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Merchant Ivory Productions

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Merchant Ivory Productions
Founded1961
FounderIsmail Merchant
James Ivory

Merchant Ivory Productions is a film company founded in 1961 by producer Ismail Merchant (1936–2005) and director James Ivory (b. 1928). Merchant and Ivory were life and business partners from 1961 until Merchant's death in 2005. During their time together, they made 44 films. The films were for the most part produced by Merchant and directed by Ivory, and 23 of them were scripted by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (1927–2013) in some capacity. The films were often based upon novels or short stories, particularly the work of Henry James, E. M. Forster, and Jhabvala herself.

The initial goal of the company was "to make English-language films in India aimed at the international market". The style of Merchant Ivory films set and photographed in India became iconic. The company also went on to make films in the United Kingdom and America.

Some actors and producers associated with Merchant Ivory include Maggie Smith, 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, Natasha Richardson, Ralph Fiennes, Colin Firth, Richard Hawley and Helena Bonham Carter.[citation needed]

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!"[1]

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. While 1965's Shakespeare Wallah put this genre on the international map,[2] its heyday was the 1980s and 1990s with such films as A Room with a View (1985) and Howards End (1992). 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. The main theme often surrounded a house, which took on a particular importance in many Merchant Ivory films.[3][4]

History

Merchant Ivory Productions was founded in 1961 by Ismail Merchant and James Ivory[5] in India to produce English language films.[6]

After early, modest successes with films such as The Householder, Shakespeare Wallah, and Bombay Talkie, Merchant and Ivory suffered a lean period during the 1970s. Films such as Jane Austen in Manhattan and The Wild Party failed to find an audience. Their fortunes revived dramatically in 1979 when they made an adaptation of Henry James' novel The Europeans. Their film Heat and Dust (1983) was an art-house hit in Europe, particularly in England. However, it was not until their work together on A Room with a View (1985) that they broke out from the art house into broader success.

In 1985, Merchant Ivory Productions was signed by film distributor Cinecom International Films in order to gave Cinecom access to the 11 Merchant Ivory productions at that time as Cinecom had to increase its distribution schedule.[7] In 1986, Merchant Ivory and Cinecom begin their co-production lineup with the film The Deceivers.[8] In 1987, after 25 years as an independent producer, Merchant Ivory Productions would be courted by Hollywood power brokers and deep-pocket investors mesmerised by the success of the triple-Oscar winning feature film A Room with a View, and decided that they would decline four offers in order that they wanted to make the company to go public.[9]

Around 1990, they moved their productions to England and the United States. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala became their frequent collaborating writer.[6] Major film studios sought them out; Disney signed Merchant Ivory Productions to a three-year distribution deal in 1991.[10][11]

In October 2015, Cohen Media Group acquired the Merchant Ivory brand and library, 21 films and 9 documentaries including worldwide distribution, for restoration and rerelease as a part of the Cohen Film Collection. Ivory would be creative director on the films' restoration, re-release and promotion.[6]

Members

James Ivory

Ivory was known for often directing the productions. He received three Academy Award nominations for his work but never won. He received his first Oscar at the age of 89 for his screenplay for Call Me by Your Name, becoming the oldest person to win an Oscar for writing.

Academy Awards

Year Film Category Result
1986 A Room with a View Best Director Nominated
1993 Howards End Nominated
1994 The Remains of the Day Nominated
2018 Call Me by Your Name Best Adapted Screenplay Won

Ismail Merchant

Merchant was known for producing the films. Despite four nominations, he never won.

Academy Awards

Year Film Category Result
1960 The Creation of a Woman Live Action Short Film Nominated
1986 A Room with a View Best Picture Nominated
1993 Howards End Nominated
1994 The Remains of the Day Nominated

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

Jhabvala was known for adapting the screenplays. She received three nominations, with two wins.

Academy Awards

Year Film Category Result
1986 A Room with a View Best Adapted Screenplay Won
1993 Howards End Won
1994 The Remains of the Day Nominated

Filmography

Compiled works from Merchant Ivory Productions.

Year Title Screenwriter Other notes
1963 The Householder[6] Ruth Prawer Jhabvala screenplay, adapted from the novel by Jhabvala
1965 Shakespeare Wallah[6] screenplay
1969 The Guru
The Night of Counting the Years Shadi Abdel Salam written and directed by Salam
1970 Bombay Talkie Jhabvala screenplay
1972 Savages George W. S. 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 Jhabvala written by
1977 Roseland story and screenplay
1978 Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie's Pictures TV (story)
1979 The Five Forty-Eight Terrence McNally based on the story by John Cheever
The Europeans Jhabvala based on a novel by Henry James
1980 Jane Austen in Manhattan written by Jhabvala
1981 Quartet based on the novel by Jean Rhys
1983 The Courtesans of Bombay Merchant, Ivory and Jhabvala TV feature; directed by Merchant
Heat and Dust Jhabvala[10] based on the novel by Jhabvala
1984 The Bostonians based on the novel by Henry James
1985 A Room with a View based on the novel by E. M. Forster
1986 My Little Girl Connie Kaiserman original; directed by Kaiserman
1987 Maurice Ivory and Kit Hesketh-Harvey based on the novel by Forster
1988 The Deceivers Michael Hirst based on the 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 a collection of stories by Janowitz
1990 Mr. & Mrs. Bridge Jhabvala based on novels by Evan S. Connell
1991 The Ballad of the Sad Café Michael Hirst play by Edward Albee
(based on the novel by Carson McCullers)
directed by Simon Callow
Street Musicians of Bombay directed by Richard Robbins
1992 Howards End Jhabvala based on the novel by Forster
1993 In Custody Shahrukh Husain and Anita Desai based on the novel by Desai
directed by Merchant
The Remains of the Day Jhabvala[10] based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro
1995 Feast of July Christopher Neame based on a novel by H. E. Bates
Jefferson in Paris Jhabvala written by J. T. Hyndman
1996 The Proprietor Jean-Marie Besset and George W. S. Trow directed by Merchant
Surviving Picasso Jhabvala screenplay (based on the book Picasso: Creator and Destroyer by Arianna Huffington)
1998 Side Streets Tony Gerber and Lynn Nottage directed by Gerber
A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries Jhabvala based on the novel by Kaylie Jones
1999 Cotton Mary Alexandra Viets directed by Merchant
2000 The Golden Bowl Jhabvala based on the novel by Henry James
2001 The Mystic Masseur Caryl Phillips based on the novel by V. S. Naipaul
2002 Merci Docteur Rey Andrew Litvack directed by Litvack
2003 Le Divorce Jhabvala and Ivory based on the novel by Diane Johnson
2005 Heights Amy Fox directed by Chris Terrio
The White Countess Ishiguro screenplay
2007 Before the Rains Cathy Rabin directed by Santosh Sivan
2009 The City of Your Final Destination Jhabvala screenplay (based on a book by Peter Cameron)
2017 Call Me by Your Name Ivory based on the novel by André Aciman, directed by Luca Guadagnino
2020 Make the Wiseguys Weep Ric Menello and Neil Jesuele based on a book by David Evanier

