On the anniversary of her father's death, an Indian princess (Madhur Jaffrey) celebrates his memory in her London apartment by having tea and showing a selection of home movies to her guest...
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On the anniversary of her father's death, an Indian princess (Madhur Jaffrey) celebrates his memory in her London apartment by having tea and showing a selection of home movies to her guest, her father's old tutor Cyril Sahib (James Mason).
Director James Ivory wrote a book entitled "Autobiography of a princess, also being the adventures of an American film director in the land of the Maharajas" which was first published in the same 1975 that this film was first released. The book was compiled by Ivory and included photographs taken by various people including John Swope and included a published screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. See more »
a two-hander tour de force helped by documentary footage
On the face of it, this film, an early effort from the Merchant-Ivory team, does not sound that interesting. Madhur Jaffrey plays an Indian princess exiled from her homeland and living in a London flat, where she plays hostess once a year to her late father's secretary, Cyril (James Mason).
Together they reminisce about the past and watch old films of the height of the Royal India and the days of the Raj. It is the use of this documentary film which makes 'Autobiography of a Princess' interesting. The characters themselves, the Princess and the secretary, both have their own ingrained prejudices and recollections, and neither really gain our sympathy.
However, the acting from both Jaffrey and Mason is outstanding and these characters really do live on the screen, warts and all.
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