Tag Archives: Vanessa Redgrave

A restored “The Bostonians” explores political intrigue and forbidden romance in post-Civil War Boston.

Charles S. Cohen, Chairman and CEO of Cohen Media Group is ready to pull another gem out of his wealth of wonders.  On May 21, Cohen releases Merchant Ivory Productions’ Academy Award-nominated The Bostonians in a 4K restoration on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms.
The Bostonians (1984) was the second of three handsomely mounted Henry James adaptations by the team of producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, following 1979’s The Europeans and preceding The Golden Bowl (2000).
Academy Award-winning actresses Jessica Tandy, Vanessa Redgrave and Linda Hunt headline an all-star cast alongside Christopher Reeve in this adaptation of James’s 1886 novel of political intrigue and forbidden romance in post-Civil War Boston. Olive Chancellor (played by Redgrave) finds her infatuation with young activist Verena Tarrant (Madeleine Potter) challenged by a Southern lawyer (Christopher Reeve) who also loves her. An intricately drawn study of the impact of women’s suffrage on society, The Bostonians is also a lush evocation of the late 19th century, with dazzling cinematography by Walter Lassally and a memorable score by frequent Merchant Ivory collaborator Richard Robbins.

The film received two Academy Award nominations, for Best Actress (Vanessa Redgrave) and Costume Design (Jenny Beavan, John Bright). Redgrave was named Best Actress by the National Society of Film Critics.
Special features on the Blu-ray and DVD include a new interview with director James Ivory, “Conversations from the Quad: James Ivory on The Bostonians,” the original trailer and the 2018 re-release trailer.

“Man in an Orange Shirt” is a critically-acclaimed film that portrays a pair of love stories, 60 years apart,

The plot opens on the Italian front near the end of World War II. British Captain Michael Berryman saves the life of a wounded fellow officer and recognizes him as Thomas March, an old schoolmate, now serving as an official war artist. Though engaged to his childhood sweetheart, Flora, Michael feels a powerful attraction to Thomas, who feels the same way. After the artist’s recuperation, the two share a brief, passionate encounter before parting.

With the war over, Michael looks up Thomas in London, and they spend a liberating, amorous weekend at Michael’s rundown country cottage. There, Thomas sketches Michael for a painting that will become “Man in an Orange Shirt.” In an era when homosexuality in England was punished by prison, there is no hope of living together. Furthermore, Michael feels honor-bound to marry Flora, and he asks Thomas to be his best man. This sets the stage for a turbulent marriage, not least because Flora suspects nothing about her fiancé’s sexual preference.

The second half of the drama skips two generations to the present day. Michael and Thomas have died, and Flora keeps house with her grandson, Adam, a young veterinarian active in London’s gay hookup scene—a subject Flora carefully avoids.

Into Adam’s restless life comes Steve, an architect eager for a stable relationship and intrigued by the challenge of fixing up the cottage that Adam has been given by Flora—the same place where Michael and Thomas spent their idyllic weekend six decades earlier. The times change, the laws change, the technology changes (as illustrated by Adam’s addiction to dating apps), but the problem of love, commitment, and acceptance is as persistent and formidable as ever.

It’s not just Adam and Steve who face this dilemma. Flora, too, has unfinished business with the past.

Such is the wonder of MASTERPIECE: Man in an Orange Shirt (PBS Distribution), a critically-acclaimed film that portrays a pair of love stories, 60 years apart, linked by family ties, sexual identity, and a mysterious painting. It will be available on DVD and Blu-ray June 19; The program will also be available for digital download.

Scripted by bestselling novelist Patrick Gale, the film was a two-part original drama which formed part of the BBC’s Gay Britannia season. Man in the Orange Shirt was broadcast to wide critical acclaim in the UK in 2017 for the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality.

Playing the star-crossed lovers are Oliver Jackson-Cohen, James McArdle, Julian Morris and David Gyasi. Joining Vanessa Redgrave are Joanna Vanderham, Laura Carmichael, Julian Sands, Frances de la Tour, Adrian Schiller and Joanna David.