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Last update: 18 July 1999

Poster courtesy of the National Screen Service Group
Ad from the Sunday NY Times 
(18 Jul 1999)
Courtesy of and scanned by Mary Murphy
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Starring Colin Firth as Edward Pettigrew

"This movie doesn't have a wrong note in it."
--Roger Ebert --

(Under Construction)  This is incomplete, preliminary information only.
Complete information in line with the other film pages will appear once the film is released in late July 1999.
              --from Liz Smith's Column 26 April 1999 (Newsday)

               ...This year, the movie that Miramax is screening at the May 20 American 
              Foundation for AIDS Research fund raiser  [in Cannes] is "My Life So Far," 
              directed by Hugh Hudson and starring Colin Firth, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio 
              and Malcolm McDowell. It is produced by David Puttnam,  who previously 
              collaborated with Hudson on the Oscar-winner "Chariots of  Fire." ....

***Thank you Maud and Rai 

For a short clip from the film with Colin Firth in it, click here.

Film Facts
Favorite Quotes
Plot Summary
Favorite Scenes
General Comments
Comments about the Book
Comments by Colin
Web Links
Comments about Colin
Reviews of World of Moss
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click on picture for the monochrome version

 Currently available information suggests the film is set just after World War I and told from 
ten-year-old Fraser's point of view.  It is the story of his childhood in an eccentric Scottish family on a Highland Estate.  Uncle Morris' beautiful French fiancée comes to visit and both Edward Pettigrew and the boy become captivated by her. 
Colin Firth is Edward Pettigrew, the head of a landed Scottish family, an inventor given to wild enthusiasms; but he also has a cruel streak and comes close to betraying his wife (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) through his lust for another women (Irene Jacob). - L. A. Times, August 10, 1997
Information on this film is limited.  However, it is rumored that one scene, which took four days to film, centers on an outdoor winter curling competition with Malcolm McDowell and Colin Firth.

More information from the presskit received 9 April 1999
Molto grazie Anne.

From the Academy Award-winning producer of Chariots of  Fire, The Mission and The Killing Fields comes a memoir of a most unusual family as seen through the eyes of one very adventuresome Scottish child.

Ten-year old Fraser Pettigrew is in his last months of true childhood at Harewood House, the beautiful loch-side family estate, with his parents Edward (COLIN FIRTH) and Moira
(MARY ELIZABETH MASTRANTONIO), his grandmother Gamma (ROSEMARY HARRIS), his brothers, sisters and numerous friends. It's a time of first discoveries: of a world outside his enormously privileged household; of the charms of the fairer sex; of the death of a loved one; and of coming to terms with his father's flaws.

Fraser and his family cherish Harewood House as a peaceful place where the ideals of family take precedence. There Fraser's father Edward, an eccentric and largely unsuccessful gentleman inventor, cultivates spaghnum moss as a new miracle product. Yet despite Edward's lack of business acumen and fondness for disastrous and hair-brained schemes, his family adores him, none more so than young Fraser.

Change looms on the horizon, however, for the estate belongs to the redoubtable Gamma
Macintosh, and will likely be inherited by Fraser's Uncle Morris, a canny and successful
entrepreneur. The family's domestic idyll is shattered by the arrival of Uncle Morris
(MALCOLM McDOWELL) and his exotic French fiancee, Heloise (IRENE JACOB). The beautiful young Heloise has a profound effect upon Edward, who cannot keep her out of his mind.

During her visit, Heloise gives young Fraser his first taste of manly pleasures. She teaches him the delicious truths about grown-up life -- temptation, jealousy, passion and jazz - while Edward, always embittered toward Morris, is transfixed by his fiancee, and in pursuit of her  affection, risks his marriage, his family and the future of Harewood House. MY LIFE SO FAR reunites the Academy Award-winning team of director Hugh Hudson and producer David Putnam for the first time since Chariots Of Fire, which won Best Picture in 1981.

MY LIFE SO FAR opens in June of 1999.



