- Merchant Ivory Productions
Merchant Ivory Productions is a film company founded in 1961 by producer Ismail Merchant and director James Ivory. Their films were for the most part produced by the former, directed by the latter, and scripted by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, with the noted exception of a few films. The films were often based upon novels or short stories, particularly the work of Henry James, E. M. Forster, and two novels by Jhabvala herself.
The initial goal of the company was "to make English-language films in India aimed at the international market," but the company ended up making many films set in England and America.
Some Bollywood and Hollywood actors and producers associated with the tightly-knitted Merchant Ivory film family include Leela Naidu, Madhur Jaffrey, Aparna Sen, Shashi Kapoor, Jennifer Kendal, Hugh Grant, James Wilby, Rupert Graves, Simon Callow, Anthony Hopkins, Glenn Close, Uma Thurman, Emma Thompson, Vanessa Redgrave, and Helena Bonham Carter.
Of this collaboration, Merchant once commented: "It is a strange marriage we have at Merchant Ivory... I am an Indian Muslim, Ruth is a German Jew, and Jim is a Protestant American. Someone once described us as a three-headed god. Maybe they should have called us a three-headed monster!"
The expression "Merchant-Ivory film" has made its way into common parlance, to denote a particular genre of film rather than the actual production company. The heyday of this genre was the 1980s and 1990s with such films as A Room with a View and Howards End. A typical "Merchant-Ivory film" would be a period piece set in the early 20th century, usually in Edwardian England, featuring lavish sets and top British actors portraying genteel characters who suffer from disillusionment and tragic entanglements.
Year Title Screenwriter Other notes 1963 The Householder Ruth Prawer Jhabvala screenplay, adapted from the novel by Jhabvala 1965 Shakespeare Wallah Ruth Prawer Jhabvala screenplay 1969 The Guru Ruth Prawer Jhabvala screenplay 1970 Bombay Talkie Ruth Prawer Jhabvala screenplay 1972 Savages George Swift Trow and Michael O'Donoghue written by 1975 The Wild Party Walter Marks based on a poem by Joseph Moncure March Autobiography of a Princess Ruth Prawer Jhabvala written by 1977 Roseland Ruth Prawer Jhabvala story and screenplay 1978 Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie's Pictures Ruth Prawer Jhabvala TV (story) 1979 The Five Forty-Eight Terrance McNally based on the story by John Cheever The Europeans Ruth Prawer Jhabvala based on the novel by Henry James 1980 Jane Austen in Manhattan Ruth Prawer Jhabvala written by 1981 Quartet Ruth Prawer Jhabvala based on the novel by Jean Rhys 1983 The Courtesans of Bombay Ismail Merchant, James Ivory and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala TV feature; directed by Ismail Merchant Heat and Dust Ruth Prawer Jhabvala based on the novel by Jhabvala 1984 The Bostonians Ruth Prawer Jhabvala based on the novel by Henry James 1985 A Room with a View Ruth Prawer Jhabvala based on the novel by E. M. Forster 1986 My Little Girl Connie Kaiserman original; directed by Kaiserman 1987 Maurice James Ivory & Kit Hesketh-Harvey based on the novel by E. M. Forster 1988 The Deceivers Michael Hirst based on novel by John Masters The Perfect Murder H.R.F. Keating and Zafar Hai based on the novel by Keating 1989 Slaves of New York Tama Janowitz based on collection of stories by Janowitz 1990 Mr. & Mrs. Bridge Ruth Prawer Jhabvala based on novels by Evan S. Connell 1991 The Ballad of the Sad Cafe Michael Hirst play by Edward Albee
(based on novel by Carson McCullers)
directed by Simon Callow
Street Musicians of Bombay directed by Richard Robbins 1992 Howards End Ruth Prawer Jhabvala based on the novel by E. M. Forster 1993 The Remains of the Day Ruth Prawer Jhabvala based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro 1994 In Custody Shahrukh Husain and Anita Desai based on the novel by Desai
directed by Ismail Merchant
1995 Feast of July Christopher Neame based on a novel by H.E. Bates Jefferson in Paris Ruth Prawer Jhabvala written by J. T. Hyndman 1996 The Proprietor Jean-Marie Besset and George Swift Trow directed by Ismail Merchant Surviving Picasso Ruth Prawer Jhabvala screenplay (based on the book by Arianna Huffington) 1998 Side Streets Tony Gerber, Lynn Nottage directed by Tony Gerber A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries Ruth Prawer Jhabvala based on the novel by Kaylie Jones 1999 Cotton Mary Alexandra Viets directed by Ismail Merchant 2001 The Golden Bowl Ruth Prawer Jhabvala based on the novel by Henry James 2002 The Mystic Masseur Caryl Phillips based on a novel by V. S. Naipaul Merci Docteur Rey Andrew Litvack directed by Andrew Litvack 2003 Le Divorce Ruth Prawer Jhabvala & James Ivory based on the novel by Diane Johnson 2004 Heights Amy Fox directed by Chris Terrio 2005 The White Countess Kazuo Ishiguro screenplay 2007 The City of Your Final Destination Ruth Prawer Jhabvala screenplay (based on book by Peter Cameron) 2008 Before the Rains Cathy Rabin directed by Santosh Sivan
Films by Merchant Ivory Productions 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990sMr. & Mrs. Bridge (1990) · The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (1991) · Howards End (1992) · The Remains of the Day (1993) · In Custody (1994) · Feast of July (1995) · Jefferson in Paris (1995) · The Proprietor (1996) · Surviving Picasso (1996) · Side Streets (1998) · A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries (1999) · Cotton Mary (1999) 2000s
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