Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5
United Kingdom, 1975. Merchant Ivory Productions. Screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. Cinematography by Walter Lassally. Produced by Ismail Merchant. Music by Vic Flick. Production Design by Jacqueline Charriot-Lodwidge. Film Editing by Humphrey Dixon.
Charming mini-movie from the team of Merchant Ivory is only an hour long but pleasant for fans of its two stars.
James Mason plays a British tutor who pays a visit once a year to a former Indian princess (the lovely Madhur Jaffrey) on the anniversary of her late father’s birthday. They discuss what they remember best about the days of imperial India while enjoying their tea and a selection of slides of her youth; even so many years after the country’s independence and political restructuring, she is unwilling to let go of the past.
Excellent acting and marvelous dialogue by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, plus features themes that were explored more fully (and more subtly) in the team’s excellent Shakespeare Wallah.
This film is available on video on its own, as well as on DVD on the Janus Collection’s edition of Heat And Dust.