Kurt Johnson, with dancers Brenda Holmes, Michon Peacock and Christina Stolberg.

Jane Austen in Manhattan
1980/U.S., 111 minutes

The origins of Jane Austen in Manhattan, also set in New York, go back to the sale of the manuscript of Jane Austen's childhood play, based on Samuel Richardson's novel Sir Charles Grandison, at a Sothebys auction in London. The manuscript was acquired by David Astor, owner of the Observer newspaper, who was quickly approached by the London Weekend Television arts program "The South Bank Show," apparently without actually seeing it, for production rights. Melvyn Bragg, who had co-produced Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie's Pictures for the program and was at a party for its screening with Merchant and Ivory, mentioned to them that LWT had just acquired an option on the play. Also without having seen the play, they enthusiastically agreed to do the film version. When Ivory received a photocopy of the manuscript, however, he discovered that it "wasn't a complete play, just this childish thing." Yet Jhabvala felt that it could be used as the "seed" for a film in which theatrical groups compete to acquire and produce the Austen play. After The Europeans was made, she prepared the screenplay for Jane Austen in Manhattan, and in January-March 1980 the film was shot on location in New York. Its $450,000 cost was underwritten by a group of investors, including London Weekend Television and Polytel, backers previously of Hullabaloo.

Director: James Ivory
Producer: Ismail Merchant
Screenplay: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Libretto of Sir Charles Grandison by Jane Austin, Samuel Richardson
Photography: Ernest Vincze
Opera Sequence: Larry Pizer
Music: Richard Robbins
Editor David E. McKenna
Art Director: Jeremiah Rusconi
Stage Settings: Michael Yeargan
Costumes: Jenny Beavan
Associate Producer: Connie Kaiserman
Casting: Judy Abbott

Cast: Anne Baxter (Lilianna Zorska), Robert Powell (Pierre), Michael Wager (George Midash), Tim Choate (Jamie), John Guerrasio (Gregory), Katrina Hodiak (Katya), Kurt Johnson (Victor), Philip Linkowsky (Fritz), Charles McCaughan (Billy), Nancy New (Jenny), Sean Young (Ariadne), Bernard Barrow (Polson), Lee Doyle (Jarvis), Bella Jarrett (Klein), Naomi Riordan (Mrs. Polson), David Redden (Auctioneer), Gael Hammer and Peter McPherson (Unsuccessful Bidders), John Boyle and Tim Burke (Chair Carriers), Iman (Sufi Leader), Brenda Holmes, Michon Peacock, and Christina Stolberg (Dancers), Michael Shawn (Choreographer), Susan Hovey (Marianne), Sarallen (Fairbanks), Jacquelyn Roberts (Miss Auberry), Sandra Seacat (Thrift-Shop Lady), James Raitt (Pianist), Wayne Tuthill (Clergyman's Clerk)


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