You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Merchant Ivory’s ‘Maurice’ Gets Another Walk on the Beach

When Cohen Media Group acquired 30 films produced by Merchant Ivory Prods., including such classics as “Howards End,” “Maurice” and “Heat and Dust,” part of the deal was to restore and rerelease them, says director James Ivory, who serves as creative director and consults on the restorations as well as the rerelease and promotion of each film.

That deal was made in 2015, and now a new 4K restoration of “Maurice” — the 1987 romantic drama about gay love in early-20th-century England, based on E.M. Forster’s novel — will open theatrically in New York on May 19 and Los Angeles on June 2. (Last year saw the project’s first restored rerelease: the Oscar-winning “Howards End.”)

“It takes a very long time and a lot of skill and patience to restore each one,” says Ivory, who notes that the rerelease of “Maurice” marks the 30th anniversary of the film. “Fortunately, all the negatives were very carefully stored and preserved,” he says.

Overseeing the project was Simon Lund, director of operations at preservation and restoration house Cineric.

“The original negative for ‘Maurice’ was prepared and scanned at Cineric’s New York facility,” Lund explains. The negative was cut A&B roll, which made for higher-quality effects, because
the dissolves and fades are created by the printing machine each time a copy is struck.

Cineric’s inspection team went through the negative, determined where the effects were and then scanned the negative in one of Cineric’s in-house-developed 4K wet-gate scanners, where the film is immersed in a chemical that fills in any surface defects, greatly reducing the amount of digital cleanup needed later.

“The original had been used to make a number of prints and was quite worn,” Lund says.

The Cineric team performed the 4K restoration from its Lisbon office. “This film had the typical problems you would find in a negative of its age, such as negative dirt, camera jitter, an occasional scratch and color breathing from uneven processing,” Lund says.

To deal with those defects, a team of six technicians went through the film shot by shot for a month and a half, using multiple digital tools. After they were finished, the work was reviewed frame by frame to make sure no digital artifacts were introduced and no problems were missed.

The team worked closely with the original cinematographer of “Maurice,” Pierre Lhomme, and director Ivory.

“Cineric’s colorist spent a week pre-grading the film and then sat with Mr. Ivory for a day to make final adjustments,” says Lund. “He knew exactly what he wanted, and you can see by the attention [they paid] to detail why the films they made were so successful from an artistic and commercial stance.”

The files were sent to Technicolor Paris for a final pass by Lhomme.

So how did Ivory like the results? “I saw it in New York after Pierre finished up, and it was very bright, sharp and clear again,” the director says, with a sense of satisfaction tempered by the overwhelming task at hand.

“My only worry now is that, with so many of our films still needing restoring, myself and the original DPs will be too old, or not around anymore, to oversee the final work,” he says. “But I’m thrilled that our body of work is getting a second life.”

More Artisans

  • Chile's Production Incentives Include New 30%

    Chile Incentives Pilot Program Aims to Draw Producers With 30% Rebate

    With over 2,500 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline, the long and narrow South American country of Chile encompasses a remarkable variety of weather patterns and landscapes. Filmmakers traveling there will discover that the Chilean Economic Development Agency in alliance with nation’s film commission recently launched what it calls a Pilot Program for High-Impact Audiovisual Investment [...]

  • Set di "Gomorra 3", regia di

    'My Brilliant Friend,' 'Gomorrah' Show Different Sides of Naples

    When Saverio Costanzo, the director of HBO and RAI’s “My Brilliant Friend,” started to plan how he would depict the grand but gritty city of Naples — one that’s so vivid in the imaginations of millions of Elena Ferrante readers, he quickly decided that the working-class neighborhood at the core of her four Neapolitan novels [...]


    How a Costume Designer Brightened M. Night Shyamalan's 'Glass'

    Paco Delgado’s costumes are as varied as his films. Contrast the drama “The Danish Girl,” the futuristic fantasy “A Wrinkle in Time” and the period musical “Les Misérables.” Now he’s in comic-book territory with M. Night Shyamalan’s newest superhero/supervillain thriller, “Glass,” which Universal releases Jan. 17. The costume designer’s career began in Barcelona and London, [...]

  • Bird Box

    Los Angeles On-Location Feature Filming Surges 12.2% in 2018

    On-location feature filming in Greater Los Angeles expanded impressively in 2018, gaining 12.2% to 4,377 shooting days, according to FilmL.A. Production activity for feature films rose 15.5% to 1,078 shooting days during the fourth quarter, with 146 days coming from projects receiving California tax credits — including Netflix’s “Bird Box,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a [...]


    How Writer-Crew Collaborations Are Changing the Script for the Creative Process

    In traditional filmmaking, once a script is written, the director and department heads break it down and figure out the costs and logistics of production. But if the screenwriter collaborates during the creative process with key crew members, the entire production can benefit.  Such collaboration offers the prospect of help on many fronts. For example, [...]

  • avengers infinity war

    'Avengers,' 'Lost in Space,' 'Ready Player One' Lead Visual Effects Society Nominations

    The Visual Effects Society announced nominees for the organization’s 17th annual awards on Tuesday. Leading the way in the film and TV fields, respectively, were Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War” and Netflix’s “Lost in Space.” Each picked up six nominations. Pixar’s “Incredibles 2” received the most nominations among animated feature contenders with five. “Ready Player One” [...]

  • Dynasties BBC Vundu Pack

    Bush Guides, Night Cameras Help BBC America’s ‘Dynasties’ Catch Unique Moments

    Just getting to one of the locations of BBC America wildlife documentary series “Dynasties” — presented by David Attenborough and following the lives of endangered animals — requires an 11-hour flight from London to Johannesburg, a two-hour connection to Harare, Zimbabwe, an hourlong chartered Cessna 206 trip to Mana Pools National Park airstrip and an [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content