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'The Age of Innocence'

Critic's Pick

October 23, 1994|Kenneth Turan

Imagine a world "balanced so precariously its harmony could be shattered by a whisper"--and imagine Martin Scorsese putting it on film. Just as Edith Wharton's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of New York high society in the 1870s surprises by its velvet-gloved power, Scorsese impresses by how masterfully he met the challenge of transference. His 1993 film (scripted by Jay Cocks) is a beautifully done adaptation of the novel, polished, elegant and completely cinematic. Daniel Day-Lewis plays a pillar of proper society who's engaged to the most eligible--and most giggly--young woman around (Winona Ryder, pictured). He takes the nature of the social order he is a part of for granted until his childhood friend (Michelle Pfeiffer) re-enters his life (HBO Saturday at 8 p.m.).

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