100 of 101 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2007
Having played my VHS tape of this wonderful film until my VHS player broke, and having followed other customers' advice about the previous, poor DVD editions, I am so glad that I am now able to watch a flawless version of this classic - the picture and sound quality is as crystal clear as is possible for a film produced 22 years ago, making visible the precious details of this meticulous production: the lacey costumes and beautiful sets, the authentic interiors and coiffures, and even minute facial expressions that I had missed so far.
Among the extras are interviews with Simon Callow and Daniel Day-Lewis. The most interesting extra for me was a 1970 BBC tribute to E. M. Forster, featuring footage, photographs and quotations of himself and interviews with some of his friends, critics and contemporaries, including Frank Kermode, Christopher Ishwerwood and George Steiner.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2012
If ever, I think, a film was crying out to be given a touch and brush up it is this one! The original was very washed out and this transfer is fantastic with colours bright and rich - highly recommended.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 27 July 2012
Much has already been said about the film itself and this review is concerned solely with the Blu-ray transfer. At the time of writing, this new Blu-ray release has only been reviewed 3 times! The vast majority of the reviews relate to previous versions and some of these were, quite rightly, critical of the poor quality of earlier transfers. Despite the fact that I have always loved this film I had a degree of trepidation before placing the order. Would I be disappointed with the Blu-ray transfer? Would it meet my high expectations with the video quality in particular? Well - I'm happy to report that the standard is truly excellent. We watched the film last night on my JVC projector and the film was sharp and with fine colour restoration. It was just like watching the film in a West End cinema on its original release. I was also suitably impressed with the audio quality. If I am honest there are a number of very good standard dvd's which will look quite good on a 50 inch screen. However, the bigger projected screen will always catch out this lower definition. This was my biggest fear - will the new 'Room With a View' meet this higher test. It does and with 'room' to spare!
Obviously, the film is not reference standard like the superb Blu-ray 'Passage to India' but that had original source material of 70mm. However, the standard is very high and the engineers should be congratulated for their achievement.
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
The happiest of all E M's novels, the story of Lucy and George's cross class love affair is beautifully captured by Merchant Ivory in this film. A fantastic cast - with outstanding turns by the likes of Judy Dench (before we'd decided she was a British thespian 'Grand Dame'), Simon Callow, Daniel Day Lewis (Cecil in prissy perfection), Denholm Elliot (scene stealing beautifully)and Maggie Smith - is led by the inspired casting of ingenue Bonham Carter, as she was at the time, and Julian Sands as Lucy and George. Added to the wonderful cast is a beautiful score and oscar winning art direction to create that sumptuous view. The kiss in the poppy field is one of cinemas most beautiful and romantic moments and a fantastic example of how music and cinematography can be combined to create real artistic beauty.
Is this film really over 20 years old? Once banned for nudity (on UK television, I remember it showing in C4's groundbreaking 'banned' movie season), it's an example of how literary adaptations should and can be done. This is a personal favourite, however a warning - those who are not fans of Miz Bonham Carter, of Forsters novel or of Merchant Ivory would be better off steering clear, you won't enjoy this film.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2011
I've been to Florence, too, and I can say wholeheartedly that it was completely shot on location there. I cannot imagine what city L Matheson went to, but either s/he didn't go to Florence or s/he's blind. It's fair enough that they were bored by the film, but "very little story"? I would say that most thrillers and quest fantasies could be accused of that, generally consisting of long chase sequences, or hunts for magic tokens (although I still like the better ones), but the best stories are all about character. Yes, you can do too much naval gazing (I personally love Peter Greenaway, but don't like Mike Leigh), but this film has the mix spot-on, in my opinion.
The subtext, what the story is about: A girl and a young man, going through puberty, find love and in so-doing become adults. They learn to be self-confident and steadfast in a society so repressed that it's a miracle anyone fell in love. It's about the change in social mores, from Victorian to Edwardian (or even modern) values, the friction between following social convention and finding freedom in individual expression. The film cleverly steers us through these themes, these clashes - whilst telling a very charming and simple love story. A woman slated to marry a complete bore meets a dashing young man on holiday. The holiday romance continues on her return home when he moves into the neighbourhood. But their happiness together looks like it will be dashed because the boy's father, feeling rejected by his Victorian peers, or by the class divide, decides to move away again.
EM Forster, or at least Merchant Ivory revisited these themes in the darker Howard's End, where class and social repression become so overbearing that this time it is the individual that is squashed, the social mores of the day that rule. I personally find Howard's End too bleak and depressing (The Remains of the Day is a more rounded example and a better film for it), but Merchant Ivory got the tone just right for this film, helped enormously by the wry chapter cards that occasionally appear, the wonderfully evocative music and the stunningly beautiful cinematography (best seen on a cinema screen). Love stories rarely come this close to perfection. I do have to wonder what L Matheson considers to be a good love story if s/he doesn't like this one.
