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Classics and Movie Tie-Ins

I should have mentioned in the resolution post that I have plan to catch up on some of the movie tie-ins since I have read several classics on which the movies are based. Over the holiday I watched The Enchanted April (1992), directed by Mike Newell. The film was shot on location at Castello Brown in Portofino Italy. This same castle was where the author of the book (book review) stayed in the 1920s. Miranda Richardson (the sternly good Rose Arbuthnot) and Joan Plowright (the waspish, elderly Mrs. Fisher) won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress respectively. It is the story of four dissimilar women in post-World War One England going on a holiday to a secluded castle in Italy. Neither does it make less of the novel nor digress with extraneous details, The Enchanted April has moments of superior character insight, poignancy, and high comedy. It’s unremittingly and unapologetically optimistic from beginning to end, resolutely avoiding anything that might even hint at bleakness or despair.

Maurice (1987), directed by James Ivory, is a film based on the novel (book review) of the same title by E. M. Forster. A tale of homosexual love in early 20th century England, it follows Maurice Hall from his school days, through university, and beyond. Starring James Wilby as Maurice, Hugh Grant as Clive (both won the Best Actor Award in Venice Film Festival) and Rupert Graves as Alec, the film omits almost all of the novel’s philosophical dialogue, and also many subplots such as Maurice’s lust for the schoolboy Dickie. The film also dramatizes Lord Risley’s imprisonment with hard labor for his homosexual conduct. In the novel, he was just arrested for public lewd act. The imprisonment is to dramatize the dangers of Edwardian homosexuality and provide a plot device by which Clive feels he must reject Maurice. Though Forster’s novel, begun in 1913 but not published until 1971, follows Maurice’s efforts to conceal, cure and finally embrace his homosexuality, its key character is the chameleon-like Clive, who imagines that his own feelings for other men are but a passing fancy. Clive embodies all the conservatism and complacency, not to mention all the hidden desire, that Forster saw as most repressive in the English society of his day.

For the new year, I’ve got plan to watch The Remains of the Day (1993), television series of Brideshead Revisited, Rebecca (1940) and The Woman in White (1948).

11 Responses

  1. You should definitely consider doing Read the Book/See the Movie with C.B. James. I know you don’t “do” challenges, but you certainly have the spirit of the challenge going here!

    • Yes, Sandy. I have also planned to read several things that are in sync to the challenges (there are many) that are going on around the book blogsphere. Virginia Woolf, Booker Prize, GLBT, to name a few. 🙂

  2. The Remains of the Day was such a terrific movie. I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

  3. I’ve seen & enjoyed both of those films, but have read only Maurice. In my case I have my own “see the film then reread the book” going on :), as I just saw In This House of Brede and will now reread the book (by Rumer Godden).


  4. I enjoy watching the movies after I’ve read the book…hope these deliver!!

  5. Maurice was directed by James Ivory, of the famed Merchant/Ivory production team. They also filmed The Remains of the Day and, A Room with a View. rw

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