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Merchant Ivory Legacy Available on DVD

7 Jun, 2005 By: Jessica Wolf

Howards End is one of several Merchant Ivory productions on DVD.

Ismail Merchant, one half of the filmmaking duo that founded the acclaimed, Oscar-winning Merchant Ivory Productions, leaves a legacy on DVD in the wake of his death at 68.

Merchant died May 25 at his home in London. The producer/director most recently worked with longtime partner James Ivory on The White Countess, starring Ralph Fiennes, now in post-production.

But the legacy of Merchant Ivory goes back to 1961, when the pair launched Merchant Ivory Productions. The first Merchant Ivory film was 1963's The Householder, released on DVD last spring by Home Vision Entertainment. Included on the disc is Merchant's first short film, The Creation of Women, filmed in 1960.

Home Vision carries 20 other Merchant Ivory films, including two that Merchant directed: The Courtesans of Bombay and In Custody.

Home Vision also has multiple-Oscar-winner Howards End (1992), based on the E.M. Forster novel and released Feb. 15 in a special edition two-disc set. The DVD includes The Wandering Company, a documentary on the history of Merchant Ivory. Merchant Ivory re-teamed Emma Thompson with her Howards End co-star Anthony Hopkins a year later for another multiple-Oscar-nominated film, The Remains of the Day, which Sony Pictures Home Entertainment carries on a special edition DVD.

BBC Video last year released a two-disc special edition of another Merchant Ivory feature based on a Forster novel, A Room With a View. This set includes audio commentary from Merchant, Ivory, star Simon Callow and the film's cinematographer, as well as a tribute to Merchant Ivory featurette.

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