I remember when everyone gave me a hard time about liking Brian DePalma’s films. There’s a similar unanimity to the disgusted reaction I get when I describe James Ivory as Oregon’s most distinguished filmmaker. Everyone knows that Ivory is a featherweight who makes high brow bodice rippers. Everybody knows this because they haven’t seen his films.
People came around about DePalma, and eventually people will get around to seeing all five decades worth of James Ivory films, and then they will come around about him too. In the meantime, its hard out there for an Oregon film historian who is the only person alive to have seen every single frame James Ivory committed to celluloid, and who came out a believer.
Turner Classic Movies is making it easier for the lazy bones Ivory haters to actually check to see if the films Ivory made match up with the low opinion they know they are supposed to have about him.
Broadcast on September 8, 2011 are:
Savages 1973 Made from a screenplay inspired by Luis Bunuel, written by Saturday Night Live writer Michael O’Donoghue, and starring Seventies It Girl Susie Blakeley. Ivory’s weirdest film starts with a croquet ball entering the Stone Age.
Roseland (1977) A film about dying – disguised as a film about dancing. Watch it to see Christopher Walken before he became enshrouded in mannerisms. He plays a gigolo torn between (rich) Joan Copeland and (poor) Geraldine Chaplin. I didn’t like the other two thirds of this tripartitated (I just made that word up) film, but Walken makes up for it.
The Europeans (1979) Lee Remick plays a sexual predator outwitted by Puritans. Ivory’s first period film, and he laid down the law “… actresses were required to be tightly laced up into corsets with stays, and were not allowed to surreptitiously put on lipstick or eye shadow”
Quartet (1981) Alan Bates and Maggie Smith squash Isabelle Adjani like a bug. Like a BUG. Not for the faint of heart. Takes place in Jazz Age Paris, although not the one Woody Allen visited via Owen Wilson!
The Bostonians (1984) Vanessa Redgrave places herself between Madeleine Potter and Christopher Reeve.
See these films. While you’re thinking them over, see the rest of the Ivory ouevre – TCM is showing everything – on the following two Thursdays in September.