My father died early in the spring of 1992. By the fall I was newly married and pregnant for the first time at the ancient age of 39. Excited but also terrified at the idea of being an older mother, I think the only book I read was What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Multiple times. Movies? Not even on the radar.
Am I suggesting you watch the movie based on THAT book? No, I am not!* Instead, I was reminded recently by the excellent film appreciation site Write Out of LA that 1992 was in fact a wonderful year for film. The site has its own favorite (Delicatessen) but many of the movies that came out that year are classics: The Crying Game, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Last of the Mohicans, The Player, Reservoir Dogs, Scent of a Woman, Unforgiven, A Few Good Men, A River Runs Through It and today’s Saturday Matinee Howards End.
While a Best Picture win eluded Howards End (and Write’s personal list) the film garnered 9 Academy Award nominations in all. The still fabulous Emma Thomson took home the Best Actress nod—her first Oscar nomination and win—and the writer, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala was awarded the prize for Best Adaptation. Based on E.M. Forster’s classic, the Merchant Ivory production of Howards End also won for Best Art Direction for recreating its early 20th century British world.
Director James Ivory has a crew he frequently turns to including cinematographer Tony Pierce-Roberts, composer Richard Robbins and the costume design team of Jenny Beavan and John Bright all of whom also worked on Room with a View and The Remains of the Day. Beavan and Bright have a ton of beautiful period films and costume dramas to their credit but just this past year the duo won for Mad Max: Fury Road a very different kind of film entirely.
Vanessa Redgrave, who I’m watching for in The Secret Scripture was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
In his 2005 review of the film, Roger Ebert gave the film a rare 4 out 4!
“Whether that was what you got depended on how attentive you were. "Howards End," based on the 1910 novel by Forster, is a film seething with anger, passion, greed and emotional violence. That the characters are generally well-behaved says less about their manners than their inhibitions. That's where the two conversations between Margaret and Henry come into play. Listen to them, and you have the underlying method of the film.’’
About the book ...from Barnes & Noble
“Centered around the conflict between the wealthy, materialistic Wilcox family and the cultured, idealistic Schlegel sisters-and informed by Forester's famous dictum 'Only connect'-it is full of tenderness towards favorite characters. 'Howards End is a classic English novel . . . superb and wholly cherishable . . . one that admirers have no trouble reading over and over again,' said Alfred Kazin.’’
Howards End which also features Helena Bonham Carter was re-released in theaters this year for a limited time. Which is probably why I can’t find it on any of the usual streaming services. It’s not on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, or GooglePlay. Of course, it’s not on Netflix. I have faith it will be back, in the meantime let’s drool over the trailer—
*So maybe you should watch What to Expect When You're Expecting instead? Nah. I’m sure you can find a better use for your Saturday afternoon. Make it a good day!