In memory of Ismail Merchant ("A Room with a View")

Ismail Merchant of the famous Merchant/Ivory films (A Room with a View, Howards End, The Remains of the Day) is dead at 68.

I always appreciated Merchant’s work. It was never flashy, sensationalized, or self-important. It was, primarily, cinema for book lovers. The string of the three aforementioned films was a memorable trio of excellent, at times brilliant, filmmaking, full of memorable performances and enthralling period detail.

More than anyone, they are responsible for revealing to us the true measure of the talents of Helena Bonham Carter, Emma Thompson, and Maggie Smith. They introduced me to my favorite actor, Daniel Day-Lewis, in what remains one of his greatest roles — Cecil, in A Room with a View. In the same film, Judy Dench showed that she could steal a show with a small supporting role. Denholm Elliott also delivered his most memorable performance in that film as Mr. Emerson.

Thank you, Mr. Merchant. Your work will be appreciated for ages to come, and you will be sorely missed by literature-philes at the movies.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet departed the Patheos network in order to escape click-bait advertisements that were offending him and his readers. He will re-launch Looking Closer at lookingcloser.org soon. He is the author of The Auralia Thread, a four-volume fantasy series that begins with Auralia's Colors, and a memoir of "dangerous moviegoing" called Through a Screen Darkly. He teaches creative writing and film studies; speaks internationally about art and faith; served as Writer-in-Residence at Covenant College; and is employed by Seattle Pacific University as a project manager, copyeditor, and writer.


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