James Ivory (director)

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James Ivory
Born James Francis Ivory
(1928-06-07) June 7, 1928 (age 85)
Berkeley, California, U.S.
Occupation Film director

James Francis Ivory (born June 7, 1928) is an American film director. For many years he worked extensively with Indian-born film producer Ismail Merchant, and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. All three were principals in Merchant Ivory Productions whose films won six Academy Awards.

Background[edit]

Ivory was born in Berkeley, California, the son of Hallie Millicent (née de Loney) and Edward Patrick Ivory, a sawmill operator.[1] He is of Irish[2] and French[citation needed] descent, and grew up in Klamath Falls, Oregon.[3]

He attended the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Allied Arts, from which he received a degree in fine arts in 1951. He then attended the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, where he directed the short film Four in the Morning, (1953). He wrote, photographed, and produced Venice: Theme and Variations," a half-hour documentary submitted as his thesis film for his Master's degree in cinema.[4] The film was named by The New York Times in 1957 as one of the ten best non-theatrical films of the year. He graduated from USC in 1957.[5][citation needed]

Merchant Ivory Productions[edit]

Ivory met producer Ismail Merchant, at a screening, in New York City, of his documentary "The Sword and the Flute" in 1959. Merchant and Ivory were long-term life partners.[6] [7] Their professional and romantic partnership lasted 44 years, from 1961 until Merchant's death in 2005.[6] In May 1961, Merchant and Ivory formed the film production company Merchant Ivory Productions.

Their partnership has a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest partnership in independent cinema history. Until Merchant's death in 2005, they produced nearly 40 films, including a number of award winners. Novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala was the screenwriter for most of their productions.

Of this collaboration, Ismail 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!"[8]

Accolades[edit]

In 1985 A Room with a View, based on the E. M. Forster novel, was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won three, for Jhabvala's adaptation of Forster's novel as well as for Best Costume and Best Production Design. A Room With a View was also voted Best Film of the year by the Critic's Circle Film Section of Great Britain, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the National Board of Review in the United States and in Italy, where the film won the Donatello Prize for Best Foreign Language Picture and Best Director. In 1987, Maurice received a Silver Lion Award for Best director at the Venice Film Festival as well as Best Film Score for Richard Robbins and Best Actor Awards for co-stars James Wilby and Hugh Grant.

This was followed in 1990 by Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, which was adapted by Ruth Jhabvala from the novels by Evan S. Connell. This film received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress (Joanne Woodward), as well as Best Actress and Best Screenplay from the New York Film Critics Circle.

In 1992 Ivory directed another Forster-adapted film, Howards End. The film was nominated for nine Academy awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won three: Best Actress (Emma Thompson), Best Screenplay – Adaptation (Ruth Prawer Jhabvala), and Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (Luciana Arrighi/Ian Whittaker). The film also won Best Picture at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards, as well as awards for Best Picture, Best Actress for Emma Thompson and Best Director for Ivory from the National Board of Review. The Directors Guild of America awarded the D.W. Griffith award, its highest honor, to Ivory for his work. At the 1992 Cannes Film Festival the film won the 45th Anniversary Prize.[9]

Howards End was immediately followed by The Remains of the Day, which in turn was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Filmography[edit]

As Director[edit]

Other credits[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]