Merchant Ivory Connoisseur Collection

  |  Book Tickets: 11/12/2015
  |  Buy to Own: 06/09/2004
  |  600 min
Rated TBC by the BBFC
Merchant Ivory Connoisseur Collection Film Poster


Six films directed and produced by the masters of the period drama, James Ivory and Ismail Merchant. The duo's early film 'Savages' (1972) is a social allegory of the hippy era. A tribe of un-named primitive 'mud people' (played by Sam Waterston, Susan Blakely and others) come across a croquet ball rolling through their forest. They follow its path and find themselves in a deserted luxurious country mansion, where they proceed to don the clothes and trappings of upper-class 'civilisation', and assume the stereotypical roles of ladies and gentlemen at a weekend party. However, the novelty soon wears off, and after a game of croquet they revert to their previous state and disappear back into the forest. In 'Autobiography of a Princess' (1975), the London-based daughter-in-exile of an Indian Maharajah holds onto the memory of her father and Imperial India through faded home movies. The annual visit from her former English tutor gives her the chance to further reminisce, and to discover more about her father's complex relationship with the British Empire. The India-based comedy 'Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie's Pictures' (1978), originally produced for television in 1978, was penned by Merchant and Ivory regular Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. Georgie (Victor Banerjee), a young rajah, and his sister Bonnie (Aparna Sen) are the proud owners of a priceless collection of miniature paintings, which causes them to be the focus of perpetual attention from the dealers, collectors, critics - and, of course, criminals - who clamour to get their hands on them. The hullabaloo reaches its climax when British aristocrat Lady Gwyneth (Peggy Ashcroft) and wealthy American businessman Clark Haven (Larry Pine) square off over the pictures, with their cheque books taking the place of weapons. 'Quartet' (1981) is based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Jean Rhys, and set in bohemian 1920s Paris. Isabelle Adjani stars as Marya Zelli, a beautiful young novelist who finds herself destitute when her art dealer husband, Stephan (Anthony Higgins) is sent to prison for theft. A rich patron, H.J. Heidler (Alan Bates), and his artist wife, Lois (Maggie Smith), offer to take Marya in for the duration of Stephan's incarceration. Heidler, a shameless philanderer with a history of taking advantage of helpless young women, soon seduces Marya - while Lois painfully accepts his infidelity. The film was screened at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival. 'Maurice' (1987), an adaptation of E.M. Forster's Edwardian novel, gave Hugh Grant his first major role. Cambridge undergraduate Clive Durham (Hugh Grant) is thrown into confusion about his sexuality when he experiences strong feelings for fellow student Maurice Hall (James Wilby). Both men attempt to suppress the 'love that dare not speak its name', but the arrival of a handsome gamekeeper (Rupert Graves) forces Maurice to submit to his natural impulses. Finally, in 'Howards End' (1992), another adaptation of a novel by E.M. Forster, Helen (Helena Bonham-Carter) and Margaret Schlegel (Emma Thompson) live in London with their brother, but the lease on their flat is about to expire. Margaret has recently befriended the ailing Mrs Wilcox (Vanessa Redgrave), who decides to bequeath her house, Howards End, to her. However, upon Mrs Wilcox's death her family close ranks, refusing to inform Margaret of her inheritance. Further complications arise when the widowed Henry Wilcox (Anthony Hopkins) begins to take a romantic interest in Margaret, and the ensuing relationship ultimately leads to tragedy. Emma Thompson won an Oscar for Best Actress.