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The Europeans: The Merchant Ivory Collection (1979)

Lee Remick , Robin Ellis , James Ivory  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)


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DVD 1-Disc Version $37.68  
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Product Details

  • Actors: Lee Remick, Robin Ellis, Wesley Addy, Lisa Eichhorn, Tim Woodward
  • Directors: James Ivory
  • Writers: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Henry James
  • Producers: Ismail Merchant
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Mono, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: The Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: August 19, 2003
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000A02TU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,271 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Europeans: The Merchant Ivory Collection" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Sweet Sounds, a documentary short film by composer Richard Robbins
  • Conversation with the Filmmakers, part of a new series of interviews with Ismail Merchant, James Ivory, Ruth Prawer Jhavbala, and composer Richard Robbins

Editorial Reviews

Merchant Ivory Productions, The Criterion Collection, and Home Vision Entertainment are proud to present The Merchant Ivory Collection

This entertaining story from a delicious early novel by Henry James takes place in a New England Arcadia that stands for everything beautiful, pure and good. Into this Eden come a sophisticated European brother and sister who turn up unexpectedly on the doorstep of their staid American cousins, the Wentworths. The fortune-hunting Eugenia (Lee Remick) and her high-spirited brother Felix (Tim Woodward) turn this Puritan world upside down. The film concludes with three betrothals, like a Mozart opera. But Eugenia has been too clever, and must return to Europe as empty-handed as she came.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
This beautiful adaptation of the Henry James novel of the same name is an early Ivory/Merchant film. It is beautifully shot with shimmering pastoral scenes that bring to mind some wonderful impressionist paintings. The story is likewise somewhat impressionistic and centered around two brother and sister expatriates, Eugenia and Felix Young, who come from Europe to visit their wealthy American half cousins, the Wentworths, in the very bucolic, very Yankee, suburban environs of Boston in the late nineteenth century.
The Wentworths are a rather strait-laced, prim and proper, wealthy family, whose head is the dour and mistrustful old Mr. Wentworth (Wesley Addy). The family welcomes their European cousins with some trepidation and reservation, as they seem positively bohemian to them. The one exception is Gertrude Wentworth (Lisa Eichhorn) who gravitates towards her newly found, sophisticated relatives. As a flower turns to the sun, Gertrude turns to her cousins to brighten her otherwise dull and narrow world. She is not disappointed.
Eugenia (Lee Remick) proclaims to be the Baroness Munster, an unhappily married woman on the brink of divorce. Her charming brother, Felix (Tim Woodward), is a rather artistic fellow with no foreseeable prospects. Together they take the Wentworths by storm and turn their previously well ordered, somewhat provincial world, upside down. This is a slow moving film that allows the story to unfold at its own, unhurried pace.
As Eugenia and Felix leisurely weave themselves into the fabric of the Wentworths' lives, changes ensue. During their stay, a romance develops between Felix and Gertrude. Her rebuffed suitor, Mr. Brand (Norman Snow), ends up finding solace in the arms of Charlotte, Gertrude's more eminently suited sister.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ALL TALK...NO ACTION...ENTERTAINING, NONETHELESS... August 28, 2007
Format:DVD
This beautiful adaptation of the Henry James novel of the same name is an early Ivory/Merchant film. It is beautifully shot with shimmering pastoral scenes that bring to mind some wonderful impressionist paintings. The story is likewise somewhat impressionistic and centered around two brother and sister expatriates, Eugenia and Felix Young, who come from Europe to visit their wealthy American half cousins, the Wentworths, in the very bucolic, very Yankee, suburban environs of Boston in the late nineteenth century.

The Wentworths are a rather strait-laced, prim and proper, wealthy family, whose head is the dour and mistrustful old Mr. Wentworth (Wesley Addy). The family welcomes their European cousins with some trepidation and reservation, as they seem positively bohemian to them. The one exception is Gertrude Wentworth (Lisa Eichhorn) who gravitates towards her newly found, sophisticated relatives. As a flower turns to the sun, Gertrude turns to her cousins to brighten her otherwise dull and narrow world. She is not disappointed.

