Howards End is a 1992 period romantic drama directed by James Ivory, from a screenplay written by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala based on the 1910 novel of the same name by E. M. Forster. Marking Merchant Ivory Productions' third adaptation of a Forster novel (following 1985's A Room with a View, and 1987's Maurice), it was the first film to be released by Sony Pictures Classics. The film's narrative explores class relations in turn-of-the-20th-century Britain, through events in the lives of the Schlegel sisters. The film starred Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins, Helena Bonham Carter and Vanessa Redgrave, with James Wilby, Samuel West, Jemma Redgrave and Prunella Scales in supporting roles.

Howards End
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJames Ivory
Screenplay byRuth Prawer Jhabvala
Based onHowards End
by E. M. Forster
Produced byIsmail Merchant
Starring
CinematographyTony Pierce-Roberts
Edited byAndrew Marcus
Music byRichard Robbins
Percy Grainger (opening and end title)
Production
companies
Distributed bySony Pictures Classics (United States)
Palace Pictures (United Kingdom)[2]
Release dates
  • 27 February 1992 (1992-02-27) (Premiere)
  • 13 March 1992 (1992-03-13) (United States)
  • 1 May 1992 (1992-05-01) (United Kingdom)
Running time
142 minutes[2][3]
Countries
  • United Kingdom
  • Japan
  • United States[1]
LanguageEnglish
Budget$8 million[4]
Box office$32 million (US/UK)

Howards End was theatrically released on 13 March 1992 to widespread critical acclaim and major commercial success, grossing over $32 million on an $8 million budget. It was in competition at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival and won the 45th Anniversary Award.

Howards End received a leading 9 nominations at the 65th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (for Ivory) and Best Supporting Actress (for Redgrave), and won 3 awards, including Best Actress (for Thompson). At the 46th British Academy Film Awards, the film received a leading 11 nominations, including Best Direction (for Ivory), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (for West) and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (for Bonham Carter), and won 2 awards – Best Film and Best Actress in a Leading Role (for Thompson). It also received 4 nominations at the 50th Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director (for Ivory), with Thompson winning Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama.

Plot edit

In Edwardian Britain, Helen Schlegel becomes engaged to Paul Wilcox during a moment of passion, while staying at the Wilcox family's country home, Howards End. The Schlegels are an intellectual family of Anglo-German bourgeoisie, while the Wilcoxes are conservative and wealthy, led by hard-headed businessman Henry. Helen and Paul quickly decide against the engagement, but she has already sent a telegram informing her sister Margaret, leading to an uproar when the sisters' Aunt Juley arrives and causes a scene.

Months later in London, when the Wilcoxes take a flat across the street from the Schlegels, Margaret resumes her acquaintance with Ruth, Henry's wife. Ruth is descended from English yeoman stock, and it is through her family that the Wilcoxes have come to own her beloved Howards End. The two women grow close as Mrs. Wilcox's health declines, and unbeknownst to Margaret, a dying Ruth bequeaths Howards End to her. However, the Wilcoxes refuse to believe Ruth would leave the house to a relative stranger, and burn her written bequest. Henry develops an attraction to Margaret, assisting her in finding a new home and eventually proposing marriage, which she accepts.

The Schlegels befriend Leonard Bast, a self-improving young clerk who lives with Jacky, a woman of dubious origins. The sisters pass along advice from Henry to the effect that the insurance company Leonard works for is heading for bankruptcy. Leonard quits, settling for a much lower-paying job which is eventually downsized altogether. Helen is later enraged to learn Henry's advice was wrong; Leonard's first employer was perfectly sound but will not reemploy him.

Months later, Henry and Margaret host the wedding of his daughter Evie at his Shropshire estate. Margaret is shocked when Helen arrives with an impoverished Leonard and Jacky. Considering Henry responsible for their plight, Helen demands his help, but Jacky drunkenly exposes Henry as a former lover from years ago. Henry is ashamed to be revealed as an adulterer, but Margaret forgives him and agrees to send the Basts away. Helen, upset with Margaret's decision to marry a man she loathes, leaves for Germany, but not before giving in to her attraction for Leonard and having sex while out boating. Fearing the Basts will be penniless, Helen instructs her brother Tibby to give them over £5000 of her own money, but Leonard returns the cheque uncashed out of pride.

