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Review: Proper portraits in Merchant-Ivory-Jhabvala’s ‘The Bostonians’

In a film full of superior performances — Linda Hunt as the astringent non-feminist Dr. Prance, Jessica Tandy as the lifelong libertarian Miss Birdseye, Nancy Marchand as the ultimate pragmatist Mrs. Burrage — the casting of Potter becomes an ongoing irritant. Together, Verena and Olive Chancellor should be a violin and a cello, or (as a friend insists) a young Katharine Hepburn and Vanessa Redgrave. Redgrave and Potter are a cello and a penny whistle. To watch Redgrave, with her splendid voice and that strong, controlled body, say, “What power, what power, Miss Tarrant,” is to worry that the woman has lost her judgment entirely.