Please recommend some Merchant Ivory Films

As usual, I have put off my consumer spending season buying until the bitter end. My stepmother likes merchant ivory era films and has a few of them on DVD. Can you please name some for me to help round out her collection.


Here’s a list of films directed by James Ivory to get you started. I haven’t seen most of them, but I liked “Room with a View,” “Howard’s End,” “Remains of the Day” and “Maurice”.

My step mother has the first 3. I’ll look at the others - Thanks for the input. Also, I like that a guy named Ivory makes ivory merchant films.

C’mon, you’ve got to love Uma Thurman as Maggie Verver and Nick Nolte as Adam Verver in “The Golden Bowl” – cheesy, trashy adaptation of a great novel. (My housemate is a James scholar and even he admits to having a fondness for this one).

Well, Merchant-Ivory are the names of the director/producer. It’s not really a genre but a brand. (or have I been whooshed? I can’t tell)

But not all of his stuff is period. “Maurice” is in the time period but is kind of a gay awakening movie; don’t know if your stepmom would like or not. “Jefferson in Paris” is also a period film (and is about Thomas Jefferson and his alleged interracial love affair with a slave).

She might like A Passage to India which is by the author of “The Remains of the Day”, “Howard’s End”, and “Maurice” and is an excellent movie about colonial India (though not directed by James Ivory).

A very early Merchant-Ivory film, which reads much more like a “foreign” or “independent” film than their later ones, is called Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie’s Pictures. It is an interesting item for a person who is really interested in M&I specifically; not so sure it’s good for a person who just likes random period films.

Yeah, if your stepmom has expressed negative interest in “Brokeback Mountain” don’t give her “Maurice”, as it’s essentially the same concept, but set around the turn of the century in upper-middle class England instead of Montana in the 60s.

You haven’t been whoosed, I have. When she said Ivory- Merchant I assumed that those period pieces were refered to Ivory Merchant flims. IE, colonial times when people were in Africa hunting elephants because of the demand for ivory. When I just called her to ask for clarification she had a good laugh. I am usually not that far out of the loop for films, but I have never seen a Merchant - Ivory film myself and I feel rather embarassed by this mistake on my part.

In light of my new understanding, can I get some recommendations for films in the Merchant & Ivory style?

The funny thing is that it really does work the other way, too. Merchant Ivory movies might as well be about ivory merchants in colonial times.

Some films that are like Merchant Ivory films, but not actually made by Merchant and Ivory:

Enchanted April
Where Angels Fear to Tread
The Wings of the Dove
The Fortsyte Saga (not a movie, but a miniseries on DVD)
Brideshead Revisited (also a miniseries, and the one from 1981 is much better than the more recent one)

Thanks for these suggestions.