488 Howards End

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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jorencain
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488 Howards End

#1 Post by jorencain » Thu Nov 25, 2004 10:18 am

Howards End

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/2182/HowardsEnd_box_348_w128.jpg[/img]

The pinnacle of the decades-long collaboration between director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant, Howards End is a thought-provoking, luminous vision of E. M. Forster’s cutting 1910 novel about class divisions in Edwardian England. Emma Thompson won an Academy Award for her dynamic portrayal of Margaret Schlegel, a flighty yet compassionate middle-class intellectual whose friendship with the dying wife (Vanessa Redgrave) of rich capitalist Henry Wilcox (Anthony Hopkins) commences an intricately woven tale of money, love, and death that encompasses the country’s highest and lowest social echelons. With a brilliant, layered script by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (who also won an Oscar) and a roster of gripping performances, Howards End is a work of both great beauty and vivid darkness, and one of cinema’s greatest literary adaptations.

Disc Features

- High-definition digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Tony Pierce-Roberts (with uncompressed Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition)
- New appreciation of the late Ismail Merchant by director James Ivory
- Building “Howards End,” a documentary featuring interviews with Ivory, Merchant, Helena Bonham Carter, costume designer Jenny Beavan, and Academy Award–winning production designer Luciana Arrighi
- The Design of “Howards End,” a detailed look at the costume and production designs for the film, including original sketches
- The Wandering Company (1984), a 50-minute documentary about the history of Merchant Ivory Productions
- Original 1992 behind-the-scenes featurette
- Original theatrical trailer
- PLUS: An essay by critic Kenneth Turan

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mbalson
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#2 Post by mbalson » Thu Nov 25, 2004 10:42 am

jorencain wrote:Merchant Ivory Collection

When I brought up Merchant/Ivory in the previous forum, the response wasn't too positive, but.....they have announced some new titles to be released early next year. "Howard's End" will be released in Feb. Is anyone familiar with the other three films (none of which are directed by James Ivory)? They are: Simon Callow's "The Ballad Of The Sad Cafe", Nicholas Meyer's "The Deceivers", and Zafar Hai's "The Perfect Murder." They're all scheduled for January.

Has anyone seen "Jane Austen In New York" or "Roseland"? I've heard next-to-nothing about both of these.
You haven't heard anything about them because they are horribly uninteresting and completely sleep inducing. Just my opinion however.

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Buttery Jeb
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#3 Post by Buttery Jeb » Wed Dec 01, 2004 3:06 pm

Specs for HVE's Double Disc SE of "Howard's End" are up. It doesn't seem to be coming out in February, so maybe this is an early inkling (along with the Criterion DVD of "The River") of what we'll be seeing in March.

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jorencain
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#4 Post by jorencain » Sat Feb 05, 2005 8:20 pm

Besides "Howards End", the Merchant Ivory Collection website has announced 2 more films: "The Courtesans of Bombay" (directed by Richard Robbins) and "In Custody" (directed by Ismail Merchant), both due in April.

There seems to be very little interest on this board in Merchant Ivory films. I'm curious why that is, and if nobody on here is watching these films, and the general public probably isn't biting their nails waiting for the next batch of Merchant Ivory DVDs to be released, then who is buying these? I've now seen all of HVE's Merchant Ivory Collection DVDs, except "Jane Austen in Manhattan" and I've enjoyed all of them, to varying degrees, except for "The Savages."

I just finished "Roseland" and was very pleasantly surprised by it. While the first story isn't all that interesting, the 2nd and 3rd are really well-acted and very engaging. The last one, particularly, is very touching and made me cry; it's rare to see real relationships between older people like this portrayed in film. Many of the elements of "Roseland" reminded me of a Woody Allen film, including the script, which is much more nostalgic and bitter-sweet than many of Jhabvala's scripts. Anyway, I'm just hoping to hear a few more positive things about their films from someone else on here.

