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This Merchant-Ivory adaptation of E.M. Forster's Edwardian novel gave Hugh Grant his first major role. Cambridge undergraduate Clive Durham (Hugh Grant) is thrown into confusion about his sexuality when he experiences strong feelings for fellow student Maurice Hall (James Wilby). Both men attempt to suppress the 'love that dare not speak its name', but the arrival of a handsome gamekeeper (Rupert Graves) forces Maurice to submit to his natural impulses.
The second of the Merchant/Ivory films (A Room with a View, Howard's End), Maurice deals with a theme few period pieces dare mention--a young man's struggle with his homosexuality. It's not just a gay coming-of-age story, however. The hero wrestles with British class society as much as his personal and sexual identity.
The film opens on a stormy, windswept beach, as an older man awkwardly instructs young, fatherless Maurice Hall (James Wilby) in the "sacred mysteries" of sex. The same turbulent, wordless struggle with passion lasts throughout this slowly evolving, beautifully filmed story. Novelist E M Forster's brainy, British melodrama hinges on choice and compulsion, as the pensive hero falls for two completely different men. First comes frail, suppressed Clive (Hugh Grant), who wants nothing more than classical Platonic harmony ... and a straight lifestyle. (Grant's performance is so convincing, one wonders how he ever became a heterosexual sex symbol.) After Clive's wedding, Maurice turns to hypnosis to cure his unspeakable longings. Unfortunately, his "cure" is interrupted by Clive's lustful, brooding, barely literate gamekeeper Scudder (Rupert Graves), a worker more at home gutting rabbits than discussing the classics. Maurice's love for a "social inferior" forces him to confront his illicit desire and his ingrained class snobbery. --Grant Balfour --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Ivory captures the essence of this book superbly, in terms of character, dialogue and fundamentals such as plot, which is largely in keeping with the original story-line. Where it differs, it does so effectively and plausibly, and this does not detract from the sense of its over-all loyalty to the novel.
Splendid acting is in evidence throughout from James Wilby and Hugh Grant, as well as Rupert
Graves and a good supporting cast. Wilby portrays the conflicted eponymous hero impressively, moving smoothly through a range of emotions, from moments of exuberance, uncertainty and tourtured insecurity.
Although the crucial theme of Maurice is homosexuality in an age which criminalized it, other issues such as social class, individuality/conformity and love mean that it is compelling on other levels too, making it an all-round joy of pre-World War One drama, in which innocence and idealism are still largely possible.
I've wanted to buy this film on DVD for ages but I must say I'm really disappointed with this certain edition (Merchant Ivory Collection). It has a lot of nice extra features, but it lacks subtitles entirely. Not even the main feature has subtitles to offer. I can't understand why one chooses to release a classic like this without it. For us who are deaf or hard-of-hearing or other neurological difficulties, it's important to know before buying. Now I have to supplement my collection with the other version too: Maurice [DVD] 
Maurice (played absolutely superbly by James Wilby) is a young upper-class Edwardian, constantly fighting his own inner demons about his sexuality. Whilst at Cambridge he forms an intense attachment to a fellow student, Clive, (Hugh Grant, again brilliantly acted). When a mutual friend is imprisoned with hard labour for soliciting a soldier outside a pub, Clive gets the jitters and backs off, retreating into starchy middle-class married respectability. Maurice meanwhile goes the rounds of doctors and psychiatrists, trying to find out if he can be "cured". During a weekend visit to Clive's country house he meets Alec Scudder, Clive's rather rough-and-ready gamekeeper. I know what you're thinking, gay version of "Lady Chatterley's Lover"! But I think, with all respect to D H Lawrence, this is better.Read more ›
We are transferred to the Edwardian England some years before the outbreak of the Great War. The main hero Maurice is an average student (it is funny to note that everybody including Maurice considers his studies a commendable pastime but generally a waste of time as he should go into business) who falls for a fellow student, an impoverished aristocrat Clive. Their romance is purely platonic which seems to suit Clive (who finally decides to change his minds and gets married which puts an end to their little fling) survives their Cambridge period but is clearly insufficient for Maurice. After failed attempts to cure himself of his illness (both medicine and hypnosis are used) he visits Clive in his estate and falls in love again - this time for a game-keeper. This love is consummated and provides an opening for a happy ending which neither Forster nor the movie does not really offer.
The movie tells this story rather slowly, indulging in beautiful landscapes and period interiors, but one can hardly mind. It is simply a great movie with very decent performance from the cast - including Hugh Grant with a moustache.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent cast and follows the book fairly well. Nothing too sensational in the filming thank heavens, it didn't need it .It does make you appreciate the freedoms we have today.Published 3 days ago by mayanguy
Though not as good as the book, the film is a very well made. I really think though that the director James Ivory, should make a new Special edition DVD adding the deleted scenes... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Neko_74
A very good movie that typifies the complexities of male relationships of that time. Angst, betrayal, unrequited love! Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kevin mannix
Excellent film and great value for money. Loved every minute of it.Published 8 months ago by Neil W
what a great film and what a torrid time these fellows had, compare to today. brilliantly acted by all.Published 9 months ago by Peter A. J. Walmsley