A Passage To India (1984)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5

United Kingdom/USA, 1984EMI Films, Home Box Office, Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment, New Gold Entertainment.  Screenplay by David Lean, based on the novel by  and the play by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1984Boston Film Critics Awards 1984.  Golden Globe Awards 1984National Board of Review Awards 1984.  New York Film Critics Awards 1984.  

The failure of Ryan’s Daughter in 1970 was so hard on director David Lean that it took fourteen years for him to produce another film. The result was this sturdy, admirable adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel about the evils of colonialism in British-ruled India.  is excellent as a young British woman travels east to be with her military-career husband. While on a sightseeing trip to the Malabar caves, she is so frightened when left alone with an accomplished Indian doctor () that she accuses him of rape. The result is a long, drawn-out court battle where Forster shows us how justice is perverted by racism, colonialism and common ignorance. is marvelous as an older British woman who comes to the land in the spirit of learning, not judging, and is a strong counterpoint to Davis’s youthful naivete. Handsome and intelligent, the film runs a bit too long but is thought-provoking all the same, and Lean showed himself to be in top form behind the camera as director, writer and producer.

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