Margaret and Henry marry, arranging to use Howards End as storage for Margaret's and her siblings' belongings. After months of hearing from Helen only through postcards, Margaret grows concerned, and Helen returns to England when Aunt Juley falls ill but avoids seeing her family. Believing Helen is mentally unstable, Margaret lures her to Howards End to collect her belongings, arriving herself with Henry and a doctor, and realizes Helen is pregnant. Insisting on returning to Germany to raise her baby alone, Helen asks to stay the night at Howards End but Henry refuses, leading to an argument with Margaret.

The next day, Leonard, still living unhappily in poverty with Jacky, travels to Howards End to visit the Schlegel sisters, arriving to find Helen, Margaret, and Henry's brutish eldest son, Charles. Realizing Leonard is the baby's father, Charles assaults him for "dishonoring" Helen and a bookcase collapses on Leonard, who dies of a heart attack. Margaret tells Henry that she is leaving him to help Helen raise her baby, and Henry breaks down, telling her the police inquest will charge Charles with manslaughter.

A year later, Paul, Evie, and Charles's wife, Dolly, gather at Howards End. Henry and Margaret are still together, living with Helen and her young son. Henry tells the others that upon his death, Margaret will inherit Howards End and leave it to her nephew, though Margaret wants none of Henry's money, which will be split among his children. She overhears Dolly point out the irony of Margaret inheriting the house, revealing Mrs. Wilcox's dying wish to leave it to her. Henry tells Margaret he did what he thought was right, but she says nothing.

Cast edit

Production edit

Financing edit

Merchant-Ivory encountered difficulty securing funding for Howards End, the budget of which stood at $8 million. This was considerably larger than that of Maurice and A Room with a View, which led to trouble in raising capital in the UK and the United States. Orion Pictures, the film's distributor, was on the verge of bankruptcy and only contributed a small amount to the overall budget.[5] A solution presented itself when Merchant Ivory sought funding through an intermediary in Japan, where the previous Forster adaptations, particularly Maurice, had been very successful. Eventually Japanese companies including the Sumitomo Corporation, Japan Satellite Broadcasting, and the Imagica Corporation provided the bulk of the film's financing. The distribution problem would be solved when the heads of Orion Classics departed the company for Sony Pictures, creating the entirely new division of Sony Pictures Classics. Howards End was the first title distributed by this new division.[6]

Casting edit

Anthony Hopkins accepted the part of Henry Wilcox after reading the script, passed to him by a young woman who was helping edit Slaves of New York and The Silence of the Lambs simultaneously in the same building. Phoebe Nicholls, Joely Richardson, Miranda Richardson, and Tilda Swinton were all considered for the part of Margaret Schlegel before Emma Thompson accepted the role. James Ivory was unaware of Emma Thompson before she was recommended to him by Simon Callow, who made a small cameo as the music lecturer in the concert scene.[7] Jemma Redgrave (Evie Wilcox), who played the daughter of Vanessa Redgrave's character (Ruth Wilcox), is her niece off-screen. Samuel West, who played Leonard Bast, is the son of Prunella Scales, who played Aunt Juley.

According to James Ivory, although Vanessa Redgrave was his preferred choice for the role of Ruth Wilcox, her participation was uncertain until the last moment, because she was committed to other projects and it took some time to negotiate an acceptable salary.[7][8] When she did agree to play the role of Mrs. Wilcox, she mistakenly believed she would be playing Margaret; only when she showed up on set to begin filming her scenes did the person in Hair and Makeup explain that she would be playing the elder Mrs. Wilcox.[7]

Music edit

The score was composed by Richard Robbins, with elements of the score based on Percy Grainger's works "Bridal Lullaby" and "Mock Morris". The piano pieces were performed by the English concert pianist Martin Jones. Orchestral works were conducted by Harry Rabinowitz and performed by the English Chamber Orchestra.[9]

