James Ivory and Ismail Merchant had one hell of a mess on their hands in getting The Golden Bowl to theaters. In the end, they ended up buying back the rights from the studio, which wanted additional edits. Those edits might not have been such a bad idea, as the film, based on a Henry James novel, is considerably dull, despite its brisk pace and cast of dozens, all parlor-room types (and Merchant-Ivory alumni like James Fox and Nick Nolte) who speak in a hifalutin meter when they aren't busy boinking one another in a series of adulteries. And yet it's still boring. The Golden Bowl has some inviting characters (much like the similarly droll House of Mirth, but at least it had Gillian Anderson), but this story is just too slow, too predictable (oh, he married a girl for money but is in love with her friend... what a surprise), and too long to be of much interest to anyone but the costume-drama obsessed.