Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘simon raven’

Dear friends and readers,

If you are into historical films, costume dramas, mini-series, TV films, 19th to early 20th century classic and serious novels as adapted by British TV, this book should be just your thing.

Cover

I, for one, find Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Lady Grantham’s outfit irresistible: that soft blue color, the light velvety texture of the dress, the pearls, the long white gloves, not to omit the pearls peeking out of her bun matching her long strand and her tiara and that worried consulting look on her face as she talks to Jim Carter as the eternal butler-steward, solver of all problems, Mr Carson — perfectly poised as epitomizing costume drama.

Here is The Table of Contents:

Yes mine is among the essays — on Andrew Davies’s adaptations of Anthony Trollope’s He Knew He Was Right and The Way We Live Now — but note this is a collection that begins in the 1960s, covers costume drama, British TV and thematic British issues generally across the second half of the 20th century; and the Edwardian and post World War I novel. It’s not just Poldark to Downton Abbey:

Foreword
Jerome de Groot
Acknowledgments
Introduction
James Leggott and Julie Anne Taddeo

Part I: Approaches to the Costume Drama

1 Pageantry and Populism, Democratization and Dissent: The Forgotten 1970s — Claire Monk
2 History’s Drama: Narrative Space in “Golden Age” British Television Drama — Tom Bragg
3 “It’s not clever, it’s not funny, and it’s not period!”: Costume Comedy and British Television — James Leggott
4 “It is but a glimpse of the world of fashion”: British Costume Drama, Dickens, and Serialization — Marc Napolitano
5 Never-Ending Stories?: The Paradise and the Period Drama Series — Benjamin Poore
6 Epistolarity and Masculinity in Andrew Davies’s Trollope Adaptations — Ellen Moody
7 “What Are We Going to Do with Uncle Arthur?”: Music in the British Serialized Period Drama — Karen Beth Strovas and Scott M Strovas

Part II: The Costume Drama, History, and Heritage

8 British Historical Drama and the Middle Ages — Andrew B. R. Elliott
9 Desacralizing the Icon: Elizabeth I on Television — Sabrina Alcorn Baron
10 “It’s not the navy-we don’t stand back to stand upwards”: The
Onedin Line and the Changing Waters of British Maritime Identity —
Mark Fryers
11 Good-Bye to All That: Piece of Cake, Danger UXB, and the Second World War — A. Bowdoin Van Riper
12 Upstairs, Downstairs (2010-2012) and Narratives of Domestic and Foreign Appeasement — Giselle Bastin
13 New Developments in Heritage: The Recent Dark Side of Downton “Downer” Abbey — Katherine Byrne
14 Experimentation and Postheritage in Contemporary TV Drama:
Parade’s End — Stella Hockenhull

Part III: The Costume Drama, Sexual Politics, and Fandom

15 “Why don’t you take her?”: Rape in the Poldark Narrative — Julie Anne Taddeo
16 The Imaginative Power of Downton Abbey Fan Fiction — Andrea Schmidt
17 This Wonderful Commercial Machine: Gender, Class, and the Pleasures and Spectacle of Shopping in The Paradise and Mr. Selfridge — Andrea Wright
18 Taking a Pregnant Pause: Interrogating the Feminist Potential of
Call the Midwife — Louise FitzGerald
19 Homosexual Lives: Representation and Reinterpretation in Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey — Lucy Brown
20 Troubled by Violence: Transnational Complexity and the Critique of Masculinity in Ripper Street –Elke Weissmann

Index
About the Editors and Contributors

I could wish there were more here, more on the intermediary stages, the important film adaptations of the 1980s (Brideshead was typical of that decade), and the movement into TV at the time of serious cinema film-makers (e.g., My Beautiful Laundrette), but the way to read more books on this area, is by buying and or reviewing this one. I can’t as an interested party. But as I did for my essay on “Intertexuality in Simon Raven’s The Pallisers and other Trollope films” in Victorian Literature and Film Adaptation, edd. Abigail Burnham Bloom and Mary Sanders Pollock, I’ll keep an eye out for reviews and link them in as well as myself read this collection and report back anything which seems to call out for special attention.

Ellen

Read Full Post »

SharpSteyneblog
Marquis of Steyne (Gerard Murphy) the one strong man in the film who sees through Becky (Natasha Little) as a liar, thief but wants her intensely (1998 BBC/A&E Vanity Fair, scripted Andrew Davies, directed Marc Munden)

BeckySteyneVanityFair2004blog
The Marquis of Steyne (Gabriel Byrne) propositions Becky (Reese Witherspoon), played for comedy (2004 Focus Vanity Fair, directed Mira Nair, scripted Julian Fellowes)

the Dobbin figure, though apparently clumsy, yet dances in a very amusing and natural manner: the Little Boys’ Dance has been liked by some and please to remark the richly-dressed figure of the Wicked Nobleman, on which no expense has been spared — the Manager

Dear friends and readers,

I recently re-watched Andrew Davies’s magnificent film adaptation of Wm Thackeray’s Vanity Fair and felt I had walked into a terrain shared by Anthony Trollope & Thackeray too. In Davies’s depiction of the male characters in Vanity Fair he makes visible what drew Trollope to Thackeray and where Trollope’s texts resemble Thackeray’s. So much criticism and ordinary reader commentary concentrates on Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley This criticism marginalizes a large group of characters by Thackeray given equal importance: Dobbin, George Osborne and his father; Joseph Sedley and his and Amelia’s father; Rawdon and Rawdon’s son (made more important in all the movies), the Marquis of Steyne; the older and younger Pitt Crawleys, not to omit Becky’s memories of her drawing master alcoholic father (and how no one else forgets such a man was her father).

I began to realize how in his Thackeray, Trollope’s perspective on Thackeray derived from how Trollope was consciously looking at Thackeray from the point of view of his success as a novelist and more generally as a man: Trollope had in mind criteria of masculinity and what makes a man admired. Trollope measured Thackeray from the point of view of the man’s career and unlucky marriage. In the sections in Thackeray on Thackeray’s novels Trollope shows a fascination with Thackeray’s strong women (Rachel and Beatrice as well) and ethical men. Thackeray’s is a strongly gendered fiction as is Trollope’s and Davies strongly gendered films.

Strong women, weak men — a development of this kind of contrast is central to Davies’s films, Thackeray’s VF and Henry Esmond, and some of Trollope’s novels, but especially He Knew He Was Right, one of the two Trollope novels that Davies has chosen to do, and the choice is highly unusual because of the explicitness of the theme of the partly despised because anguished male. I’d been reading Trollope steadily once again for months now, criticism, writing papers & proposals, and watching Davies’s movies. A couple of months ago I returned to Thackeray through Trollope’s literary life of him, and feel that it was Trollope’s life of Thackeray enables me to see a shared territory between the three of them in a nervous exploration of real men’s lives and psyches against what is expected of them.

The blog is about how one can see the convergence of Thackeray and Trollope’s points of view in the way Davies adapts them. As I’ve gone over these themes in other blogs on Trollope, I’ll concentrate on Vanity Fair here, one where the exploration of masculinity’s ordeals and losses is insufficiently emphasized, especially given how prevalent it is in the book & films.

*********************

BeckyandherfatherVanityFairblog
First shots & male: POV child Becky looking at her sick, impoverished dying drawing master father (1998 BBC/A&E Vanity Fair, scripted Davies)

So, memory too a bitter desire for revenge may be part of Becky’s motives in Davies’s film, brought out as partial explanation for her coldness; but its source for Davies is her relationship with her father which Davies’s film begins with. This father is referred to many times in the film adaptation as that which in her background makes her unacceptable: Thackeray did make her a daughter of a drawing master and everyone refers to it at some poit. Who was her grandfather? In the film Becky’s memory is this picture. She’s getting back.

