Learn more Download now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Amazon Music Unlimited for Family Shop now Shop now Learn more

A Passage to India [DVD]
Format: DVD|Change
Price:£4.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 16 July 2016
Along with "Gandhi" (1982) this is one of the great films about the twilight of the British Empire. Based on EM Forster's novel, "A Passage to India" portends the clash of civilizations against the background of racial difference in a world where the white Englishman rules, and the Indian resentfully accepts his rule. The emotional constipation of English middle-class life, Forster's prime topic in his novels, is reproduced by the British in India; oblivious to the fascinations of the sub-continent, they reproduce a version of 'home', deeming anything non-English to be inferior: from the insipid cucumber sandwiches and musical performances at the club to the hymns played at the garden party. On the symbolic level, both the novel and the film are very rich. The central incident, the delusion of Miss Quested that she has been sexually attacked in the Marabar caves by a Muslim, works on two levels: it images the fear the rulers have of the greater vitality of the ruled; and on a deeper level the caves seem to give back to the Europeans entering them a hideous parody of their deepest fear of the moment: Miss Quested's fear of sex associated with her forthcoming marriage. As a whole they seem to image the blankness at the heart of Britain's imperial splendour. The conclusion is an uncanny one as it seems politically incorrect by today's standards to echo the warning voiced by Mr. Turton, the bigoted Collector of Chandrapore: that it is unwise to get too much involved in alien cultures as "East is East".

The film is visually stunning, witness the pomp that is meant to dazzle the Indians when the Viceroy arrives in Bombay. Because of the effective camera work, I could almost feel the heat in the Marabar scene.

The cast is excellent. I particularly liked James Fox as Richard Fielding, the liberal College Principal. The supporting cast is equally convincing, including Clive Swift as Major Callendar and Antonia Pemberton as Mrs. Turton, the haughty Collector's wife.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 2 June 2013
A PASSAGE TO INDIA [1984] [Collector's Edition] [Blu-ray] [US Import] The Best Picture Of The year!

Winner of two 1984 Academy Awards® for Best Supporting Actress Dame Peggy Ashcroft and Best Film Score Maurice Jarre, OSCAR® winning Director Sir David Lean 1962: ‘Lawrence of Arabia' and 1957 `The Bridge On The River Kwai' adapts E.M. Forster's novel of the political tensions in colonial India. Two-Time OSCAR® nominee Judy Davies 1984: Best Actress for ‘Husbands and Wives' stars as Adela Quested, a plucky young woman, who journeys from England with the free-spirited Mrs. Moore [Dame Peggy Ashcroft]. Flouting convention, the two women accompany the handsome Dr. Aziz [Victor Banerjee] to the mysterious Marabar Caves. But things turn ugly when Adela Quested [Judy Davies] returns injured from the expedition. As British authorities urges her to press charges against Dr. Aziz. Sadly the line separating truth and fantasy begins to blur dramatically.

FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: Academy Awards®: Win: Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Peggy Ashcroft. Win: Best Music for the Original Score for Maurice Jarre. Nominated: Best Picture: John Brabourne and Richard Goodwin. Nominated: Best Directing: Sir David Lean. Nominated: Best Actress in a Leading Role for Judy Davis. Nominated: Best Writing: Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium for Sir David Lean. Nominated: Best Art Direction for John Box and Leslie Tomkins. Nominated: Best Set Decoration for Hugh Scaife. Nominated: Best Cinematography for Ernest Day. Nominated: Best Costume Design for Judy Moorcroft. Nominated: Best Film Editing for Sir David Lean. Nominated: Best Sound for Graham V. Hartstone, Nicolas Le Messurier, Michael A. Carter and John W. Mitchell. Golden Globes® Awards: Win: Best Foreign Film. Win: Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for Peggy Ashcroft. Win: Best Original Score for Maurice Jarre. Nominated: Best Director for Sir David Lean. Nominated: Best Screenplay for Sir David Lean. BAFTA® Awards: Win: Best Actress in a Leading Role for Peggy Ashcroft. Nominated: Best Film. Nominated: Best Actor for Victor Banerjee. Nominated: Best Actor in a Supporting Role for James Fox. Nominated: Best Adapted Screenplay for Sir David Lean. Nominated: Best Cinematography for Ernest Day. Nominated: Best Costume Design for Judy Moorcroft. Nominated: Best Production Design for John Box. Nominated: Best Film Music for Maurice Jarre.

