It marks the point in British cultural history when- after decades of contempt- Victoriana became cool. Watching it now I find myself falling in love again with the clothes, the hairstyles, the clutter, the hymns.
The casting is so odd- and touching. The very old Finlay Currie- craggy Scots patriarch of a hundred Saturday afternoon classics- in dialogue with the very young Alan Bennett, the sublime John Gielgud dancing the lobster quadrille with bad-boy journalist turned Christian moralist Malcolm Muggeridge, thirteen year old Anne-Marie Mallick- the non-professional- treating the assorted show-offs with detached contempt, asking questions they sidestep or refuse to answer.
It's as if Miller had gathered his mates together for a lazy summer's afternoon of fun and frolics- and some of them were very famous and some of them weren't. Great actors of several generations- Gielgud, Redgrave, Sellers- rub shoulders with the Footlights gang. Keep your eyes peeled and you'll spot a very young Eric Idle in a non-speaking role.
If Julia Margaret Cameron (whose work Miller studied in preparation) could have made a movie it would have looked like this.