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Maurice (1987, James Wilby, Hugh Grant)



Whitney Houston & Bobbi Kristina

James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant followed up the success of A Room with a View with this adaptation of E M Forster’s most personal novel which, because of its theme of homosexuality in Edwardian England, wasn’t published until after his death. James Wilby stars in the title role as a man who gradually finds the honesty to recognise and accept his sexuality at great personal cost.

At Cambridge, he falls under the spell of Clive (Hugh Grant) but his desertion to a conventional marriage leaves Maurice devastated. He makes several attempts to find a ‘cure’ with the help of doctor Denholm Elliott and hypnotist Ben Kingsley but eventually finds love with one of Clive’s servants, a young gamekeeper, Alec Scudder (Rupert Graves).

Maurice smashed box-office records in New York on release and was warmly received when it opened here. The Spectator caught the mood when it said, ‘The strength of this film is on the acting, not only in the principal but in the minor parts… another is in the economical depictions of the petty unconscious snobberies, the hypocrisy and the moral repressiveness of the age.’ Wilby and Grant shared the best actor award at the 1987 Venice Film Festival for the film.

production details
UK | Merchant Ivory | 134 minutes | 1987

Director: James Ivory
Writers: Kit Hesketh-Harvey and James Ivory based on E M Forster’s novel

James Wilby as Maurice Hall
Hugh Grant as Clive Durham
Rupert Graves as Alec Scudder
Denholm Elliott as Doctor Barry
Simon Callow as Mr. Ducie
Billie Whitelaw as Mrs. Hall
Barry Foster as Dean Cornwallis
Judy Parfitt as Mrs. Durham
Phoebe Nicholls as Anne Durham
Ben Kingsley as Lasker-Jones
Julian Wadham as Hull
Patrick Godfrey as Simcox
Mark Tandy as Risley
Miles Richardson as Undergraduate
Harriet Thorpe as Barmaid
Matthew Sim as Featherstonaugh
Kitty Aldridge as Kitty Hall
Catherine Rabett as Pippa Durham
Peter Eyre as Rev. Borenius
Michael Jenn as Archie
Mark Payton as Chapman
Orlando Wells as Young Maurice
Maria Britneva as Mrs. Sheepshanks
Jean-Marc Barr as French colleague
Helena Bonham Carter as Lady at Cricket Match
Serena Gordon as Gladys Olcott
Helena Michell as Ada Hall