Classic Gay Film MAURICE Restored
The 4K Restoration and 30th Anniversary Re-release of
The Merchant Ivory Production of
Directed by James Ivory
Produced by Ismail Merchant
Based upon the novel by E.M. Forster
In celebration of its 30th Anniversary, the landmark 1987 production Maurice returns with a sparkling presentation that befits its status as one of the finest films ever made by the exalted Merchant Ivory Productions, as well as being one of the most respected and popular mainstream gay-themed films of its day.
Cohen Media Group, which has acquired a 30-film library of movies directed and produced by the James Ivory-Ismail Merchant filmmaking team, proudly presents Maurice in a brand new 4K scan and restoration from the original camera negative and magnetic soundtrack, and featuring a new 5.1 audio mix from the stereo 35mm mags, all approved by director James Ivory.
Written in 1914 by E.M. Forster, Maurice was the second of his novels to be adapted by Merchant Ivory (following 1986’s A Room with a View). First published in 1971, a year after Forster’s death, the novel takes on a subject that no major bildungsroman (or, loosely, “coming of age novel”) in the genre had ever addressed: the problem of coming of age as a homosexual in a restrictive society.
Maurice was co-written for the screen by director James Ivory and first-time feature writer Kit Hesketh-Harvey (marking a rare instance that Ivory did not collaborate with his usual writing partner Ruth Prawer Jhabvala). Hesketh-Harvey, who is best known as a musical performer, composer and translator, was a Cambridge graduate and thus familiar with the novel’s milieu.
Starring James Wilby (Maurice) and Hugh Grant (Clive) as two Cambridge undergraduates who fall in love, the film Maurice is set amidst the hypocritical homoerotic subculture of the English university in Forster’s time. In an environment in which any reference to ” the unspeakable vice of the Greeks” is omitted, and any overture toward a physical relationship between men might be punishable by law, Maurice and Clive struggle to come to terms with their own feelings toward each other and toward a repressive community.
After their friend Lord Risley (Mark Tandy) is arrested and sentenced to six months of hard labor after soliciting sex from a soldier, Clive abandons his forbidden love and marries a young woman. Maurice, however, struggles with questions of his identity and self-confidence, seeking the help of a hypnotist (Ben Kingsley) to rid himself of his undeniable urges.
But while staying with Clive and his shallow wife, Anne (Phoebe Nicholls), Maurice attracts the attention of Alec Scudder (Rupert Graves), the under-gamekeeper. Alec then leaves his family in order to stay with Maurice, whom he tells, “Now we shan’t never be parted.”
The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival in 1987 (during the height of the AIDS crisis), where Ivory was awarded a Silver Lion as Best Director, sharing the prize with Italian filmmaker Ermanno Olmi for his film Long Live the Lady!. James Wilby and Hugh Grant were jointly awarded Best Actor, and composer Richard Robbins received the Golden Osella prize for his score. The film also received an Academy Award® nomination (Best Costume Design, Jenny Beavan & John Bright) for the 60th Academy Awards®
Thirty years on, Maurice remains a wonderfully mounted and outstandingly acted period drama, its themes of repression, dignity, compromise and love in the face of persecution still are as relevant today as they were in the 1980s and, indeed, as they were when E.M. Forster penned his novel more than a century ago.
Formed in 2008 by Charles S. Cohen, an executive producer of Frozen River which garnered two Academy Award nominations, the Cohen Media Group (CMG) is a theatrical film production company that has been steadily developing into a dynamic, positive force within the film industry. The Cohen Media Group’s intent is to produce and distribute select films throughout North America annually, allowing the CMG team to devote their best efforts toward each unique film’s fullest potential. With a strong dedication to quality movies and a highly motivated and talented support team of professionals, the Cohen Media Group looks forward to a long future as part of the film industry’s distinguished horizon.