10 thoughts on “Frock Flicks Guide to Merchant-Ivory Historical Films

  1. I’ve only seen the E.M. Forster and Kazuo Ishiguro adaptations, but Merchant and Ivory really had something special. I watched the White Countess recently and it may not be their best, but dang it if I didn’t want to read Ishiguro’s novel afterwards! Which, of course, doesn’t exist. The atmosphere is so rich though, that it feels like a novel adaptation.

  2. I’m torn between A Room with a View and Howards End for favorites…I enjoyed The Remains of the Day and The Golden Bowl but didn’t care for the ending of either story…but the films themselves were great productions

  3. Like many others, my favourite Merchant-Ivory film is A Room With A View. It’s sheer perfection and joy. Costumes are beautiful and brilliant. Accuracy was their byword. I also love Howard’s End, Remains of the Day, & Maurice, The Bostonians & Jefferson in Paris. Golden Bowl is eye candy for frock aficionados, but plot is meh.
    I enjoyed The White Countess and The Americans.
    I’m trying to get the two 1920s one and Heat and Dust.
    Happiness is cuddling up with the films.

  4. Ah, nearly all of them have a special place in my heart! There is often something unsettling in many of the stories, but the production values are remarkable. Costume-wise they never cease to inspire and it’s impossible to choose just one, so my top three are Jefferson in P, A Room With a View, Howards End.

  5. I’ve a special place in my heart for the White Countess. I knew a fellow whose family were White Russians on the run from bolshevik Russia, landing in Shanghai. Things were iffy for them. Then, they had to run from Mao and his cohorts, landing finally in the US.

    I recommended the movie to him, but I never heard about how accurate it might be.

  6. My favorite is Jefferson in Paris just for the sheer balls of the story. Though the attention to design detail for the era was a delight. So many people either go colonial or full on Regency.

  7. Wow, I can’t even decide. But thank you for noting The Wild Party.” It’s based on a long poem and when I first saw it, I realized the characters were speaking in verse. If people don’t know it, the film is a fictionalized version of the Fatty Arbuckle scandal in the early days of Hollywood. While I’m not a Raquel Welch fan, I did like her in that. Now I’m going to have to hunt down the few Merchant Ivory films I missed.

  8. A Room With a View was a formative film experience for me, especially in terms of costume. This is the first film I remember seeing that made me really truly long to dress up in beautiful clothes from other times.

  9. A Room with a View is my favorite film of all time and watching it was a life changing experience. I wanted to live in that film. I love all of the actors to this day. Helena is my “girl crush” and Rupert Graves is wonderful in everything. And, of course, Daniel Day Lewis as Cecil is amazing. Absolutely beautiful film.

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