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Forgotten award-winning film starring Hugh Grant set in Cambridge

Unsurprisingly, Cambridge has appeared as a backdrop in a glut of Hollywood movies and TV series. The beautiful city aesthetic has been used in a host of popular films like The Theory of Everything, Chariots of Fire, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, as well as TV series like Grantchester.



A scene from "Mauritius"1987 British romantic drama by James Ivory, based on the novel by E. M. Forster


© BFI
A scene from “Maurice”, James Ivory’s 1987 British romantic drama, based on the novel by EM Forster

Some of the UK’s most famous and talented actors have starred in films based in the city or studied at the world famous university. In 1987, Hugh Grant starred in the film Maurice just before making a splash in his role as Charles in the 1994 classic, Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Many of Maurice’s scenes were shot in the halls and quadrangles of the magnificent King’s College. However, many other parts of the city of Cambridge can also be spotted throughout this film. The film ended up winning big at the Venice Film Festival and was praised at the time for tackling the subject of same-sex relationships with such tact and progressiveness.

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Maurice, a film based on EM Forster’s novel about 20th century gay love, stars actors James Wilby, Hugh Grant, Rupert Graves and Denholm Elliott. The gay love story is set against the backdrop of repressive Edwardian England. It follows the main character, Maurice Hall, through college (you guessed which one) and his roller-coaster relationship with Clive (Hugh Grant).

College mates fall in love while studying at Cambridge. However, to regain his place in society, Clive renounces his forbidden love for Maurice and marries a trivial woman called Ann.

Maurice, meanwhile, trying to heal his homosexuality with a therapist, ends up falling in love with another, Alec, a game warden. The couple – Maurice and Alec – after many tribulations, end up being happily reunited at the end of the film. The story is based on a true story of individuals in EM Forster’s own life.

Hugh Grant confessed in the DVD extras at the end of the film, that he and James Wilby already knew each other from playing Grant’s first film role together, and the two were able to rehearse their scenes together at Grant’s house the night before. Wilby’s audition. .

Grant recalls his brother’s shock when he returned from work: “I was a surprise to my banker brother when he came home and found me kissing James Wilby in the living room” .

Interestingly, in his will, Forster left the rights to the Maurice book to King’s College, Cambridge, where he himself had originally been a student. The college did not want to give permission to film Mauritius at first, as they thought the novel was second rate and an “inferior” work, and feared it would damage Forster’s legacy, however, the director was “very persuasive”. The rest is history!

One of the most memorable moments from the film, according to IMDB, may be below, an exchange between Alec and Maurice about their future together:

Alec Scudder: You sound like a man who never had to earn a living.

Maurice Hall: You can do anything. Once you know what it is. We can live without money, without anyone. We can live without a position. We are not fools. We are both strong. There would be a place we could go.

Alec Scudder: It wouldn’t work, Maurice. Be the ruin of both of us. You do not see ?

Do you want to see the movie? It’s available on Amazon and Netflix, so there’s no excuse not to go ahead and rewatch it for yourself.