James Ivory

Savages

Savages

The first American film from Merchant Ivory Productions is a fascinating meditation on the rise and fall of civilizations, with a witty screenplay by George Swift Trow and Michael O'Donoghue. Savages is filmed in an improvisatory, experimental style and merges a series of tragicomic tableaux with pseudo-scholarly documentary narration and title cards. A masked, naked, clay-covered band of jungle primitives are disturbed in the middle of a human sacrifice by the sudden intrusion of a croquet ball. Led by their high priestess, they trek through the forest in search of its origins and arrive at an immense, deserted manor house. They occupy the mansion, which begins to have a civilizing effect on them; individual personalities emerge, and with them, pasts, futures, family connections, ambitions, and other trappings of society. Savages is a dark, biting satire that will turn viewer expectations upside-down.

Film Info

  • James Ivory
  • United States
  • 1972
  • 106 minutes
  • Color
  • Black & White
  • 1.77:1
  • English

Special Features

  • High-definition digital transfer, enhanced for widescreen televisions
  • Adventures of a Brown Man in Search of Civilization, an hour-long documentary film by director James Ivory about Indian scholar Nirad Chaudhuri
  • Conversation with the filmmakers, part of a new series of interviews with Ismail Merchant and James Ivory
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

Special Features

  • High-definition digital transfer, enhanced for widescreen televisions
  • Adventures of a Brown Man in Search of Civilization, an hour-long documentary film by director James Ivory about Indian scholar Nirad Chaudhuri
  • Conversation with the filmmakers, part of a new series of interviews with Ismail Merchant and James Ivory
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

Savages
Cast
Lewis Stadlen
Julian Branch, a songwriter
Anne Francine
Carlotta, a hostess
Thayer David
Otto Nürder, a capitalist
Susie Blakely
Cecily, a debutante
Russ Thacker
Andrew, an eligible young man
Salome Jens
Emily Penning, a woman in disgrace
Margaret Brewster
Lady Cora
Neil Fitzgerald
Sir Harry
Eva Saleh
Zia, the child
Ultra Violet
Iliona, a decadent
Asha Puthli
The forest girl
Martin Kove
Archie, a bully
Kathleen Widdoes
Leslie
Christopher Pennock
Hector
Sam Waterston
James, the limping man
Paulita Sedgwick
Penelope, a high-strung girl
Credits
Director
James Ivory
Producer
Ismail Merchant
Screenplay
George Swift Trow
Screenplay
Michael O’Donoghue
Based on an idea by
James Ivory
Music
Joe Raposo
Cinematography
Walter Lassally
Editing
Kent McKinney

Explore

Ismail Merchant and James Ivory

Producer, Director

For five decades, the name Merchant Ivory has been an imprimatur signaling a certain type of quality cinema: literate, sumptuous, classical. But the more than fifty films made by the production team named for Ismail Merchant and James Ivory are distinguished by more than just their glossiness: multivalent, morally complex, and inquisitive, these works, shot all over the world (from Delhi to Paris to New England), are stories of class and of social change, of cultures divided and clashing. Merchant and Ivory (born in Bombay and Berkeley, respectively) met in 1961 and became partners in life and in work shortly thereafter; their company was founded with the idea of making English-language features (directed by Ivory, produced by Merchant) in India for the international market. These first films include The Householder (1963), based on the book by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who wrote the adaptation herself and instantly became an integral part of the company, and Shakespeare Wallah (1965). Soon, Merchant Ivory was shooting films in England, the United States, and elsewhere. Over the years, they have adapted novels by such writers as Henry James, E. M. Forster, and Kazuo Ishiguro into sophisticated works in their own right—their multiple-Oscar-winning Howards End (1992) is often considered their artistic pinnacle. Merchant died in 2005, but Ivory has kept the company going; The City of Your Final Destination, released in 2010, was the first “posthumous” Merchant Ivory film.