Quartet - The Merchant Ivory Collection
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Top Customer Reviews
Very incredible performances from Adjani, Smith and Bates. But that's to be expected. And there should be great applause for many of the supporting actors as well: Anthony Higgins(as Adjani's seductive yet caring husband), Sheila Gish(as a chatty,gossipy closet lesbian) and Daniel Chatto (in a supporting role as a melodramatic adolescent pretty boy).
See this movie for the rare dramatic performance from Maggie Smith, who can still make on laugh with just a glance or roll of the eyes. Adjani is astonishing, as is to be expected, playing the lead role of the confused and naieve Mayra. It is probably her best performance since her debut in the Story of Adele H.
It is actually quite easy to see why Merchant Ivory decided to make the Jean Rhys novel into a film. There are clear parallels between characters that Rhys writes about and those In EM Forster's novels. Quartet's main character, Mayra, is an outsider, desperately trying to get to the inside of something that is considered "normal". Forster lived his life in the same way. Both writers, in their journey for a better life, simply wrote about both the joy and pain along the way in their books.
I saw this movie a long time ago on video and the quality was not good. I have to give this movie another 5 stars just because of the excellent transfer. It is 100% better in the audio and the screen presentation. Here you can see the great detail found in the scenery, the costumes and the performance from the actors.
This is a definite must see.
The film centers on a young woman named Marya who is left destitute when her husband is convicted of theft and sentenced to jail time. Alone and penniless, she accepts the open arms of a strange older couple, the Heidlers, and winds up being trapped in her new surroundings by their overbearing presence in her life. The film delves deeply (yet with such restraint) into the themes of alienation and manipulation and uses sharp dialog and a delicate attention to detail to create a lush and consuming atmosphere with real bite. As the film progresses, the character's find new layers to uncover and keep the audience at the edge of their seats, waiting for the inevitable to take over.
And it does.
With impeccable technical facets (those costumes and sets are to die for) and a rich story to work with, it was up to the actors to sell this story under the direction of James Ivory, and they do. Isabelle Adjani is brilliantly reserved, yet in tune with each arc her character goes through. But, for me, this film is all about Alan Bates and Maggie Smith, who steal every minute they are on the screen with two vastly different characters who are completely in step with each other's manipulation of Marya.Read more ›
Part of Home Vision's 2003-2005 Merchant Ivory Collection, the DVD was released under the "supervision of Ismail Merchant and James Ivory," according to the liner notes. As you would expect from a collaboration of Criterion and Merchant/Ivory, obvious care was taken with the DVD transfer and package.
The anamorphically enhanced digital transfer comes from the original 35mm interpositive and is presented in the OAR 1.78:1. Most dirt and debris have been cleaned up so viewers can more fully appreciate Pierre Lhomme's cinematography. Although much of the time colors are dark and muted, moments of rich color are also fully rendered here. Not without flaws, but this transfer appears very solid to someone who never saw the film during roadshow theatrical release in 1981.
The audio transfer is limited to Dolby Digital mono from the film's original 35mm magnetic soundtrack master. The film is largely dialogue driven with selected musical moments. So while it is mostly clear and listenable, there is no indication from the liner notes that efforts were made to complete a sound restoration beyond using the original elements.
For subtitles there are a few options. The DVD default is subtitles for the French dialogue only. There are also options for full subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing, as well as no subtitles at all.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's difficult to image a truely dreadful Merchant - Ivory film, but this is it. Pointless, rambling, and with terrible performances by everyone except Maggie Smith, this is an A... Read morePublished on December 11, 2013 by addison de witt
Strange the Maggie Smith has starred in two movies entitled "Quartet." This one, dating from the early 1980s, has a stellar cast and comes with the Merchant-Ivory seal of... Read morePublished on October 28, 2013 by Alan A. Elsner
The story opens in Paris, in the 1920s, where a wealthy, loveless couple (Maggie Smith, Alan Bates) goes from party to party and is still bored. Read morePublished on July 12, 2013 by Kona
How anyone could make such a souless, pointless, tedious film with one of the most extraordinary cast of actors imaginable truly strains credulity. Read morePublished on April 15, 2013 by RANDEL
Based on Jean Rhys' first novel, this dark story appears to be a thinly-veiled autobiography of when her literary mentor, novelist Ford Maddox Ford, had her as his 'kept woman. Read morePublished on March 18, 2013 by Bert vanC Bailey
Why was a paragraph on the new "Quartet" movie included with the Merchant Ivory version. Makes for a very confusing review. Read morePublished on February 22, 2013 by rocky
Well acted with great actors but I did not like it at all. The 20s society in Paris was corrupt and unsympathetic. A depressing movie. Read morePublished on December 30, 2012 by Olive Gale Mullet
This film has the splendid visuals you expect from a Merchant Ivory production. Set in Paris in the 20's with the wonderful costumes as well as the bars and bistros of Montmarte,... Read morePublished on January 18, 2012 by Promise
When one sees the production/direction team of Merchant & Ivory, there comes with that name a level of sophistication, or one could say an air of dedication. Read morePublished on August 30, 2008 by A. Gyurisin