E.M. Forster. His novel, Howard's End, was the book in which that phrase first appeared, I believe, and if the 1992 movie version of HOWARD'S END (releasing to Blu-ray this coming week via the Cohen Film Collection) managed to leave the famous phrase out of the film literally, Forster's plea (maybe command) remains present in every way imaginable -- intellectually, philosophically, visually, artfully -- throughout this splendid movie. TrustMovies loved the film at the time of its initial theatrical release, and he appreciates it even more viewing it this second time around -- having gone from middle age to old age and a perhaps more thoughtful stance.
James Ivory (shown at right), producer Ismail Merchant and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala have accomplished is to telescope the novel into filmic form without losing too much of its complexity while keeping those much vaunted connections -- between people and classes -- ever at the ready in ways large and small, obvious and not so. They have also, via their wonderful selection of actors, brought to rich life all these hugely constrained but also minutely detailed and highly complex characters.
Vanessa Redgrave, above) and the elder sister Margaret Schlegel (Emma Thompson, below, who won a Best Actress "Oscar" for this role).
Anthony Hopkins (above), as the Wilcox paterfamilias; James Wilby as his thoughtless, entitled son; and especially Samuel West (below, left, with Helena Bonham Carter, riled and radiant as the younger Schlegel sister) in the pivotal role of Leonard Bast, surely one of Forster's most poignant characters -- a man who strives mightily against class force and his own servile nature to succeed in ways material and spiritual that he himself can barely imagine.
The City of Your Final Destination -- do try to grab a viewing. I hope Cohen eventually gives this one the 4K treatment, too.)
Cohen Film Collection's restorations in its ongoing Merchant Ivory Library should prove a gift beyond measure for film buffs worldwide. Meanwhile, Howard's End, after a limited, nationwide theatrical re-release, hits the street on DVD and Blu-ray this coming Tuesday, December 6, for sale and/or rental. In this new, two-disc set, there are plenty of fine Bonus Features, as well, that should keep you busy for extra hours. These include a Collector's Booklet with essays and stills; new interviews with director and cast; Behind-the-Scenes featurettes and documentaries; a 2016 On-Stage Q&A; the original theatrical trailer and the 2016 re-release trailer; and a new audio commentary track.