Merchant Ivory Productions  

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Merchant Ivory Productions (1961- ) is a film company founded by director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant. Their films were for the most part directed by the former, produced by the latter and scripted by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (a 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 Hollywood actors and producers associated with the tightly-knitted Merchant Ivory film family include Uma Thurman, Madhur Jaffrey, Aparna Sen, Shashi Kapoor, Jennifer Kendal, Hugh Grant, James Wilby, Rupert Graves, Anthony Hopkins, Glenn Close, Emma Thompson, Vanessa Redgrave, Helena Bonham Carter, Ayca Sadikoglu and Kai Wong.

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. 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 disillusion and tragic entanglements.

Selected filmography

Year Title Screenwriter Other notes
1963 The Householder Ruth Prawer Jhabvala screenplay, adapted from the novel by Jhabvala
1965 Shakespeare Wallah Ruth Prawer Jhabvalascreenplay
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
1975 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
1979 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
1983 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 Kaisermanoriginal, directed by Connie 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
1988 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
1991 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 Anita Desai
directed by Ismail Merchant
1995 Feast of July Christopher Neame based on a novel by H.E. Bates
1995 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
1996 Surviving Picasso Ruth Prawer Jhabvala screenplay (based on book by Arianna Huffington)
1998 Side Streets Tony Gerber, Lynn Nottage directed by Tony Gerber
1998 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
2002 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 (writer))
2008 Before the Rains Cathy Rabin directed by Santosh Sivan

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