The filmmaking collaboration of Ismail Merchant and James Ivory has spanned three continents over four decades, and now The Merchant Ivory Collection is being released on DVD. The series, produced in association with Criterion and distributed by Home Vision Entertainment, will begin a release schedule in August with The Europeans (1979) and The Bostonians (1984). Bombay Talkie (1970), Heat and Dust (1983), Maurice (1987), and Quartet (1981) will follow later in the year, and the series will continue into 2004.
In Boston in the aftermath of the Civil War, Verena Tarrant, a gifted young orator, has attracted the attention of Olive Chancello, who wishes to nurture Verena as an inspirational force for the Womens’ Movement. But ranged against her is Basil Ransom, a handsome male chauvinist, who wants Verena as his wife. Against a backdrop of luminous New England landscapes, battle is joined, and for Olive the struggle will prove an odyssey that forces her to acknowledge her true nature.
The new DVD will feature the film in anamorphic widescreen with a theatrical trailer, a conversation with the filmmakers, and part of a new series of interviews with Ismail Merchant, James Ivory, and Ruth Prawer Jhavbala.
The Europeans comes from a delicious early novel by Henry James and 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, the Wentworths. The fortune-hunting Eugenia and her high-spirited brother Felix turn this Puritan world upside down. The film concludes with three betrothals, like a Mozart opera. But Eugenia has been too clever, and must return to Europe as empty-handed as she came.
Also being released in anamorphic widescreen, the disc will carry Sweet Sounds, a documentary short film by composer Richard Robbins. a theatrical trailer, a conversation with the filmmakers, and more from the series of interviews with Ismail Merchant, James Ivory, Ruth Prawer Jhavbala and Richard Robbins.
Both films will carry a suggested retail price of $29.95 and be released on August 19th.