Vale British actor Julian Sands, star of A Room with a View

29 June 2023

Julian Sands, Helena Bonham Carter, A Room with a View film scene

Julian Sands and Helena Bonham Carter, in a still from A Room with a View.

The remains of British actor Julian Sands, who had been missing since January this year, after setting off on a hike on Mount Baldy, in California, were located earlier this week. Sands’ disappearance sparked a large search effort, which was hampered by dangerous storms in the region.

Sands was a prolific film and television actor. His credits include The Killing Fields, The Phantom of the Opera, Ocean’s Thirteen, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, to name a few. His breakthrough role however is considered to be that of George Emerson, in the 1985 film adaptation of late British author E. M. Forster’s 1908 novel, A Room with a View.

Made close to forty years ago now, the romance drama, set in Italy and England, was the intersection of an amazing array of acting and production talent. Acclaimed producers James Ivory and the late Ismail Merchant, who collaborated under the banner of Merchant Ivory, produced and directed. Late German novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, wrote the screenplay.

As George Emerson, Sands played a love interest of protagonist Lucy Honeychurch, portrayed by compatriot actor Helena Bonham Carter, which was likewise seen as her breakout role. George was pitched against another of Lucy’s suitors, Cecil Vyse, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, in what was also one of his earlier film performances.

Veteran British actor Maggie Smith portrayed Charlotte Bartlett, Lucy’s older cousin, and chaperon during their trip to Italy. Smith and Bonham Carter would later work together in some of the Harry Potter films. Judy Dench featured in a supporting role as a novelist called Eleanor Lavish.

Denholm Elliott as George’s father, Rupert Graves as Lucy’s brother Freddy, and Simon Callow, as a vicar, Mr Beebe, also featured. New Zealand opera singer Kiri Te Kanawa sang O mio babbino caro, an aria from Italian composer Giacomo Puccini’s 1917 comic opera Gianni Schicchi, on the soundtrack.

While Sands appeared to not be nominated for any awards for his performance in A Room with a View, the film won in three categories in the 1987 Oscars, and four in the British Academy Film Awards in the same year. For anyone wishing to learn more about Sands’ work and career though, A Room with a View, is an essential, and excellent, starting point.


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