The young men are tied to and dependent on the women in this book and film:

GeorgeOsborneblog
George Osborne (Tom Ward) about to collapse into Amelia (Emmy’s) arms the night before Waterloo (Davies’s VF)

LadyJaneblog
Lady Jane (Sylvestre le Touzel tells young Pitt she’ll leave him if he allows Rebecca to be part of their lives again (Davies’ VF)

Older men are part of the continuum. An unexpectedly powerful thread in the story-line of Davies’s film is a contrast between the anguished failure of Amelia’s father and the seething loneliness and self-hatred of George Osborne’s father in his scenes first with his son, then bullying his daughter, and then trying to reach his grandson (hopelessly) through drink:

GriefStrikenMrOsborneVanityFairPt5blog
Grief striken Mr Osborne (Tim Woodward) with his grandson (Davies’ VF)

The depiction of Mr Osborne is extensive: his grief for his son George and his mis-bringing up his grandson — he is but a child and cannot drink with his grandfather the way the son did.

Thackeray gave Davies’s the trajectory of the abject Dobbin finally at the close realizing he’d wasted his life in worship of a small foolish woman too late:

dobbinRealizinghesgivenlifeforfoolPt6blog
Philip Glenister brilliant in the part (Davies’ VF)

Where Thackeray neglected a potentially tragic male, Davies built the character up: Davies gives us Rawdon and Becky’s courtship, Rawdon’s becoming subject to Becky, sharing, giving his all, trusting her naively (while not naive in any other area of his life), then gradually awakening to her coldness (to his boy) and unconcern for him. Rawdon cries. His becomes the moving story of the movie:
NathanielParkerasRawdon1998VanityFairsmaller
Rawdon (Nathaniel Parker) looking at her, saying I gave you all (Davies’ VF)

In a sense he dies of the loss (escape is his solution, but Coventry is a death sentence) giving the boy to Lady Jane who not having a child of her own, ironically the boy Rawdon becomes the owner of the estate

The accent is on heterosexual males except perhaps Joseph Sedley who modern critics tend to turn into the book’s closet (or unaware) homosexual, his debonair plumpness and lack of military prowess and woman companion inviting this.

AwkwardJosblog
The awkward Joseph (Jeremy Swift), the films first shot (Davies’ VF)

Some critics go so far as to suggest it’s not Dobbin or George Osborne Thackeray has put part of himself in, but Joseph Sedley with his love of gourmet eating too. At any rate, the sexual angle in Davies’s Vanity Fair brings home the vulnerability of males to female sexuality; the males whatever their orientation are presented as enthralled and subject to women again and again, even where it’s not admitted or maybe especially.

Characters degraded, debased, become, however sordid and ugly, poignant in their vulnerability to loneliness: thus the aging Pitt (David Bradley) whose children by his 2nd wife Becky first becomes governess to and is a harsh semi-grotesque character is pitiable when we last see him and he’s lost Becky:

DavidBradleyblog.jgp
Old man (David Bradley) lonely at desk (Davies’s VF)

Nair and Fellowes pick up the depiction of comic lechers in Thackeray as shattered pitiable. Davies gives Steyne insight into Becky’s lies, thievery, ridiculous veneration of ribbons and the highest-ranking people.

In my paper Trollope’s “Comfort Romances for Men” I argued Trollope was developing an unconventional portrait of manliness out of identification and concern; last week I came across similar approaches to a continuum of males in Trollope: from Gordon Ray and Peter Shillingsburg to Joseph Litvak (Strange Gourmets); I’ve been aware for a long time how Davies’s key identifications are with the non-macho transgressive males, the inept and inadequate, the Oedipal struggle, gay men. This is not the first time Davies has made me aware of an underlying stratem in work no one ever wrote about before.

I know that Davies changes the story. For his exploration of masculinity I’d call it (the term would be manliness in Victorian times), the story of Rawdon and Becky’s relationship is much extended and show more centrally — to the point that when Rawdon is rowed away to Coventry (and we know death), the series seemed to suddenly collapse for a moment or so; we had reached its natural ending. Davies though picks up strong with the reappearance of Dobbin and bringing Emmy centrally onto the stage, and again he has changed the story as it’s not until very late in the book that Emmy realizes the piano was from Dobbin. The way Davies at first shows them as clearly a pair after Dobbin returns from India, with Emmy appearing to fall in love with Dobbin is not in Thackeray

AtWagnerOperablog
Dobbin (Glenister) given more dignity by having Emmy (Frances Grey) in love with him and her boy look up to him in Pumpernickel (Davies’ VF)

so that in the film adaptation Dobbin gets two powerful scenes of her betrayal while (if I’m remembering right) there is but one in the book, and Dobbin’s disillusion is omitted except that the words used in his second betrayal are about how she is not worth his devotion much more emphatically. The men’s bullying their wives is given full play — the way men treated women in the 1820s. Admittedly this is not in Trollope except late in his career (it’s in The Way We Live Now but early books has women liable to bully men) — that’s a real part of Thackeray’s and Davies’s feminism.

Steyneterrorizinghiswifeblog
Steyne terrorizing his otherwise snobbish aristocratic wife by implicitly threatening to tear her ear with her earring (Davies’ VF)

Gambling and cheating (in all its aspects) are elements in the build up of perverted men, destroyed men (by the system they live in). Gentlemen must not work and when disinherited are simply without funds to carry on because they must inherit money as gentlemen or are businessmen, but they must not fail as Mr Sedley (David Ross) did:

DestroyedSedleyblog
His mind shattered, he clings to rolls of paper

This would have been George Osborne’s case had he lived. The woman are oddly not destroyed and remain strong psychologically — that is very much Davies, I am not sure about Thackeray not having read him enough but do remember how strong Beatrice was in Henry Esmond and something I read by Sutherland suggests the strong woman who is amoral and yet a heroine is what struck Thackeray’s contemporaries.

Gambling is bisexual in the sense that Rawdon acts with Becky until she goes too far and betrays him — and that life’s a gamble in the book.

Countinguphiswinningsblog
First shot of Becky and Rawdon married — she’s counting up his winnings (Davies’ VF)

Davies shows how Rawdon allows himself to be corrupted and is cheating for Becky for years; but Becky has been stealing since she first left Miss Pinkerton’s and the stash of jewels found by Rawdon are many years in the making. This is re-emphasized in the coach when Lady Jane recognizes Becky’s super expensive shawl as a shawl that was in Queen’s Crawley years ago and has (she now realizes) gone missing. Becky does gamble to live by the end.

**************************
I have meant this blog to be about a convergence of themes in Trollope, Thackeray and Davies, so some areas I’ve not looked into as yet: for example Thackeray’s distaste for snobbery that Davies shares but Trollope defends. Seen in the light of depiction of problems of masculinities, its false materialistic values, “snobbery” destroys people — ethically too. Thackeray shows us how sentimental folk turn away from financially ruined snobs especially.

Melmottegentlemanblog
Davies’s Melmotte’s (David Suchet) downfall: he wanted to be an English gentleman: part 2 of film opens with dumb show of him having himself painted with a gun, dog, and backdrop of country house and curtain (2001 TWWLN, scripted Davies, directed Diarmuid Lawrence

Another is the characters’ urge to find a high status as a gentleman and the demands this elite image makes. Robin Gilmour’s 1981 book, *The Idea of the Gentleman in the Victorian Novel*, contains a long chapter on Thackeray’s gentlemen, focusing on the shift from dandyism and military glory to domesticity. It’s the kind of book summaries don’t help with as the insights are intricate to the argument and come fast and many over each page. The best review I could find was by Alexander Welsh, half of whose review is on Mark Girouard’s Idea of Chivalry.

VanityFairMeyersasOsbornesmaller
The nervous edgy violence of Jonathan Rhys Meyers captures this aspect of Osborne best (Nair’s VF)

Simon Raven’s book about the death of the ideal and type of gentlemen in the UK is relevant because Raven wrote the first The Way We Live Now script (1969), which I suspect Davies’s based his adaptation on — but I cannot get to see as I cannot travel to London this summer.

Interveningblog
Emily (Laura Fraser) and Louis (Oliver Dimsdale) fail to cope with the arch rake, Colonel Osborne (Bill Nighy) who knows just how to insinuate himself (2004 HKHWR, scripted Davies, directed Tom Vaughn)

I’ll close on parallel concerns with masculinity between Thackeray’s and Trollope’s books: He Knew He Was Right dwells on internal psychological intangible states as brought out in psycho-social dynamics, all shaped by sexuality, social norms and fears (especially male anxieties, ego needs), and money and power; The Way We Live Now an analysis of the larger forces of society as we see them enacted by individuals, not just prophetic of today, but enacting the same patterns we see today albeit different costumes.

