On DVD: Howards End (Criterion Collection)

Watching Howards End is the cinematic equivalent of eating a heavy slice of some magical hybrid dessert - say, tiramisu ice cream pie. It's so delicious and richly layered that it's impossible to enjoy all at once. Multiple viewings are required in order to fully absorb all the ingredients of this masterful movie: the intricate story and screenplay, the characters, the lush production design, the music, and the harmonious conducting of the lot by director James Ivory. True to the source book by E.M. Forster, Howards End is a densely-packed novel on film, consistently driven by detailed character dynamics, which, in turn, are rooted in a very British social hierarchy and the tangled garden of emotional responses that grow from it.

Films committed to the great storytelling traditions of English literature are increasingly rare, and with Merchant-Ivory Productions fading away (Ismail Merchant died in 2005), it's bone-chilling to think that novelistic character-oriented drama may be under threat of extinction. To quell such concerns, the Criterion Collection has re-issued Howards End, improving upon the previous DVD on the Home Vision brand, with updated bonus content. 

Read the full review here

Howards End (Criterion Collection)

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