1993 • 125 minutes • 1.77:1 • United Kingdom
Based on the Booker Prize–nominated novel by Anita Desai, In Custody, the debut of Ismail Merchant as a director, is a wry, lyrical, comic drama about contemporary Indian culture, society, and domestic life.
1983 • 73 minutes • 1.33:1 • India
1949 • 94 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #273 Edition: DVD
Thieves’ Highway vividly depicts the perilous world of “long-haul boys,” who drive by night to bring their goods to the markets of America’s cities. Richard Conte stars as ex-G.I. Nick Garcos, a tyro trucker bent on satisfaction from the man responsible for crippling his father.
1988 • 93 minutes • 1.77:1 • India
Inspector Ghote of the Bombay police has just been assigned his most perplexing case: a savage attack on a rich industrialist’s private secretary. Based on the award-winning novel by H.R.F. Keating, Merchant Ivory Productions’ The Perfect Murder is an entertaining, exotic detective thriller.
1988 • 102 minutes • 1.77:1 • United Kingdom
India, 1825: The country is being ravaged by the Thugees, cult members also known as the “Deceivers,” who commit robbery and ritualistic murder. Appalled by their activities, English officer William Savage (Pierce Brosnan) disguises himself and infiltrates their ranks.
1991 • 100 minutes • 1.77:1 • United Kingdom
Merchant Ivory’s The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, based on the novella by Carson McCullers and the play by Edward Albee, is both a grotesque black comedy and a prime slice of Southern Gothic set in a poverty-stricken rural community dominated by the curious, androgynous Miss Amelia.
Cecil B. DeMille
1927 • 155 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #266 Edition: DVD
The King of Kings is the Greatest Story Ever Told as only Cecil B. DeMille could tell it. In 1927, working with one of the biggest budgets in Hollywood history, DeMille spun the life and Passion of Christ into a silent-era blockbuster.
1984 • 90 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #257 Editions: DVD, iTunes
Based on the original play by Donald Freed and Arnold M. Stone, and starring Philip Baker Hall in a tour de force solo performance, Robert Altman’s Secret Honor is a searing interrogation of the Richard Nixon mystique and an audacious depiction of unchecked paranoia.
1988 • 353 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #258 Edition: DVD
In 1988, renegade filmmaker Robert Altman and Pulitzer Prize–winning Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau created a presidential candidate, ran him alongside the other hopefuls during the primary season, and presented their media campaign as a cross between a soap opera and TV news.
1977 • 104 minutes • 1.77:1 • United Kingdom
Three interlocking stories set in the legendary New York City dance palace Roseland make up this charming film, the third shot by Merchant Ivory Productions in America, and featuring Teresa Wright, Christopher Walken, and Lilia Skala.
1980 • 111 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Rival theater companies compete to produce their own unique versions of Jane Austen’s childhood play Sir Charles Grandison in this delightful film from Merchant Ivory, featuring a brilliant ensemble cast, a witty screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, and an inventive score by Richard Robbins.
1972 • 106 minutes • 1.77:1 • United States
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 a dark, biting satire that will turn viewer expectations upside-down.
1978 • 83 minutes • 1.33:1 • United Kingdom
Peggy Ashcroft and Larry Pine play rapacious art collectors who come to the decaying Art Deco palace of a young Maharaja (Victor Banerjee) to examine a legendary collection of Indian miniature paintings.
1965 • 120 minutes • 1.78:1 • India
Elegiac and atmospheric, Shakespeare Wallah put Merchant Ivory Productions on the international movie map. The film was inspired by in the real-life adventures of a traveling family theater group in India during the final days of English colonial rule.
1963 • 101 minutes • 1.33:1 • United Kingdom
The Householder, the first collaboration between Ismail Merchant, James Ivory, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, is the story of a young, underpaid Delhi schoolteacher (Shashi Kapoor) who marries and then, little by little, gets to know his young wife, Indu (Leela Naidu), during their first year together.
1981 • 101 minutes • 1.78:1 • United Kingdom
Dazzlingly acted by Alan Bates, Maggie Smith, Anthony Higgins, and Isabelle Adjani, Quartet is the story of a girl who, adrift with her feckless husband amidst the literati of glittering Paris in the 1920s, becomes entrapped by a rich and sybaritic English couple.
1987 • 140 minutes • 1.66:1 • United Kingdom
Set against the stifling conformity of pre–World War I English society, Maurice is a story of coming to terms with one’s sexuality and identity in the face of disapproval and misunderstanding. Maurice Hall (James Wilby) and Clive Durham (Hugh Grant) find themselves falling in love at Cambridge.
1953 • 80 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #224 Edition: DVD
In Sam Fuller’s hardboiled classic, a petty crook and an unsuspecting woman find themselves on the run from Communists in a precarious gambit.
1960 • 106 minutes • 1.66:1 • United Kingdom
Spine: #225 Editions: DVD, iTunes
A lifetime officer and an educated scion of an old military family battle each other to win the loyalties of a peacetime Scottish battalion. Ronald Neame’s portrayal of the rigid hierarchy of military life also examines the institutional contradictions and class divisions of English society.
1983 • 130 minutes • 1.78:1 • United Kingdom
Blending east with west, and moving effortlessly between vibrant modern-day India and the splendors of the Raj, Heat and Dust concerns Anne, a young woman drawn to India by her desire to unravel the scandal surrounding her great-aunt’s seduction in the 1920s by a handsome Indian prince.
1970 • 112 minutes • 1.78:1 • United States
Starring Shashi Kapoor and Jennifer Kendal, Bombay Talkie is Merchant Ivory’s affectionate, bemused view of Bollywood—India’s huge dream factory. Cameraman Subrata Mitra’s ravishing photography has never been surpassed in any other of James Ivory’s films.
1996 • 96 minutes • 1.85:1 • United States
Spine: #199 Editions: DVD, iTunes
Fletcher Munson has a doppelgänger in dentist Dr. Jeffrey Korchek. Steven Soderbergh presents a deranged comedy of confused identity, doublespeak, and white-knuckled corporate intrigue, confirming his status as one of America’s most daring and unpredictable filmmakers.
1941 • 106 minutes • 1.33:1 • United States
Spine: #214 Editions: DVD, iTunes
After a streak of bad luck tempts a hard-working farmer to bargain with the Devil, he enlists the aid of the legendary orator and politician Daniel Webster. William Dieterle’s stylish film features an unforgettable score by Bernard Herrmann and a truly diabolical performance from Walter Huston.
Vittorio De Sica
1953 • 72 minutes • 1.33:1 • Italy
Spine: #202 Edition: DVD
An American housewife (Jennifer Jones) vacationing in Italy reluctantly decides to put an end to her brief affair with an Italian academic (Montgomery Clift) in this troubled collaboration between director Vittorio De Sica and producer David O. Selznick.
1979 • 91 minutes • 1.78:1 • United Kingdom
This entertaining film, from a delicious early novel by Henry James, takes place in a New England Arcadia that stands for everything beautiful, pure, and good. Into this Eden come a sophisticated European brother and sister who turn up unexpectedly on the doorstep of their staid American cousins.