Trollope’s attitudes emerge as closely similar through his paradigms and voice-presence. Davies of course saw this in his choice of the two and the ways he handled them, though his TWWLN reminds me of modern mini-series like the 1991-5 House of Cards, the modernity of his and Hooper’s Daniel Deronda and subversion of costume drama’s pieties in Davies’ Moll Flanders; HKHWR takes on some cheer and strong women from Plater’s Barchester Chronicles. Davies though specifically has his younger males, like Paul Montague, repudiates the model of the “mature” man marrying the girl (she forced into it) as tyrannical, egotistic, appetitive disgusting (so much for Plantagenet Palliser ….)

Davies in his one original novel, Getting Hurt, gives us a man as uncertain, anxious and shattered as Louis Trevelyan. And as lonely as Dobbin. Our aloneness another theme angled similarly in Trollope, Thackeray and Davies.

Ah! Vanitas Vanitatem! Which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? or, having it, is satisfied? — Come, children, let us shut up the box and the puppets for our play is played out — the Manager

Ellen

Read Full Post »

AT40blog
A photograph of him around age 40, completely unglamorized; it’s not often reprinted

Friend and readers,

Anthony Trollope was born April 24, 1815.

Two tributes also not often reprinted, and a brief comment by Proust which sums up what Margaret Oliphant implied in her (also not sufficiently consulted, but too long to quote here) 4+ page review of Trollope’s An Autobiography (reprinted in Trollope: Interviews & Recollections, ed. R.C. Terry, from which the two passages below also come):

What did he look like:

His outward appearance symbolises, or rather pictures, his inner. When you look at his face, you exclaim, with Addison’s Cato, ‘Plato, thou reasonest well.’ For, as that great one said, the soul chooses a fit house wherein to dwell, you must own that the soul of Trollope has fitted itself with a proper and suggestive tabernacle. His portrait is gaunt, grim, partly grey and looks taller than he is; his eyes are noticeable, dark and brilliant; two strong lines down each side of his mouth, lost in a tufted American-like beard, give him a look of greater ill-nature than he possesses. He is unquestionably a gentleman, but of the middle-class look, by no means of haut école. He gives one an idea — that is, if one knows life and town pretty well — that he has seen hard service in the drudgery of some government office; he has cut-and-dried official look, and seems capable of scolding and otherwise irritating his juniors. He looks his age – about fifty-five – and is a man one would hardly choose to confide in …
     — Douglas Jerrold, The Housekeeper, on whom see Spartacus Educational, and wikipedia, his son Blanchard Jerrold’s great picture book is London: A Pilgrimage, illustrated by Gustave Doré

How did his inward personality strike people in his presence:

Nobody could see anything of him without feeling that he was in the presence of an exceptionally high-minded as well as an exceptionally gifted man, a man of strong feelings as of strong sense, but a man who well knew how to keep his feelings in check, and a man whose practice as well as his theory was Christian. He told me once a story — and the story was pathetic enough as he told it with all its details — of a certain work of his having been claimed by someone else, and of the inevitable exposure which followed the claim; and his own feeling was of pity for the claimant. This, told without the impression which his own manner of telling it conveyed, seems a trifling thing by which to illustrate the noble qualities of a man who was great in more than one sense; but the absolute simplicity of it, the complete incapacity to imagine that anyone telling such a story could tell it with any other feeling, made an enduring impression on me; and it seemed to me strange to reflect that had he for purposes of fiction had to describe a man with a particle of meanness in him, telling such a story, he would have brought out the meanness in the most easy and most lifelike way. What he would have seized on with quick instinct as a novelist was out of his ken as a man.
      Something has been said as to the wide grasp of Mr Trollope’s powers and intellect, and this applied to what his mind took in as well as to what it gave out. He was, in the truest sense of the word, a well-read man, and he used always to read for a given time in the early morning, before sitting down to his task of composition …
      — Walter Herries Pollock, From “Anthony Trollope,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, 66 (May 1883) — Trollope’s neighbor in Montagu Square

Proust (Contre Saint-Beuve)

qu’un livre est le produit d’un autre moi que celui que nous manifestons dans nos habitudes, dans la societe, dans nos vices . . . [The man who appears in conversation and drawing-room essays is … not] le moi qui a attendu pendant qu’ on etait avec les autres, qu’ on sent bien le seul reel, et pour lequel seuls les artistes finis sent par vivre’. [A book is the product of another self than the one we show in our habits, in society, in our vices …. the self who waits while one is with others, whom one feels is the sole real I, for whom in the end artists live, my translation]

farmjudge
John Everett Millais, “Judge Staveley and His Daughter, for Orley Farm

Trollope said he loved Millais as a man, he certainly loved many of Millais’s illustrations to his novels, he had the whole set for Orley Farm which, it’s said, he looked at many times. This one, my favorite of the series, is a typical one of depiction of imminent loss retrieved.

About another (of Lady Mason, the heroine) he said as narrator of Orley Farm (that is, inside the novel):

In an early part of this story I have endeavoured to describe how this woman sat alone, with deep sorrow in her heart and deep thought on her mind, when she first learned what what terrible things were coming on her. The idea, however, which the reader will have conceived of her as she sat there will have come to him from the skill of the artist, and not from the words of the writer. If that drawing is now near him, let him go back to it. Lady Mason was again sitting in the same room — that pleasant room, looking out through the verandah on to the sloping lawn, and in the same chair; one hand again rested open on the arm of the chair, while the other supported her face as she leaned upon her elbow; and the sorrow was still in her heart and the deep thought in her mind. But the lines of her face were altered, and the spirit expressed by it was changed. There was less of beauty, less of charm, less of softness; but in spite of all that she had gone through there was more of strength, — more of the power to resist all that this world could do to her.

Ellen just now rereading The American Senator

Trollope archive

Read Full Post »

Dear friends and readers,

Not only is “Intertextuality in Simon Raven’s The Pallisers and Other Trollope Films” published, but the volume in which it occurs, Victorian Literature and Film Adaptation, edd. Abigail Burnham Bloom and Mary Sanders Pollock, introd. Thomas Leitch has been reviewed by Kamilla Elliot in the online academic review journal, Review 19. While Elliot’s review justifiably critiques aspects of the volume, she signals out mine and one other, Gene M. Moore’s “Making Private Scenes Public: Conrad’s “Return” and Chereau’s Gabrielle (see my analysis in another blog), as superior, the best in the volume:

Welcoming theoretical and methodological variety, I find value in older approaches, especially when–as in the essays by Gene M. Moore and Ellen Moody–they rest on a substantial body of scholarship and research

Some of Elliot’s criticism of the volume derive from her strongly theoretical, post-modern point of view (see her Rethinking the Novel/Film Debate). I liked her suggestion that I should or could “step back from [my] meticulous microanalyses of screenplays to present a broader perspective of how screenplays mediate between literature and film?” I shall keep this kind of comment in mind when I return to my book, A Place of Refuge: A study of the Sense and Sensibility films (working title).

But I should say (and I think this an important point, fundamental even) that I disagree with her main perspective: insofar as the essays in Victorian Literature and Film Adaptation use a high amount of theoretical (packed) language and jump from general statement to general statement they lack content, and are insufficiently descriptive of their subject matter and convey less information and insight about their chosen films and books.


William Powell Firth (1891-1909), (monumental) The Railway Station (1862)

So, speaking plainly, for those interested in Victorian/Edwardian films, the volume contains 2 essays whose subject matter is Jane Austen films (arguably Victorian in the way the novels are treated); one on the generation of Jekyll and Hyde films (Leitch); one on Lubitsch’s Lady Windermere’s Fan (partly out of Wilde’s play); Dickens’s Christmas Carol; one on Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter, an adaptation of Russell Banks’s novel, using, as does Egoyan, Browning “The Pied Piper” as an intermediary text (a superbly insightful essay by Mary Sanders Pollock); one on Kubrick’s adaptation of Thackeray’s Barry Lyndon (another genuinely enlightening informative one by Louise McDonald); one on several versions of Dracula, one on the 1939 Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films compared to recent analogous and free adaptations, and mine on Trollope whose original more accurate and grammatically sound title was “Trollope on Television: Intertextuality in the Pallisers and other Trollope films:” it focuses on Raven’s Pallisers (and two other of Raven’s mini-series as intermediary texts), but also covers Plater’s Barchester Chronicles, and uses aspects of Herbert Herbert’s Malachi’s Cove, and Andrew Davies’s The Way We Live Now and He Knew He Was Right, to suggest how centrally Raven’s perspective on Trollope has influenced those films made after his (recently in reaction against).