Cast: Judy Davis, Victor Banerjee, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, James Fox, Sir Alec Guinness, Nigel Havers, Richard Wilson, Antonia Pemberton, Michael Culver, Art Malik, Saeed Jaffrey, Clive Swift, Ann Firbank, Roshan Seth, Sandra Hotz, Rashid Karapiet, H.S. Krishnamurthy, Ishaq Bux, Moti Makan, Mohammed Ashiq, Phyllis Bose, Sally Kinghorn, Paul Anil, Z.H. Khan, Ashok Mandanna, Dina Pathak, Adam Blackwood, Mellan Mitchell, Peter Hughes, John Michie (uncredited), Duncan Preston (uncredited) and Richard Winter-Stanbridge (uncredited)

Director: Sir David Lean

Producers: Edward Sands, John Brabourne, John Heyman and Richard B. Goodwin

Screenplay: Sir David Lean and E.M. Forster (novel)

Composer: Maurice Jarre

Cinematography: Ernest Day

Video Resolution: 1080p [Metrocolor]

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

Audio: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio, French: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French and Spanish

Running Time: 164 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Andrew's Blu-ray Review: If there is such a thing, the film could be described as a minor epic, one that tells a small story painted on a broad canvas. An almost unrecognisably fresh-faced and wide-eyed Judy Davis stars as Adela Quested, a young Englishwoman of the 1920s on her first trip out of Britain, visiting India to be with her fiancé working as a magistrate there. Traveling with her is feisty Mrs. Moore [Dame Peggy Ashcroft], the fiancé's elderly mother who freely speaks her mind with little regard for decorum. The two get along splendidly. Adela seeks adventure and desires to see the exotic wonders of India. Mrs. Moore is less spirited, but respects the culture and people of the land. Both are disappointed upon arrival to be shuffled off away from the real India and isolated within the strictly segregated British community living in the country, which disdain the local people and have attempted to recreate every element of their home as if they'd never left.

From the introduction to an Indian way of life to the oasis of the British Raj within it, ‘A Passage to India' hustles and bustles with a complete vibrancy. David Lean takes E.M. Forster's novel and tells the turn of the story in very much his hallmark style. In part it's down to the quality of the novel but the director really does take the credit for bringing it all to life. Ok, so it's arguably not in the league of `Lawrence of Arabia' or ‘Bridge on the River Kwai' but it's certainly no lesser a class to them.

This tale of clashing cultures is complicated when Mrs. Moore and Adela, against the wishes of Mrs. Moore's son and the stuffy Brits in their company, form a friendship with the affable Dr. Aziz, a young Indian man eager to introduce them to the glories of his country. Aziz arranges for a picnic at the distant Marabar Caves, a landmark of some spiritual significance in the mountains. Unfortunately, the trip goes disastrously wrong for all involved, and its outcome inadvertently sets off a political firestorm between the outraged Indian populace and the racist British powers in charge.

As with all of E.M. Forster's novels, 'Passage to India' is, at least in part, a story of manners and society, and the social boundaries drawn by class and race. As dramatized by Lean, the plot turns a little too preachy in its politics. It has some sudden shifts in character personalities that aren't sufficiently motivated by the events at the caves were meant to be ambiguous in the book, which was undoubtedly a tricky proposition to depict on screen, and Lean hasn't quite captured it. The last act also feels deflated and the picture wraps up with an unsatisfying anti-ending.

Modern audiences will likely find more troublesome the casting of Sir Alec Guinness painted up in brown face as the Indian character Professor Godbole. Even at the time, it was a controversial decision, if perhaps a bit more tolerable back in 1984. Thankfully, Sir Alec Guinness had the good sense to dial down the performance and avoid playing it broadly. The actor reportedly had grave reservations about taking the role and had to be talked into it by Lean. Honestly, if he weren't such a famous and recognisable British screen star, there isn't much in his portrayal to merit offense, though it does unavoidably grate.

In the film's favour, Sir David Lean mounted a stately production of the material, brought to life with lavish period detail and the director's exquisite visual sense. Despite its flaws, the movie tells a compelling story with intelligence and grace. The picture set the template for the many Merchant-Ivory adaptations of E. M. Forster's works to follow, and remains a standout in the literary period piece genre.

This is Sir David Lean at his best. Telling a story of conflict between competing cultures, exposing the bigotry and injustice inherent in an occupier-occupied state while showing audiences that there are generous, kind and compassionate people on both sides of every war, even if they are not able themselves, either through circumstance or choice, to stand up to those who perpetuate the turmoil. ‘A Passage to India’ is a strong film that in spite of its flaws gives one faith that in a just world, everyone can stand side-by-side without fear.

