6.3/10
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14 user 30 critic

The Bostonians (1984)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 5 October 1984 (UK)
Trailer
1:23 | Trailer
A Boston feminist and a conservative Southern lawyer contend for the heart and mind of a beautiful and bright girl unsure of her future.

Director:

James Ivory

Writers:

Henry James (novel), Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Reeve ... Basil Ransome
Vanessa Redgrave ... Olive Chancellor
Jessica Tandy ... Miss Birdseye
Madeleine Potter ... Verena Tarrant
Nancy Marchand ... Mrs. Burrage
Wesley Addy ... Dr. Tarrant
Barbara Bryne Barbara Bryne ... Mrs. Tarrant
Linda Hunt ... Dr. Prance
Charles McCaughan ... Music Hall Policeman
Nancy New ... Adeline
Jon Van Ness ... Henry Burrage (as John Van Ness Philip)
Wallace Shawn ... Mr. Pardon
Peter Bogyo Peter Bogyo ... Mr. Gracie
Martha Farrar Martha Farrar ... Mrs, Farrinder
Dusty Maxwell Dusty Maxwell ... Newton Tarrant
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Storyline

19th-century Boston woman dedicated to the suffrage movement, meets a faith healer's daughter, a Mississippi lawyer also has eyes for the young woman. Written by Joyce Kavitsky <Kavitsky@erols.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A BEAUTIFUL FILM . . . An intimate and exquisite probe of the feminist heart. [Australia Theatrical]

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the official website of Merchant Ivory Productions, source author "Henry James first conceived the [film's source "The Bostonians"] novel through his fascination with the cause of suffrage". See more »

Goofs

After a title card has advised us we are in New York City in 1876, Olive Chancellor writes a check for Mr. Tarrant, dated September 13, 1875. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Prance: It's a pity you can't say "damn".
Olive Chancellor: Yes.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Wandering Company (1984) See more »

User Reviews

"Past endurance"
28 August 2006 | by Cristi_CiopronSee all my reviews

I've always been interested in the James adaptations,and in the Ivory films.

The Bostonians ' first half's calligraphy and distinguished Callophily is pleasing,then the groundless length becomes oppressive,annoying and exasperating,so that finally I loathed this movie.That's no way to treat the viewers!The unjustified and intolerable length does not serve the narration,not the atmosphere,nor the characters' development. Wasted footage!I began by liking The Bostonians ,I finished by loathing this movie that goes nowhere.(James was quite loquacious and blabbed with a senile joy,and the movie gets also very talkative.)

Reeve smiles intelligently and even ironically from time to time,which kind of contradicts his supposed plainness.He acts somehow beside the point,but I guess the idea of introducing him as a tom cat with transient smiles was meant to cheer a little this overlong H. James adaptation,and as a needed antidote for the crabby Mrs. Redgrave.Reeve is almost brave in feigning some real interest for Madeleine Potter's character.

The two actresses I liked are:(1)Nancy New (as "Olive Chancellor"'s far more attractive sister);(2)Nancy Marchand.

Mrs. Redgrave is a broody,headstrong,crabbed,exalted and poisonous,felonious damsel ,as interesting as Lenin's books.As a matter of fact,this poor woman looks rather feeble-minded.One hopes in vain she'll have her fling with "Verena Tarrant".She is here as cranky as ever.

Mrs. Madeleine Potter is very uninteresting, insipid,and as fascinating as a sausage.

Towards the final of The Bostonians ,I swore at the director, at the scriptwriter and at the entire cast.I would seize Ivory by his ears and force him watch many Bruce Lee movies and many Jackie Chan movies,so much that he gets able to make at least something that well-thought.

The whole plot is utterly nauseating.The characters are as viscid as the mollusks.This makes the movie a morass.This is a show,don't ask me to judge it as if it were a novel.I'm talking about Ivory's show,not about James' novel.The most annoying fact is that Mrs. Redgrave seems to enjoy her role;this is unacceptable!(But it is also obvious that no member of the cast is able to get what this show is about.This may serve,though in a paradoxical way,as a justification for them all!These people (Reeve, Nancy Marchand and Nancy New) performed hoping there is a meaning they are not yet able to comprehend.)


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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 October 1984 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Bostonians See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,009,700

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,009,700
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

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