One should approach a new film with an open mind, but it’s very hard to do so when it has been preceded by the sort of hype that has accompanied The Great Gatsby. And it’s not just the hype but the other threats to the open mind which include the famous source novel (one that people know about even if they haven’t read it), the previous film versions, ...
What is it about Great Expectations (1861) that makes it seem indispensable? Can it be its hero, Pip’s, search for a liveable identity? The small, terrified, often bullied child gets a glimpse of ‘the quality’ albeit in desuetude, becomes dissatisfied with being a blacksmith, receives the eponymous expectations, and tries to become a gentleman before se ...
Those Brontës. If they’d only had a decent agent with foresight, they could have escaped that dank parsonage on the gloomy moors of windswept Yorkshire and set up on the French Riviera in comfort. Since 1910 there have been at least forty film or television versions of Jane Eyre, most recently in 2011. Now it is Emily’s turn for the latest (seventeenth) go at Wuthering Heights (1847), that extraordinary work sui generis that so memorably sites wild Gothic strangeness in a solidly realised world of landscapes both benign and forbidding.... (read more)
By chance, two of the most famous 1950s plays are in the news again. John Osborne’s historic rant, Look Back in Anger (1956), has been successfully revived on Broadway, while Terence Rattigan’s emotionally taut piece, The Deep Blue Sea (1952), has been filmed by another Terence – Davies, that is. In their day, Osborne railed against the ‘porcelain plates [of] the well-set table of British theatre’(John Lahr in the New Yorker), his arrows directed at the likes of Noël Coward and Rattigan, who in their turn were less than excited by Osborne’s class-based invective. It’s now at least arguable that Rattigan has outlasted Osborne; he has clearly been more frequently revived on stage – and on film and television – than his vituperative contemporary. Who now, I wonder, would rather watch or listen to Look Back than The Winslow Boy?... (read more)
The Narrative of John Smith by Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Lindsay (reader)
I Found It at the Movies: Reflections of a Cinephile by Philip French
John Gielgud: Matinee Idol to Movie Star by Jonathan Croall
Whereas the miniseries, most often based on revered literary texts, has been a staple of British television for fifty years, I could count on the fingers of a dismembered hand its Australian counterparts. In fact, the miniseries in general, as distinct from serials that run for a longer or shorter ...... (read more)