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Roseland [The Merchant Ivory Collection]

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Three interlocking stories set in New York City’s legendary Roseland dance palace make up this charming film, the third to be shot by Merchant Ivory Productions in America. In the first segment, The Waltz, Teresa Wright is a widow who comes to the Roseland in order to sustain the memory of her late husband, but meets Stan (Lou Jacobi), a man who offers her an opportunity for happiness in the present. In The Hustle, Christopher Walken stars as a gigolo with three women in his life, all of whom depend on him for different degrees of romance and companionship. In the final segment, The Peabody, an older Viennese woman (Lilia Skala) sets out to win a dance competition despite warnings that it could imperil her health. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s understated screenplay delivers an uncharacteristic bit of sentiment not present in other Merchant Ivory efforts.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Teresa Wright, Christopher Walken, Geraldine Chaplin, Lou Jacobi, Lilia Skala
  • Directors: James Ivory
  • Writers: Ruth Prawer Jhavbala
  • Producers: Ismail Merchant
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Mono, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: The Criterion Collection / HVE / MIP
  • DVD Release Date: September 21, 2004
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002KPIFU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,953 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Roseland [The Merchant Ivory Collection]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paige Turner VINE VOICE on April 13, 2006
Format: DVD
This little known film offers a peek into the world of social ballroom dancing that holds true even today. The disco contest dates this film a bit, but it's fun to go back to when disco was included as part of ballroom competitions.

The movie consists of three small stories, tied together by a main character named Cleo. Part participant, part observer, she appears in all three stories. Each story is named after a particular dance.

"The Hustle" rings true, as it is about a dance escort/gigolo (played by a very young Christopher Walken), who tries to juggle three women in his life. He is kept by an rich, older woman (Joan Copeland), but tries to woo and seduce her much younger, recently divorced friend (Geraldine Chaplin). He was also a former lover/student of Cleo's, who feels she still has some ownership, albeit secondary, with the young man. Chaplin's character tries to make an honest man out of Walken's gigolo, but cannot compete with the perks and money offered by the rich woman and Cleo.

I am a ballroom dancer, and see these types of men all the time. Like Walken's character, these "escorts" are merely users and rather sleazy individuals who prey on rich widows with an eye towards money, security, and gifts in exchange for dancing, companionship and sexual services.

"The Peabody" depicts a woman (Lilia Skala) who is never satisfied with her dance partner, always picking on him or complaining about him. She doesn't realize how wonderful her partner was until it's too late. Shortly after her partner dies, we see her talking to somebody in the restroom, an unknown person, who turns out to be Death. Her time is also limited on earth as well; she desires one last chance dancing in a Peabody competition.
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this 1977 release merchant-ivory production came some years before the duo hit pay dirt with films like 'the bostonians', 'maurice' and 'howards end'. written by co-collaborator ruth prawer jhabvala, it is both aimless and sharp, unfocused and direct but always haunting and thought-provoking.

in its short running time, we get three stories that feature mostly characters that are in their 50s and 60s (a surefire ingredient for box office failure in the 1970s). the first, called 'the waltz', features academy award winning actress teresa wright as a woman that finds a little love and companionship within the decaying walls of the once-luxurious roseland ballroom.

the second, and most linear of the three, is titled 'the hustle'. christopher walken, just two years before he would create his most enduring film character in 'the deer hunter', plays a sleek gigolo-like dancer that enjoys three relationships with helen gallagher (who plays his former dance teacher), joan copeland (the rich widow that is keeping him) and geraldine chaplin (the nervy divorcee that WANTS to keep him). gallagher is fabulous as the tough, exacting dance teacher that drills her two newest protegees while pining for walken. copeland is heartbreaking in her role as well. chaplin keep slipping in and out of her new york accent but she delivers as well. walken is most interesting because he is just about to lose his once pretty boy looks at this point but still produces a slow, smoky heat and danger in his portrayal of an essentially weak and indecisive man (another ingredient for failure in the 1970s--audiences didn't like weak men in their films). his performance is echoed by the presence of conrad janis as a former ballroom dancer/gigolo type.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie is a poignant journey back in time with three wonderful vignettes of the life and times as it was in a bygone era. Roseland never looked better and the dancing was adequate, but so many fantastic dancer's danced there it would have been nice to see better dancing portrayed. All in all a good movie.
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A classic film that should be in every collection. Sadly Roseland closed its doors April 7 2014 after decades of events and ballroom dance.
This film depicts some of the drama of the human condition during the 50's 60's and 70's . Roseland was one of those special places that could never be replaced. A huge hall on 52nd street and Broadway in New York City a place of dreams and memories And I might add that
this is the only film or tape that I know of that shows the Hall as it was up to the 90' with beautiful drapes and seating as it was back then
Truly I tell you this really was a magical place and I miss it.
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By Petros on February 12, 2016
Format: DVD
Merchant and Ivory visit New York and film numerous subplots at the famous Roseland ballroom. This film has a wonderful cast including veteran Teresa Wright, the famous Geraldine Chaplin and the relatively unknown Christopher Walken; at the time of release. This film is beautifully photographed, wonderfully written with natural dialogue and acted to perfection. It’s definitely one of my favourite Merchant/Ivory films and a classic.

The exploration of age in a modern world and how the bridge between them did come crashing down. It’s another example of Merchant/Ivory’s ability to communicate complex human drama and evocative emotions within the context of great story-telling in cinema. Roseland marks for me their most triumphant effort to date in a landmark signature film which later in the eighties becomes a consistent voice in their films right until their most recent oeuvres! The narrative mixes a documentary feel with a real sense of a place and time in cinematic terms without getting sentimental in any unrealistic way. There are scenes so beautifully set up that you feel as if the camera is spying on them or set up to show us how an environment can amplify and make us feel the solitude we may be feeling at any given moment. In one of the stories a woman’s desperate attempt to relive the past cause hallucinations and they are only realized when she dances with someone whom she finds appalling; soon she is able to transcend those hallucinations so that her dancing partner can see them. These ballroom dancers are people trying to find some happiness, some human contact as their youth, memories and the people they belonged to ebb away.

In this film the vulgar becomes beautiful and the beautiful become vulgar.
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