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Story

Before their breakthrough successes with A Room with a View, Howards End, and The Remains of the Day, the Merchant-Ivory filmmaking team refined their literary adaptation skills with this 1984 drama, adapted from the classic novel by Henry James. Although the film can only begin to approximate the internal dialogues that make up much of James's fascinating fiction, it retains the central conflict of the post-Civil War drama, which takes place just as women are beginning their struggle for equality. The story involves a triangle of conflicting relationships, in which a repressed lesbian (Vanessa Redgrave) engages in a subtle, unspoken tug-of-war with a Southern lawyer (Christopher Reeve) for the affections of a young woman (Madeleine Potter) who is just coming into her own as a young suffragette. Although the film is slow and dry compared to Merchant-Ivory's later efforts, it's eminently respectable (as you might expect) and is highlighted by Redgrave's superb, Oscar-nominated performance as the story's feminist heroine. The supporting cast is equally impressive, and includes Jessica Tandy, Linda Hunt, Wallace Shawn, and Wesley Addy. --Jeff Shannon

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Widescreen

Cast

Christopher ReeveBasil Ransome
Vanessa RedgraveOlive Chancellor
Jessica TandyMiss Birdseye
Madeleine PotterVerena Tarrant
Nancy MarchandMrs. Burrage
Wesley AddyDr. Tarrant
Linda HuntDr. Prance
Jon Van NessHenry Burrage
Wallace ShawnMr. Pardon

  • Genre: Drama Movies
  • Director: James Ivory
  • Producer: Home Vision
  • Length: 122 min
  • Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaJan 1, 1984
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaAug 19, 2003
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