The Remains Of The Day | 1993
The Merchant-Ivory team’s thirteenth outing is a film of Kazuo Ishiguro’s prizewinning novel, with Anthony Hopkins as Stevens, the ultimate gentleman’s gentleman, putting duty to the pro-Nazi Lord Darlington (James Fox) before his buttoned-up feelings for housekeeper Miss Kenton (Emma Thompson).
As ever, director James Ivory makes ingenious use of real locations. The fictitious ‘Darlington Hall’ is a conflation of several houses, most recognisable of which is the exterior. This is Dyrham Park, about six miles north of Bath, Somerset, on the A46. It was built between 1692 and 1704 by William Blathwayt, Secretary of State to William III, on the site of a Tudor manor house. It’s now a National Trust property, open to visitors – but don't expect to recognise the interiors.
Much of the inside of 'Darlington', including the entrance hall, Miss Kenton’s and Stevens’ parlours, and the conservatory where Stevens’ father (Peter Vaughan) collapses, is Badminton House, about 10 miles north of Bath off the B4040 in Gloucestershire. You can see the house’s exterior in Michael Bay’s WWII epic Pearl Harbor). It's generally open to the public, but you can hire the house as a wedding venue.
Powderham Castle, a medieval pile dating from 1390 set in a deer park, supplied more interiors. The house, which was damaged during the Civil War, restored and much altered in the 18th and 19th centuries, is now the home of Lord and Lady Courtenay, and open to the public. It's eight miles south of Exeter off the A379, Devon. Here you can see the Blue Staircase to the right of the entrance hall, the Library, Music Room, and the domed ceiling of the final scene with the trapped pigeon.
Corsham Court, an Elizabethan and Georgian house, is the site of the conference in the ‘Cabinet Room’. Four miles west of Chippenham off the A4 in Wiltshire, Open to visitors from March to September, Corsham is also seen in Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece Barry Lyndon.
Benn (Tim Pigott-Smith) proposes at the historic George Inn, High Street, Norton St Philip, six miles southeast of Bath, while Stevens spends the night at the Hop Pole Inn, Woods Hill, Lower Limpley Stoke – a village used for another British classic. Limpley Stoke, a couple of miles south of Bath, appeared as the village of ‘Titfield’ in the Ealing comedy The Titfield Thunderbolt.
Stevens eventually travels to meet Miss Kenton in Weston-Super-Mare, a resort on the Somerset coast, about twenty miles west of Bristol. The town is also featured in another Kazuo Ishiguro adaptation, Mark Romanek's 2010 Never Let Me Go, with Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield.
The hotel where he pulls up was the Royal Pier Hotel on Birnbeck Road, which was destroyed by fire in 2010. Miss Kenton’s boarding house was the Highbury Hotel on Atlantic Road at the junction with Highbury Road. The Highbury has closed but, unlike the Royal Pier Hotel, the building remains as private housing.
The pair go for tea in the 1920s Winter Gardens Pavilion, Royal Parade, now part of Weston College, and sit morosely together on the town’s Grand Pier on Marine Parade. In 2008, the pier too was destroyed by fire. It's since been rebuilt.