Elliot said she didn’t understand the three major divisions of the volume. The third follows its subtitle: “Teaching Books by Reading Movies.” The three essays tell of how the writers as teachers use film and they make concrete useful suggestions for those embarking on such teaching. Read the screenplay with the students (emphasize intermediary texts), concentrate on the beginnings and endings of films (often different from the originating book), multiple versions or films of the same story unmoors students front their tenacious adherence to the originating text as a primary standard. The second part (in which my essay appears) had essays which focus on the alteration of values in the content of book and films, but it is true that the third essay on the first part (on Dickens’s Christmas Carol) locates the persistence of the story in its content of the retrievable, rejuvenation, generosity, charitableness. The first part is supposed to be about filmic-techniques, tropes, typical procedures, the exploitation of at least generally favored paradigms and myth. Jean-Marie Lecomte’s on Lubitsch’s Lady Windermere’s Fan is about technique, and Thomas Leitch’s on the many Jekyll, Hydes on the necessity to develop some understood relationship between source or eponymous text, film, and intervening film and verbal texts.


John Malkovich as Hyde (1996 Mary Reilly, an adaptation of RLStevenson’s novel & Valerie Martin’s novels of the same name)


Julia Roberts as Mary Reilly (the film includes as intertexts Victorian painting, Orson Welles’s Moby Dick, Dracula films et alia

It’s hard to differentiate theme from form. My essay covers both aspects of film adaptation of texts found to be centrally meaningful since their first reception as books. I argue that the Pallisers was an important noticed sociological event (year-long) which fixed Trollope in the TV public mind as a paternalistic Tory (like his hero, the liberal whig politician Duke of Omnium), and that in these “Raven’s scripts shape Trollope’s novels into a filmic, disillusioned political vision, which justifies patriarchy in an ameriorated inegalitarian society, itself dependent on the self-erasure of women whose emotional and social support is needed to sustain it.” I also argue that Herbert’s and Davies’s films turn Trollope’s texts into critical exposures of Victorian systems of privilege, and replace Raven’s cynical Tory Trollope with a humane, liberal Trollope, partly in reaction to Raven’s characters (who differ considerably from Trollope’s). But to show this I compare texts from Trollope’s Phineas Redux with Pallisers 8:15 and 8:16:


Lady Glencora Palliser (Susan Hampshire, 8:15, see also Mid-point)


From the Duchess’s dinner-party (8:16)

and bring in Raven’s previous film adaptations (Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson, The Blackheath Poisonings). In moving onto the recent films have to take into considerable that recent film adaptations do not conceive the material as filmed stage plays, but sequences of juxtaposed stills, and I compare the wistful feminism of Susan Hampshire as Signora Neroni in Plater’s Barsetshire with Trollope’s desperate unscrupulous Signora.


Signora Neroni (Susan Hampshire), melancholy, disillusioned (1982 BBC Barchester Chronicles)

Intertexual texts for Davies are films as much as books. Davies’ hero, Paul Montague in The Way we Live Now, refuses to treat the heroines as of right the natural property of the older males; Davies’ depiction of the Jewish themes of Trollope’s book exposes the bigotry of the hypocritical upper class English in their anti-semitism by taking one of Trollope’s inset epistolary correspondences and turning it into dramatic scenes of great power.


Davies’s 2001 The Way We Live Now: Georgiana (Anne-Marie Duff) treats the noble if Jewish Breghert (Jim Carter) in the most insulting inhumane terms

My view is a close comparative analysis which does not privilege the eponymous book or previous incarnations of it in films but includes these and the screenplay, and whatever other source and intermediate texts a film-maker necessarily must form the basis of any understanding of a film and its sources. I suggest that theoretical language is more than a blight linguistically; it can be a substitute for the hard work of close reading and a thorough grounding in the history of the era the eponymous book was written in, the era the movie is made in, its genre and all the work the film-makers (including production design and actors) did in other films. Elliot complains in her review of several “thin” and under-researched essays. The person spent all his or her time (maybe not a lot) on reading and writing these sentences of sometimes impossible to decipher packed theory.


Donald Pleasaunce as Malachi and Veronica Quilligan as his grand-daughter, Mally (Herbert has in mind previous Cornish films’ motifs, 1974 Malachi’s Cove)

Well enough. I won’t summarize my colleagues work nor go more into the details of mine. Much is on the Net in even more “meticulous microanalysis” than is permitted in a published book.

I am chuffed and proud to see my work in the same volume as that of Thomas Leitch whose Film Adaptation and Its Discontents has long been one of the books I keep on my library table near my desk and who I corresponded with by email during the time of the book’s making, shared work with and was very generous to me.


Rev Gibson (David Tennant) trying to evade Arabella French (Fenella Woolgar) (from one of Marcus Stone’s original illustrations to Trollope’s HKHWR)

Ellen

Read Full Post »


Isabel Collard (Christine Kavanagh) accused of murdering her brother-in-law and lover, Roger (James Faulkner) and mother-in-law, Harriet Collard (Judy Parfitt) (Blackheath Poisonings, 1992)

Dear friends and readers,

Now I’ve re-watched all 26 episodes of the Palliser films, re-read all my blogs, and am watching for a second time Simon Raven’s 1992 adaptation of Julian Symons’s BlackHeath Poisonings (a pseudo- or imitation, pastiche 19th century mystery text).

I’m staring at the central question the volume I’m aiming my essay at is supposed to answer, Adaptation: British Literature of the Nineteenth Century and Film:

What do particular adaptations of 19th century texts reveal about the ways we understand, respond to, analyze 19th century culture?

and rereading the series of postings on what unites film adaptations of 19th century novels in my Reveries blog. I compared a number of adaptations of 19th century novels:

Hardy Films: Two Tesses and One Jude

The Golden Bowl: films from 19th versus 18th century sources

to a number of adaptations of 18th century novels, stories, texts:

Quills: Sade and Austen

One Duchess and One Cornwall Landowner: 18th versus 19th century sources

In a nutshell, my idea is 18th century films repeatedly delve into sexuality for its own sake and present the issues of each in such a way that we delve deeply into the nature of people’s psychologies interacting with the mores and issues of their particular social groups. This lends itself to abstract social issues like say slavery (as in Amazing Grace where the accent is on the individual’s inner world). The 19th century films turn to social and familial pathologies, attempt a larger picture of society in which these pathologies are formed, and we see how the social roles imposed on people conflict with and/or sustain their deepest needs and desires.

The full truth is, though, the Henry James films don’t fit this neat opposition. Since James was himself a closet gay and his books closet gay books (on a quiet level, see Roderick Hudson), they allow themselves to be used for exploration of sexual issues. For example, Jane Campion’s Portrait of a Lady.

One has to take into account changes in dramaturgy, technology and the way film-makers think they should and can make films. The dramaturgy of the 1970s is essentially staged plays or playlets, as as capable of holding the viewer as anything from the mesmerizing computerized and radical new modern thematizations of the 1990s and recent poetic cinematographies (1st decade 21st century) are. You must have great actors to carry it off and good scripts. The dramaturgy and cinematography is of the older stage scene kind; no montages, little voice-over, no mesmerizing computers and music. The acting is not quite all but a great deal of it. They build slowly, and slowly the characters emerge, and the story evolves and its worlds are created before us.

The 1990s after 1991 BBC Clarissa (a landmark film in retrospect) use modern computer techniques, zoom, distancing, jump cuts, on location with good cameras, huge sums on places and luxuries — important as all this is — but the outlook. They use overtly sexual scenes and include transgressive (homosexual and lesbian) sex.

