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Merchant + Ivory = Gold

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Anyone who loves period drama should know the directorial duo of Ismail Merchant and James Ivory.

Merchant Ivory are best known for their adaptations of Edwardian novels starring Helena Bonham Carter before she partnered with animator Tim Burton. A Room with a View was a huge hit with its tale of passionate romance confronting Victorian values and stunning sepia-toned scenes of the Italian countryside.

Howard's End, based on Henry James' novel, followed after featuring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. Earlier, they took on the Bostonians. We have one of their first films, from 1965, Shakespeare Wallah. We also have later films such as Before the Rains, another love story. The White Countess (2005) stars Natasha Richardson, Ralph Fiennes and Vanessa Redgrave again.

Ivory on his own is responsible for The Remains of the Day (from Kazuo Ishigiro's novel) This is Emma Thompson's finest acting role and also one of Anthony Hopkins' best. He is superb as the reserved house manager of a county estate during and after World War II struggling with his sense of du

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