Return to Howards End: celebrating 25 years of the Merchant Ivory masterpiece

Merchant Ivory’s landmark adaptation of E.M. Forster’s classic 1910 novel, starring Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter, Anthony Hopkins and Vanessa Redgrave returns to the big screen this summer in a beautiful new 4K restoration courtesy of the BFI. Howards End will play at Curzon cinemas from Friday 28 July 2017.

Upon its original release in 1992, Howards End played for 34 continuous weeks at Curzon Mayfair, and overall it clocked up a record-breaking 54 weeks of play across the Curzon Cinemas circuit at the time - a stunning figure simply unimaginable today. In the week of release Curzon Mayfair will be centrepiece to a special celebration of this wonderful Curzon favourite and will host an exclusive gallery of gorgeous stills from Howards End  in the cinema foyer. We'd like to invite you to experience them in person but if you can't get to Curzon Mayfair, you can feast your eyes on our digital gallery here.

With stunning location photography, lavishly detailed sets and elegant period costumes, this compelling saga follows the interwoven fates and misfortunes of three families amid the changing times of Edwardian England. It tells the story of two free-spirited, cosmopolitan sisters, Margaret (Emma Thompson) and Helen Schlegel (Helena Bonham Carter), who collide with the world of the very wealthy ­­– one sister benefiting from the acquaintance with the Wilcoxes (owners of the beloved country home Howards End), the other all but destroyed by it. Anthony Hopkins is the conservative industrialist Henry Wilcox and Vanessa Redgrave is his ailing wife Ruth Wilcox. James Wilby, Samuel West, Jemma Redgrave, Prunella Scales and Niccola Duffet are among the supporting cast members.

Director James Ivory is one of the founding partners of Merchant Ivory Productions. He began his filmmaking career in India with the late producer/director Ismail Merchant (1936 – 2005). They made 24 feature films over their 44-year partnership, more than 20 of which were with their long-time screenwriter, the double Academy Award winner Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (1927 – 2013). Along with Howards End, Merchant Ivory are also best-known for A Room with a View (1985) and The Remains of the Day (1993). Between them, these three films earned 25 Academy Award nominations, including three for Best Picture and Best Director.

The outstanding crew that was assembled for Howards End included cinematographer Tony Pierce-Roberts, costume designers Jenny Beavan and John Bright and composer Richard Robbins – all of whom were Oscar-nominated.

Widely critically acclaimed upon opening, Howards End was nominated for nine Academy Awards (winning three; Best Actress (Emma Thompson – her first Oscar win), Best Screenplay and Best Art Direction) and eleven BAFTAs (winning Best Film and again Best Actress for Emma Thompson).

The novel remains one of the most important English novels of the 20th century and continues to inspire – a 4-part BBC TV series is currently in production, adapted by Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea) and starring Hayley Atwell, Matthew Macfadyen and Tracey Ullman.

The film’s new 4K restoration was completed by Cineric Portugal from the original camera negative and magnetic soundtrack held in the archive of the George Eastman Museum. Colour grading was by Deluxe Restoration (London) under the supervision of cinematographer Tony Pierce‐Roberts and director James Ivory. It premiered in Cannes Classics at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, attended by James Ivory and Vanessa Redgrave.

Compelling and brilliantly acted, and foreshadowing the style and spectacle of hugely popular contemporary heritage dramas such as Downton Abbey and The Crown, Howards End remains an entertaining, exquisite and elegant pleasure, as moving and relevant as it was on the day of its original release.

Howards End plays at HmvCurzon Wimbledon and Curzon Mayfair from Friday 28th July.