- Save 3% each on Qualifying items offered by 5A/30 Entertainment when you purchase 1 or more. Here's how (restrictions apply)
Howards End - The Merchant Ivory Collection
Special offers and product promotions
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Howards End is E.M. Forster's beautifully subtle story of the crisscrossing paths of the privileged and those they disdain--and of a remarkable pair of women who can see beyond class distinctions. Dramatic and tragic, but also surprisingly funny, this James Ivory film focuses on a pair of unmarried sisters (Emma Thompson, who won an Oscar, and Helena Bonham Carter) who befriend a poor young clerk (Sam West) and, without meaning to, ruin his life. Meanwhile, Thompson also makes the acquaintance of a dying neighbor (Vanessa Redgrave), who leaves her a family home in her will--which her husband (Anthony Hopkins) destroys. But, ironically, he meets and falls in love with Thompson, even as their paths once more intersect with the increasingly miserable young clerk. Nuanced acting, gorgeous but muted cinematography, and a beautifully economical script by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, which also won an Oscar. --Marshall Fine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The story revolves around the Schlegel sisters, Margaret and Helen, and their involvement with various characters including a ruthless businessman and his dying wife, and a down-on-his-luck day clerk. Margaret is the sensible sister, caring but careful, while Helen is the idealist, out to save the world, without realising how condescending she can be in attempting to do so. Their brother is almost an afterthought in the story. Margaret is portrayed by Emma Thompson, veteran Shakespearean and British actress; Helen is played by Merchant-Ivory veteran Helena Bonham Carter. Other players include Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins, James Wilby (also in other Merchant-Ivory productions), Samuel West, and the great Vanessa Redgrave. (Look for Prunella Scales, best known as Sybil Fawlty from 'Fawlty Towers' in what might be described as an extended cameo role.)
The characters show some of the principal social class divisions of late Victorian/Edwardian England. The Wilcoxes are a successful business family, unlettered and conservative; the Schlegels are genteel aristocrats with an idealistic bent but slowly declining economic fortunes; the Basts are underprivileged but yearning for more. One of the better lines comes from the aunt of the Schlegel sisters, as she explains their upbringing: 'Of course, they are British to the backbone, but their father is German, which is why they care for literature and art.' This is a world in which everyone expects to have a discernable and well defined role, but the world around these social classes is changing rapidly.
At first, Helen is engaged to the younger Wilcox son. In short order, this relationship breaks, but not before the Wilcoxes and the Schlegels are intertwined in continuing social encounters. Eventually, the elder Schlegel sister Margaret gets a marriage proposal from the patriarch Wilcox, after his wife dies of a long illness. Helen has, in the meanwhile, become pregnant from the underprivileged Leonard Bast, whose wife, we discover, had a brief fling with the elder Wilcox in the past. If this sounds like a soap opera, you might be on to something. However, no daytime drama was ever so lavishly and well appointed.
The title for 'Howard's End' comes from the country home of the Wilcoxes, in fact the property of Mrs. Wilcox, which she means for Margaret to have. She willed it to Margaret when they became friends, but Henry Wilcox suppressed the will after his wife's death. In the end, Howard's End comes to the Schlegels in a different way, as the world continues its unsteady path between Victorian/Edwardian sensibilities and the new world to come.
This is a flawless film in many ways - well acted, well designed, well directed. This is a visual treat indeed.
Every character is sophisticated in the sense that the depth of their portrayal (from upper crust to crumb!) is so believable and absorbing that you feel as if you are not simply viewing, but participating in many of the sequences.
I loved this movie from the first moment I saw it, and each repeated viewing solidifies my fondness for it.
Emma Thompson shines - she brings a vibrance and humor to a character that could have fallen by the way-side if played by a less adept artist - to laud her would be redundant, but I do it all the same... wonderful!
The opulence of the era is vivdly, yet quietly captured, and the scenes of poverty are not simply glossed over as in other films of this genre - the disparity between the two worlds is balanced and projected very well, I think.
Jemma Redgrave gives a great performance - the brittle and disdainful character she plays is not simply a joke thrown into scenes to give them impact, but is an essential and insightful medium into the social/class distinctions of the time period - I enjoyed her very much.
Remarkable in so many ways, and equally difficult to articulate or classify (a comedy, drama, romance - ?)I recommend this film to everyone - you will truly lament the end of "Howards End".
Want to see more reviews on this item?
Most recent customer reviews