Academy Award wins and nominations

The Europeans

Year Category Nominee Result Ref.
1979 Best Costume Design Judy Moorcroft Nominated [citation needed]

The Bostonians

Year Category Nominee Result Ref.
1984 Best Actress Vanessa Redgrave Nominated [citation needed]
Best Costume Design Jenny Beavan, John Bright Nominated

A Room with a View

Year Category Nominee Result Ref.
1986 Best Picture Ismail Merchant Nominated [citation needed]
Best Director James Ivory Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Denholm Elliott Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Maggie Smith Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Won
Best Cinematography Tony Pierce-Roberts Nominated
Best Production Design Gianni Quaranta, Brian Ackland-Snow
Brian Savegar, Elio Altamura
Won
Best Costume Design Jenny Beavan, John Bright Won

Maurice

Year Category Nominee Result Ref.
1987 Best Costume Design Jenny Beavan, John Bright Nominated [citation needed]

Mr. and Mrs. Bridge

Year Category Nominee Result Ref.
1990 Best Actress Joanne Woodward Nominated [citation needed]

Howards End

Year Category Nominee Result Ref.
1993 Best Picture Ismail Merchant Nominated [citation needed]
Best Director James Ivory Nominated
Best Actress Emma Thompson Won
Best Supporting Actress Vanessa Redgrave Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Won
Best Cinematography Tony Pierce-Roberts Nominated
Best Production Design Gianni Quaranta, Brian Ackland-Snow
Brian Savegar, Elio Altamura
Won
Best Costume Design Jenny Beavan, John Bright Nominated
Best Original Score Richard Robbins Nominated

The Remains of the Day

Year Category Nominee Result Ref.
1994 Best Picture Ismail Merchant Nominated [citation needed]
Best Director James Ivory Nominated
Best Actor Anthony Hopkins Nominated
Best Actress Emma Thompson Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Nominated
Best Production Design Gianni Quaranta, Brian Ackland-Snow
Brian Savegar, Elio Altamura
Nominated
Best Costume Design Jenny Beavan, John Bright Nominated
Best Original Score Richard Robbins Nominated

Call Me by Your Name

Year Category Nominee Result Ref.
2017 Best Picture Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges, Peter Spears, Marco Morabito Nominated [citation needed]
Best Actor Timothée Chalamet Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay James Ivory Won
Best Original Song Mystery of LoveSufjan Stevens Nominated

Richard Hawley

Richard Hawley started working for Merchant Ivory Productions in 1987 as James Ivory's First Assistant Director on "Slaves of New York". He was involved in every project in various positions thereafter. In 1994, he started running the company with Ismail Merchant and left the company in 2009 after completion of The City of Your Final Destination.

Footnotes

  1. ^ "Ismail Merchant" Archived 21 November 2008 at archive.today, The Times, 26 May 2005.
  2. ^ Kaur, Harmanpreet. "The Wandering Company: Merchant-Ivory Productions and Post-Colonial Cinema" Archived 10 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Projectorhead Film Magazine, 10 January 2013.
  3. ^ LaSalle, Mick. "Merchant-Ivory's final film a refined delight. Naturally" Archived 25 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 January 2006.
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Ismail Merchant: In Memory" Archived 16 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine, 26 May 2005.
  5. ^ Fristoe, Roger. "Introduction to 50 Years of Merchant Ivory". Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on 26 March 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e McNary, Dave (12 October 2015). "'Howards End,' Merchant Ivory Library Bought by Cohen Media Group". Variety. Archived from the original on 15 April 2017. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  7. ^ Robbins, Jim (10 July 1985). "Cinecom Acquires Ancillary Sales Rights to 11 Merchant Ivory Pics". Variety. p. 4.
  8. ^ Cohn, Lawrence (12 March 1986). "Merchant Ivory, Cinecom Teaming On Coproductions". Variety. p. 5.
  9. ^ Gold, Richard (22 April 1987). "Merchant Ivory Resists Offers From Hollywood To Go Public". Variety. pp. 4, 7.
  10. ^ a b c "Ismail Merchant". Telegraph Obituaries. 25 May 2005. Archived from the original on 21 January 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  11. ^ "Disney Buys Miramax In Leap Toward Industry Lead -- 60 Movies A Year Goal For Studio". Seattle Times. AP. 1 May 1993. Archived from the original on 13 April 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2019.

External links


This page was last edited on 10 April 2022, at 16:25
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