************
Which angle to take perplexes me too:

The authorial one? If Raven’s, then we lose Trollope. Trollope’s Pallisers however well-known and brilliant do not tell the whole story of the man, and especially as by Raven emphasize the upper class material in his vision. By contrast though the same man’s vision is found in Herbert Wise’s Malachi’s Cove out of Trollope’s short story.

how different the angle on Trollope’s vision is provided by his story (part of the source for this film done in Cornwall), this film and the filmic onlocation (Cornwall the cliffs by the sea where the poor made a living gathering seaweed for manure). It’s a startling revelation of Trollope’s ethical vision and inclusiveness.

The generic context: the Pallisers comes before the 1980s and Brideshead Revisited and the later 1970s build up toward sophistication. It is a relatively naive film technically in comparison to what came later, viz., they are not conscious of what they are doing in the way of the 1990s films and thus bare or stripped away from the kinds of intensities of meanings coming out of the images that one sees in Blackheath Poisonings for all its inferiority of story, plot and themes. They rarely use voice-over, have no flashbacks that I can remember, remember strictly within very conventional presentations of sexuality with women strongly repressed (by themselves and through preaching.

Filmic Trollope: Davies has spoken very little of his work on He Knew He Was Right and The Way We Live Now. There are no features in the DVDs of these two, no over-voice commentaries. All I have are articles by Sarah Cardwell on TWWLN. Trollope’s are apparently not “tracer texts,” texts that hit home somewhere so strongly that they become sociological events when they are filmed and generate other filmings close by. The content of such texts becomes traces found in many other works. Not even Barchester Towers can lay a claim to that — though it is remembered as the progenitor of academic politics-mysteries books in Showalter’s Faculty Towers (a study of this subgenre).

For summary and commentary on Diane Sadoff’s Victorian Vogue, see comments.

Ellen

Read Full Post »

74Pallisers322Venice
The Duchess, Silverbridge, Tregear and Lady Mary in a gondola, seen from a distance

Dear Friends,

I’ve written about Pallisers 9:1810:21 (including the Lady Rosina de Courcy) of the 1974 BBC Pallisers on this blog thus far. (For 1:1 – 8:17 see previous blog.) I’ve another one to add tonight: 11:22.

The power of 11:22 come from the dramatization of the inward destruction of the marriage of Ferdinand Lopez and Emily Wharton. The overarching theme is drawn from Trollope’s The Prime Minister so as to embed the Lopez/Wharton story in the personal party politics of the book and previous Palliser matter. It’s the power of money (which power the Pallisers have) and the need Ferdinand Lopez has of money (which he lacks).

Part 22, has six scenes of Emily and Lopez! All piled together suddenly. It moves from 21, the honeymoon, a scene of an apparently loving couple which ends on a a sudden troubled note when Ferdinand admits he’s strapped for cash; then after another brief scene where we watch father send check, we have a second scene from this honeymoon, Emily still in nightgown and she more troubled yet not overt beyond saying Ferdinand misreading letter. Then there are two I have here transcribed.

The scene interwoven here of the Duke and duchess is not a contrast but a parallel.

*****************

In this part Raven has done justice to how a marriage can be founded on delusions and smash very quickly. This is but one part of Trollope’s novel but it is a centrally riveting one and one that would speak home to people today just as much as in the 1870s. For women then there was no divorce, and it was very hard to support yourself, for a woman of the gentry not trained to do so, a trauma she probably couldn’t cope with.

This theme is threaded through the Duke and Duchess’s scenes both alone, in contrast to Phineas and Marie, and with their son and heir, Silverbridge.

******************
First then a summary of the episode and then transcripts and commentaries on individual scenes and separate threads:

11:22: The difficulties of marriage, 3 transcripts with a little of Venice

Episode 21: Honeymoon: Scene 1) Emily and Lopez’s bedroom in Italy (Rome?), balcony, bedroom, from PM, II, Ch 25, pp. 216-219. Transfer of dialogue in coach in novel becomes an elaboration in bedroom tryst, needs 3000 pounds; scene 2) Wharton reading letter, voice-over carries over from scene 1, Emily, letter not in PM, only father’s reply, PM, II, Ch 26, pp. 222-23; we hear only Emily’s voice, back to scene 3) we see corridor of Emily and Lopez’s bedroom in Rome, then same area, he delighted, she troubled, and waking up a bit to what he is; scene 4) blue upstairs sitting room in Gatherum, the transcribed scene in blog, from PM, III, Ch 42, pp. 356-58.

Episode 22: Travelers: scene 5) Gatherum park and landscape, Phineas and Marie Finn’s talk and love, Raven transposed narrator’s talk of troubles of Pallisers to voices of these characters, acting here as chorus and tonic coda of the companionate marriage working by not straining on relationship too strongly; scene 6) Mr Sprout’s shoe shop, Mr Sprout and Lopez reading paper, matter from letter in PM, Vol 2, Ch 34, pp. 286-87, that Duke will not interfere and Lopez on his own, that the electors will prefer a conservative candidate now, Sprout says cut your losses and go; Lopez insists Duchess will make some sign; scene 7) Venice, the balcony, Lady Mabel Grex, Miss Cassewary and Silverbridge doing tea, matter from Duke’s Children, I, Ch 9, pp. 57-59, and Ch 20, pp. 127-30: Lady Mabel’s desperate situation, her awful father, the idea that Silverbridge’s father could not survive with his mother, Silverbridge there because of prank, then Tregear’s entrance and the tense encounter not observed by Silverbridge who is getting to like this corner of Venice; two young men looking at map of Tregear’s coming tour; we see Silverbridge lonely and wants to return home; he’s very young; move to scene 8) with sign Silverbridge (makes for carry-over and anticipation as Silverbridge, the young man, will eventually run and easily succeed to a parliamentary seat there), street voices heard, and in shop, Sprout and Lopez again, from PM, II, ch 34-35 turned into concise summarizing scene, Lopez bitter, angry; scene 9) Lopez and Emily’s flat in London, first time we’ve seen it, and it’s dark, from PM, II, ch 35, pp. 301-2. Transcribed on blog.

Episode 23: Financial Bind: scene 10) Wharton’s chambers, Wharton and Lopez, from PM, II, Ch 35 and Ch 44, letter sent by Lopez,. pp. 384-85, 395. Lopez blames Emily for wanting seat, and says he is out of pocket 1000 pounds, Wharton pays, Lopez says he’d like to explain “the scope of his business,” but Wharton says he does not want to hear any more, then does not object but does not see he can serve Lopez; scene 11) again Lopez and Emily apartment, again PM, II, Ch 35, pp. 301-2 (milking same scene repeatedly as Raven has done before), short powerful scene registering his whining and her awakened sense of him as false through and through; scene 12) Blue upstairs sitting room in Gatherum, Lopez’s over-voice as Duchess reads letter he sent demanding payment, from PM, III, Ch 42, pp. 364-70; powerful scene over letter, the fourth such set to in two episodes (the other two in 10:21), some of all of them taken directly from book, Adam and Eve trope (he will not be Adam putting blame on his wife even if blame hers — it was not Emily’s) what will happen in the house looked forward to; scene 13) aviary greenhouse at Gatherum, Bungay and Duke of Omnium, from PM, III, Ch 50, pp. 430-34, Bungay coddling him.

