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  • Golden Bowl (Ws Sub) [DVD] [2000] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Golden Bowl (Ws Sub) [DVD] [2000] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Product details

  • Actors: Uma Thurman, Jeremy Northam, Kate Beckinsale, James Fox, Anjelica Huston
  • Directors: James Ivory
  • Writers: Henry James, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
  • Producers: Fabrizio Mosca, Ismail Merchant, Paul Bradley, Richard Hawley
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Colour, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: 6 Nov. 2001
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005OBAL
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 249,365 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Henry James' novel The Golden Bowl is here adapted into one of the most beautiful films yet from the Merchant Ivory stable (and that's saying something given their penchant for fin de siècle subject matter). But it was an unwieldy novel and as a film it's flawed just like the titular bowl. The action centres on Maggie, daughter of American millionaire Adam Verver, who is married to the impoverished Italian nobleman Amerigo, who had previously had a secret affair with the poor but scheming Charlotte. The square is completed when Charlotte marries the widowed Adam. Although Maggie (artlessly played by Kate Beckinsdale) begins the film as a complete innocent, it is ultimately she who takes tacit control of the tangled relationships.

Nick Nolte brings a patrician quality to the part of Adam, whose main obsession in life is collecting objects of beauty and value for a museum he's planning in the States. Jeremy Northam's Amerigo is convincing without being likeable. It is Charlotte, however, who is the centre around which everything else revolves and Uma Thurman relies too heavily on her own charms and not enough on strong characterisation. In the end, she is not sufficiently magnetic for her role to ring true.

On the DVD: The Golden Bowl's sumptuous settings are a glory to behold, and beautifully captured here. The inclusion of original film footage from early last century adds tremendously to the period flavour and the behind-the-scenes interviews and brief film of Merchant Ivory's past endeavours add to the appeal of the package, though there are effectively no subtitles or language options. --Harriet Smith

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 Dec. 2004
Format: DVD
A magnificent medieval bowl, created from a single perfect crystal, has, despite its appearance, a flaw--a crack which reduces its value. Henry James, author of the novel on which this Ruth Prawer Jhabvala screenplay is based, uses the gilded bowl as a metaphor for love and marriage, focusing on two couples, whose overlapping relationships and marriages prove to be as fragile and damaged as the bowl. Produced by Merchant-Ivory and sumptuously filmed by Tony Pierce-Roberts on locations in Italy and England, the film brings the intensity of the psychological conflicts to life.
Italian Prince Amerigo (Jeremy Northam) is the impoverished owner of Palazzo Ugolini near Rome, unable to maintain the palace until, in 1903, he marries Maggie Verver (Kate Beckinsale), daughter of the first American billionaire, Adam Verver (Nick Nolte). The prince has previously had a secret affair with Charlotte Stant (Uma Thurman), a friend of Maggie. When Charlotte subsequently marries Adam, Maggie's father, both couples move to England, where three years later, Charlotte and Amerigo resume their passion.
The relationships among the four principals are explored with the same sophistication as in James's novel. Maggie's torment is fully revealed when she suspects an affair, and her determination to protect her father from this knowledge becomes an agonizing chore. Numerous symbols help to convey the trauma of the betrayal, from the history of the prince's castle, in which an ancestor found his young wife and his son in bed and executed them, to Maggie's dream of being imprisoned in a porcelain pagoda which has a crack.
Nolte shows surprising subtlety in his emotions as he suspects his wife's treachery, while Uma Thurman is passionate, reckless, and very seductive in her obsession with the prince.
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81 of 87 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Jan. 2003
Format: DVD
If you like movies like “The remains of the day”, “The Scarlet Letter” or “Possession”, you gonna enjoy „The Golden Bowl” by James Ivory.
It tells the story of two impoverished lovers, Charlotte (played by Uma Thurman) and Amerigo, an Italian Prince (Jeremy Northam) who are marrying a rich American art collector (Nick Nolte) and his daughter Maggie (Kate Beckinsale). But since Maggie and her father have a very close bond, the former couple get to meet each other all the time and often are left alone by their spouses. Of course, their feelings cannot be kept hidden for long. Especially Charlotte can’t bear to be separated from her great love, Amerigo. The latter is torn between his young, innocent wife and the seducing Charlotte. He’s determined to make his marriage work and therefore struggles not to hurt Maggie, until, but already late in the story, he gives in to the passion that still binds him to Charlotte.
The movie is set against beautiful back-drops with a great love for details. Costumes, furniture, jewellery – everything is splendid and brilliantly recreates the fin de siècle atmosphere.
Concerning the cast, the greatest surprise for me was Nick Nolte, whom I never saw in such a role. He really gave an extraordinary performance as the paternal Maecenas, who is far too much in love with his old paintings than to satisfy the needs of Uma Thurman’s character, a vital, passionate young woman. Jeremy Northam is a convincing, elegant Italian aristocrat and intensely portraits Amerigo’s fight between the growing love for his wife and the charms of Charlotte, the respect for his father-in-law, the tender love for his little son.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By zealot on 4 Jan. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I don't think that the Ivory Merchant movies reach a big audience.It is all about good acting, characters that come alive, an eye for detail.They are feel good movies and after watching them you are satisfied that you have enjoyed another little gem. The Golden Bowl fits my description, it is lovely and heartwarming.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Adrian Drew TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Jun. 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This demanding adaptation of Henry James' most complex novel is not for everyone. However for fans of the author's allusive and illusive narrative it should provide great pleasure. The acting, direction, set designs and production values are all of the highest standards and the script is a masterpiece of concision and precision. Thoroughly recommended for those of you who like "literary" cinema at its finest. So don't expect "Die Hard" or it's ilk!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By technoguy VINE VOICE on 17 April 2013
Format: DVD
The Golden Bowl perhaps sticks too literally to the form and structure of the novel at the expense of the human warmth and inner life of the characters subtly depicted by James.We get the characters mouthing lines of some well-rehearsed speech.We get the over-worked device of the bowl itself, planted,expository,contrived.taking the place of emotions working their way up from the subconscious,lacking the necessary synergy,chemistry or subtext.We see the incestuous closeness between father and daughter Verver(Nolte and Beckinsdale) giving the adulterous lovers, Charlotte(Thurman)and Prince Amerigo(Northam)more chance to get together(more reason to).One feels a too conscious suspension of disbelief.It appears the Merchant/Ivory/Jhabvala team's passion for the high-culture sensibility of James as opposed to the cruder mass culture of today that has eclipsed it,have told them adapting a good/complex novel will make a good film.The tragedy of the story is too explicit,the screenplay voices feelings that remain unspoken in the novel,the hidden has turned into soap opera,thoughts translated into speech.In the film,unlike the novel,Charlotte takes centre stage.The plot takes 4 people,father,daughter of great wealth and takes two penniless lovers and combines them all in marriage.What the story is about is how not to hurt the other person, which proves very tricky due to the emotions of jealousy,the acts of adultery.Fanny(Huston) is the lynchpin holding it all together,a friend to all the protagonists,holding secrets of the former lovers against father and daughter.Though Maggie finds out Charlotte and Amerigo had once been in love through the gift of the Golden Bowl she purchases, Fanny breaks it,the flaw had been seen by Amerigo,making him reject it.Read more ›
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