A Room With A View


(out of 5)

Merchant Ivory earned their first major international attention with this inspiring adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel, the first of three of the author’s works that the group would make and the team’s first Oscar nomination for Best Picture. While on vacation in Italy, young Lucy () and her spinster cousin Charlotte (a terrific ) make friends with an uncouth older gentleman () and his wildly unorthodox son () after the two groups switch rooms at their Venetian pensione. When the two men coincidentally take up residence near Lucy’s home in England, her budding attraction to Sands threatens to disrupt her politely acceptable engagement to starch-collared Cecil ().   Merchant Ivory’s reputation for ravishing production design and costumes are an asset as always, but beneath all the white linen is Forster’s not-so-subtle criticism of lofty British morality and its direct opposition to human nature (and happiness). Performances are all memorable, particularly a dewy Carter making a strong appearance in her film debut.

Goldcrest Films International, National Film Finance Corporation, Curzon Film Distributors, Film Four International, Merchant Ivory Productions

United Kingdom, 1985

Directed by

Screenplay by , based on the novel by

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by ,

Costume Design by ,

Film Editing by

Film Festivals:  Venice 1986

The Criterion Collection

Cast Tags:  , , , , , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Academy Awards
Best Art Direction (art direction: Gianni Quaranta, Brian Ackland-Snow; set decoration: Brian Savegar, Elio altamura)
Best Costume Design (Jenny Beavan, John Bright)
Best Writing (Screenplay Based on Material From Another Medium) (Ruth Prawer Jhabvala)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Denholm Elliott as “Mr. Emerson”)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Maggie Smith as “Charlotte Bartlett”)
Best Cinematography (Tony Pierce-Roberts)
Best Director (James Ivory)
Best Picture (Ismail Merchant, producer)

Golden Globe Award
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Maggie Smith)

Best Motion Picture-Drama
Best Director (James Ivory


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