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Heat and Dust / Autobiography of a Princess - The Merchant Ivory Collection


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Product Details

  • Actors: Julie Christie, Greta Scacchi, Shashi Kapoor, Susan Fleetwood, Christopher Cazenove
  • Directors: James Ivory
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Merchant Ivory
  • DVD Release Date: November 11, 2003
  • Run Time: 189 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AQS6H
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,581 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Heat and Dust / Autobiography of a Princess - The Merchant Ivory Collection" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Autobiography of a Princess, a 55-minute film about Royal India starring James Mason and Madhur Jaffrey, directed by James Ivory and written by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
  • Conversation with the filmmakers, part of a new series of interviews with James Ivory, Ismail Merchant, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and Richard Robbins

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A persistent clash of cultures lies at the heart of "Heat and Dust", the Merchant/Ivory team's most acclaimed drama prior to 1985's "A Room with a View". The celebrated trio of director James Ivory, producer Ismail Merchant, and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala were perfectly suited to this time-skipping story of thwarted romance, based on Jhabvala's novel, in which the colonial British find themselves perpetually at odds with the vibrant rhythms of India. In this most sensual of environments, two related British women, separated by six decades, discover that their independent spirits are not entirely welcomed within the confines of colonial etiquette. Olivia (Greta Scacchi) defies her stringent husband in the 1920s, while her great-niece Anne (Julie Christie) discovers, upon getting pregnant by an Indian local in the early '80s, that she and Olivia have more than a little in common. Jhabvala's feminism is subtle but forcefully dramatized, and under Ivory's sensitive direction, this tale of two women is a defiantly resonant tribute to love wherever one may find it. "--Jeff Shannon"

Amazon.com

A persistent clash of cultures lies at the heart of Heat and Dust, the Merchant/Ivory team's most acclaimed drama prior to 1985's A Room with a View. The celebrated trio of director James Ivory, producer Ismail Merchant, and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala were perfectly suited to this time-skipping story of thwarted romance, based on Jhabvala's novel, in which the colonial British find themselves perpetually at odds with the vibrant rhythms of India. In this most sensual of environments, two related British women, separated by six decades, discover that their independent spirits are not entirely welcomed within the confines of colonial etiquette. Olivia (Greta Scacchi) defies her stringent husband in the 1920s, while her great-niece Anne (Julie Christie) discovers, upon getting pregnant by an Indian local in the early '80s, that she and Olivia have more than a little in common. Jhabvala's feminism is subtle but forcefully dramatized, and under Ivory's sensitive direction, this tale of two women is a defiantly resonant tribute to love wherever one may find it. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

117 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 21, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This 1982 Merchant Ivory production is a lush, atmospheric period piece based upon the well written book of the same name by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who also wrote the screenplay for this film. Set in two distinct eras, colonial India of the nineteen twenties, during the time of the Raj, and the independent, freewheeling India of the early nineteen eighties, during the time when India was a mecca for disenfranchised youth, it explores Anglo-Indian relations through the power of romance. This is subtley done through the story of two women.
One story is that of Olivia (Greta Scacchi), the young and beautiful wife of Douglas Rivers (Christopher Casenove), a minor district official in colonial India. The film tells of her arrival in India, newly wed and in love with her husband, her subsequent boredom with the staid, British Colonial community, and her blossoming infatuation with the Nawab (Shashi Kapoor), a very handsome and charming, local Indian prince. It is her romance with the Nawab that is to result in a life changing action, one that would forever cause a permanent rift with Douglas, changing her life forever.
The second story is that of Anne (Julie Christie), a beautiful and independent woman, a descendant of Olivia's sister. Nearly sixty years after Olivia's transgression, fascinated by the story of the deceased Olivia, Anne goes to India, visiting those locations where Olivia had lived and those which would have been a part of her existence at the time. As did Olivia, she falls under India's spell. As did Olivia, she, too, has an Anglo-Indian love affair. Hers is with her landlord, Inder Lal (Zakir Hussain). Anne's life essentially picks up where the thread of Olivia's life left off, giving the viewer a powerful sense of de-ja vu and a suggestion of reincarnation.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Jeanine Martin on October 22, 2000
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This beautifully crafted film, largely set in India during two time periods, was referred to as a "sleeper" shortly after its release. In my opinion, it should have won an Oscar. The sets and costuming were beautiful, but most interesting was the story itself. Two women, having similar experiences in India sixty years apart. It ended with the subtle suggestion of reincarnation. Just beautiful. I've been attempting to purchase the video for two years now, to no avail. Why are the producers/studio not reissuing this outstanding film on video? I do hope this changes soon.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Ocean Dweller on July 23, 2003
Format: DVD
I watched the movie almost twenty years back on Indian TV and was entranced by the romance of British India. I then ordered it on UK Amazon site, bought a code free DVD player, just to watch this movie. This is one of those rare instances when the movie is far better than the book. May be that has to do with the fact that the author was also the script writer. The cinematography is incomparable. The backbone of the story is the beautiful Greta Scachchi and her romance with an Indian prince.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By KerrLines on June 3, 2007
Format: DVD
What Merchant Ivory has always done well is to bring style,panache and social consciousness to tell the stories of those who are subjugated to second class citizenry. HEAT AND DUST is one of their earliest lavish productions that tell the plight of women and their unfortunate precast roles in British and Indian Society. The characters are strong and resourceful in face of the unfairness and inconsequentiality that a patriarchal society has pushed upon them.

Acting greats Greta Scacchi (here an ingenue) and Julie Christie (then a seasoned actress) play two women related by blood whose stories are paralled though sixty years apart. Aunt Olivia (Scacchi),a 1920's British Newlywed and her very Stayed British husband (Christopher Casanove) arrive in India at the sundown of British Colonial Rule. Civil uprising is already brewing. Gandhi is a new force on the scene. Hindi and Muslim are vying for power as British Imperialism is soon to come to an end. With this as the historical backdrop, Olivia is a young woman who finds herself willing to snub all convention and risk a scandalous affair with a Prince (or Nawab, played by Shashi Kapoor).The parallel story takes place in 1982 with grandniece Anne (Christie) fascinated in tracing Olivia's steps based on Olivia's kept correspondence by Anne's grandmother. Anne also dicovers in herself the same "wildness" that her Aunt had, and all of this is fueled by the crazy "heat and dust" that casts it's mystical and magical spell on those it touches(or so all of the men say is the problem affecting these "silly creatures"-women)This film is not without some very tongue-in-cheek wit and humour. The Nawab's mother for instance is a stitch!
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Parvez Ahmad on February 3, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
This film should have an Oscar. Breathtaking and carefully crafted one of the best films I have seen. The film very cleverley shows the end of British as well as the end of Old mughal Nawabs in northern India. Though muslims by faith, the Nawabs or the Princes were far away from their faith and beliefs. It was an eye opener for me as well which explains the fact that such a great Mughal Empire just crumbled within a century.
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