Here’s some news you might have missed last month: the New York Times and Variety reported that Merchant Ivory’s independent films have been acquired by the Cohen Media Group, who intend to restore the films and re-release them in theaters.
Be prepared to see theatrical re-releases of classics like Howard’s End and other films dear to the hearts of English and film-studies majors everywhere.
While James Ivory’s filmmaking partners, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and Ismail Merchant, are both deceased, it seems he is intent on securing the team’s legacy through this strategic plan. Ivory says:
I’m gratified—and relieved—that Merchant Ivory’s body of work, to which my partner Ismail Merchant and I have dedicated our lives, has been entrusted to the Cohen Film Collection—one that has long demonstrated a deep respect for filmmakers and their legacies.
The feeling is mutual. And Cohen seems ready to continue the tradition of the BBC-ready costume drama. The New York Times article reports “Merchant Ivory was known for lush, romantic period pieces of a sort that Mr. Cohen said he hoped to produce again under that company’s name.”
Merchant Ivory secured no less than 31 Oscar nominations, winning six, for a mere seven films in its time. Thankfully, these treasures can be enjoyed again.