Wharton School

updated 09/27/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/27/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

CAN A MODERN AUDIENCE RELATE TO A film about an unconsummated affair between 19th-century Manhattan socialites? Martin Scorsese thinks so. At the Sept. 13 premiere of his film The Age of Innocence, adapted from the Edith Wharton novel, the director claimed that Wharton's story of love repressed was every bit as contemporary as, say, Goodfellas. "It has to do with human emotions," said Scorsese after the screening at New York City's Ziegfeld Theatre. "People today [still] do things they don't want to do."

No need to tell that to the film's stars, Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder. The three dutifully turned up for the premiere gala, only to rush by most reporters, giving them frosty glares.

Still, the guests seemed to enjoy themselves. Paul Newman, Matthew Modine and Joan Rivers raved on about the film's subtleties during a postshow party at the New York Hilton. Said an amazed Alan King: "It was filled with sex and passion, and nobody took their clothes off."

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