Episode 24: Hidden Plans: scene 14) Gatherum upstairs blue sitting room, now Duchess rejoices at Gerald’s appearance, she studying pictures of Italy, wants to persuade father to holiday, ultimately (much transformed) from Duke’s Children, ch 1, pp. 1-2; scene 15) Lopez’s flat, Sexty comes to Lopez, what’s left of PM, III, Chs 45-46 (subplot of Parker’s insistence on social friendship), here Parker worried about money, where is 300 from father-in-law, another 1000 from Duke, creditors pressing, the PM, III, Ch 39 much changed in precise wording, Emily opens door (contrast to Gerald’s), and he now sickens her though she does not quite let on, the screaming on the word “money” echoes from book, but we are deprived of the quelling of this woman and how she become abject (the deeper levels of the book, Chs 47, pp. 408-411, Ch 48, p. 416), sceen 25) Venice, Silverbridge’s apart again, parents’ visit, wholly invented, including who flat belonged to and homosexual references about one man’s “oriental habits” and the pictures, jokes about Duke worrying where Mary and Gerald have got too, distasteful insinuating Duchess about Tregear and Mary on balcony; scene 26) in gondola on lagoon, Duchess and Tregear, Silverbridge and Mary, Treager has won Duchess over, talk of his background, they are returning to Matching, Mary’s cheerful smile

Episode 25: Scandal: scene 27) Lopez apartment in London, Emily announces her pregnancy, and Lopez moves to take advantage of this (this happens before ch 49, p. 421, probably before Ch 44, but I cannot find it), he at first joyous, natural but then she sickened; scene 28) Whartons’ chambers, Wharton expecting and Lopez comes in, from scattered moments in book, two letters mostly, PM III, Chs 45, pp. 384-385, Ch 46, p. 395, Ch 49, p 419 (it’s Emily’s distress which teaches Wharton he had better not give Lopez anything directly), sees he has had all his money from himself and Parker, the stockbroker, throws him out, scene 29) Duchess and Mrs Finn encounter Lopez in the park and snub him; scene 30) Mr Slide’s office at People’s Banner Banner, taken from PM, III, Ch 51, pp. 441-446, the bit about Judas and the 30 pieces is added; also at first Lopez is reluctant and gradually persuaded, he does not come as initiator but after Slide has published.

******************
The following scene comes early in the part, right after the opening three of Ferdinand and Emily on their honeymoon with the sandwiched in one of her father writing out the 3000 pound check. it is the culmination of the high conflict we saw in the previous episode and the Duke’s having lost the strength.

Here we see finally the Duke cannot stand the networking and entertaining any longer and demands it be put an end to. The Duchess does not feel about her work the way the Duke does, but she is tired, weary, and has had a couple of bad moments with the Duke over Ferdinand Lopez, or her own politicking with her limited power.

Episode 21: Honeymoon

Scene 4: Sitting room at Gatherum castle; where Duchess works, they have coffee, intimates meet.

Basis: Prime Minister, Vol 3, Ch 42, pp. 356-58 (very different, not dramatized and Duchess half sarcastic, and playing for time to invite people, and then sticking precisely to those allowed to irritate him. Here we have a human drama of wide dimensions suggested in Trollope’s telling, not scenes themselves)

1. Establishment shot: Duke in dressing jacket looking out window, Duchess hard at work in nightgown, hat, and robe; we hear laughter from below, perhaps outside.

She carries on writing. She labors some more, as we watch her write on. He picks up and throws down letters. She’s writing invitations probably and correspondence having to do with guests gone and guests to come.

Duke: “Cora?”
Duchess: “Hmmm?”
Duke: “I’ve got something to say.”
Duchess: “Mmmmm. Please say it, Plantagenet.”
Duke: “Very well. It’s time to put an end to all this.”
Duchess turns round; “All what?”
Duke: “All this (reaches out for letters) entertainment (he throws down letters and puts sarcasm into word, irony).
Duchess takes off glasses. “Plantagenet! you approved the idea at the start.”
Duke: “Yes, the idea perhaps but the reality’s gone far enough (he stand up, looks grim). While I’m burdened with this present office I can’t continue to receive guests in the house.”
Duchess: “These are all people whom you need.”
Duke: “I don’t need them here. With most of them I get along much better in their absence. Well, do you remember that sickening affair, Sir Orlando Drought, all that could have been avoided if he had not been allowed to approach too near to become too familiar …”
Duchess: “Important men, little men for that matter, like to be able to approach their prime minister.”
Duke (gritted teeth, intense tones and face): “They’re making my life impossible.”
She looks appalled at realizing his psychological state.
Duke sits. “It’s got to cease.”
Duchess: “I see. So it’s a case of repel borders. (She puts out candle flame with a wet finger.) Darkness all round.
Duke: “Well (noise). Well, I know (really a noise) you cannot possibly turn out those people who are staying in here now, but I beg you no further invitations.”
She looks hurt, her hands folded.
Duchess gets up and walks over. “Phineas Finn, Plantagenet. He is due over from Ireland in a day or two and I was just about to invite him. His wife is here.”
Duke: “Finn may come and go as he leases. He’s an old friend, but don’t encourage any of these others to linger except um Lady Rosina. She stays for as long as we do.”
Duchess: “Do now it shall be Darcy and Joan and Aunt Rosina. What a galaxy of fashion and wit.”
Duke: “Well, that is the way I shall like it.”
She sits down wry.
Duke: “and as for these others, I’ll have no more of it.”
Duchess: “The Duke of St Bungay, Plantagenet, says that these assemblies are of great assistance to your ministry.”
Duke: “And so they were at the beginning, but now it’s degrading me.”
Close up of her face as it hardens in hurt and then anger. “Degrading (teeth show) you.”
Duke (close up) There are those, who say I’m bribing men with hospitality.”
Duchess: “Oh, Planty, you’re so thin-skinned that any counsel offered you take as a form of criticism. You must ignore them.”
Duke. “I try to, Cora. It is very hard you know to ignore journalists who write about you daily. Quintus Slide in the People’s Banner, well, he has a poisonous pen.”
Duchess: “Huh. One day he’ll prick himself too death with it.”
Duke: “He must prick me to death first. Well, Cora will ya do as I’m asking (clenches fist, in real need) about ceasing all this here at Gatherum.”

74Pallisers1122Hecannotbearit

She looks at him with genuine puzzled pity. “Yes if you order it. (she laughs a little), but it is hard to be told after all my work that it has degraded you.”
Duke: “So it has and you too. All these false smiles and false words.”
Duchess: “I have told you that if you wish to remain as Prime Minister, someone must smile at your supporters, if not you then me.”
He looks pained.
She rises a little and turns face away, real aching strain etched on bones of her face.
Ducjess: “It has been for you that I’ve done it. That people mght know how really gracious you are and good.”
Duke looks down sad and grave.
Duchess gets up: “Is that unbecoming a wife?”
Walks over to desk with letters, puts them down.
Duchess: “Still I own, Plantagenet, I shall be glad to doff my mask. It was beginning to feel … (she covers her face with her hand as she gathers papers) (whispers) degrading ..shaking hands with all those cads and caddesses has nearly worn my poor hands away” (rubs it — a reverse of lady Macbeth as a gesture).

74Pallisers1122TiredofShakingHandsandSmiling.jpg-

He gets up, puts paper in his hands down, goes over to her. He touches her lightly and she turns round and is in his arms (just like a Trollope novel!), being hugged tight. They rock slightly. [This is an ending of a number of the parts in this series, including those which climax a sub-story in a book.]
Duchess pulls away and looks up to her (near close-up again): “You .. you must not think Plantagenet that I am not clever enough to realize how ridiculous I am.”

This is a very different portrait of the Duchess than the chapter I invite you to compare it with. By contrast, Trollope is not in deep sympathy with her, or inclined to show her as continuing very hard. The question is, which is humanly more likely? I like Raven’s duchess much better but I fear Trollope’s is closer to typical human nature.

As I say, it follows hard upon the “honeymoon” of the Lopezes where we see Emily also in a nightgown and Lopez similarly hugging her (itself arched around the father sending the 3000 pounds), but how hollow is the difference.

And it is followed by a deeply congenial conversation between Phineas and Marie in the park at Gatherum where Marie says it is not bad they are often apart, for love is so easily staled.

We see Phineas and Marie Finn walking in the meadow, possibly at Gatherum. It looks like the landscape around the castle. The scene between the Duke and Duchess included the Duchess’s assertion they must have Phineas as he is coming home from Ireland, and the Duke’s response, yes, of course, we will have friends.

It’s a lingering interlude where the two discuss their happy marriage (in effect). He says how much he has missed her, and she counters she has missed him, but sometimes or a certain amount of apartness is good for a marriage. There is a beautiful scene caught by the camera of the two of them looking into one another’s faces with softened love; they kiss in the meadow too.

Then they discuss what has been happening between the Duke and Duchess, the Duchess’s bad judgment in taking up Lopez, and how the Duke seems not to be able to shake it off.