  • "Bridal Lullaby" by Percy Grainger
    Courtesy of Bardie Edition (used for the main title and Margaret's Arrival At Howards End)
  • "Mock Morris" by Percy Grainger
    Courtesy of Schott & Co. (End Credits theme)
  • 5th Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven
    (uncredited; featured in the lecture scene 'Music and Meaning')

Also of note is a Tango composed and performed by the Teddy Peiro Tango Quintet,[10] and the music of Francis Poulenc, the Nocture #8. This theme is used while Ruth Wilcox walks at Howards End in the Evening Scene.[11]

Filming locations edit

 
Peppard Cottage in Rotherfield Peppard was used as filming location for "Howards End"

Filming locations in London included a house in Victoria Square, which stood in for the Schlegel home, Fortnum & Mason in Piccadilly, Simpson's-in-the-Strand restaurant, and St Pancras railway station.[12] Areas around the Admiralty Arch and in front of the Royal Exchange in the City of London were dressed to film traffic scenes of 1910 London. The scene where Margaret and Helen stroll with Henry in the evening was filmed on Chiswick Mall in Chiswick, London. The bank where Leonard encounters Helen is the lobby of the Baltic Exchange, 30 St. Mary Axe, London. Soon after filming the building was bombed and destroyed by the IRA. The Rosewood London on High Holborn, which was then the Pearl Assurance Building, represented the Porphyrion Fire Insurance Company.[12]

The quadrangle of the Founder's Building at Royal Holloway, University of London stood in for the hospital where Margaret visits Mrs. Wilcox. The "Howards End" house in the countryside is Peppard Cottage in Rotherfield Peppard, Oxfordshire. At the time it was owned by an antique silver dealer with whom production designer Luciana Arrighi was acquainted. The bluebell wood where Leonard strolls in his dream, as well as Dolly and Charles' house, were filmed nearby.[13] Henry's country house, Honiton, was actually Brampton Bryan Hall in Herefordshire, near the Welsh border.[14] Bewdley railway station on the historic Severn Valley Railway featured as Hilton station.[15]

Release edit

Howards End had its premiere in New York City on 27 February 1992.[16] It was released on 13 March 1992 in the United States and Canada and on 1 May 1992 in the United Kingdom.

Critical reception edit

The film received widespread critical acclaim. On 5 June 2005, Roger Ebert included it on his list of "Great Movies".[17] Leonard Maltin awarded the film 4 stars out of 4, and called the film "Extraordinarily good on every level."[18] Dave Kehr of The Chicago Tribune gave a mixed review while reporting that the film "provides more than enough in the way of production values to keep its primary audience entertained. An audible gasp went up at a recent sneak preview over the film's re-creation of a Christmas-bedecked Harrod's of the turn of the century; the movie, like the store, knows how to put its merchandise on display."[19]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 94% of 65 reviews are positive for the film, and the average rating is 8.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A superbly-mounted adaptation of E.M. Forster's tale of British class tension, with exceptional performances all round, Howards End ranks among the best of Merchant-Ivory's work."[20] On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 89 out of 100, based on 10 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[21] American audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "B" on a scale of A+ to F.[22]

In 2016, the film was selected for screening as part of the Cannes Classics section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival,[23] and was released theatrically after restoration on 26 August 2016.[24]

Howards End was placed on more top ten lists than any other film in 1992, edging out The Player and Unforgiven. It was placed on 82 of the 106 film critics polled.[25]

Box office edit

The film grossed $26.3 million in the United States and Canada.[26] In the United Kingdom, it grossed over £3.7 million ($5.5 million).[27]

