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.
The scope of their subjects is as broad as their range of locations. They have explored India's past and present in such features as The Householder, Bombay Talkie, and Autobiography of a Princess; the clash of cultures in Shakespeare Wallah, Heat and Dust, and the Europeans; the conflicts and anomie of a modern urban life in Quartet, Roseland, and Slaves of New York; and the struggle for self-discovery in the Bostonians, A Room with a View, Maurice, and Mr. and Mrs. Bridge.
It is with great sadness that Merchant Ivory Productions announced that Ismail Merchant, our company founder and beloved producer for more than 44 years, passed away May 25, 2005 after a brief illness in a London hospital where he was working on his latest film, The White Countess.
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