It is also truly wonderful that they can bring classic films like this right up to speed with the latest that the format has to offer. The video aspects of the film are excellent and Sony Pictures brings you a fantastic high definition re-incarnation of this film. It's one to be proud of for sure and I only wish that the audio had been equally as good. The included extra's make for excellent viewing and add real value to this Blu-ray disc. They've been thoughtfully put together and there is plenty of intelligent comment about the film from both the cast and senior crew. Bring the whole package together and this classic film becomes a totally recommended purchase.

Blu-ray Video Quality – 'A Passage to India' comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Like most of the studio's product, the disc opens with an annoying Blu-ray promo. Apparently, nobody at the studio realises that someone already watching a Blu-ray disc doesn't need to be sold on how great Blu-ray is. Eschewing the wide CinemaScope grandeur of his most famous epics, David Lean opted to shoot 'A Passage to India' in a standard "flat" theatrical aspect ratio, allegedly to ensure that it would translate better to TV viewing. The Blu-ray is presented in a 1.66:1 European ratio, with small pillar-box bars on the sides of the 16:9 widescreen frame. The 1080p transfer has clearly undergone some restoration work since past home video editions, and looks very good for a Metrocolor production of the era. The source elements have a little bit of instability, including flesh tones that occasionally waiver from pallid to pinkish. Otherwise, the picture has very nice colour, detail, and texture. The individual beads of sweat on an actor's face are often strikingly visible. Being a Lean film, the photography is naturally quite gorgeous with stunning travelogue-style landscapes. The High-Definition image has a great many scenes of excellent clarity. On the downside, it appears that Sony has applied some artificial sharpening. Although edge halos aren't a problem, film grain often has a noisy electronic texture. Contrasts have also been boosted to give the video some extra pop, and the results can sometimes be a little hard on the eyes. Nevertheless, this is a fine-looking disc sure to please fans of the film.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – The audio comes in the guise of a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack and I was actually a little taken aback by it. For a film of both its style and age I wasn't expecting much surround channel activity but you certainly do get some here. The rears can be filled with strange effects, from the bands playing the national anthem to the echoes in the Marabar Caves. The award winning score by Maurice Jarre accompanies the film at every opportunity and leaves you uplifted with a sense of joy. The style of the mix is certainly not unwelcome, but I was expecting this to be a front sound space dialogue centric affair. Speaking of which, the dialogue does tend to edge on the tinnier side of things. However, it's not gratingly so and dependent on your set up you may feel that it is fine. Personally I wish it had been a bit more balanced and be smoothed out.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras: Most of the extras are presented in 1080p with some of the older material being in the 4:3 aspect ratio.

Audio Commentary: Commentary with Producer Richard Goodwin: Richard Goodwin is certainly a fellow who draws his words with measure. The commentary does as a result become rather too slow and as you progress further into the film the pauses between the scenes become increasingly so. He also begins to fall into the trap of simply pointing out the obvious in what is literally is happening onscreen. Nevertheless, once you get into his style, it's worth sticking with.

Special Feature: Beyond the Passage [1984] Calling this feature "picture-in-picture" is kind of misleading. Instead of video clips displayed on top of the film, at certain moments the entire film image pauses briefly and then is shrunk down to a small portion of the screen, surrounded by a large border with trivia text notes printed to the side. After a few moments it will pause again and return to normal proportions. The disc case makes no mention of whether this function is a "Bonus View" enabled or requires a Profile 1.1 capable Blu-ray player. There is no secondary audio to go with the screen graphics. I suspect that this is a simple use of branching, and not a true “Bonus View” facility. It is possible to listen to the audio commentary while this feature is also active, and I recommend that combination to save time. The trivia notes are only mildly interesting and sparsely distributed. Frankly, the whole thing is annoyingly designed. The trivia notes would have been better served to appear as pop-up subtitles.

Special Feature: E.M. Forster: Profile of an Author [1984] [6:54] Peter Jones of Kings College Cambridge simply talks about the writer, his life and his works. Overall it's a very informative and interesting biography of the writer.

Special Feature: An Epic Takes Shape [1984] [10:55] The cast and crew re-collect the experience of working with Sir David Lean and what it took to make the film. Most of it is led by Richard Goodwin and it's once again very measured and informative.