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#5 Post by Tribe » Sat Feb 05, 2005 8:28 pm

I'm looking forward to Howards End as well, and I generally like the A Room with a View and Remains of the Day. But from little I've seen of their other films, I have an awfully difficult time staying awake for them. They tend to be awfully well directed, reasonably well acted, but for whatever reason the stories just fail to pique my interest, even a little.

I'm surprised also that Ivory Merchant was able to extract a line from Criterion and HVE, because I really can't see what HVE or Criterion have gotten out of it. I can't believe that interest in this line rises above the hundreds in terms of audience interest.

Tribe

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#6 Post by jorencain » Fri Dec 23, 2005 7:20 am

I figured I would post this here, since it probably won't warrant enough response to start a new thread.....Has anyone had a chance to see "The White Countess" yet? It opens in limited release in the US today, and I'm curious about it, particularly with a screenplay by Kazuo Ishiguro. The reviews I've found online are pretty luke-warm, but I wasn't expecting much else.

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#7 Post by ezmbmh » Mon Feb 06, 2006 1:03 pm

I saw Roseland in the theater when it first came out. From what I remember it's three (?) episodes taking place at the famous NY jazz club. I remember finding moving, very well done, not in M/I's literary vein (which is not meant as recommendation, just observation).

EZ

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#8 Post by Morbii » Sun Mar 04, 2007 6:18 pm

Have any of you seen any of these films? Are any of them any good? And what is the relationship between them and Criterion? I know they have been listed on the website for ages, but I guess I was never sure exactly how close these companies are.

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Matt
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Re: 488 Howards End

#9 Post by Matt » Thu Jul 16, 2009 6:47 pm


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Re: 488 Howards End

#10 Post by dx23 » Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:42 pm

Is this the first Criterion to be only released on Blu-ray? I know that the DVD was released previously by Home Vision, but I'm surprised that it hasn't been repackaged with a spine number and Criterion logo.

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Re: 488 Howards End

#11 Post by ianungstad » Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:50 pm

They probably will issue the dvd with the new cover/spine and just not PR it. The new printing of The Rules of The Game now has the wacky C and they ditched the clear blue outer case as an example. They never announced the packaging alteration on that, so I could definitly see them doing something similar with Howard's End.

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Re: 488 Howards End

#12 Post by cdnchris » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:26 pm

I thought the previous DVD had nothing on it but apparently I was wrong. But the appreciation of Ismail Merchant looks to be new so I'm assuming the new DVD would have that (doesn't mention it being exclusive to the Blu-ray).

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#13 Post by Michael » Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:27 am

Tribe wrote:I'm looking forward to Howards End as well, and I generally like the A Room with a View and Remains of the Day. But from little I've seen of their other films, I have an awfully difficult time staying awake for them. They tend to be awfully well directed, reasonably well acted, but for whatever reason the stories just fail to pique my interest, even a little.

I'm surprised also that Ivory Merchant was able to extract a line from Criterion and HVE, because I really can't see what HVE or Criterion have gotten out of it. I can't believe that interest in this line rises above the hundreds in terms of audience interest.

Tribe
It's been soo many years since I saw A Room with a View and Howards End...and Maurice (have you seen that, Tribe?). Not sure how I'd feel about them if I saw them today. But when I saw them back in the 1980s when I was in my late teens, I remember being so floored by the young guys in those films - so handsome, stylish, the hair, soo romantic and all. I wanted to look like them.. esp after being burned out by 80s pastels, pop, MTV and fashions. And I never forget how refreshing it was to see guys running and swimming with full frontal nudity in A Room with a View and Maurice. I thought that was some of the most beautiful things I ever saw! As a young gay teen seeing Maurice in 1987 - the Reagan Era and the AIDS crisis, I can't tell how how liberating it was for me seeing that film. I'm so forever grateful for Maurice and it got me into reading EM Forster, an author I still cherish to this day.

