Back on topic...
I picked up a copy of Maurice from Criterion before their rights lapsed. You can still get a few copies from Amazon, although they are in short supply.
This was one of the first gay films I ever saw. I was living in Washington DC in 1988, still closeted, but going to their excellent gay/lesbian bookstore in Dupont Circle called "Lambda Rising"...they had Maurice on VHS, and even though it was expensive, I bought it. A year earlier, I special ordered the book from B. Daltons. They only carried "A Room With A View" (also by E.M. Forster) in their stores, and that was because that movie was such an immense hit. I still have that book and tape, and somewhere in my boxes of moldy water-damaged laserdiscs I have the laserdisc. But this is the first time I have owned the DVD.
Set in 1910's England, Maurice is the story of a man who comes to terms with his homosexuality in an era when being caught was punishable by prison time. James Wilby plays Maurice, and Hugh Grant plays Clive, his college lover who is scared "straight" when one of his classmates is caught with a trick and put on trial. Clive eventually marries a woman, and recommends that Maurice does the same. Maurice enters into hypnosis for a cure (the hypnotist is a great part played by Ben Kingsley) but his progress is halted when Maurice has his first sexual encounter with the gamekeeper Scudder played by Rupert Graves. Scudder threatens to blackmail Maurice when Maurice ignores him. But his threats are empty. Will Maurice find true love?
This is a 1987 R-rated movie, so the sex is not explicit, but there is full frontal and back nudity (never with Hugh Grant, who keeps his clothes on).
In terms of sheer romance, I tend to prefer A Room With A View. Like A Room With A View, Maurice features lavish production values (shot largely on location) and period costumes.
Highest recommendation...click fast at Amazon if you want a copy.
I tend to not include too much about plots because I (falsely) think folks already know about these films. My first love, a man ten years my senior, told me about how "Maurice" was quite the event when it was released theatrically.
I saw "A Room With a View" first, and still prefer it, but that has something to do with how much more I enjoy out actor Simon Callow as Mr Beebe, along with Judy Dench, Maggie Smith, and Daniel Day-Lewis.
The breakout performance for me with "Maurice" is Rupert Graves.
Maurice is apparently very accurate in that upper class men in England often found it hard to connect with other upper class men sexually and they often sought companionship with "rough trade" and the working class men.
Apparently Lady Chatterley's Lover was not a fluke or an upper class fantasy.
There is a great photo-book of a real life "Maurice-esque" love story titled
"A Class Apart: The Private Pictures of Montague Glover" with text by James Gardiner.
Glover was upper class and a photographer. He photographed the rough trade that was open sexually to upper class men and also, there are lots of photos, including those of the love of his life, Ralph, a working class youth who appears on the cover; They were together more than 50 years and Ralph participated in the creation of the book even though it contains some risque photos of him. It also includes many of Monty and Ralph's love letters....all done along a backdrop of explaining how the culture worked at the start of the century.
It is a real life Maurice story, quite romantic, and saucy, and makes a fantastic companion book to go with Maurice.
Also, for anyone wondering (if they care) James Ivory, the director of these Merchant Ivory films, was gay, which may be why Maurice got made in the first place. The lead male in A Room With A View was set to star as the lead in Maurice but he did something to irritate Ishmael Merchant and James Ivory, hence the title role went to James Wilby.
Now when I watch the BBC's Sherlock, I still think of Rupert Graves as he was from Maurice.
Best to you!
Edited by Mark Walker, July 06 2013 - 06:15 PM.