It's the mid-nineteenth century. Adult siblings Felix Young and Eugenia Munster were born and raised in Europe and have a somewhat bohemian lifestyle reflective of their travels throughout Europe. Felix, who has little money, is interested in painting and the arts. Eugenia is a baroness by marriage. They decide to travel to New England to meet their maternal uncle and their three cousins, the Wentworths, for the first time, the Wentworths who live just outside of Boston. The Wentworths are highly puritanical, the uncle in particular who looks to a neighbor, Mr. Brand, to provide a moral compass to his three children, especially the shy Gertrude, who Mr. Brand wants to marry. The Wentworths are somewhat suspicious as to the reason for their relatives' visit, but nonetheless the uncle puts them up in a neighboring house on their property. While Felix enjoys the company of his cousins - especially Gertrude - Eugenia is a bit more standoffish and cognizant of the real reason for their ...


James Ivory


Lee Remick
as Eugenia Young
Wesley Addy
as Mr. Wentworth
Lisa Eichhorn
as Gertrude
Kristin Griffith
as Lizzie Acton
Robin Ellis
as Robert Acton
Tim Choate
as Clifford
Nancy New
as Charlotte

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by fugazzi49 8 /10

underrated film

While not on the level of Howard's End and other Merchant/Ivory films at their later peak, this film is where they truly took off in presenting period films. the look and details are excellent as has been commented on here. The cinematography is particularly wonderful in capturing a beautiful New England autumn, especially the sunlit buggy-ride with Robert Acton and the baroness. What is serendipitous is that the company wanted to film in May and June, when the book is set but filmed in Fall because that's when they got the money. The autumn here is practically a character in itself, and were the film set in a very green June, would look less like New England and might have been anywhere, and the constant reminder of the puritanical background of old New England would have been lost.

The casting is also very good. I take issue with some earlier views in that I find Lee Remick excellent as the Baroness. Faye Dunaway would haveseemed too aristocratic, and Jane Fonda still a bit too young, at leastin looks. Lee Remick is a bit too good looking to be the Baroness of thebook who is a plain looking woman who carries herself as if she is abeauty. Wesley Addy is a perfect Patriarch and Felix was played with much youthful gusto by Tim Woodward, who also looked perfect for the part.

It is not always considered fair or useful to compare aspects of a literary adaptation And its source book but in this case it's so literal that it is valid to an extent. Two major differences do stand out and add to the overall film.

The role of Clifford ,the young son is expanded and brought more forward in the film, especially his comic visits to the Baroness. Tim Choate did a wonderful job of creating his awkward, smiling,humorous young Yankee who in the novel seldom gives more than "a growl" to any question.

The addition of the big party scene at the Acton house(there is none in the book) was a wonderful inspiration. A period piece like this needs a scene to really show off how everyone would look at their best and the attention to detail of dance and music was obviously great. As the Baroness says, "They're quite exuberant"

The problem many people may have with the film is that the characters' motives and desires may seem a bit unclear, this despite almost all the dialog being taken directly from the novel. But this is not one of those later Henry James novels where three pages of exposition of thought and motive precedes each spoken sentence but rather a short and simple book which is faithfully recreated here on film.

The Baroness finds what she is looking for (money) but feels not enough passion from the man ("I am admired in Europe")and not enough to enjoy in the staid community ("She has grown tired of us" She leaves but most everyone else finds exactly what they were looking for.A fine film.

Reviewed by happipuppi13 10 /10

Use Your Open Mind When Watching "The Europeans".

I got a look at this movie last night on DVD and it was a very good movie viewing experience. I had never heard of this film at all but I liked the front cover (it wasn't the one next to this review) and also noticed Lee Remick was in it. So I gave it a try.

First great thing I noticed was the beautiful fall colors all throughout this film,I really like that it was set in New England (New Hampshire to be exact). There's even a leaf covered outdoor stair-step that leads to a Gazebo which looks almost unreal. The Autumn look sets the tone of "change",that will take place during the course of the movie.

There's also the absolutely perfect attention to detail in making it look and feel like your visiting 1850's America via your TV. Although made in 1979 and having been in theaters,this movie doesn't look like it was made nearly 30 years ago and even seems like it should have been a Masterpiece Theatre film. It really looks that great!

The plot,as described,is Remick and other family cousin travel to America to see their U.S. relations. Also,because Remick's Baroness is being forced out of her marriage to royalty by the German Government.

Gertrude is the eldest daughter in the family but is considered odd for her independent behavior and non-conforming attitude,that her father has successfully instilled in the rest of his family. So successful is he,that upon first watching this movie you'll think,"Boy this family is boring!" "Boy is that father a drag!"

Which is exactly the point. The old fashioned strict values of that era are demonstrated in how staid & confining they were. Especially for women,who had to be virtual saints & objects of perfection and demure to the point of not having an identity all their own.

The European cousins,don't purposely set out to "shake up" this family but,their being there does so just the same. Gertrude falls for her distant male cousin,male character Acton falls for the Baroness and the father of this film even shows a bit of relenting.

It might surprise you to know that this film was a good box-office success here in 1979. Amazing possibly because there's really no cursing in this film,no violence and no one takes their clothes off.

Which is refreshing for a change,the acting is on a very even level and is quite engaging,once you understand the characters better and the story becomes more clear to you.

I also recommend the short-subject extra in this DVD. A film called,"Sweet Sounds",a 1976 film by the man who did the music for The Europeans. It's a cute and interesting film about 10 five year old kids learning about how music can relate to things. For me,it's revisiting a time when I was a kid.

10 out of 10 stars. No question. (END)

Reviewed by isnogud-der-grosswesir 10 /10

A Masterpiece with Lee Remick - pure and simple!

This film is a masterpiece as are all of the Merchant/Ivory's films. The absorbing story and adaptation, the fantastic actors - notably the immensely beautiful Lee Remick - and the eye for detail makes this a unique experience and may be watched again and again.

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