I am so sad to learn that prolific screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala has died at 85. As I’ve mentioned before, my quest to track down Anthony Hopkins and Vanessa Redgrave movies led me to Merchant Ivory Productions. I had come to connect Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s name with many of my favorites that were based on books I went on to read, but not until I read this New York Times article did I realize just how many of her adaptations were Merchant Ivory masterpieces.

Some of my favorites are Howard’s End, A Room with a View, The Remains of the Day, and one I wrote about a few posts back, The City of Your Final Destination. I’ve come to love the writing of E. M. Forster, thanks to my introduction being Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s beautiful adaptation of his novel Howards End. I read The Remains of the Day, after being driven to the novel by how impressed I was with the movie, and now I am a Kazuo Ishiguro admirer as well.

It’s interesting the way one extremely talented screenwriter led me to seek out authors I found remarkable. While I probably would have come to them on my own in time, it’s possible I never would have known the pleasure of reading these special novels, without the impetus of their adaptations. Just as it’s possible I might never have known what an amazing screenwriter Ms. Jhabvala was, if I hadn’t discovered Merchant Ivory through my desire to watch the work of my favorite actors. Sort of a Six Degrees of Merchant Ivory situation.

They’re all connected. They’re all outstanding talents. The film world has been made so much richer because of this one woman. The world at large is all the richer as
well, as I discovered when I read the above article about Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and her remarkable life.

Howards End Trailer

The Remains of the Day Official Trailer