It’s a choral scene. Unlike Trollope this couple is made to stand for an ideal. Trollope (I think) has no ideal loving married couple; he is himself too disillusioned for this; he will present marriage as a satisfactory arrangement for life (networking, children) such as we see in the Grants, tender love say here or there (between the Quiverfuls say or the couple in La Vendee where the man thinks he is dying), but a couple who stands for a full group of norms (anti-ambition in Marie, moderated in Phineas and to do good), no.

77Pallisers322MarieNeverWhenImWithYou

So these two couples are a scrim against which we see Ferndinand and Emily.

The basis for both Lopez and Emily scenes is literally tiny dialogue (The Prime Minister, Vol 2, Chapter 35, pp. 301-2 in Oxford Classics paperback) when Lopez comes home from Silverbridge, but more generally it comes the narrator’s commentary on them and implication of awakening to living with hollow and increasingly desperate and unrealistic man, particularly on Emily’s part turned into high drama.

Episode 22: Travellers

Scene 8 between Lopez and Sprout where Lopez very strained and cannot accept that he will be treated like everyone else who is nobody in this world

Scene 9: Lopez and Emily’s apartment in London

1. Establishment shot: Lopez glimpsed in the corridor, framed tightly, overcoat and hat, quickly moves to room and we see Emily looking at him, her face now flat and weary, not happy

Lopez: “You had my telegram?”
Emily: “Oh, Ferdinand, it did make me so wretched.”
Lopez: “And a wretched business it was too. yet I could hardly believe it. Everybody suddenly seemed to turn from me. Everybody there deserted me.”
Emily: “You did not give up.”
Lopez comes up to kiss her lightly. “No, the more fool I. The duchess originally intimated that I [Emily now taking his coat off] I would be returned unopposed, in which case the cost would have been almost nothing. Now the expense of a contested election win or lose is at least 1000. pounds.
Emily: “Oh, Ferdinand, have you paid it?”
Lopez: “Not yet. No doubt the bill will come in before long. That at least I can depend upon.”
He sits there in a fever of intensities. She stands there with a somber troubled look; somehow holding his coat while she stares at him captures her own desperate case too.

74Pallisers1122EmilyStandingThere
Emily (Sheila Ruskin) standing there, somber

Lopez: “I mean the duchess must have known what would happen. [He sighs.] By Jove, Emily she left the castle the day I reached Silverbridge. A short visit to London, they said. You know men and women have become so dishonest that nobody is safe anywhere.”
Emily: “It is hard.”
Lopez smiles: “It is cruelly hard, Emily. [Voice now slithering.] I don’t suppose there was ever a time in my life when the loss of 1000 pounds would have been as much as this now.”

She looks at him and is seeing him for the first time as a man without money or resources, a liar. A hard look in her eyes.

74Pallisers1122EmilyRealizes

Lopez: “The question is what will your father do for us” (his eyes shift away).

Episode 23: Financial Bind, Scene 10: The next scene is where he goes to Mr Wharton and complains and says it was Emily who wanted this Parliamentary place and her father gives him the money rather than listen to this. Adam and Eve metaphor comes up later when Duke and Duchess discuss Ferdinand’s letter asking for money (see below) and the Duke says he will not be like Adam and blame Eve. Duchess says but it was my fault; in Emily’s case it isn’t except for having married him. Wharton says he does not object to Lopez telling him of Lopez’s business, but does not see how he can serve Lopez. Lopez feels unable to continue.

Scene 11: Back in Lopez and Emily’s flat, another day for she is in another outfit, also austere

1 Establishment shot: Lopez with angry face turns as if from his father-in-law to wife (scene moves swiftly from previous)

Lopez (angry face, demanding, the sense is where is some to serve him, and who is there but Emily the wife?): “I had wished to tell him everything there and then, but his manner was too discouraging. I may yet have to ask you to do it.”
Emily (looks puzzled now, for a second, then appalled): “It would come better from you. I think” (she sits down and he looks sullen.)
Lopez: “But as he has come up to the mark (? — in) this, it would be sensible I think to let the reins lie loose on his neck for a while.”
Now her face set (dismay controlled). She looks round at him:

74Pallisers1122EmilyLooksRound

Emily: “Is that how you think of him?”
Lopez (angry face): “Upon my soul, I do not know what to think. I’ve been so abused and cheated over this election, that I can hardly see straight. There is one thing I have begun to see … the duchess encouraged me to go in for Silverbridge under false pretenses. Now if anyone owes me compensation, it is she.
Emily” “But paper has just paid the costs.”
Lopez: “I’ve no doubt the bill will be more in the end. They always are [close up to angry resentful face] besides it’s not only the money. There has been treachery here, Emily. [Ugly look in his eyes, really creepy face] and for me there has been humiliation.”

74Pallisers1122CreepyExpression
Pained humiliated expression (Stuart Wilson)

Scene 12: Duke and Duchess over letter and again it feels continuous for Lopez’s letter done as voice-over by Stuart Wilson. This one a brilliant rendition of PM, Volume 3, Chapter 42, pp. 364-70.

This one between the Duke and Duchess is among the many strong scenes so far in the series between the Duke and Duchess. He just lights into her: her disobedience, interference, stupidity (a good natured woman who is foolish), all of it, and look what has resulted.

74Pallisers322DuchessHurtathisShame
Duchess (Susan Hampshire) as startled at Duke’s shame as Emily is at Lopez’s lack of shame

He must pay Ferdinand he says because he owes it to him. In other words the Duchess was just nothing really and it was his responsibility. (Women are not responsible.) He admits he cannot stop reading the newspapers; the public life has gotten under his skin and into his veins. He talks of how much she means to him and how it hurts him to see her discussed in the way she will be and that he cannot get himself to present the truth of what happened (that she picked up, encouraged, and promised Lopez).

74Pallisers1122CannotMakeItPublic
He (Philip Latham as Duke) cannot make it public

The two come close to one another, sit close, bow, hug, look into one another’s eyes, and we see a distance between them as people where they cannot understand one another. The Duchess says she is stupid or dumb (some such words) but operates as best as she can see it in the world and at least she has a thick skin. So the Duke says he will himself pay the money and have a letter printed admitting mistakes were made. He hopes that not too much will be made of this to make him look corrupt, as if he was doing what he said he abhorred: picking a candidate and then paying him off.

It is true we have seen as bad people in the series as Lopez, but Lopez is the first male to behave so vilely and meanly in front of us with not an iota of redemption in the way of generosity of spirit anywhere at all.

The real modern insight in both situations here is how in marriage one can end up with someone with whom there is a complete lack of understanding. When you are young, you may be startled to see this: at the other person’s so very different inner self and how they impinge and pressure you with these thoughts, feelings, demands that jar intensely.

And then later in the part there is another, this one a deeply troubled bitter scene between Emily and Lopez (the fifth between them in the episode) following hard upon Parker’s visit demanding payment for the guana and asking Lopez to get the money from his father-in-law. And finally after the idyllic gondola scene (see below) of the Duchess, Silverbridge, Frank Tregear and a now happy Mary (for her mother has been won over and is attracted by and likes Tregear and invites him to Matching), talking of the peace of home, we come ironically to a home where there is no peace.

We see Emily in nearly black, dark brown telling of pregnancy to be confronted with demands she get money. Emily’s face is very hard as she looks in the mirror. She will not go to her father now. Ferdinand does and finally tells the old man what is his business. The old man listens and we see this is rotten stock market gambling and by the end he throws Ferdinand out literally, saying only he will not let his daughter and grandchild starve and will give Ferdinand bread. Marvelous bitterness of the man playing Wharton as he talks about the expensive honeymoon and flats Ferdinand has bought.

This too I think is meant to reach the 20th century audience, how those who resent those who have and supposedly don’t pay for it. Ferdinand’s worst social sin is he can’t hide his deprivation.

The part end on the terrible scene with father-in-law where Lopez behaves is a cur, and at last shows up at Mr Slide’s to betray the Duke for a measley 130 pounds, and is told that is 100 more than the traditional price.

