Shooting Party, The (1985): Alan Bridges Tale of Social Class and Lifestyle on the Verge of Extinction,Starring James Mason

British filmmaker Alan Bridges directed The Shooting Party, a social drama that dissects a self-indulgent lifestyle, based on the book of the same name by Isabel Colegate.

In the autumn of 1913, a large party of guests gather at the estate of Sir Randolph Nettleby (James Mason) and his wife Minnie (Dorothy Tutin) for a weekend of shooting.

Over the next few days two of the guests, Lord Gilbert Hartlip (Edward Fox) and Lionel Stephens (Rupert Frazer), engage in a contest over who can shoot the most game.¬† Hartlip is a renowned sportsman threatened by Stephens’s skill, while Stephens is anxious to impress the married Olivia (Judi Bowker).

Hartlip’s wife, Aline (Cheryl Campbell) is carrying on an indiscreet love affair with another guest, Sir Reuben Hergesheimer (Aharon Ipal√©). And the Nettlebys’ granddaughter Cicely (Rebecca Saire) is courted by a Hungarian count (Joris Stuyck), to the chagrin of her mother Ida (Sara Badel).

The characters’ personal tensions reach their breaking-point when one member is killed accidentally during the final day of shooting, leading the guests to reconsider their relationships and lifestyles.

The ending is ironic: the closing credits reveal those members of the shooting party who would be killed in the First World War.

End Note:

I saw the movie in New York, June 9, 1985.