Archive for the ‘Directors – James Ivory (Merchant Ivory)’ Category

The Criterion Collection: Reel Charlie’s Top 17

September 15, 2017

Whenever I see a famous person list their favorite Criterion films, I wonder what my list would look like? I took a shot at this back in 2012. Criterion’s been adding films monthly so my favorites list is ever-evolving. Currently I have a list of 17 must-see films from Criterion’s Collection. If you have access to Kanopy, you can see these films any time.

Reel Charlie’s 17 favorite Criterion releases (in alpha order):

All That Heaven Allows
A Christmas Tale
Desert Hearts
Fox and His Friends
Howards End
The Ice Storm
In the Mood for Love
Monsoon Wedding
My Beautiful Laundrette
A Room With a View
Rosemary’s Baby
The Times of Harvey Milk
Weekend (Haigh)
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown


Honorable Mention:

Being There
Do the Right Thing
Fish Tank
Frances Ha
The Great Beauty
Grey Gardens
La haine
The Lady Eve
Mildred Pierce
Shallow Grave
Three Colors: Blue
Valley of the Dolls

Explore all Criterion films at their website.


Howards End is for sale

July 25, 2017

Peppard Cottage, the location for the 1992 Merchant Ivory adaptation of E.M. Forster’s Howards End.

The home featured in the 1992 Merchant Ivory film Howards End is up for sale. Named Pepppard Cottage, it’s a steal at just over 5 million (U.S.). From Henley Standard,

At a glance


l Bedrooms: nine

l Bathrooms: four

l Reception rooms: seven

l Other: stunning character reception hall, utility room, larder/pantry, boot room, study, cellars, two downstairs loos as well as outbuilding loos, extensive outbuildings with stables, mature gardens with orchard, swimming pool, drive way, garaging

l Land: 2.33 acres

l Space: 6,390 sq ft /
590 sq m

Guide price £3,950,000

Read the full article on Henley Standard.
I have a framed photo of this house hanging in my kitchen. No joke.
Read Reel Charlie’s glorious review of the sumptuous Howards End.

Director James Ivory (Merchant Ivory) at the NYC 30th Anniversary Screening of Maurice

May 21, 2017

What an honor to spend an evening watching the 4K remastered version of Merchant Ivory’s Maurice last night. For Maurice’s 30th Anniversary, the Quad Cinema in New York City hosted director James Ivory in a Q&A after the screening of the film. Truly a masterpiece, E.M. Forster’s adaptation felt just as fresh and necessary today as it did 30 years ago. And to think Forster and Ivory had the audacity to leave us with a hopeful ending. A sumptuous feast for romantics at heart. Always a 5 out of 5.

88 year-old James Ivory discussing the making of Merchant Ivory’s Maurice to a sold-out audience at the Quad Cinema in New York City. May 20, 2017.

Merchant Ivory’s ‘Maurice’ Gets Another Walk on the Beach (Variety)

May 19, 2017

The article, ‘Maurice’ Gets Another Walk on the Beach published in Variety is a total geekfest for film lovers and those interested in film restoration. It’s also short enough to scan and marvel at the delicacy of older film and the painstaking process some companies take to bring these masterpieces back to life for new and future generations. At the top of this list (with Criterion) is Cohen Media Group who is overseeing 30 Merchant Ivory restorations.

Read the full article at Variety.

Maurice at The Quad (NYC)

May 16, 2017

NYC peeps!

Opens Friday

New York Premiere of 30th Anniversary Restoration in 4K

A gay art cinema trailblazer about love and loss, Merchant-Ivory’s adaptation of E.M. Forster’s posthumously published novel follows a young man’s (James Wilby) struggle to come to terms with his sexual identity after his first love (Hugh Grant) abandons him for a respectable marriage.

With James Ivory in person following the 6:40pm screenings this Friday and Saturday
Reel Charlie’s got his tickets for Saturday night. See you there.
Purchase tickets.

‘Maurice’ returns to the big screen 30 years later (LA Blade)

April 29, 2017

My favorite film of all-time, Maurice returns to theaters after 30 years. From the Los Angeles Blade,

It’s been 30 years since “Maurice,” the Merchant-Ivory adaptation of E.M. Forster’s posthumously published novel of gay love, made its theatrical debut.

A lot has happened across that time span, not the least of it being the rapid gains LGBT rights have made, climaxed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s approval of same-sex marriage. Two entire generations of gay men suffered the ravages of a deadly AIDS epidemic. In that context, it is striking to see the film again, given all we have achieved since its release.

