The Bostonians

Overview

Part of the Merchant Ivory Collection from Criterion, the 1984 drama The Bostonians comes to DVD from Homevision. Presented with a widescreen transfer enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions and Dolby Digital Stereo sound. English subtitles and closed captions are available. Special features include the original theatrical trailer and interviews with producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory, and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. This disc is recommended for fans of the novelist Henry James and the classic film ...
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Overview

Part of the Merchant Ivory Collection from Criterion, the 1984 drama The Bostonians comes to DVD from Homevision. Presented with a widescreen transfer enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions and Dolby Digital Stereo sound. English subtitles and closed captions are available. Special features include the original theatrical trailer and interviews with producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory, and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. This disc is recommended for fans of the novelist Henry James and the classic film adaptations by Merchant Ivory Productions.
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Special Features

New digital transfer, enhanced for widescreen televisions; Conversation With the Filmmakers, part of a new series of interviews with Ismail Merchant, James Ivory, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala; Original theatrical trailer; English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Christopher Reeve was best known to audiences as the Man of Steel. It may be surprising, then, that his next most consistent engagement was appearing in Merchant-Ivory movies. Nearly a decade before his role in The Remains of the Day, Reeve starred in James Ivory's The Bostonians, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's adaptation of the Henry James novel. There are several reasons The Bostonians is a lesser film in the Merchant-Ivory canon, but Reeve isn't one of them. Playing a detestable guardian of the patriarchy, who considers women better suited for motherhood than intellect and governance, Reeve nonetheless turns in a seductive performance, one that might undermine a would-be feminist in spite of herself. Such a role reminds viewers that just because Reeve was an icon, it didn't mean his range was limited to Superman. The film on the whole doesn't fare quite so well, despite tackling some important issues in the women's movement (suffrage), and hinting at others which, if given a name, would have been too risqué even for 1984 (the probable lesbianism of Vanessa Redgrave's Olive Chancellor). The Bostonians does generate a bunch of useful discourse, but other than that, it suffers from a lack of specificity. The action moves restlessly between locations without a plot-driven reason, spending relatively little time in Boston all told. And it's never quite possible to feel sympathy for the three main characters. Miss Chancellor's motives for her oratorically gifted protégé may be socially progressive, but even protecting Verena from Reeve's Basil Ransome feels like an oppressive act, designed to restrict her attentions to the movement -- and to keep her unattached. Meanwhile, young Verena (Madeleine Potter), vacillating between these two controlling influences, just seems weak and passively dishonest, a result of her lack of self possession.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/19/2003
  • UPC: 037429178928
  • Original Release: 1984
  • Rating:

  • Source: Merchant Ivory
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Alternate Wide Screen (1.78:1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Language: English
  • Time: 2:02:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Christopher Reeve Basil Ransome
Vanessa Redgrave Olive Chancellor
Madeleine Potter Verena Tarrant
Jessica Tandy Miss Birdseye
Nancy Marchand Mrs. Burrage
Wesley Addy Dr. Tarrant
Linda Hunt Dr. Prance
Nancy New Mrs. Adeline Luna
Wallace Shawn Mr. Pardon
Maura Moynihan Henrietta Stackpole
Martha Farrar Mrs. Farrinder
Peter Bogyo Mr. Gracie
Barbara Byrne Mrs. Tarrant
Lee Doyle Mr. Filer
Charles McCaughan Music Hall Policeman
June Mitchell Party Guest
John Van Ness Philip Henry Burrage
Jon Van Ness Henry Burrage
Technical Credits
James Ivory Director
Mark Potter Editor
Leo Austin Production Designer
Jenny Beavan Costumes/Costume Designer
Ray Beckett Sound/Sound Designer
Richard Elton Set Decoration/Design
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Screenwriter
Connie Kaiserman Producer
Michael S. Landes Producer
Walter Lassally Cinematographer
Ismail Merchant Producer
Al Schwartz Producer
Katherine Wenning Editor
John Bright Costumes/Costume Designer
Richard Robbins Score Composer
Henry James Source Author
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Logos/Titles [3:00]
2. Emancipation Meeting [8:08]
3. Miss Tarrant and Miss Chancellor [5:03]
4. To Renounce Everything... [3:56]
5. Basil Asks After Verena [3:41]
6. Pushing Verena Forward [7:13]
7. Purchasing Freedom [1:15]
8. Basil Walks With Miss Birdseye [3:41]
9. Basil and Verena Tour the Campus [6:21]
10. Piano Recital [5:55]
11. Sympathetic Circles in New York [12:10]
12. An Invitation From Basil [5:23]
13. A Walk in the Park [6:47]
14. Fourth of July [2:52]
15. Summer Residence [3:21]
16. Mr. Ransom, You Have One Hour [5:50]
17. Funeral [9:21]
18. Decision by the Lake [6:32]
19. Music Hall Lecture [5:55]
20. Olive Chancellor Speaks [9:54]
21. End Credits [3:05]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
   Conversation With the Filmmakers
   Theatrical Trailers
      The Bostonians
      The Europeans
      Heat and Dust
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