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Definition: Ivory, James (Francis) from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

US film director. He established his reputation with the Indian-made Shakespeare Wallah (1965), which began collaborations with Ishmail Merchant and the writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. Ivory subsequently directed films in various genres in India, the USA, and Europe, but became associated with adaptations of classic literature, including the BAFTA Award-winning A Room with a View (1987) and Howards End (1992).

Other films include The Europeans (1979), Maurice (1987; Venice Silver Lion), The Remains of the Day (1993), Jefferson in Paris (1995), Le Divorce (2003), and The City of Your Final Destination (2009).

He was born in Berkeley, California, and studied architecture at the University of Oregon (1946–51). Together with Merchant, his long-term personal as well as professional partner, he formed Merchant-Ivory Productions in 1961.

Summary Article: Ivory, James Francis
From Chambers Biographical Dictionary


♦ US film director

He was born in Berkeley, California, and studied at the University of Oregon and the University of Southern California. He formed Merchant-Ivory Productions with producer Ismail Merchant and, frequently in collaboration with screenwriter and novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, made a number of highly successful films. Although they attempted a handful of modern-day stories, the Merchant-Ivory name became synonymous with British period dramas, characterized by a literate, precise script, ironic humour, scrupulous attention to period detail and design and impeccable performances. They include Shakespeare Wallah (1965), The Europeans (1979), Heat and Dust (1982), The Bostonians (1984), A Room With a View (1985), Maurice (1987), Howards End (1992), Remains of the Day (1993) and Surviving Picasso (1997).

  • Long, Robert Emmet James Ivory in Conversation (2005).
© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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