Blu-Ray Review: Howards End

Merchant Ivory Productions started out with the goal of making English-language films in India, aimed at the international market. The majority of their films have been produced by Ismail Merchant and directed by James Ivory; at one point almost becoming their own genre. They’re still going to this day, with James Ivory writing the script for the wonderful Call Me By Your Name at the grand old age of 89. However, their heyday came in the ’80s and ‘90s. The likes of A Room with a View, Remains of the Day and Howards End made them world famous. The latter has been given a beautiful 4k restoration to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

Whilst staying at Howards End, the country home of the Wilcox family, Helen Schlegel (Helena Bonham Carter) becomes engaged to the youngest son Paul (Joseph Bennett) after a moment of passion. They swiftly call it off, but she’s already told her sister Margaret (Emma Thompson). The mess is soon cleared up and months later the Wilcox family take a flat across the street from the Schlegels in London. Margaret becomes close friends with his mother, Ruth Wilcox (Vanessa Redgrave). When she passes away, her late husband Henry (Anthony Hopkins) has to decide what to do with the house.

Howards End is a classic of English period cinema. It pits the Wilcoxes against the Schlegels. A highly conservative rich traditional family led by Henry, a hard-headed businessman butts horns with an intellectual and progressive Germanic philanthropic tribe. In essence, Howards End is a commentary on the shift in class relations in Britain at the turn of the twentieth century. Frequent collaborator Ruth Prawer Jhabvala adapts E.M. Forster’s book brilliantly. Indeed, despite the wonderful array of acting talent on show, the script is definitely the highlight. Howards End feels even more biting today than it did when first released.



  • Feature length audio commentary
  • Cohen Merchant Ivory reel
  • Original theatrical trailer & 2016 re-release trailer


  • Feature length audio commentary
  • Cohen Merchant Ivory reel
  • 2016 Conversation between James Ivory and Laurence Kardish
  • 2016 Interview with James Ivory and Vanessa Redgrave at Cannes Film Festival
  • 2016 On-stage Q&A with James Ivory and Michael Koresky at Lincoln Centre
  • 1992 Behind-the-Scenes Short Featurette with comments by cast and crew
  • Original theatrical trailer & 2016 re-release trailer

Howards End is released on DVD & Blu-ray by Cohen Media Group on 27 November.

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