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Entries in Merchant and Ivory (7)

Tuesday
Feb272018

Interview: James Ivory on "Call Me By Your Name" and the Merchant Ivory Legacy

by Nathaniel R

Highlight of 2017: Meeting one of my true gay heroes, James Ivory.

They say you should never meet your heroes. But "they" haven't met James Ivory. The legendary director, currently nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars for Call Me By Your Name (2017) is 89 years old but you wouldn't know it. He's sharp and talented and thoughtful as ever. It's his fourth nomination in a rich career that extends way back to the late 1950s though he's best know for the popular costume dramas he made in the 1980s and 1990s with his producer and life partner, the late Ismail Merchant (1936-2005).

I had the pleasure of meeting with Ivory at the Middleburg Film Festival earlier this season.  I didn't quite intend to begin gushing but it couldn't be helped. He was deeply formative in my life, one of the first two or three directors that made me fall in love with the medium that became my whole life. I groused about his lack of an Honorary Oscar and I eagerly told him about a couple particularly memorable trips to see his movies with my parents. He shared a few amusing stories he's heard from other fans. Then we settled in for our discussion of his rich career, the restoration of some of his films, and Call me By Your Name. Our interview is after the jump...

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Friday
Jun092017

The Moustaches of 'Maurice'

by Murtada

Do you not  think that Maurice’s moustache would be the making of him?

No. It’s revolting.

This exchange about an hour into Merchant-Ivory’s 1987 classic gem Maurice, made me laugh so hard. There are so many moustaches in Maurice. It must’ve been the fashion in Edwardian England. But Hugh Grant’s Clive Durham is right, Maurice’s is revolting. But then how come later on he grows one even more revolting. In the world of Maurice, moustaches are the ultimate boner killers.

Maurice (James Wilby) and Grant’s Clive meet when they are students at Cambridge in 1909 and fall in love. Their relationship means a bit more to Maurice, he’s so smitten. And who wouldn’t be infatuated with Grant at the height of his floppy haired gorgeousness. Clive though always keeps him at an arm’s length, never succumbing to carnality. And we think that moustache is to blame.

Regrettably since this is about moustaches we can't include Rupert Graves’ Scudder. He's the real dreamboat in Maurice, partly because he keeps his upper lip clean shaven throughout the film. Check him out in the trailer or better, if you are in New York or LA, check out the gorgeous restoration that is currently playing.

How do you feel about moustaches? Has one ever deterred you? 
Tuesday
Jun072016

Remember Gandhi? Baby Jake? Harlow?

On this day in movie related history...

1893 Mahatma Gandhi committed his first act of civil disobedience refusing to move from a whites only first class section of a train. He had a valid ticket, after all. He was forcibly ejected in South Africa's Pietermaritzburg Railway Station. This event and many others from his nonviolent revolution were reenacted by Ben Kingsley in Gandhi, Oscar's Best Picture of 1982. (You can cover a lot with a running time of 191 minutes.)
1909 Jessica Tandy is born. Steals Michelle Pfeiffer's Oscar 80 years, 9 months, and 19 days later.
1917 Rat Pack royalty Dean Martin is born. Centennial next year.
1928 Perpetually underappreciated and totally awesome director James Ivory is born. Later makes masterpieces like A Room With a View and Howards End. Where's his Honorary Oscar, AMPAS? He's 87 people get on that immediately. 

1937 The original Bombshell, Jean Harlow dies suddenly at the peak of her fame at the age of 26. Where's her biopic?
1952 Liam Neeson is born.
1958 Prince is born. *sniffle*
1966 Tom McCarthy, the director of last year's Best Picture Spotlight (2015) is born
1972 One of the world's most handsome actors, Karl Urban, is born in New Zealand. Later goes to both Middle Earth and Space, the final frontier. Next up: Pete's Dragon and Thor: Ragnarok. Meanwhile in New York Grease opens on Broadway. It becomes a movie phenomenon six years later. It is never leaving us.
1985 Goonies and Perfect both open. "What's so wrong with wanting to be perfect?"
1974 Bear Grylls is born so we might one day see pampered A list actors try to look tough in survival mode in the wild... albeit with a film crew around them so how Wild are they really Running? 
1976 ”The Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night,” by journalist Nik Cohn is published in New York magazine. It becomes a movie very quickly, a classic too, Saturday Night Fever (1977)
1990 Universal Studios Florida opens. Original rides based on Jaws, Earthquake, and King Kong all experience technical problems.

Baby Gyllenhaal

1991 City Slickers opens, turning into a surprise hit. Jack Palance wins the Oscar and little boy Jake Gyllenhaal makes his film debut 
1998 The Lion King, the Broadway sensation based on Disney's mega-hit movie, wins six Tony Awards
2015 Helen Mirren wins her Tony for playing Queen Elizabeth on Broadway, a role that also won her an Oscar (The Queen). She also won an Emmy for playing a different Queen Elizabeth. She's just an audiobook about royalty away from her EGOT.

Monday
Feb082016

Linkbowl 

Boy Culture revisiting Maurice with director James Ivory 30 years later
The Guardian previews Alone in Berlin, a new WW II drama starring Emma Thompson & Brendan Gleeson
Playbill How the Newsies choreographer got Channing Tatum tap dancing for Hail, Caesar!
The Film Stage 15 movies to see after you've seen Hail, Caesar!

Film Mixtape Chris Feil's top ten.
MNPP [nsfw] Tom Hardy on the set of Taboo... with tattoos 
Antagony & Ecstasy comparing current Best Picture nominees to previous Best Picture winners 
Pajiba on Star Wars...dildos? 
i09 argues that Virtuosity (1995) starring Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington now works as a 'bad movie we love' instead of just a bad movie 

Today's Watch...
I was watching George Clooney and Channing Tatum lounge and dance about in Roman soldier and Sailor costumes during the big game so I watched the new movie commercials afterwards. X-Men Apocalypse, Captain America: Civil War, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2, The Jungle Blook, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Jason BourneIndependence Day: Resurgence are included after the jump.

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Friday
May172013

Ruth Wilcox’s May Flowers

They’re arriving so late in the day because Mrs. Wilcox is a nymph who travels at night.

As far as evocative film openings go this lush green opening for Howards End ranks among the top for me. Really, though, many films would be vastly improved if they open with a strolling Vanessa Redgrave. more...

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