SLAVES OF NEW YORK
1989, Sony Repertory, 124 min, USA, Dir: James Ivory

In a rare departure from class-centered period pieces, Merchant Ivory captures the perennial predicament of the struggling artist in 1980s Manhattan. When hat designer Eleanor (Bernadette Peters) finds herself in a one-way relationship with womanizing artist Stash (Adam Coleman Howard), there seems little hope for improvement. Only the prospect of having her work included in a major fashion show promises to empower Eleanor and set her on the path to success. Adapted by Tama Janowitz from a collection of her short stories, SLAVES OF NEW YORK is colored with the bright palette of its time, to which Peters adds the verve and quirkiness that have become her trademarks.


A ROOM WITH A VIEW
1985, Park Circus, 117 min, UK, Dir: James Ivory

Adapted from E.M. Forster’s best-known novel, A ROOM WITH A VIEW tracks English heroine Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) during and after a fateful trip to 1907 Florence. Trapped by the confines of Edwardian society, Lucy kindles a flame for the ardent, free-thinking George Emerson (Julian Sands). In order to accept married life back in the English countryside, however, she must quell her desire and leave George behind - until they meet again. Nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Director and Adapted Screenplay, A ROOM WITH A VIEW is just as much an ode to inescapable feelings as to the red-tiled Renaissance roofs of Florence.


MR. AND MRS. BRIDGE
1990, Park Circus/Miramax, 126 min, UK/USA/Canada, Dir: James Ivory

In Merchant Ivory’s MR. AND MRS. BRIDGE, change sweeps into the traditionalist world of an aging, well-to-do American couple. Besieged by a progressive cultural climate and by his adult children’s attempts at autonomy in 1940s Missouri, patriarch Walter (Paul Newman) struggles to retain a rapidly eroding sense of order. His only ally in this battle, submissive wife India (Joanne Woodward), is no less subject to his domestic tyranny, however. In this adaptation of two Evan S. Connell novels, screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala delivers her customary restraint, brought to the screen with a quiet authenticity by real-life couple Newman and Woodward.


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