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Re: 488 Howards End

#14 Post by Tribe » Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:06 am

cdnchris wrote:I thought the previous DVD had nothing on it but apparently I was wrong. But the appreciation of Ismail Merchant looks to be new so I'm assuming the new DVD would have that (doesn't mention it being exclusive to the Blu-ray).
I wonder if CC is just gonna add the existing HVE release to the collection or just add new paper to the existing HVE (i.e., label, cover, essay), as you mention everything is pretty much the same as the existing HVE release. Nevertheless, this release still makes little sense to me. I wonder if eventually we're gonna see the rest of the Merchant Ivory DVDs added either individually or through Eclipse boxes.
Michael wrote:...Maurice (have you seen that, Tribe?). Not sure how I'd feel about them if I saw them today. But when I saw them back in the 1980s when I was in my late teens, I remember being so floored by the young guys in those films - so handsome, stylish, the hair, soo romantic and all. I wanted to look like them.. esp after being burned out by 80s pastels, pop, MTV and fashions. And I never forget how refreshing it was to see guys running and swimming with full frontal nudity in A Room with a View and Maurice. I thought that was some of the most beautiful things I ever saw! As a young gay teen seeing Maurice in 1987 - the Reagan Era and the AIDS crisis, I can't tell how how liberating it was for me seeing that film. I'm so forever grateful for Maurice and it got me into reading EM Forster, an author I still cherish to this day.
No, I haven't seen Maurice...aside from the major Merchant Ivory productions that have been mentioned I've only seen The Europeans and The Bostonians, but I wouldn't be adverse to watching those titles you recommend.

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Re: 488 Howards End

#15 Post by Jeff » Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:54 am

Tribe wrote:I wonder if CC is just gonna add the existing HVE release to the collection or just add new paper to the existing HVE (i.e., label, cover, essay), as you mention everything is pretty much the same as the existing HVE release.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Criterion make a cardboard slipcover that has the spine number on it and matches the Blu-ray art and shove it over the Merchant Ivory release.

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Re: 488 Howards End

#16 Post by cdnchris » Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:57 am

As much as I have been bad mouthing this film and the Merchant Ivory films in general I will say they do look good, the acting is always good, and the settings are usually very pleasing visually. But I find them just so unrelentlessly dry. I've given Howards End a few chances, first on VHS, then renting the Sony DVD, and then netflixing the Criterion/MI release a couple of years ago (though didn't realize there was a second disc,) and despite sitting through it 3 times now I'm still floored by how dull it is. Room, Remains, and Europeans are the other ones I've sat through (and Le Divorce if you want to count that) and they're obviously not my thing. And they don't really linger with me; other than Howards End I don't really remember what the other films were about...

Though based on Michael's post I'm going to try out Maurice, which has actually been on my queue for a bit.

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Re: 488 Howards End

#17 Post by Michael » Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:15 pm

I can certainly see why the Merchant Ivory films can be dull - pretty to good at but no meat to bite. But of those I've seen, I think Maurice has some meat :wink: , making it the most memorable of them. Maurice drags in some parts, reflecting Maurice's emotional repression and rejection I guess. But Scully, the gamekeeper who steals Maurice's heart, is an ultimate revelation, how comfortable he is in his own skin, the fireworks between both of them are really a sight to behold. Maurice also offers an interesting look at homosexuality being illegal, gay men like Oscar Wilde receiving severe punishment. That was so brave of Merchant and Ivory to make a film like this, a film that is not afraid to strip down the fourth wall to let us in to view sincere passion between guys.

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Re: 488 Howards End

#18 Post by Finch » Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:52 pm

Agree that Merchant/Ivory films are often insufferably dry: filmmaking that is so impeccable and in "good taste", so inoffensive that it often provokes indifference at best and utter boredom at worst. Maurice and Remains of the Day are probably the only two films of Merchant Ivory that don't suffer (or quite so much) from this: certainly with the latter, it's Ishiguro's source material and Hopkins' and Thompson's performances that transcend M/I's direction.

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Re: 488 Howards End

#19 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:32 pm

These films are very quasi-literary in their approach-- they appeal to, stereotypically, and at the most base level of market analysis, the bored housewife who's too sophisticated for soap operas and romance novels. They're on one hand a kind of escapist entertainment (though all entertainment could be deemed such if one wanted to be entirely unforgiving), but on the other there is a viewer who thrives on intelligently made period pieces with oodles of romance.

