Tuesday, August 22, 2006

“Everyone's being horrid today, Uncle Arthur. Let's go out to tea!”

I generally leave discussion of literary film adaptation to my good friends at Romancing the Tome, but I noticed that one of my all-time favorite films is celebrating its twentieth anniversary. It seems incredible that twenty years have passed since Merchant Ivory turned E.M. Forster’s breathtaking novel into the awe-inspiring film A Room with a View. From the moment, Julian Sands as George Emerson, returned to his room to turn the painting with the question mark back around, I was smitten. To my mind, this is the perfect romantic comedy. The social mores of repressed, polite Victorian society meet the liberal-minded passion of a Tuscan summer in Lucy Honeychurch's romance with her "unsuitable" suitor George Emerson. Mr. Sands plays George with a mysterious brio, playfully turning the ? frame around and then gleefully screaming at the top of his lungs "Joy! Beauty! Love!" from a treetop. The casting is perfect- from the impish Rev. Mr. Beebe played by Simon Callow and the delightful Dame Maggie Smith as Poor Charlotte Bartlett, to the lusty Dame Judi Dench as Eleanor Lavish and irrepressible Daniel Day Lewis as Cecil Vyse. I especially love that Charlotte Bartlett and Eleanor Lavish discuss the plotline of E.M. Forster's other Italian novel Where Angels Fear to Tread when on their picnic. I ordered the two-disc special edition DVD set because I never tire of watching this film. Twenty years or forty years later, it will remain a timeless classic.

My next pick for what I hope will be an exceptional romantic adaptation is Ian McEwan's masterpiece, Atonement, now filming on location in Redcar and London. The cast includes a new crop of Brit actors, Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, who will play the star-crossed lovers. The radiant Vanessa Redgrave will star as the adult Briony. I was lucky enough to see Redgrave in Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman at the Royal National Theatre in 1996. We have to wait a year for Atonement to appear in theatres, but it should be quite extraordinary and well worth the wait!


Post a Comment

<< Home

Who links to me?