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Bombay Talkie - The Merchant Ivory Collection

Shashi Kapoor , Jennifer Kendal , Anthony Korner , James Ivory    Unrated   DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product Description

Lucia Lane, an English writer, visits India, where her novel is being filmed, and enters into an obsessive love affair with married actor Vikram.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Bombay Talkies Aug. 26 2011
By Peeyush
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Makes for a lovely nostalgic viewing. Loved it then, loved it now. Well made well directed movie that keeps you interested. Shashi Kapoor was a good actor even though trapped in commercial cinema. This shows his high acting points. Yet, the film belongs to Jennifer. She is outstanding. As she was even in much later 36 Chowringhee Lane. I wish the songs were fully picturized and shown as the Music by Shankar Jaikishan is my favourite.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A triple disappointment! June 21 2008
By S.L. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Bombay Talkie is a highly implausible tale about an obnoxious English woman who, in a nutshell, drives two younger Indian men mad with desire. It's all about her and her sick obsessions, and sheds very little light on the inner workings of the Bollywood film industry. This is disappointment number one.
Disappointment number two is the fact that the giant typewriter dance scene featuring Helen, hinted at in the included documentary "Helen: Queen of the Nautch Girls," is not really part of the feature. In fact, you get less of it there than in the documentary, just a tiny snippet of the rehearsals. What a waste -- one minute of Helen is worth an hour of Jennifer Kendal any day!
Worst of all is disappointment number three. I bought this DVD not so much for the feature but to acquire "Helen: Queen of the Nautch Girls." It is included, but it was mastered from a terribly scratched-up print with no attempt at restoration. As a result, most of the documentary is all but unwatchable.
Stay away from this lemon of a feature, and let's hope that a restored version of "Helen: Queen of the Nautch Girl" is released separately some day!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Early Merchant Ivory March 6 2012
By Juliet Waldron - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Hand-held shots--real ones--begin the movie, which has, throughout, a low-budget, technically unsophisticated feel. (There is never anything unsophisticated about the interactions of M-I characters.) The story, of a successful, narcissistic English writer on the loose in India, certainly had traction in the 1970's when the movie was made. The West was just beginning to discover the "magical East" and the ancient sensuality of that culture. Plenty of rock and movie stars were journeying there on spiritual quests. So, for me, the story was not "implausible." In fact, it seems to be about the human problem which absorbs M.I., that being the emotional difficulties of a set of flawed personalities, usually with caste/class inequality which makes the difficulty insurmountable. Here, the miscarriage of intent is heightened by a nasty cross-cultural collision. The handsome Bollywood star and the poor writer both go off their cultural rails, while the western woman is selfish, impulsive, and unaware. As one of the Indian characters who reads her palm says, she's not truly a bad person who acts with intentional malice, but her lack of self-knowledge causes bad things to happen around her. She's as innocent as a spider eating flies--it's just her nature--but her emptiness drains and deforms her lovers. Plot-wise, the story reminded me of "Jules & Jim," where another three-way love affair comes to a bad end. I'm glad I've finally seen this early work of M.I., but the movie shows it's age.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only the uncouth and unwashed would fail to appreciate this work of art April 30 2012
By sparky_magic_rainbow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This is one of my favorite romantic dramas and I dont understand the low ratings.
Sure -- the main character is spoiled and unlikable at times but the story flows
so well you can't help but get caught up in it. The dialogue's sophisticated and
the plot's tight. It ended at exactly the right moment too which is something most
films are unable to pull off. Sensuous and lyrical with superior acting/dialogue/
soundtrack. Cant ask for much more.
10 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stiff upper-lipped offering Nov. 3 2004
By Chris Holmes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Ah but check the "Theatrical Release Date", yes indeed: January 1, 1970. Hence the almost unfunny stiltedness of the dialogue and apparent de rigueur Oxford accents all round. (Were they dubbed? I dont see why, but some of the chat between hero and writer is wayy out of synch with their lips). The strained and stiff Jennifer Kendal plays Brit authoress out in Bombay to *maybe* write about its movie industry. She falls for and has it off with real-life hubby hunky Shashi Kapoor, which makes for the convincing intensity missing everywhere else. Equally unconvincingly, the Kapoor chap leaves glam wife to cavort with la K, which apart from some deep kissing largely consists of being told not to be a bore and to have another drink. Kendal looks and acts like a nervous (but terribly well bred) bird, but now and then the camera catches a good angle and one glimpses the prettier and more accomplished Felicity. I can't work out what the relationship is - elder sis? cradle-snatched mum? - but it's damn'd distracting.

Rescued by interesting interview with Merchant, Ivory and Jhabvala and excellent 30-min documentary on Nautch hoofer queen, Helen. But as i say, cave the date - coz it *doesn't* wear its datedness well.
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