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Ismail Merchant

FEW OF THE TRIBUTES written about Ismail Merchant—the producer half of the well-known Merchant-Ivory partnership, who died last year at age sixty-eight—have done more than celebrate his charismatic personality and his uncanny business acumen. While everyone is familiar with Merchant Ivory Productions’ meticulous adaptations of classic English and American novels, such as The Bostonians (1984), A Room With a View (1985), and The Remains of the Day (1993), and while early Merchant-Ivory films like Shakespeare Wallah (1965) and The Guru (1969) have rightly developed their own cult following, hardly anyone seems to be aware of the extent to which Merchant Ivory Productions’ forty-six films show evidence of Merchant’s creative input, nor of the fact that he occasionally directed as well as produced.

The depth and significance of Mechant’s creative contribution to Merchant Ivory Productions is

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