It’s amazing to think that with such a storied cinematic career it was his adapted screenplay for Call Me Be Your Name which netted James Ivory his first ever Oscar. A 2k digital restoration, courtesy of the Cohen Film Collection, has been made to one of the filmmaker’s earliest films Shakespeare Wallah, and that Merchant Ivory Productions project hits Blu-ray, DVD and Digital on April 3.
The narrative centers on Tony Buckingham (Geoffrey Kendal) and his wife Carla (Laura Liddell), actor/managers of a troupe who stage Shakespeare plays in 1960s India. The changing times of India, specifically the culture’s growing love for Bollywood films, leads to a precipitous dip in their demand for their formerly tried and true material. Felicity Kendal co-stars as their daughter Lizzie, with frequent Merchant Ivory collaborator Ruth Prawer Jhabvala penning the script.
Supplemental features include the film’s original and release trailer, as well as interviews with Ismail Merchant, James Ivory, and actors Felicity Kendal and Shashi Kapoor.