Awards and nominations edit

Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards Best Picture Ismail Merchant Nominated [28]
Best Director James Ivory Nominated
Best Actress Emma Thompson Won
Best Supporting Actress Vanessa Redgrave Nominated
Best Screenplay – Based on Material Previously Produced or Published Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Won
Best Art Direction Art Direction: Luciana Arrighi;
Set Decoration: Ian Whittaker
Won
Best Cinematography Tony Pierce-Roberts Nominated
Best Costume Design Jenny Beavan and John Bright Nominated
Best Original Score Richard Robbins Nominated
American Society of Cinematographers Awards Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases Tony Pierce-Roberts Nominated [29]
Argentine Film Critics Association Awards Best Foreign Film James Ivory Nominated
Bodil Awards Best European Film James Ivory Won [30]
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Best Actress Emma Thompson Won [31]
British Academy Film Awards Best Film Ismail Merchant and James Ivory Won [32]
Best Direction James Ivory Nominated
Best Actress in a Leading Role Emma Thompson Won
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Samuel West Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Helena Bonham Carter Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Nominated
Best Cinematography Tony Pierce-Roberts Nominated
Best Costume Design Jenny Beavan and John Bright Nominated
Best Editing Andrew Marcus Nominated
Best Make Up Artist Christine Beveridge Nominated
Best Production Design Luciana Arrighi Nominated
British Society of Cinematographers Best Cinematography in a Theatrical Feature Film Tony Pierce-Roberts Won [33]
Camerimage Golden Frog Nominated [34]
Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or James Ivory Nominated [35]
45th Anniversary Prize Won
César Awards Best Foreign Film Nominated [36]
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Actress Emma Thompson Won [37]
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Actress Emma Thompson Won
David di Donatello Awards Best Foreign Film James Ivory Nominated [38]
Best Foreign Actor Anthony Hopkins Nominated
Best Foreign Actress Emma Thompson Won[a]
Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures James Ivory Nominated [39]
Evening Standard British Film Awards Best Film Won
Best Actress Emma Thompson (also for Peter's Friends) Won
Golden Camera Best International Actress Vanessa Redgrave (also for Young Catherine) Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Motion Picture – Drama Nominated [40]
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Emma Thompson Won
Best Director – Motion Picture James Ivory Nominated
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Best Foreign Film Nominated [41]
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actress Emma Thompson Won [42]
London Film Critics Circle Awards British Film of the Year Won
British Actress of the Year Emma Thompson Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Actress Won [43]
Nastro d'Argento Best Foreign Director James Ivory Nominated
Best Production Design Luciana Arrighi Won
National Board of Review Awards Best Film Won [44]
Top Ten Films Won
Best Director James Ivory Won
Best Actress Emma Thompson Won
National Society of Film Critics Awards Best Actress Won [45]
Best Supporting Actress Vanessa Redgrave 3rd Place
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Film Runner-up [46]
Best Director James Ivory Runner-up
Best Actress Emma Thompson Won
Political Film Society Awards Democracy Nominated
Producers Guild of America Awards Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures Ismail Merchant Nominated
Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards Best Picture Won [47]
Best Actress Emma Thompson Won
USC Scripter Awards Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (screenwriter);
E.M. Forster (author)
Nominated [48]
Writers Guild of America Awards Best Screenplay – Based on Material Previously Produced or Published Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Nominated [49]

Home media edit

The Criterion Collection released Blu-ray and DVD versions of the film on 3 November 2009, which have since gone out of print. The release was unfortunately subject to a bronzing issue which would discolor the disc bronze and render it unplayable, due to a pressing issue at the factory, though not every disc was subject to bronzing.[50] Cohen Film Collection released their own special edition Blu-ray on 6 December 2016.[51] Although this edition was labelled as remastered in 4k, it is a 1080p Blu Ray disc. However in 2018, Concord Video released a 4K Ultra HD Region Free edition in Germany.

