Before 84 Charing Cross Road was a movie—today's Saturday Matinee starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins—it was a play, and before that, an epistolary memoir by Helen Hanff. Based on Hanff''s real life twenty year correspondence with Frank Doel, the manager of Marks & Company Antiquarian booksellers, the story begins with the New York based Hanff's attempt to find some long out of print books. Doel responds to her enthusiastic chatty letters—how American—with polite professionalism—how British! Over the years the relationship blooms into a deep friendship. It's one that, poignantly, stays on the page.
Netting just over a million dollars at the box office, the movie was obviously far from being a financial success when it was released back in 1987. I can't imagine it getting anywhere near a green light today. Still. Anne Bancroft won the Best Actress BAFTA for her performance and Judi Dench, as Doel's wife, was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
The screenplay is by Hugh Whitmore who has had a long and successful career writing British period dramas.
If you want to stream it today you'll have to shell out a few bucks on Amazon, YouTubes, iTunes, Vudu or GooglePlay. If you're a Netflix member, you can get the DVD in the mailbox.
Let's watch the trailer, see if you think it's worth the $2.99.
What do you think?
Is 84 Charing Cross Road your cup of tea?