Eugenia (Lee Remick) proclaims to be the Baroness Munster, an unhappily married woman on the brink of divorce. Her charming brother, Felix (Tim Woodward), is a rather artistic fellow with no foreseeable prospects. Together they take the Wentworths by storm and turn their previously well ordered, somewhat provincial world, upside down. This is a slow moving film that allows the story to unfold at its own, unhurried pace.

As Eugenia and Felix leisurely weave themselves into the fabric of the Wentworths' lives, changes ensue. During their stay, a romance develops between Felix and Gertrude. Her rebuffed suitor, Mr. Brand (Norman Snow), ends up finding solace in the arms of Charlotte, Gertrude's more eminently suited sister.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the novel December 6, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I saw this movie in a theatre 25 years ago, shortly after having read Henry James' novel, and I remember how impressed I was not only by the movie's accuracy, delicacy, splendour and faithfulness to the novel, but also by the fact that it manages to "repair" some shortcomings of Henry James' early novel.

I have been longing to watch it again ever since, so I eventually bought the DVD. Redescovering it, I was surprised by its incredible freshness and newness, after so many years. It is, indeed, a superb adaptation of James' novel, and one of the most interesting Ivory/Merchant film.

The October New England landscapes are breathtaking, costumes have authenticity, dialogues are spontaneous, and the script features without effort or ostentation the differences between the European and the American mentalities and behaviours; the atmosphere is as genuine as it can be rendered in a movie.

Acting is exceptional; the gradual symptoms of love in the main characters (the two young Americans and their European cousins) are incredibly well expressed: we witness their delight, astonishment, fever, torments, doubts, pain. But far from being graphically shown, the feelings are mostly suggested, so we guess, beyond the self-imposed discretion and reserve, the strong dilemmas and the inner fights. The real drama and utter changes in the characters' lives are like whirlpools under the perfectly calm surface of a lake. This contributes to the (false) impression of slowness or stagnation of the movie--and this, in spite of the multitude of events that occur so naturally, "comme si de rien n'était".

The characters' strong individuality is well depicted, the Wentworths naivety and simplicity is touching, Eugenia's (Lee Remick--amazing!) sophistication is truthful.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked James
Small intimate look at restrictive life in 19th century New England. Lives of quiet desperation and living life as how things have to be when confronted with a life living outside... Read more
Published 7 months ago by barb stegun
4.0 out of 5 stars Merchant/Ivory Film Worth Watching
A Merchant/ Ivory film that I had never seen( which was unusual as they are two of my favorites.)
Visually stunning and wonderful storyline based on the novel by Henry James.
Published 11 months ago by LeChatsMeow
3.0 out of 5 stars Historical drama
Lee Remick carries the film. A bit underacted for my taste. Characters could have been fleshed out more. Very slow in some scenes.
Published 15 months ago by arthur h walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Great to revisit this film!
I grew up in New England, so first of all, visually it was a love feast for the eyes, and ... I love this film. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Robert Mcdonald
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
I am a fan of Merhant Ivory movies and this movie is great. Great storytelling capturing the era wonderfully. Watch it.
Published 20 months ago by Fredric Suresh
5.0 out of 5 stars Better and better!
My spouse and I both adore this movie. To those who have been quick to dismiss it, I would say it is a film that only becomes more enjoyable and impressive with repeated viewings. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Meredith
4.0 out of 5 stars Attractive and enjoyable but disappointing ending
Although I am glad to finally see this film, it is lovely and well cast (love seeing the late Lee Remick), it is not a film I'd likely view more than once. Read more
Published 22 months ago by MT
1.0 out of 5 stars It won't play because I am in Australia
I have been unable to play this DVD because it isn't suited to Australian vision. I get an error message telling me that the region code is wrong. Read more
Published 23 months ago by cloughie
5.0 out of 5 stars A superficial serenity is exposed by those decadent European cousins!
One of my Amazon friends recently completed his reading of all things Henry James. (He owns the complete, multi-volumed set of Library of America. Read more
Published on September 9, 2011 by Judy K. Polhemus
4.0 out of 5 stars The Europeans
Lee Remick was superb in this movie. The photography was also spectacular indicating change of season and
inside characterizations. Read more
Published on February 18, 2011 by OHMC
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