New York Times - 08/02/1984
"...Ably and enthusiastically adapted for the screen....The performances, especially that of the astonishing [Redgrave], generate an urgency and momentum to match [Henry] James's own."
New York Times - 12/30/1984
Included in The New York Times "10 BEST FILMS OF 1984"
Variety - 05/23/1984
"...Ivory has a strong eye for moments of human contact and confrontation..."
Director James Ivory brings Henry James's classic novel THE BOSTONIANS to the screen in this evocative, historical adaptation filled with exciting, exacting performances. The story centers on the fight between an ardent feminist and a southern gentleman for a charismatic faith healer's daughter. Basil Ransom (Christopher Reeve), a conservative lawyer, woos the youthful, charming, and articulate Verena Tarrant (Madeleine Potter in her first film role), but he objects to her involvement in the suffragist movement and to Olive Chancellor (Vanessa Redgrave), Verena's feminist mentor. The relationship between Redgrave, Reeve, and Potter is mesmerizing to watch, and Reeve, better known for his role in SUPERMAN, is handsomely dynamic as the lover Verena cannot deny. Jessica Tandy, Linda Hunt, and Nancy Marchand costar in this strong ensemble film shot in stunning New England locations. THE BOSTONIANS was Merchant Ivory Productions' second adaptation of a Henry James novel, following THE EUROPEANS.
Adapted from Henry James's novel, THE BOSTONIANS is a stately post-Civil War era drama about strong personalities pitted against one another in a battle of the sexes in which a faith healer's daughter is forced to choose between her mother's religious activities, her passion for women's rights, and her handsome, yet chauvinist, suitor. Directed by James Ivory, the film received two Oscar Nominations, including Best Actress for Vanessa Redgrave.
THE BOSTONIANS was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984.
THE BOSTONIANS was shot on location in Boston at the Library of the Boston Athenaeum and The Gibson House Museum, and at Harvard University, Cambridge; Chateau-sur-Mer, Newport, Rhode Island; The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, New York; Central Park, New York City; and on Martha's Vineyard.
Vanessa Redgrave initially turned down the role of Olive Chancellor, but when Glenn Close had to pull out of the project because it conflicted with her role in THE NATURAL, Redgrave signed on.
THE BOSTONIANS starred three Oscar-winning actresses: Linda Hunt, Vanessa Redgrave, and Jessica Tandy. Redgrave was nominated, but did not win, for Best Actress for her performance in THE BOSTONIANS.