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MAURICE (1987)

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Thought this would make a great inaugural thread.  I love this film.  And I love E.M. Forster's novel upon which it is faithfully based.

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Didn't waste any time, did you? Good for you. I love this film too. The timing was right, both for the book and for the movie. What a shame it couldn't be published until well beyond Forster's lifetime. It must have had a special place in his heart, so it must have pained him not to have it out in the world, like his others. Anyway, it's still an important lesson that a person's sexual nature has nothing to do with class or upbringing. The primary relationship which IS among men of the same class can't end in fulfillment because one of the men can't see beyond the demands of his class. Gay people have rarely been given credit for the kind of courage it could take (and still can take) to defy all the unwritten (and written) laws of various societies, but this movie rewards that courage nicely. 

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I love Maurice too, the book and the movie. The use of Allegri's "Miserere" in one of the scenes (one of the most glorious pieces of choral music, ever) in the dorm between Maurice and Clive is just one exquisite moment in the movie. Of course, in the end, the relationship is between men of two quite different classes, and that was pretty shocking, almost more so than the gay aspect!

 

For me, the saddest thing in the movie is poor Phoebe Nichols, in bed at the end, waiting for her husband, Hugh Grant, to join her. All he can do is look out of the window and think of Maurice.

 

E.M. Forster is one of my favorite writers. I love his novels, stories, including the biography he wrote about his aunt, Marianne Thornton; and The Hill of Devi, a book about his time in India (where he was probably having a romance with a Maharajah).  All of his novels have been made into films except my favorite: The Longest Journey. Don't know if it will ever be filmed, but I hope so.

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I love Maurice too, the book and the movie. The use of Allegri's "Miserere" in one of the scenes (one of the most glorious pieces of choral music, ever) in the dorm between Maurice and Clive is just one exquisite moment in the movie. Of course, in the end, the relationship is between men of two quite different classes, and that was pretty shocking, almost more so than the gay aspect!

 

 

Yes, the story covers two taboos-- you're right about that.

 

I like how Maurice works with both Clive and Alec. It is not a threesome, but he is compatible with both of them, at different times, for different reasons. They both serve him at key points in his life.  It's a beautiful story.

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It's a very romantic movie.

It is very romantic indeed. One of my favorite lines by Forster is from The Longest Journey: "Romance is a figure with outstretched arms, yearning for the unobtainable." In Maurice, the unobtainable is obtained, at the end of the book/movie. But not for Clive.

 

Another great line by Forster -- his cardinal rule, actually -- is from A Room with a View: "Only connect." Clive doesn't connect. He is doomed to a life of regret, and longing.

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It is very romantic indeed. One of my favorite lines by Forster is from The Longest Journey: "Romance is a figure with outstretched arms, yearning for the unobtainable." In Maurice, the unobtainable is obtained, at the end of the book/movie. But not for Clive.

 

Another great line by Forster -- his cardinal rule, actually -- is from A Room with a View: "Only connect." Clive doesn't connect. He is doomed to a life of regret, and longing.

But I sort of wonder if Clive isn't the catalyst for Maurice being able to connect with Alec. I think that Clive's failure ironically ensures Maurice's success in this regard. I almost wish Forster had been able to write a sequel. What happens to Maurice and Alec as their relationship develops over the years-- and does Maurice ever re-connect with Clive. Does Clive ever fully connect with his wife?  Though it's a happy ending, we are left with many unanswered questions.

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In the end the two men make very different choices- Clive is doing what is expected for a man of his class.  Maurice makes the bolder choice to live with Alec- it's not just about their sexuality but the breaking away from convention.  A sequel might be interesting

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Forster makes quite clear at the end of the book that Maurice and Alec disappear and that Clive never sees Maurice again. There is one line at the end of the book which is so beautifully depicted on film -- a case of the word being made flesh in a sense. The book says, of Clive: "Out of some eternal Cambridge his friend began beckoning to him, clothed in the sun, and shaking out the scents and sounds of the May Term." That is what Clive imagines when looking out of the window at the end of the film. James Ivory gives us that image so beautifully.

 

Regarding Clive, it's pretty clear that he does his duty and does what Victorian women were said to do when faced with undesired sex: "Shut your eyes and think of England."  Whether, in addition to his marriage, he seeks an outlet for the desires of his true self is open to conjecture. The Wolfenden Report of the 1950s, which slowly led to decriminalization in the next decade, was partly inspired because aristocrats were being arrested.

 

Homosexuality remained illegal in the UK until 1967, when the law decriminalized it in England and Wales. Although men lived together publicly in England even before then, it would have been extremely difficult to do so in Maurice and Alec's time. Fortunately, Maurice had a private income, so wherever they went, they would presumably be financially secure.  

 

My copy of Maurice -- a Penguin paperback which I bought in England many years ago for 45p -- has an excellent postscript, written by E.M. Forster in 1960. The final paragraph is "Consequently the Wolfenden recommendations will be indefinitely rejected, police prosecutions will continue and Clive on the bench will continue to sentence Alec in the dock. Maurice may get off."

 

I'm glad that E.M. Forster lived to 1970 and therefore knew about the 1967 decriminalization.

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Yes, the story covers two taboos-- you're right about that.

