Downton Abbey: A New Era is currently available for audiences to bring home on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital. In addition to owning the film, it is currently streaming on Peacock.
Downton Abbey: A New Era takes audiences to a new era as the adventure continues following six seasons and a movie.
It would not be a Downton Abbey film without adding some twists and turns along the way. However, I will not be spoiling the particulars in question. Longtime fans will be at an advantage. If you’ve only seen the previous film, I think you’ll do just fine. If helps, there is a YouTube featurette recapping the previous six seasons. That’s what I did going into the first film. Or if you wish, Peacock is also an option. Peacock also has all six seasons and both movies available to watch on a dedicated channel.
Simon Curtis takes over the directing duties. He’s no stranger to the series as his wife, Elizabeth McGovern, stars as Cora Grantham. Curtis does a solid job behind the camera. Should Julian Fellows and company decide to make a third film, perhaps they should keep Curtis at the helm. There’s a solid mix of comedy and drama and I found myself entertained by the balance.
The film runs about two hours long or about the length of two episodes, starting with the wedding of Tom Branson (Allen Leech) to Miss Lucy Smith (Tuppence Middleton). It’s a great way of introducing the core cast all at once. Throw in the guest cast and well, there’s certainly a lot of people to keep up with. What happens when Lady Grantham (Maggie Smith) reveals that she owns a villa in the South of France? A number of cast members must leave to see what they’ve now come into possession of owning! When they leave France, they have so many questions but only Violet/Lady Grantham can answer them.
Having a film at Downton Abbey is quite the stir for both the upstairs and the downstairs. Robert (Hugh Bonneville) has his own reservations but he leaves the decision to Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery). Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) ends up in France because he is horrified by the filming. A filmmaker, Jack Barber (Hugh Dancy), comes over from British Lion to direct The Gambler. While British Lion is a real company, this particular film is fictional as are its filmmakers and actors, Guy Dexter (Dominic West) and Myrna Dalgleish (Laura Haddock). Still, it’s a fun way of exploring this era of filmmaking. This includes how closeted actors were working during this era. Because of production issues, it takes the entire house to finish the film, including Mary, who stands in for Myrna during recording.
As a cinephile, I love how a main plot of the film deals with filming on location at Downton Abbey. The irony of this is that Downton Abbey is Highclere Castle in real life. It’s a case of art drawing from life. This is because the Castle was in need of repairs prior to the show’s start. The show brought an increase in tourism to the castle. As a result, those repairs basically pay for themselves. Factor in the crew, the film within a film, the combined equipment, and it’s a wonder that they were able to get this made during the pandemic.
I also love that this happens to take place at the same time as the transition from silent films to talking pictures. The Gambler, the film within a film, is quickly converted into a talkie, much like Hitchcock’s Blackmail in 1928. This film shows the full impact that it had on the actors of this era. If you do not have the right voice, your career could be over in an instant. We’ve seen it all before in Singin’ in the Rain but they manage to tie it into film’s plot. The film manages to cover a bit of film history by mentioning that The Terror was the first all-talking film to open across the pond.
- Good To Be Back – The cast is happy to be back at the estate and making their next film. Hear what it was like for them to see one another again and learn about their character’s continuing story arcs.
- Return to DOWNTON ABBEY: The Making-of A NEW ERA – A production as large as DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA takes incredible preparation, people, and craftsmanship. This in-depth making-of piece delves into the work that each department contributed to bring this film to life.
- A Legendary Character – Take a look back at the legendary character that is the Dowager Countess of Grantham and see why Maggie Smith was born to play the role.
- Creating The Film Within The Film – Take a deeper dive into the making of the film within the film, highlighting the extra research and details that were taken into consideration, from set design and vehicles to the plethora of period-accurate film equipment and props.
- Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia – Learn the real history behind Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia, and why it was a perfect vessel to play the cross-channel ferry in the film.
- Spill The Tea (Time) – Sit down with Allen Leech (Tom Branson) and Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith) as they spill all the details of what life on the set of DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA was really like.
- Feature Commentary with Director Simon Curtis
DIRECTOR: Simon Curtis
SCREENWRITER: Julian Fellowes
CAST: Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Raquel Cassidy, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, Michael Fox, Harry Hadden-Paton, Robert James-Collier, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Tuppence Middleton, Lesley Nicol, Douglas Reith, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, Penelope Wilton, Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye, Dominic West, and Jonathan Zaccaï
Downton Abbey 2: A New Era is now available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital. It is also available to stream on Peacock.
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