Sunday, November 22, 2009

Merchant Ivory Films

Merchant-Ivory Films have been around for awhile and made some beloved period films over the years. My favorites are "The Remains of the Day," "A Room With A View," "The Europeans," and "The Bostonians."
The thing I love about Merchant-Ivory is that they were ahead of their time. They used literature as the basis of many films, casting the best talent, (Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Reeve, Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham-Carter, etc), and their body of work stands on it's own, having become some of the best classic films we all know and love. And they are not finished yet.
Here is the writeup from their official site that tells a little about Merchant-Ivory:

"From Shakespeare Wallah, the bittersweet tale of a wandering theatrical company in India, which established the company's reputation in 1965, to the richly detailed comic masterpiece A Room with a View in 1986, and the poignant Oscar-winning film Howards End in 1992, Merchant Ivory has provided audiences around the world with thoughtful and beautifully crafted features, documentaries, and shorts.

Merchant Ivory's films have been praised for their visual beauty, their mature and intelligent themes, and the shrewd casting and fine acting from which they derive their unique power.

Merchant Ivory is actually a collaboration of three remarkable people from three vastly different cultures: Ismail Merchant, the producer, born in India; Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the screenwriter, born in Germany and educated in England; and James Ivory, the director, born in the United States.

The diversity of Merchant Ivory's cultural roots is evident in the range of locations in which their movies have been shot: Delhi, Bombay, and Benares; London, Paris, and Florence; New York, New England, and Texas. They capture a vital sense of place and often lyrical feeling for widely varying periods and landscapes, from Paris in the 1920s and Edwardian England, to nineteenth-century America and British India."

Complete filmography: (could keep you busy for awhile!)

The City of Your Final Destination (2009)

The White Countess (2006)
Heights (2004)
Le Divorce (2003)
The Mystic Masseur (2002)
The Golden Bowl (2001)

Cotton Mary (2000)
A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries (1998)
Surviving Picasso (1996)
The Proprietor (1996)
Jefferson in Paris (1995)
Feast of July (1995)

The Remains of the Day (1993)

Howards End (1992)

Street Musicians of Bombay (1991)
The Perfect Murder (1990)
Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990)
The Ballad of the Sad Café (1990)
Slaves of New York (1989)
The Deceivers (1988)
Maurice (1987)
A Room With a View (1985)

The Bostonians (1984)

Heat and Dust (1983)
The Courtesans of Bombay (1983)
Quartet (1981)
Jane Austen in Manhattan (1980)
The Europeans (1979)

The Five Forty-Eight (1979)
Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie's Pictures (1976)
Roseland (1977)
Sweet Sounds (1976)
The Wild Party (1975)
Autobiography of a Princess (1975)
Mahatma and the Mad Boy (1974)
Helen: Queen of the Nautch Girls (1973)
Savages (1973)
Adventures of a Brown Man in Search of Civilization (1972)
Bombay Talkie (1970)
The Guru (1969)
Shakespeare Wallah (1965)

The Delhi Way (1964)
The Householder (1963)
The Creation of Woman (1960)
The Sword and the Flute (1959)
Venice: Theme and Variations (1957)

(oh yeah, the bold means I have seen that movie)


  1. Hi! Love your blog!
    I've been wanting to see Bostonians and Europeans. Are they worth seeing?

  2. Thanks, Charley- I love yours, as well.

    In answer to your question - yes, both are worth seeing. Out of the two, I liked "The Europeans" best, and will (eventually) buy it. "The Bostonians" was okay...not something I'd watch again though.


  3. Thanks! and thanks for your point of view on those dramas. I haven't seen them mentioned often so I was curious about them. I didn't realize that Merchant & Ivory did that many films! I've been wanting to watch 'Howard's End' again and I love 'Remains of the Day'!

  4. I also love "Remains of the Day!"