 

I like how Maurice works with both Clive and Alec. It is not a threesome, but he is compatible with both of them, at different times, for different reasons. They both serve him at key points in his life.  It's a beautiful story.

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The three most delicious-looking men in one film.....until you see "Another Country".  ;)

 

I was hoping there would be a thread on this one.  This is in my list of top favorite films of all-time.  It is a beautiful movie to watch.  The acting is flawless.  The music is wonderful.  And the story is just so very, very good.

 

My mother saw this in the theater when it was first released.  She loved it.  So, when it was available on VHS, she said that I should watch it.  I was only a kid (I was kind of an odd kid that liked to watch dramas :) ), but I loved it.  Then, when I was 11, I read my mother's copy of the novel.  It was the first "adult" book that I ever read.  For what made sense as a kid, I loved the book.  Now, this novel is in my top 5.

 

The one moment that I just love so much comes at the end of them film.  It is the very last shot.  Clive is standing by his window looking out.  Then his wife stands next to him and places her head on him.  The WAY he looks at her is perfect.  Just the look of knowing this is what he has for the rest of his life.  I love it.

 

Great movie.

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It took me a few years to get over the huge crush I developed on Rupert Graves after I watched this movie (many many times!). That full-frontal nude scene in the bedroom with Maurice and Alec was indeed thrilling, BUT the sheer romance of their passionate kiss in the boat house near the end of the film...fueled my dreams and daydreams for a LONG time!!!

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It took me a few years to get over the huge crush I developed on Rupert Graves after I watched this movie (many many times!). That full-frontal nude scene in the bedroom with Maurice and Alec was indeed thrilling, BUT the sheer romance of their passionate kiss in the boat house near the end of the film...fueled my dreams and daydreams for a LONG time!!!

I had the biggest crush on Hugh Grant. Because of his performance/role in this film, I made sure I watched everything he made during the next fifteen years (and he made some terrible movies).

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I liked James Wilby and Rupert Graves in "A Handful Of Dust" - together again, but in very different roles.

 

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I liked James Wilby and Rupert Graves in "A Handful Of Dust" - together again, but in very different roles.

 

Thanks for mentioning this title. I've never seen it. Features Alec Guinness.

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If you've read the book by Evelyn Waugh, you might enjoy the film more, but the film version is an excellent adaptation of the famous novel.  And it features three excellent performances - James Wilby's, Rupert Graves' and Kristin Scott-Thomas'.

 

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Who wouldn't say "yes" to John Beaver (Rupert Graves)?
 

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If you've read the book by Evelyn Waugh, you might enjoy the film more, but the film version is an excellent adaptation of the famous novel.  And it features three excellent performances - James Wilby's, Rupert Graves' and Kristin Scott-Thomas'.

 

I did see A Handful of Dust. I found it interesting and mildly diverting. Btw, James Wilby and Rupert Graves also appeared in another film (made for television), written by the great writer Kevin Elyot. It's called Clapham Common -- a provocative film loosely based on a true gay bashing story in Clapham, London. It's on YouTube -- highly recommended, though controversial from every conceivable angle.

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I have heard a lot about "Clapham Common", but, unfortunately, I have never seen it.

 

I recently read Kevin Elyot's play, "My Night With Reg".

 

This poster was banned from the London Underground Stations.

 

I saw the original production of My Night with Reg in London, back in 1995; then saw the revival in March 2015. Both productions were moving and impressive, the revival, surprisingly, even more so.

 

http://www.donmarwarehouse.com/whats-on/donmar-warehouse/2014/my-night-with-reg

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Getting back to "Maurice", Julian Sands was originally cast as Maurice Hall, but, unfortunately, he dropped out of the project at the last moment.

 

I have never understood his reason or reasons for bowing out.

 

After all, "A Room With A View" had made him a star.

 

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Do you think that "My Night With Reg" will be coming to Broadway for a limited run?

 

Doubt it, it had a brief run back in 1997, Off-Broadway. Sadly, it was not well received.

 

Regarding your other post, about Julian Sands/Maurice, although Sands was ok in A Room with a View, I actually don't he's a good enough actor to handle the more complex role of Maurice as well as James Wilby did.

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Yes, a friend of mine saw that Off-Broadway production and, for some reason, doesn't even remember it.

 

However, I do remember that he told me that he got Maxwell Caulfield's autograph.

 

I am sorry that you don't like Julian Sands.  I have always looked forward to his work.

 

And, in my opinion, he's a great beauty.

 

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Yes, a friend of mine saw that Off-Broadway production and, for some reason, doesn't even remember it.

 

However, I do remember that he told me that he got Maxwell Caulfield's autograph.

 

I am sorry that you don't like Julian Sands.  I have always looked forward to his work.

 

And, in my opinion, he's a great beauty.

 

Oh I don't dislike Sands -- just what I said. Not every actor is up to every role. Maurice is a much more complex character than George Emerson!

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Well, I am so glad that you don't dislike Julian Sands.

 

In the movie, George Emerson is so much more "satisfying" than George Emerson is in the book. 

 

Did you ever see Julian Sands in a really odd movie, "Boxing Helena"?

 

He was very brave to take on that role.

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