Notes edit

References edit

  1. ^ "British Council Film: Howards End". British Council. 28 April 2016. UK, Japan, US coproduction
  2. ^ a b "HOWARDS END". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  3. ^ "HOWARDS END - Festival de Cannes". Festival de Cannes. 2016. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Merchant Ivory Productions Budget vs US Gross 1986-96". Screen International. 13 September 1996. p. 19.
  5. ^ Building Howards End (dvd). Criterion Collection. 2005.
  6. ^ "Sony Pictures Classics - About Us". SonyClassics.com.
  7. ^ a b c Film Society of Lincoln Center (28 July 2016). 'Howards End' Q&A James Ivory. YouTube.com. Archived from the original on 11 December 2021. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  8. ^ Howards End Commentary by Ismail Merchant & James Ivory (dvd). Criterion Collection. 2005.
  9. ^ Soundtrack Information /Track Listing www.soundtrack.net, accessed 2 January 2022
  10. ^ Biography Teddy Peiro www.allmusic.com, accessed 2 January 2022
  11. ^ Piano Music of Francis Poulenc Vol #1 Nocturne #8
  12. ^ a b Pym, John (1995). Merchant Ivory's English Landscape: Rooms, Views and Anglo-Saxon Attitudes. Harry N. Abram. p. 93. ISBN 978-0810942752.
  13. ^ "Howards End". The Castles and Manor Houses of Cinema's Greatest Period Films. Architectural Digest. January 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
  14. ^ Country Life (19 March 2009). "Interview, Edward Harley". Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  15. ^ "Howards End film locations". Movie-locations.com. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  16. ^ Menell, Jeff (27 February 2020). "'Howards End': THR's 1992 Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  17. ^ Ebert, Roger (5 June 2005). "Howards End (1992)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  18. ^ Martin, Leonard (2015). Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide. Signet Books. p. 653. ISBN 978-0-451-46849-9.    
  19. ^ Kehr, Dave (1 May 1992). "Home with a View". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  20. ^ "Howards End". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  21. ^ "Howards End". Metacritic. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  22. ^ "HOWARDS END (1993) B". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 20 December 2018.
  23. ^ "Cannes Classics 2016". Cannes Film Festival. 20 April 2016. Archived from the original on 10 February 2017. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  24. ^ McNary, Dave (17 June 2016). "Restored 'Howards End' to Be Released in Theaters". Variety.com. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  25. ^ "106 Doesn't Add up". Los Angeles Times. 24 January 1993.
  26. ^ "Howards End". Box Office Mojo.
  27. ^ "The best End". Screen International. 20 August 1993. p. 22.
  28. ^ "The 65th Academy Awards (1993) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  29. ^ "The ASC Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography". American Society of Cinematographers. Archived from the original on 2 August 2011.
  30. ^ "Bodil Prize 1993". Bodil Awards. Retrieved 29 June 2021.
  31. ^ "BSFC Winners: 1990s". Boston Society of Film Critics. 27 July 2018. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  32. ^ "BAFTA Awards: Film in 1993". British Academy Film Awards. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  33. ^ "Best Cinematography in a Theatrical Feature Film" (PDF). British Society of Cinematographers. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  34. ^ "CAMERIMAGE 1993". Camerimage. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  35. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Howards End". Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  36. ^ "The 1993 Caesars Ceremony". César Awards. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  37. ^ "1988-2013 Award Winner Archives". Chicago Film Critics Association. 1 January 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  38. ^ "Howard House". David di Donatello. Retrieved 17 October 2023.
  39. ^ "45th DGA Awards". Directors Guild of America Awards. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  40. ^ "Howards End". Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  41. ^ "38 Years of Nominees and Winners" (PDF). Independent Spirit Awards. Retrieved 17 October 2023.
  42. ^ "KCFCC Award Winners – 1990-99". Kansas City Film Critics Circle. 14 December 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  43. ^ "The Annual 18th Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards". Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  44. ^ "1992 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  45. ^ "Past Awards". National Society of Film Critics. 19 December 2009. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  46. ^ "Awards – New York Film Critics Circle". New York Film Critics Circle. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  47. ^ "1992 SEFA Awards". Southeastern Film Critics Association. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  48. ^ "Past Scripter Awards". USC Scripter Awards. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  49. ^ "Awards Winners". Writers Guild of America Awards. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  50. ^ "Howards End Blu-ray". blu-ray.com. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  51. ^ "Howards End Blu-ray Release Date December 6, 2016".

External links edit