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Bhowani Junction


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Product Details

  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JP4K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #685,340 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Bhowani Junction" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

A landmark title in the evolution of CinemaScope, Bhowani Junction is a fascinating but exasperating instance of a provocative film running head-on into studio interference and censorship. This would be the next-to-last project in George Cukor's long history as an MGM director, and despite its rejection at the time, admirers regard it as one of his most personal achievements.

What's irreducibly admirable is Cukor's sensuous embrace of India as both the film's location and its "major character." With F.A. Young as cinematographer (six years before Young shot David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia), this director chiefly associated with intimate settings and soundstage productions created rich, gold-brown canvases surging powerfully with vast crowds and unrest. Ava Gardner plays a half-British, half-Indian woman trying to find an identity for herself at that moment in 1947 when Great Britain was preparing to withdraw from the country it had ruled for two centuries. Her dilemma is focused through her relationships with several men: a fellow half-caste (Bill Travers) who's been her longtime lover, a slimy British junior officer (Lionel Jeffries), a pure-blood Indian aspiring to make her his bride (Francis Matthews), and the senior British officer (Stewart Granger) whose fierce ambivalence must inevitably mutate into passionate love.

If it's sensuousness you're after, you can do a lot worse than having the luscious Gardner at the center of your movie, and the actress responded beautifully to both the exotic setting and Cukor's direction. Alas, Granger was mostly a stick (Cukor wanted Trevor Howard), and the script is awful--structurally incoherent and endlessly recycling bald-faced declarations of the divided-ethnicity theme. The situation is made worse by the studio's decision to reedit the film as a flashback, with Granger narrating. Still ... Ava, India, and CinemaScope carry the day. --Richard T. Jameson

Customer Reviews

DVD quality is very good for a movie of this vintage.
Greystoke
You can learn a lot about the historical circumstances of India's separation from British rule.
B. Dutka
I think this film gives a good idea of the turmoil in India as the Raj was coming to an end.
Lellah Lawrence

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Daniel G. Madigan on July 22, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Why is there being marketed this series of very good films (some not) at these sky rocket prices, with no significant art work, no inserts, no trailers, no special features, and no chapters with any logic..every ten minutes there is a chapter break, and are they awful.

These are DVDS from tapes, sold to customers for close to $30.00 each.

Further, the restrictions on playing them are absurd, showing the nature of the copying. They are way over-priced knock offs, of the very bad over seas variety.

Hard to understand, but beware, and if you have B. Junction, Private Lives, Sins of Rachel Cade etc., on VHS, hold on to those copies, they are much better.

At this price..a disgrace.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Daniel G. Madigan on November 1, 2001
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Ava Gardner once more shows how good she can be in a dramatic part with this role as an Anglo Indian trying to exist in a world where she is respected by neither the British nor the Indians. Her performance captures the plight of a character on the verge of losing her identity and deciding to become totally Indian, while sensing that she belongs to the colonial world that has created this dichotomy of racial selfhood she lives in.
Ava is spectatcular in portraying the two sides of this tricky coin, and her acting is enhanced by her remarkable beauty, her brunette hair and beautiful eyes and luminous face, and her gestures which suggest so much of these two worlds that torment her.
Stewart Granger, always underestimated, is very good as a man who pursues Ava with negative ideas about her Anglo-Indian role, and who, through this negativity, hopes that she will seee him as the savior, again the colonial solution.
Bill Travers is excellent as an Anglo, chasing Ava to the point of madness, insisting on his sexual power and his sense of the real India she must live in.
There are racial issues struggling to get out in this script, and George Cukor, who directed this and many Hepburn /Tracey films, keeps the politically correct posture that he does in every film he ever made. A hack of the first order, but Ava keeps way ahead of this guy and makes Bhowani Junction a great film. (Note her rape scene, and how modern her approach to it is.)
This film was cut drastically by Metro Goldwyn Mayer, and Cukor approved of all the cuts, as he did with Judy Garland's A Star Is Born, claiming he suffered over all the cuts.Nonsense.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. Paton on October 24, 2006
Format: DVD
While this movie may not be historically accurate, it stands out for two reasons. The acting of Ava Gardner as she portrays a half Indian, half Welsh young woman during one of the most turbulent times in the history of the Indian sub-continent. She was ably supported by a distinguished cast. The second reason is the portrayal of those times. The British had little to be proud about over their management of the sub-continent, but they did leave behind a fully functioning civil service, including the management of the railways. This movie shows the situation perfectly. All in all, this movie is an event not to be missed. The reader who thinks that all the characters ever did was winge and whine obviously knows nothing about the conditions in which the half-casts lived. I recommend this without hesitation.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Fan on January 15, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I like this movie tremendously, particularly as a fan of the glamorous Ava Gardner. I had never seen this particular movie before until I bought it recently from Amazon. Ms. Gardner eloquently played her role as the charming Eurasian Victoria Jones with realism and passion, exemplifying her excellent acting skill. On the other hand, Stewart Granger though stiff at times does a fine job as the evolving British Officer, complementing Gardner very well. The plot is somewhat predictable especially under the backdrop during the waning days of the British occupation of India. However, the overall acting, directing, script writing and the quality of the DVD picture are more than enough to compensate for any shortcoming.
Since getting this DVD, I have viewed it twice and I still continue to enjoy it. I would recommend this movie to anyone who can appreciate good movie from the golden era of the past.
David Chan
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34 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Roger Kennedy VINE VOICE on November 13, 2002
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is an interesting flick which shows the choas that created India and Pakistan as two inperfect nations. To view this movie today can give you an insight into what has become modern India. Ava Gardener does a great job showing the plight of the Anglo-Indians. While not Indian herself she looks the part well. Some have complained that having British actors play Indians detracts from the movie. Perhaps this is not politically correct by today's standards, but this viewer found nothing wrong with it. Indian actors might have been harder to understand with their accents than British actors! The real strength of this movie is the political background of India's Independence. The atmosphere of confusion bordering on bloody conflict is captured well. One can see what a thankless job the British had trying to dis-engage from India without leaving a civil war behind. The way Colonel Savage deals with the high caste Brahamins protesting at the railway station is masterful. Even in their decline, the British could always out-smart their Indian opponets! The agitators like Ghandi, Nehru and others who are portrayed by their followers in the movie show how in their eagerness to ride themselves of the British they were careless in regards to possible Moslem /Hindu violence. On the sidelines, but hoping to cause trouble were the Communists, as always. The movie shows all of these forces in play, while allowing us to see India's confusion in the form of Ava Gardner's identity crisis, which mirrors what the impact of Independence was on many.
The Pakistani battalion that is used to portray a Pathan unit provides an interesting snapshot of what the old Indian army was like. The use of bagpipes was popular in their regiments because of the influence of Scottish units and their music on India.
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subtitles?
Unless it was originally a non-English speaking title, none of the current Warner Archive Collection titles has subtitles.
Jan 23, 2010 by Dr. Bubonic |  See all 3 posts
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