I Capture the Castle,” starring one of my favorite period actresses, Romola Garai. I was just thinking a few weeks ago how I would like to see it again and suddenly it appeared on Amazon for free. Wishes do come true.
The tale, originally written in book form by British author Dodie Smith, is a classic. The movie unfortunately doesn’t start with the famous first line of her book that is often quoted, “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.” Nevertheless, it does start with Cassandra Mortmain, who narrates the tale in literature as well as her character on screen.
Cassandra, played by Romola, is the daughter of James Mortmain (Bill Nighy), who is an author. The man wrote one bestseller twelve years ago and hasn’t had the ability to write a word since. During the heyday of his popularity, he rented a castle, thinking it would be the perfect place to write his next novel. Unfortunately, the inspiration never arrived.
Cassandra has two siblings, Rose (Rose Byrne) and Thomas. They have a helper around the house, by the name of Stephen Colley, played by a very young and handsome young man – Henry Cavill.
Cassandra loves to write everything in her journal, so as she sits in the sink you soon become aware of the family’s appalling state of affairs through her narration. They are broke. The rent hasn’t been paid in two years. James’s second wife Topaz, is a bit eccentric to say the least, played by Tara Fitzgerald. Everyone is frustrated at father because he won’t write and at least attempt to provide for the family since the royalties on his best seller have dwindled to zero.
Then life changes when two American young men inherit the land and hall from their ancestor. Rich, young, and handsome, the pining young beauty Rose, Cassandra’s older sister, sets her eyes upon the boys determined to marry wealth and leave the squalor of her life behind. The tale ensues, romance arrives, while the reasons behind Cassandra’s broken father are revealed and finally healed. Of course, a few heartbreaking situations occur before everything comes to culmination. It is a great story.
The book is filled with iconic lines, some of which I have absolutely loved, that made their way into the movie.
“I said I would never fall in love; I said love was a murderous thing; And it is, and I’m floating on air.”
“There is only one page left to write on. I will fill it with words of only one syllable. I love. I have loved. I will love.”
If you’re looking for a decent 1930’s period story and are not familiar with this particular one, you may enjoy it.