Not exactly the kind of material the CC core buyer tends to spurt for... but, hell, at least they're better made and acted than your typical 90's Mirimax fodder.

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Re: 488 Howards End

#20 Post by cdnchris » Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:23 pm

I can't disagree with you there on any of your comment, Schreck. I've been thinking more about their films lately and they are frustrating because technically they're very good (maybe I can't say that about Le Divorce) and there are things in them that I do like BUT I just can't "enjoy" them, cinematically or story wise. As Mr Finch puts it they're just so impeccable they're bland, looking pretty but playing it safe, with a story that isn't altogether (for me anyways) that interesting.
HerrSchreck wrote: but, hell, at least they're better made and acted than your typical 90's Mirimax fodder.
True. But in all honesty I would rather sit through The English Patient (though admittedly, and shamelessly, I've never had a real issue with that film and at times I feel like I'm the only male on Earth not involved in the production that shares this opinion. I should find that one dull but other than a small part of the middle section I don't.)

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Re: 488 Howards End

#21 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:37 pm

Trust me, you're preaching to the choir-- I'm no fan of these movies at all.

I merely wanted to express my sense of an insight into the nature of their audience-- for example, my mother owns the entire Merchant Ivory line of films.. she can't get enough of them. Masters degree in education, considers herself too sophisticated for typical romance/escapist ent., this is the profile of the viewership of these films.

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Re: 488 Howards End

#22 Post by Highway 61 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:11 pm

cdnchris wrote:True. But in all honesty I would rather sit through The English Patient (though admittedly, and shamelessly, I've never had a real issue with that film and at times I feel like I'm the only male on Earth not involved in the production that shares this opinion. I should find that one dull but other than a small part of the middle section I don't.)
I had to watch this with the old lady, and I was shocked that I didn't hate it and that, in fact, I really, really liked it. It prompted me to rewatch The Talented Mr. Ripley, which I now consider a masterpiece.

What I think distinguishes Minghella's films from Merchant/Ivory's is that the latter seem to flaunt what good taste they have and impose it upon you, which is nothing but an insult to the audience's intelligence. Minghella, on the other hand, was fully aware that he was making crowd pleasers, but never let that fact diminish the amount of effort he put into his work. Instead, he marshaled an incredible array of talent in front of and behind the camera to put on a great show and gave back to the prestige picture a little bit of the awe that was so easy to come by in the less cynical, golden age of Hollywood.

Admittedly, however, I've never seen Cold Mountain, which I hear is unwatchable.

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Re: 488 Howards End

#23 Post by aox » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:09 pm

Glad to see love for the English Patient. I feel I have to keep my love for it a secret.

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Re: 488 Howards End

#24 Post by Napier » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:21 pm

This Howard's End thread is starting to remind me of how Elaine's hatred of The English Patient in a classic Seinfeld episode, eventually turns her life upside down and gets her fired by Peterman. I somewhat enjoyed Patient and will be giving Howard's End a blind Blu buy. **Edit Post** I said blind Blu buy. :P

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Re: 488 Howards End

#25 Post by zedz » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:51 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:Trust me, you're preaching to the choir-- I'm no fan of these movies at all.

I merely wanted to express my sense of an insight into the nature of their audience-- for example, my mother owns the entire Merchant Ivory line of films.. she can't get enough of them. Masters degree in education, considers herself too sophisticated for typical romance/escapist ent., this is the profile of the viewership of these films.
What he said. Despite all the protestations in this thread, I doubt anybody here is more indifferent to the charms of Merchant Ivory than me, but I have to concede that this is a very sensible commercial move by Criterion. The audience for these films is vast; it's just not us. Given that, I'm pretty sure that Criterion will comprehensively rebrand the DVD at the same time, and I expect we can look forward to some of the other high profile Merchant Ivory titles making the move to Bluray (and Criterion DVD) soon enough.

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