Special Feature: An Indian Affair [1984] [13:38] This really follows on from the preceding extra and the crew talk about India itself. What the attractions of this country are and how they went about trying to recreate the feel of the British Raj.

Special Feature: Only Connect: A Vision of India [1984] [10:34] Cast and crew discuss the movie once again but matters are a little more intimate here. You get to hear a lot of recollection in the way Sir David Lean used to do things and is interspersed with scenes from the film. The re-creation of India within the Shepperton Studios as well as the cultural reaction to this film is discussed.

Special Feature: Casting a Classic [1984] [11:22] As you would expect the cast talk about how they were approached by Sir David Lean to ask to play their parts in the film. This is all pretty straightforward interview stuff really, but sadly both Judy Davis and Victor Bannerjee are missing. A highlight here is when Nigel Havers gives his thoughts on Judy Davis. Hmmm I don't think they got on whilst making this film.

Special Feature: David Lean: Shooting with the Master [1984] [13:23] The cast talk extensionally about their relationship with Sir David Lean and his style of direction. It's interesting to note that his style was very much from an editorial perspective. He also comes across as a man who knew his own mind and was set in his ways. Who are we to argue? He certainly knew his stuff and delivered it impeccably.

Special Feature: Reflections of David Lean [1984] [480i] [4:3] [8:17] This is taken from VT footage of an interview with Sir David Lean himself. This is essential viewing and you simply have to watch this to appreciate the man and his intellectual thoughts.

Special Feature: The David Lean Collection [1984] [1:56] A big American Promo Trailer informing us that the following Sir David Lean films ‘Bridge on the River Kwai,' ‘Lawrence of Arabia' and of course ‘A Passage to India' are now available on a 2-disc Special Blu-ray and DVD Collections.

Trailer: Blu-ray Discs is High Definition [1080p] [00:30] A massive Promo Trailer for the Sony Blu-ray format.