(It is known that this lake in Loch Eck, Scotland was filmed, but we do not know if it will appear in the movie)



  •  A little irony:  Rosemary Harris plays Colin's mother-in-law in this film.  She is the mother of Jennifer Ehle (Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice).  Colin and Jennifer had an off screen romance which developed during the filming of Pride & Prejudice. 
  • This film reunites the Chariots of Fire team: director, Hugh Hudson and producer David Putnam. 
  • Producer associations:  Michael Wearing was executive producer of the BBC productions of Pride & Prejudice (1995) and Nostromo (1996).  Bob and Harvey Weinstein were producers of The Advocate aka The Hour of the Pig (1993), The English Patient (1996), and  Shakespeare  in Love (1998) 
  • Nearly Associated: Director Hugh Hudson talks of stepping into the proposed film of Nostromo after David Lean's death, but the film turned out to be too expensive.  (You can read the text of difficulties encountered in bringing the film to TV on our Nostromo page). 


LA Times, August 10, 1997

Colin referring to another wet-shirt scene in this film: "The worst that can happen is that someone might make a joke about it," says Firth stoically. "When 'Nostromo' aired on the BBC, I realized to my mild alarm I had a wet-shirt scene in that too, although we'd made it before 'Pride and Prejudice'. But it's fine. I don't go around feeling like Mr. Darcy, and wish I could stop. To get that degree of attention for any performance in my life is something I savor."

About his character: "You play some of these scenes and you wonder if there's any redemption to him at all," reflects Firth. "There's a high level of play about Edward. He clearly has a love for his family, adores his life, thinks it's paradise.  But his folly threatens it all. And at times you think he's unspeakable and lacks compassion. It's a fine line to walk."

click on picture for the colored version

Photo credit: Clive Coote
from the MSLF presskit

Rhoda Koenig article, Vogue, September, 1997
In Scotland now, making a World of Moss, Firth is very friendly but a bit on edge. The movie is behind schedule, a nuisance since he had arranged to go on a trip in 2 days' time, which he has decided to make anyway. "I've been a bit distracted sorting things out and packing up," he explains. He is in a cream shirt and trousers, looking dream-factory fresh, but Makeup has spied some microscopic failing, and saying, "They're just going to tweak me," he slips away. "I'm not the Brideshead Brit I seem," he continues on his return. "I'm a Scots eccentric." He's a blindingly clean eccentric, though, especially considering all the dogs and doves and small children hanging around.



David Puttnam Interview

For his next film, David Puttnam gets to reteam with Chariots of Fire director and witness Colin Firth's possible star turn.

Loch Eck, Scotland - Actor Colin Firth, clad in striped one-piece 1920s-style swimsuit, runs along the lake shore to a small wooden jetty with three young boys, white towels 'round their waist, in pursuit.

Firth jumps into the bitterly chill water (estimated temperature 4-degrees Celsius), but the boys skid to a halt at the jetty's end. Teeth chattering and breathless with cold, he vainly urges them to join him. Then he emerges from the freezing lake to a hearty round of applause from director Hugh Hudson and his crew on "World of Moss". "You''ve earned your money today Colin," says one. Firth nods mutely.

He's been hearing about this scene all day in series of jokes from crew members. It's not only that Firth would have to brave the bitter cold of the icy loch; the other source of mirth is that he became a major name in Britain partly as result of another scene in which he got soaked.

Firth played the imperious Mr. Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen's novel "Pride and Prejudice"; the role made him a national heartthrob. One scene called for him to dive into a lake in a white shirt and breeches; he emerged dripping but a household name. - By David Gritten, L A Times, August 10, 1997.




click on picture for the colored version

Photo credit: Clive Coote
from the MSLF presskit


 About the Author

Sir Denis Forman is former chairman and managing director of Granada Television in Britain and director of the Royal Opera House. He was born in 1917 at Craigielands in Dumfries. Two of his main interests are music and entertaining an audience.

