Howards End

Howards End

3.9 21
Director: James Ivory

Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Vanessa Redgrave

     
 

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One of the best Ismail Merchant/James Ivory films, this adaptation of E. M. Forster's classic 1910 novel shows in careful detail the injuriously rigid British class consciousness of the early 20th century. The film's catalyst is "poor relation" Margaret Schlegel (Emma Thompson), who inherits part of the estate of Ruth Wilcox (Vanessa Redgrave), an upper-class woman… See more details below

Overview

One of the best Ismail Merchant/James Ivory films, this adaptation of E. M. Forster's classic 1910 novel shows in careful detail the injuriously rigid British class consciousness of the early 20th century. The film's catalyst is "poor relation" Margaret Schlegel (Emma Thompson), who inherits part of the estate of Ruth Wilcox (Vanessa Redgrave), an upper-class woman whom she had befriended. The film's principal characters are divided by caste: aristocratic industrial Henry Wilcox (Anthony Hopkins); middle-echelon Margaret and her sister Helen (Helena Bonham Carter); and working-class clerk Leonard Bast (Sam West) and his wife (Nicola Duffett). The personal and social conflicts among these characters ultimately result in tragedy for Bast and disgrace for Wilcox, but the film's wider theme remains the need, in the words of the novel's famous epigram, to "only connect" with other people, despite boundaries of gender, class, or petty grievance. Filmed on a proudly modest budget, Howards End offers sets, spectacles, and costumes as lavish as in any historical epic. Nominated for 9 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, the film took home awards for Thompson as Best Actress, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's adapted screenplay, and Luciana Arrighi's art direction.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Praised almost as often as its source, Ismail Merchant and James Ivory's version of E.M. Forster's best novel is also widely recognized as the most accomplished filmization of Forster's work. Like Merchant/Ivory's other Forster adaptations, Howards End is saturated with petticoats, stiff upper lips, suffocating class consciousness, and enough repressed longing to blow a hole through Buckingham Palace. But strip away the tasteful facade, and what remains is a bracing critique of the English class system. The film's Oscar-winning script, by frequent Merchant/Ivory collaborator Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, is largely faithful to Forster's original work, capturing the spirit of his prose without making it seem outdated. The lead performances are instrumental in the film's timely feel; Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins earned well-deserved praise for their roles, and Thompson won an Oscar and numerous other awards. Equally remarkable but not as lavishly recognized were Helena Bonham Carter, all righteous fire and headstrong will as Helen Schlegel, and Samuel West, touchingly awkward as Leonard Bast, the cause around whom the war between the Schlegels and Mr. Wilcox revolves, and also its ultimate casualty. Thanks to the work of the entire cast, the film manages to be consistently engaging; thanks to the efforts of its production team as a whole, it is one of the rarest of paradoxes, a topical period piece. It was nominated for 9 Oscars overall, including Best Picture and Best Director, and it also won for Luciana Arrighi's art direction.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/23/1994
UPC:
0043396267732
Original Release:
1992
Rating:
PG
Source:
Sony Pictures

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Anthony Hopkins Henry Wilcox
Emma Thompson Margaret Schlegel
Vanessa Redgrave Ruth Wilcox
Helena Bonham Carter Helen Schlegel
James Wilby Charles Wilcox
Samuel West Leonard Bast
Jemma Redgrave Evie Wilcox
Nicola Duffett Jacky Bast
Prunella Scales Aunt Juley
Barbara Hicks Miss Avery
Joseph Bennett Paul Wilcox
Jo Kendall Annie
Mark Payton Percy Cahill
Simon Callow Music Lecturer
Jim Bowden Marlett
Allie Byrne Blue Stocking
Crispin Bonham Carter Col. Fussell
Peter Cellier Colonel Fussell
Jocelyn Cobb Telegraph Operator
Peter Darling Doctor
David Delaney Simpson's Carver
Bridget Duvall Blue Stocking
Celestia Fox Actor
Lucy Freeman Blue Stocking
Sally Geoghegan Blue Stocking
Antony Gilding Bank Supervisor
Barr Heckstall-Smith Helen's Child
Alan James Porphyrion Chief Clerk
Anne Lambton Luncheon Guest
Ian Latimer Station Master
Patricia Lawrence Wedding Guest
Tina Leslie Blue Stocking
Susie Lindeman Dolly Wilcox
Brian Lipson Police Inspector
Margery Mason Wedding Guest
Mary McWilliams Wilcox Baby
Mary Nash Pianist
Gerald Paris Porphyrion Supervisor
Luke Parry Tom-the Farmer's Boy
Siegbert Prawer Man Asking a Question
Adrian Ross-Magenty Tibby Schlegel
Rodney Rymell Chauffeur
Terence Sach Delivery Man
Andrew St. Clair Luncheon Guest
Harriet Stewart Blue Stocking
Mark Tandy Luncheon Guest
Atlanta White Maid at Howards End

Technical Credits
James Ivory Director
Luciana Arrighi Production Designer
Jenny Beavan Costumes/Costume Designer
Paul Bradley Executive Producer
John Bright Costumes/Costume Designer
Celestia Fox Casting
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Screenwriter
Andrew Marcus Editor
Ismail Merchant Producer
Chris Newman Asst. Director
Tony Pierce-Roberts Cinematographer
John Ralph Art Director
Richard Robbins Score Composer
Ian Whittaker Set Decoration/Design
Ann Wingate Co-producer
E.M. Forster Source Author

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