On the screen many gay love stories have come in “Maurice’s” wake, the most famous being the closeted sheepherder saga “Brokeback Mountain” (2005). But that was a gay love story with an unhappy ending. Those with happy ones like “Maurice” include “Beautiful Thing” (1996), a tale of gay lower middle-class British teenagers, and “Weekend” (2011), about an adult pair of British bohemians. But none have quite the special charge of “Maurice,” stemming from its lush setting and aristocratic-commoner breeding.

E.M. Forster (1879-1970) has long been acknowledged as one of Great Britain’s greatest writers. But he was largely the subject of academic study until the 1980s, when film adaptations of his work made him popular.

Cohen Media Group has re-mastered 30 films by the legendary Merchant Ivory Productions, including Maurice, which is set for release in select theaters this month.

Read the full article at Los Angeles Blade.
Read Reel Charlie’s review of Maurice.

I’m not thrilled with the new 4K poster. It should have James Wilby front and center with Rupert Graves next to him and Hugh Grant fuzzed out in the background. Hopefully the Blu-ray will have better cover art.

Howards End Christmas scene

December 24, 2016

The best Christmas scene ever in a film is from Merchant Ivory’s masterpiece, Howards End (1992).  Vanessa Redgrave’s Ruth Wilcox and Emma Thompson’s Margaret Schlegel Christmas shop in a turn of the (20th) century department store. Absolute heaven. Criterion remastered Howards End years ago and released versions on DVD and Blu-ray. This year, Cohen Media Group remastered Howards End once again, this time in 4K. Amazon also has Howards End for digital rental in HD for $3.99. No matter how you watch this delicious E.M. Forster adaptation, don’t blink during the short but infinitely glorious Christmas shopping scene. Merry Christmas Eve 2016 everyone!

Read Reel Charlie’s review of the timeless classic, Howards End.

howards end christmas scene

More LGBTQ Film History Anticipation

October 27, 2016

So it was sleeting this morning here in CT. Which doesn’t bode well for people coming out to an evening program. Fingers crossed that we have some brave film lovers who will zip over to the library tonight to hear my program on LGBTQ Film and Television History.

In honor of the week’s events, I thought I’d post a link to my favorite gay male film. Maurice. Last time I watched it was June 2015. It continues to take my breath away. Thank you E.M. Forster. Thank you Merchant Ivory. A love letter to a better time. That time is now. A perfect love story for 2016.


Restored ‘Howards End’ to Be Released in Theaters (Variety)

September 4, 2016

howards end 4KHow could I have missed this and did I truly miss seeing this on the big screen once again? From Variety,

Cohen Media Group will release a 4K restoration of the 1992 romantic drama “Howards End,” which screened at the Cannes Film Festival last month as part of the Cannes Classics program.

“Howards End” will open at the Paris Theatre and Film Forum in New York on Aug. 26, and Laemmle’s Royal in Los Angeles on Sept. 2. Cohen Media Group plans to show the film at several of the original theaters that first screened the movie in 1992, before expanding distribution to other markets.

Starring Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Helena Bonham Carter and Emma Thompson, “Howards End” was directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant.

The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards and earned Thompson a best actress trophy. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala won best adapted screenplay, and Luciana Arrighi and Ian Whittaker nabbed best art direction. It also won the 45th anniversary prize at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival.

Read the full article at Variety.
Currently playing in two theaters in New York City. 
Can’t find any in Connecticut.
Read Reel Charlie’s glowing review of this Merchant Ivory masterpiece.

Top Ten Period Dramas on Netflix (Decider)

May 16, 2016

Having Downton Abbey withdrawal? From Decider,

Sometimes modern times are too much for us. That’s when we want to go back in time to a simpler age, when men were gentlemen and women were only allowed to be wives, mothers, and spinster governesses. We want to watch a period drama.

Now the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice is considered the gold standard of this genre — but you can’t find it on Netflix. You can only watch it on Hulu or on Prime Video. Indeed, most of Masterpiece’s catalogue and just about all of the Jane Austen adaptations ever made have landed on Amazon or Hulu. So, what’s a Netflix subscriber to do? How about try one of the 10 best period dramas on the popular streaming service.

Still need to see North and South (Richard Armitage, sigh), and thrilled to see A Room with a View, The Borgias, Elizabeth, and Dancing on the Edge here.  See the full list on Decider.

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