Ismail merchant

A scrapbook of sketches: James Ivory’s memoir is slipshod and inconsequential

James Ivory and Ismail Merchant formed the most successful cinematic partnership since Michael Powell and Eric Pressburger. Between the founding of Merchant Ivory in 1961 and Merchant’s death 44 years later, the company produced 42 films, more than half of which were directed by Ivory himself. Although its range was wider than is often allowed, the company’s fame rests on its adaptation of late 19th- and early 20th-century novels, among them Henry James’s The Europeans, The Bostonians and The Golden Bowl, E.M. Forster’s Howards End, A Room with a View and Maurice, and Jean Rhys’s Quartet. Even their detractors — and there are many — acknowledge the wit, elegance and