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The Europeans [DVD]

Price: £3.70 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Lee Remick, Robin Ellis, Lisa Eichhorn, Kristin Griffith, Tim Woodward
  • Directors: James Ivory
  • Writers: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Henry James
  • Producers: Ismail Merchant, Connie Kaiserman
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Channel 4
  • DVD Release Date: 17 Mar. 2008
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0010LAZZS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,649 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


This entertaining story, from an early novel by Henry James, takes place in a New England Arcadia that stands for everything beautiful, pure and good. Into this Eden come a sophisticated brother and sister who turn up unexpectedly on the doorstep of their staid American cousins, the Wentworths. The fortune-hunting Eugenia (Lee Remick, Days of Wine and Roses) and her high-spirited brother Felix (Tim Woodward, K-19: The Widowmaker) turn this puritan world upside down. The film concludes with three betrothals like a Mozart opera. But Eugenia has been too clever, and must return to Europe as empty-handed as she came. Filmed on location against a stunning backdrop of New England landscapes, The Europeans attracted a raft of prestigious nominations, including an Oscar® nomination for costume designer Judy Moorcroft.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By H. Hendriksma on 14 July 2003
Format: DVD
Relish the clash and ensuing mixture of culture when Europeans wish to make the acquaintance of their uncle and cousins in the young United States. A European brother and sister, worldly in their ways, arrive unannounced in New England. There their world clashes with that of their cousins, the pious and pure Wentworths. A thickening plot of mistrust, enfolding love and devotion follows. The film culminates in three betrothals. Which family members marry, and which do not? How do the European ways mix with the free-fought and pious American ones? The Europeans is an absolute must see film!
The setting of the film in Indian summer with its golden foliage is absolutely breathtaking. Lee Remick's performance in the role of the European sister, Eugenia, is her most fine-lined, delicate and cunning ever. This Merchant Ivory production does true justice to the Henry James novel.
The Europeans is a timeless masterpiece that is not marked by the passing of years since it was filmed in 1979. The extra features on the DVD are worthwhile. An outstanding feature is an interview with James Ivory, Ismail Merchant and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala that sheds invaluable insight into the production. I also recommend by the same producers A Passage to India, Howard's End, A Room with a View, and Remains of the Day (all available on DVD).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Humpty Dumpty on 24 Jun. 2009
Format: DVD
The short novel by Henry James upon which this Merchant-Ivory production is based is essentially a social comedy, but you would never know it from this adaptation. Humour is pretty thin on the ground as the most common of all James' themes, the clash of European and American culture, social history and personality, is played out.

There's no denying the visual beauty of the images up there on the screen, but alas in the end they amount to little more than a scrapbook of pretty pictures since the glue of dramatic energy that should bind them together is lacking. The brother and sister newly arrived from Europe mingle warily with their American cousins as they strive to find a common way of looking at the world as well as a common purpose, but the contest is desultory rather than compelling, and the pairing off at the end of the film is carried out with a lethargy in keeping with the general tone of the direction.

The New England landscapes and wealthy house exteriors and interiors are photographed with loving care, though I soon tired off the invariable handling in close-up of individuals and social groups in the indoor scenes; no doubt the intention was to convey an impression of cramped emotional development in the Boston cousins, but I found the technique limiting.

The acting is solid. Lee Remick is careful not to overplay her role and turn her slightly risque woman into a femme fatale, but she's surely too old for the part at 44. Lisa Eichhorn delicately plays the repressed young woman who longs to break out.

Not a patch on Merchant-Ivory's Howards End or A Room with a View.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 Aug. 2004
Format: DVD
When "the Europeans" arrive unexpectedly to stay at the New England home of their strait-laced cousins, the Wentworth family, the conflicts between European and American values, so often highlighted in the novels of Henry James, are quickly established in this 1979 Merchant-Ivory film. Screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala stays close to the tone, themes, and action of the James novel as she brings to life a strict and pious New England family which is suddenly exposed to whole new way of life. Felix Young (Tim Woodward), a charming and energetic European artist/actor/traveler, without prospects in Europe, has accompanied his sister Eugenia, Baroness of Munster (Lee Remick), to America while her marriage is being dissolved. Here, where no one knows them, Eugenia believes that "natural relations," as opposed to the "artificial relations" of Europe will prevail.
Young Gertrude Wentworth (Lisa Eichhorn), always the most iconoclastic member of the family, is immediately smitten by Felix, finding him a welcome relief from the earnest but stuffy Rev. Brand (Norman Snow), who has been courting her. Eugenia works her wiles on the men, focusing both on Clifford (Tim Choate), the young son and Wentworth heir-to-be, and on neighbor Robert Acton (Robin Ellis), flirting and awakening them to new and exciting possibilities.
The late autumn foliage sets off the perfectly maintained and appropriately furnished Federal Period homes which serve as the setting for the action, and the cinematography (Larry Pizer), which often features an elegant antique gazebo, shows off naturally beautiful outdoor scenes, along with dreadful rains and mud. The original score by Richard Robbins is one of the film's highlights--romantic without being cloying, and often haunting in its echoes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Sept. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a Merchant ivory chamber-work, filmed in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Henry James, on whose novella this film is based, argued that character in itself is plot enough. Thus there is not much of a story, but rather a clash of different attitudes to life.

His story is set in mid-nineteenth-century New England. Brother Felix and sister Eugenia, whose lives have been wholly lived in Europe, come to visit their cousins who live in an old-style middle-class family living seven miles from Boston. The family's patriarch warns the rest of his charges that the presence of the Europeans will expose the family "to peculiar influences".

These "peculiar influences" at first comprise such seemingly innocent pleasures as sitting for portraits and going on rides in the surrounding countryside, but then the perfume of romance settles in the air and things get complicated.

The film has its fair share of archetypes: the puritan patriarch; two daughters, one wayward, the other sensible; the falling son; the bachelor cousin; the aged aunt; and the passionate non-conformist minister. As one would expect of a Merchant Ivory film, it's all well-staged and shot with much attention to period detail. But the film has a staged style verging on parody. If there was an American version of Monty Python, they would have fun emulating the film.
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