37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2004
An excellent film so well directed, cast etc and set in beautiful scenery, particuarly in Italy. Cinematography excellent. However, shame about the qauilty of the DVD- very poor transfer, sound not that good either. The Video is even worse with faulty record tracking. Not a good effort on Universal Picture's behalf. otherwise, I can heartily recommend!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 August 2014
I have never worked out why they bothered to remake the movie in 2007 when thing version is so timeless. A classic, beautifully done in Blu-ray. I have always liked this movie, May be its the simple nature of the plot which doesn't interfere with more excellent performances than you can shake a stick at. As always Maggie Smith commands every scene she is in, but to their credit the other actor more than hold their own. See in Florence in HD is divine the sound track is delightful, I wonder what it'll be like in 4k.
I rarely buy Blu-ray versions of films I have on DVD but this one is worth it.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
This is my favourite adaptation of a Forster novel and it has thankfully been re-released as a proper widescreen version which fills the full screen of my TV. (The original DVD was a failed experiment in adaptation resulting in a shrunken picture in which very little was visible whatever TV shape you were using). Despite being rooted in the uptight Edwardian social rectitude of 1908, the novel still has plenty to say about the present day. At the time Edward Morgan Forster was firmly cowering at the back of the closet and channelling his hidden homosexuality into a critique of his time. People behave as they think they should behave. They repress their wonderful true nature in order to conform to stereotypes and thereby diminish their own existence. If you feel that we have all grown up since then, may I point you in the direction of the furore when Peter Mandelson was outed on Newsnight! Plus one of the extras on the disk is an interview with Frank Bough- now whatever happened to him (hmmm)?
The heroine, Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter really could do a great turn in a corset) plays Beethoven with a passion. Meeting the unconventional Emersons (a father and son) on the Grand Tour, she is reprimanded by her very correct spinster cousin, Charlotte (Maggie Smith). And what is the real issue at hand? - the ladies have been shortchanged out of a "room with a view" of Florence's Duomo. The Emersons have a view, and "indelicately" offer to swap rooms. What follows is a comedy of manners, with a contrast between the passion of the strong sunlight of an Italian cornfield (with just the faint hint of drains in the air) and the ordered home life in Kent, where the roses must be tied up so they don't blow about in the wind and girls mustn't bathe in the woodland pool. Played by a faultless ensemble cast, Lucy steadfastly makes the wrong choices throughout the film, nearly marrying the wrong man (a toe curling performance by Daniel Day Lewis). Throughout we're willing her to fall for the passionate, questing soul of George Emerson (who wouldn't swoon into Julian Sands' arms?). She is only rescued by the amiable old Mr Emerson (ah there was a time when every film had Denholm Elliot in it) who thankfully is prepared to speak plainly. This is a film to reflect the British psyche and is one of the best of the Merchant-Ivory-Jhabvala collaborations.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 2008
I fell in love with Florence Italy when I first saw this movie, oh so long time ago - 15 years ago, they say? I watched this movie on TV channel and I found it very enchanting. I have always love British films, and this is one of my favorites. When it came on DVD, I was happy to buy a copy to add to my collection. I don't want to write a lot about the story plot; just that all the actors were excellent, the Italian scenery was fantastic, and the victorian era was quite stiff! This is a great movie to watch again and again, on a lazy summer afternoon with some cool lemonade and yummy pasta!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This movie has always been a favourite. The production is sublime, beautiful and evocative of the novel.
Quite a few reviewers seem to have the knives out for Forster, saying that he is a has-been, overrated, irrelevant and so on, or that he was obsessed with the disparity between the classes. Well, I have read that novel at least three times over the years, and I see none of that. I see where they might get that impression, but in my view they are missing the real story and meaning. Forster was not obsessed with class in this novel - he was using it was a device in the plot - an obstacle in the path of true love, which may win through no matter how you fight it. Anyway, that's the novel, this is the movie...
The story follows the sexual awakening (or perhaps more accurately romantic awakening) of Lucy. On encountering the free-thinking Mr emerson and his son, George, her view of the world is challenged for the first time. However, the curious brooding and sudden wanton directness of George begins to unlock Lucy's passion - a passion hitherto revealed or vented only in her piano playing.
The story continues with the growing love between Lucy and George, which is hindered by Lucy's preconditioning to do, say and be the right thing. Her outward rage at George, and her eventual match with the incapable and conceited snob Cecil Vyse (the exact opposite of Lucy), sets up the conflict for the final part of the story.
Daniel Day-Lewis is tremendous as the awful Cecil. Anyone who has read the novel must surely see that Lewis has captured the character exactly. Helena Bonham Carter has received much flack for her acting in this movie, but to me she is utterly brilliant in the role. Her frowning discontent is palpable on the screen, and clearly shows her inner angst. This angst is, of course, at the hub of the story. Without it she is just a pretty girl discovering love. She is Lucy, just as Colin Firth is Mr Darcy. It is Helena's signature role, even if in later years she has tried to shake it off.
The homosexual elements, coded in mention of "A Shropshire Lad" and so on, as well as in the more obvious naked cavorting in the pond (the pond itself being a metaphor) give the movie another depth altogether. This is, of course, all in the novel, there to be detected by the knowing reader. This is another mark of the movie's subtelty and sensitivity to Forster's work.
If I have any criticism of the movie, it is that it misses out the chapters set in Rome (coming after Florence and before England). It may be that to appreciate the subtelty of the plot and its telling, one must have read the novel. There certainly is an advantage in having read it, but the movie holds up very well on its own terms.