Some Background

The film is obviously loosely based on Formanís first book of memoirs, ďSon of AdamĒ (1990), which covers his life until about the age of 14. The second book is titled ďThe Reason Why.Ē

Young Denis is one of six children of Adam and Jean Forman. He grows up on a large estate, Craigielands, in Dumfriesshire, with a Palladian mansion set in a wooded parkland beside a lake.

Denis delights as portraying himself as the bad boy of the family, having learned that this was an effective way to get attention. Craigielands, the family home, is peopled by eccentric relatives and servants.

Denisís father, Adam Forman, is the role that Colin plays. In the book, the father is an eccentric like the rest of the family. He is always trying to invent dubious improvements to everyday items: for example, a better mechanism to fire up the car and a new kind of boiler to heat the houseóimprovements that often donít work with quite the efficiency expected. Around his office, hanging on saws, are multiple pairs of shoes set out to dry after he has oiled them.

Adamís father only successful venture was collecting sphagnum moss for field dressings during World War I. The moss was said to be more effective than cotton wool for dressing wounds and saved many lives. For his efforts, Denisí father was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire).

Denisís father is described as having an obsession with cleanliness:

[Never] did any of us detect a whiff of body odour from my father even when he had sweated profusely by reason of cutting down a tree or running about with a rugby football. Similarly his breath was always neutral and never was a fart detected. His spotless record of cleanliness was all the more odd because he never took a hot bath, believing as he did that it destroyed the thin film of body oils that lubricated and kept wholesome the surface of the skin. Instead, each morning he would run three hundred yards down to the loch with two or three shivering boys at his heels, cast off his towelling and plunge into the water stark naked. . .

[H]e would shave with a mug of hot water, a cut-throat razor, sphagnum moss shaving soap. . . He claimed it to be both antiseptic and therapeutic and he had caused to be manufactured, God knows where and how, not only sphagnum moss shaving soap but sphagnum moss toilet soap and sphagnum moss ointment. . . .

His bathing and ablutions were not designed for the benefit of others, that he might look clean and have no smell, they were to satisfy an internal imperativeóthe need to brace oneself up, to keep up the mark, to maintain standards. Rigorous personal cleanliness was an item in the code of moral and physical discipline, no more, no less.

In the book, the father is portrayed as distant and strict, and his main topic of conversation at table was religion. The best that Denis can say about his father is that two of his brothers could see the fatherís good qualities and that many people thought him a nice chap.

The book ends with Denisís ultimate rejection of his father and family: Denis questions the validity of the Christian religion over dinner one night and stops going to church.

Book and Film

From the plot as described, it seems as if Colinís character will be attracted to fiancee of his uncle (Malcolm McDowell).

In the book, Denisís Great-Uncle Arthur, at the age of fifty-five, gets married for the first time, to a young French cello player. This, of course, is a great scandal in the family. In the book, Denis says he fell in love with his great-aunt, and that through her, he first encountered chic and learned more about music.

In the book, there is no suggestion of an attraction between Adam (Colinís character) and the French women. In fact, Denis says that his mother and father were a devoted couple: ďThey were perhaps two of the very few people who not only never have any sexual encounters outside their marriage but never even think of it as a possibility."




Rating System

***** Superb/breathtaking/heartstopping/etc
**** Excellent
*** Very pleasing
** Still lovely, but . . .
* Bad hair day

Personal Ratings:

  Colin's looks
  Colin's acting ability
  The film in general
  Ranking in the films of Colin Firth
  Watchability & rewind factor

click on picture for the colored version

Photo credit: Clive Coote
from the MSLF presskit


Back to Main Roles page

Visit the original Friends of Firth website


Visit Lisa's overview of Colin's career & web page

Visit Lisbeth's Colin Firth Timeline

Visit the Friends of Firth Periodicals page


This page written by Sharon and Janet

It is part of a Firthland project on the films of Colin Firth.

photos - Miramax, Vogue, Variety Weekly

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