A Room With a View Blu-ray
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Directed by James Ivory
Produced in 1985
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - British Film
A witty comedy of manners that unfolds in the lush surroundings of Florence and continues into the beautiful Surrey countryside, this visually stunning period drama remains a firm favourite in the Merchant-Ivory canon. Its stars Helena Bonham Carter as Lucy, a young maiden who unexpectedly stumbles on a passionate love with an English gentleman (Julian Sands) whilst traveling through Italy with her prim aunt (Maggie Smith, magnificent). News of their liaison will eventually cross to England, where Lucy is due to marry another suitor.
A repellant snobbism pervades in certain critical circles whenever the work of Ismail Merchant and the late James Ivory is mentioned, presumably as their films are phenomenally successful with the public and take home dozens of awards (A Room with a View won three Oscars, five BAFTAS and countless plaudits across the world). This was the first of their many adaptations of E.M. Forster (culminating in 1992 with their biggest hit, Howards End), and set the standard for conveying period drama on the screen. The production values are beautiful; the art direction and costumes effortlessy envoke the ambiance of turn-of-the-century Europe.
One of the chief joys of A Room with a View lies in its immaculate performances. Maggie Smith and Judi Dench, appearing together on screen for the first time, both won BAFTAs for their droll double-act, whilst an array of great British actors (Denholm Elliott, Simon Callow, Rosemary Leach) seize upon their characters with relish. Daniel Day Lewis is a particular highlight as the impossibly patronizing suitor (“You DO love me, little thing!”), and Helena Bonham Carter embarks on the first of a string of impeccable English roses, an image she has only recently managed to cast away.
The satire of the social conventions of the English abroad is affectionately captured in Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s Oscar-winning screenplay, yet the passionate scenes in Florence followed by the staid, safe confines of the English countryside offer the sharpest critique on the oppressiveness of British reserve. As the final scene echoes an earlier embrace in the wild Italian vineyards, we are left in no doubt as to where Forster’s affections lie.
Alex Davidson on 8th October 2007
Author of 231 reviews
A witty comedy of manners unfolding in the lush surroundings of Florence and the beautiful Surrey countryside, Merchant-Ivory's Oscar and BAFTA-winning production of A Room with a View effortlessly evokes the ambiance of turn-of-the-century Europe, and set the standard for big-screen period dramas to come.
With an immaculate performance from Helena Bonham Carter as a young Englishwoman embarking on a passionate love affair with a fellow traveller (Julian Sands), A Room With a View also features Maggie Smith and Judi Dench in their first on-screen pairing, not to mention memorable turns from Simon Callow, Rosemary Leach and Daniel Day Lewis.
Publisher: Film 4
Length: 113 mins
Cat No: F4BD50044
Format: Blu-ray Colour