Finally, I cannot praise this truly classic film ‘A Passage to India' that brought back so many memories when I first saw this film when it was released in 1984, and gosh where has the time flown by, and I feel the way they have remastered this film on the Blu-ray format has made the film look even more stunning when it was originally released. One thing that really shocked me is when you see in the Extras and the people who helped Sir David Lean behind the scenes, where they will tell you that he was such a perfectionist and knew what he wanted out of everyone, especially the Actors, that he actually Edited the film himself and it is NOT credited anywhere and they felt he was robbed in NOT getting an OSCAR® for Best Editor. But despite this, the film is a totally magical experience and it makes you feel you are actually there and gives you the exotic flavour of India of the time and the way the British Empire treated the Indian people in such a terrible way. So all in all, if any of you Blu-ray aficionados out there who have not got this in your Blu-ray Collection, then you are missing out on something truly special and spectacular and now I am proud to add this to my ever increasing Blu-ray David Lean Collection and will give you endless hours of viewing pleasure. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 28 March 2015
As the Raj enters its final decades, Adela Quested and Mrs Moore, her mother in law to be, take ship to India. Malcontents both, they wish to see 'The Real India'. They succeed. The innocently westernised Dr Aziz, befriended by Mrs Moore, invites the Englishwomen on a no expenses spared trip to the Marabar caves, some twenty miles from Chandrapur, first glimpsed by Adela as an illustration on the wall of the London booking office of P&O. They go on a day considered astrologically inauspicious in the view of Alec Guinness's Professor Godbole and on the howdah of an elephant which provides the most impressive spectacle of the film as it places its feet with majestic care on the rocky path to the caves. Their frightening echoes drive the elderly Mrs Moore out into the light and apart from the emotionally disorientated Miss Quested. A viceregal garden party occasions a rebuke to Adela's fiancee, Nigel Havers's energetic young magistrate, that it is a mere exercise in power. Her son has no time for this socialist clap trap and sets the tone by gleefully sentencing a pathetically grateful offender to two months hard labour. Domestically, the mother in law assaults the young couple in what Professor Higgins would label 'the new small talk', referring, incongruously, to 'carnal engagement'. Adela heads off on her bike to discover more. She finds her way to an abandoned Hindu temple, its erotically entwined figures transfixed by the incense of desire. Pursued by a furious tribe of monkeys, she makes her escape. It is here, perhaps that the unambitious nature of her putative relationship with her coldly rational fiancee begins to unsettle her, even as she seeks to reinstate it in pursuit of security. At the caves, she is alone when Aziz peers into the chamber where she does not reveal herself to him. Whilst Mrs Moore dozes inebriated, Adela has an encounter with a cactus and emerges bloodstained onto the road far below the caves, from where a frantic Aziz observes her entering a car. The viceregal machine metamorphoses her into a victim of sexual assault by Aziz suitably inflamed by reading an Indian version of Titbits, but the shocked and wholly innocent accused needs little assistance from his hotshot world weary defence counsel from Amritsar, as Adela withdraws her charges, which are never specified for us. Aziz's only European ally, apart from Mrs Moore, is James Fox's avuncular headmaster, Fielding. He escorts Quested away from court in opprobrium. It was badly done, Adela. Much as the film seeks to depict the viceroy and his minions as the incompetent and ruthless sponsors of Adela's misconceived action, their real impact on the subcontinent and its people, as of the case, at societal level, is made clear at the garden party. Here, wonderfully attired Indian women in brilliant saris signal their cultural resonance with the colonial power by intoning the names of London monuments. The British, although they brought democracy, were but only the most recent graft upon the Indian caste system and Aziz symbolically reverts to Indian dress, angrily finding employment far way. As for Miss Quested, she returns to England and Fielding marries Mrs Moore's daughter Estelle. The Rubik cube of relationships is in the end unsatisfying. Adela is now even more at a loose end and Fielding's wife is introduced merely to effect symbolically his reconciliation as the righteous Englishmen with Aziz, the newly awoken Indian.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 25 February 2018
I got this dvd just to watch on a sunday afternoon after a long walk with my dog, it was a truly inspiring story of one gentlemans struggle and how if facts are not correct the trouble it could lead to. The attitudes of people years ago in india are very surprising please buy this dvd and sit down and enjoy you will not be disappointed.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 22 January 2017
Superb evocation of the last days of the Raj in India: spectacular, exciting, well-acted, and with a gripping unfolding screenplay by Lean himself. The modern spin on the narrative is subtle and affecting. Alec Guiness's much-criticized turn as Hindu-Brahmin Professor Godbole comes across as a sensitive portrayal of a key figure in the story.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 24 December 2012
The story is very interesting. The main characters are a young english lady just arrived in India in the 30's and a muslim doctor (who is treated with kind, sometimes unkind, disregard) who has already lost his wife. There is no love story: the lady accepts to visit some caves, the man prepares all ... and then by some strange change the lady scrambles away and the man is sent in jail. The story is all about what the lady says and about the man who in the end switches town. There is never a love story among them. There are many people around too, in particular a (not very young) english gentleman who remains friend of the muslim man all along the story; but I will stop here not to destroy the pleasure in viewing the movie.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 7 April 2017
Bought for my wife who believes this is one of the best films ever made. The scenery is spectacular, and it is very well made
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 9 April 2014
This has long been one of my favourite films. It ticks all of the boxes - a beautiful production; a formidable director; a wonderful, timeless, British cast; and a story and style which evokes the charm and tension of a bygone age and which originates from the pen of one of the great Edwardian authors.

It was a joy to be able to obtain a copy of the film on DVD, especially now that it is so difficult to trace through ordinary stores. However, I was crushed with disappointment when, having sat down to watch the film, I found that the DVD was corrupted and unwatchable.

I contacted the Marketplace seller (AMDVDs) promptly, and they indicated (immediately, and without delay) that, if I returned the defective DVD, they would despatch a replacement and would refund my return postage costs.

Because of distractions at work and at home, it was in fact months before I got round to doing that. As it was, the DVD being returned was lost by Royal Mail. Thus, it never reached the seller. However, when (after a few days of returning it) I contacted AMDVDs, they undertook to send out a replacement regardless of the fact that the original DVD was lost. I offered to provide them with the original proof of posting, but they indicated that that was not necessary (although, as a courtesy, I provided it in any event).

The new DVD arrived a couple of days later and has proved a perfectly watchable product.

Thus, what could have been a sour experience with an unknown seller has proved a great success.

I would certainly recommend AMDVDs to anyone looking for DVDs which are, perhaps, hard to trace through the major stores.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 27 October 2016
David Lean's last film , I believe and it won't disappoint .Aspects of Lawrence of Arabia , Dr Zhivago and Bridge on the river Kwai are all present in the broad sweep of this tale of India in the final days of British rule .
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 22 April 2015
I've always admired Judy Davis and this early film of hers is marvelous. I saw it in the cinema years ago and had to buy the DVD. Set in India where she is led to believe she is going to be married...strange events happen which have a profound effect on her future. Contains beautiful acting and stunning period costumes.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)