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The Householder (The Sword and the Flute / The Creation of Woman) (The Merchant Ivory Collection)

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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(Apr 27, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

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

The Householder is the story of a shy, young, underpaid Delhi schoolteacher (Shashi Kapoor) who marries and then, little by little, gets to know his young wife during their first year together. She is a charmer with a mind of her own, yet is as little prepared for marriage as he. Their story is full of a variety of subtle but shining pleasures and charming touches of humor. The characters they encounter are unforgettable, especially his mother-in-law, a tearful tyrant who comes to live with them, and the platitudinous headmaster and obsequious senior master at the school. The wonder of this story derived from the culture of modern, middle-class India is that it is able to transcend national boundaries and relate to the problems common to young couples everywhere. This landmark film also marks the first collaboration between producer Ismail Merchant, director James Ivory, and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (adapting her acclaimed novel for the screen), a productive artistic relationship that has continued for forty years and produced many award-winning films.

Special Features

  • The Sword and the Flute (1959), director James Ivory's second documentary short film, about Indian miniature painting
  • The Creation of Woman (1960), the first short film produced by Ismail Merchant, starring legendary Indian dancer Bhaskar Roy Chaudhuri
  • Conversation with the filmmakers, part of a new series of interviews with Ismail Merchant and James Ivory

Product Details

  • Actors: Shashi Kapoor, Leela Naidu, Durga Khote, Achala Sachdev, Harindranath Chattopadhyay
  • Directors: James Ivory
  • Writers: James Ivory, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
  • Producers: James Ivory, Ismail Merchant
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: The Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: April 27, 2004
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001GH5SS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,387 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Householder (The Sword and the Flute / The Creation of Woman) (The Merchant Ivory Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on March 21, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
This is a great film from India about a newlywed husband being troubled by his independent wife who seeks advice from his overbearing mother and his American friend.It's a must see great film!!
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Format: DVD
This movie has a low-budget, homemade feel to it. I guess it was one of their very first films. It's in black and white and the sound quality is so poor that sometimes it's difficult to understand what the characters are saying. The Indian background music is often shrill and jarring, like fingernails on a blackboard. Also, the acting seemed pretty amateurish to me. The story is quite slow, too, and for me it dragged a bit. I would say this is only for the SERIOUS Merchant-Ivory scholar!
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Format: DVD
Set in India, this is the study of a young man’s relationship with his new wife; a woman he doesn't even know and whom he supports working as a teacher while dealing with the politics of the school system. Meanwhile he has to deal with his wife’s temperament and finds himself living like a stranger in their home. Ivory uses beautiful images to reflect the couple’s present anxiety and their lament of a lost childhood with humour and humanity. Later in the story the young man crosses paths with a soul-searching and very annoying man from the United States who lives in a community of eccentrics. The American constantly makes philosophical proclamations and is obsessed with self-discovery but is incapable of listening to our protagonist’s dilemmas; the irony of friendships.

The acting is sometimes weak but the actors’ inexperience and their obvious commitment and exuberance gives the film character and mood. An interesting first effort by Merchant/Ivory which reflects their love for the human spirit in all its awkward glory!
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