********************

One of the characteristics of the soap opera form, which shows its feminine nexus, is the happy interlude. It’s often found in women’s films and occurs periodically in the Pallisers films, e.g., all the returns the Arcadian garden signaling transition from one major story to another. In 11:22 we get a different sort of interlude.

It occurs in the part’s third thread (which is woven in early, Episode 22, Travelers, right after Marie and Phineas and scene of Lopez and Sprout in shoe store), a further adumbration of matter from The Duke’s Childre: Silverbridge is in Venice, meets with Lady Mabel Grex and Miss Cassewary.

In 10:21, it has already been established that Silverbridge is feckless and naive (his painting the Dean’s house red), and it has been made deeply clear from the time of Silverbridge’s baby hood until now how bonded are he and his mother. In this part 11:22 we also meet Gerald (first scene of Episode 24) come to Gatherum and see him too greeted lovingly by the Duchess, and her plans to visit Silverbridge (to get away from Gatherum too) with him, Lady Mary and the Duke. So (at the end of Episode 24) the parents come to visit Silverbridge, and so too Frank Tregear, and the duchess (off-stage) learns to like Tregear by the gondola ride.

The sense of the first Venice sceneis he is courting Lady Mabel who is much more mature or knowing than he (as in Trollope’s DC). Pleasantly for once (and this does happen in Trollope too) the “old maid” in the scene, Miss Cassewary, is presented as a congenial pleasant woman. h

74PallisersDuchessSilverbridgeHidefromDuke
Duchess speaks to Silverbridge (Anthony Andrews) on the terrace; both collude to hide whatever they’ve got to say of intimate life from the Duke; lighting is used to make us feel they stand near sparkling waters

74Pallisers1122TreagerDuchess
Duchess and Tregear (Jeremy Irons)

The gay subtextual use of Venice is brought in during the visit of the Duke and Duchess to Venice in Episode 24. The story of the family who had to give up their flat and went bankrupt because they chose “oriental” ways uses language Trollope and other 19th century writers used as euphemisms for homosexuality. (Margaret Markwick’s book uses this phrase to detect homosexual themes in Trollope.) We see paintings of nude figures in the apartment and their gender is not clear.

Ferdinand Lopez is the contrast this TV film makes to Tregear. Tregear in Trollope is ambitious, can be ruthless, and an upstart, not all that unlike George Vavasour in some ways, only he is controlled and prudent and can and does love Lady Mary Palliser once he is thrown off by Lady Mabel Grex. Tregear in Raven is a much more pastoral figure: he is contemplative, he is adult and mature and sees much more clearly than Silverbridge (as Charles Rider does Sebastian Flyte in Brideshead Revisited): really Irons and Andrews are playing the same typed pair in both films, just with different names.

During Episode 22 (an inbetween imagined journey) Tregear goes for a long tour in middle Europe; he makes no attempt to secure Lady Mary; he may be a nobody and outsider, but he has in him the feel of a poet and certainly is serious and ethical (parallel to the Duke).

Now the Duchess is attracted to Tregear (she is ambivalent about power and status finally) and we see has fostered his relationship with Lady Mary Palliser but again it seems her understanding or attraction to Tregear is his handsomeness, that her daughter is physically attracted. He is unambitious and what he loves best is home, Cornwall. Lady Mary loves him for that (in a gondola scene).

Another contrast to the rest of this Part and the one previous is the implicit indifference to ambition and showing of power over others in Marie, and the idea you must allow yourself to be soiled, and become rotten, if you go in for it too much, if you have to fight for it when you are not born to it. Maybe this is as subversive as one can get today (I mean 2009) — and more so today than ever as we now live in an era where ruthless breaking of bonds is just fine (whether at work or at home). This is of course brought home in the scene where the Duke and Duchess agonized together over Lopez’s letter (see above) in Episode 24.

The series also marks (as I remarked yesterday on my query on greying hair in women in the Victorian perido) that are characters are reaching middle aged, the new generation making its appearance. It’s autumn says Donal McCann so beautifully (he has a wonderful speaking voice).

There was yet another couple in Trollope’s book (more really, minor characters in the Wharton family comprise yet more): Mr and Mrs Sexty Parker. Sexty (David Ryall) is in the series, but not Mrs Parker. She is a real loss: with her we return to a character like Mrs Bunce, a working class woman and we see how her domestic common sense marriage works, and how the loss of money devastates it

Next up: 11:23

Ellen

Read Full Post »

74Pallisers32021WeMustGoOutThere
“We must go out there” (and face the world, a young and older woman’s entrance into the world, last still from 10:20)

Dear Friends,

Though it’s been a number of months (again) since I last posted about the 1974 BBC Pallisers series, I am still working my way slowly through all the Parts. I’ve decided I can’t both try to write a book on the Austen films and keep up thorough analyses of the Palliser series in blog-essay format. What I’m doing now is carrying on reading the Palliser novels whole and then carefully taking down the screenplays of each hour episode, comparing the texts of the screenplays and actual dramas to what I find in the novels: the series continues to be a commentary type.

What I’m doing now is writing blogs Parts 18-26 (Volumes 9-12). This blog is on three parts; the part after that (10:21) will either have a blog to itself or two blogs. And so it will go after that.

I left off at 8:17. In a nutshell, 8:18 and 8:19 bring us to the end of Phineas Redux, with some striking changes: for example, a ghost scene where it is made explicit that Phineas (Donal McCann) did long to do away with Bonteen (Peter Sallis), so that the inferences from the novel are altered to something far more disillusioned at the same time as far less ethically demanding.

I would call these two episodes “Phineas’s ordeal” and they correspond in Victorian melodramatic detective terms to Meredith’s “Beauchamp’s Ordeal.”

***************************

I take our first transcript from such 9:18. First to situate or contextualize it, here is a barebones outline of 9:18:

9:18 Phineas Redux: first half of trial ordeal.

Episode 1: Finn’s Case: scene 1) PM’s chambers (?), conference room, Palliser and Erle defend Phineas, Bunay there reasoning, PM will not listen to talk of Emilius, wants the case over with, assumes Phineas guilty; scene 2) Carlton Terrace, Madame Max and Duchess, some from PR, II, Ch 54, pp. 124-31. Madame Max deep distress; evidence against Phineas, Palliser and Monk, Madame will go to Prague against their advice; Duke must believe in law; scene 3) high bench, judge remands Phineas; scene 4) Portman Square, Lady Laura’s distress, her brother, Chiltern, and father’s lack of sympathy with her; Lady Chiltern also seeks to repress Laura, who will visit Phineas in prison she declares; scene 5) Phineas in prison (depressed, despairing), with Monk at chess, from PR, II, Ch 55, pp 133-35; Beauchamp’s Career and American Senator allusion.

Episode 2: Love and Death: scene 6) Carlton Terrace, Duchess and Adelaide, Burgo’s letter from CYFH?, Ch 42, pp. 452-53. Duchess regrets loss, but asserts Planty never out of her heart since she grew to love him; Adelaide’s announcement of her and Maule’s engagement; Duchess’s supposedly comic-anxious responses; scene 8 [I skipped a number], Portman Square, Lord Brentford Laura, from PR, II, Ch 52, p. 102-4, 108-10: father acrimonious, resentful of son, says Phineas a murderer, Laura at solitaire defends, telegram to say Kennedy is dead; scene 9) Phineas’s prison room, alone, from PR, Ch 55, pp. 133-34, voice-over of prayer, even Chiltern does not believe him; scene 10) Portman Square, Laura at solitaire, men delighted at Loughlinter, money, from PR, Ch 52,pp 104-110 (narrative turned into scene): Chiltern waxes angry, tells her Phineas has Madame Goesler, she livid; scene 11) Phineas’ prison room, Laura walks in, from PR, II, Ch 55, pp. 135-141. Moving; she tells of husband’s death; he thinks of his coming death; she asserts she believes him innocent; Erle wrests her away

Episode 3: Investigation: scene 12) Park Lane beflowered room, Madame Max, the great invented scene [see transcript just below] with Mrs Meager, from PR, II, Ch 56, pp. 143-46. Learns of key, of coat; scene 13) Bonteen front Room, Mrs B and Lady Eustace in mourning, bits from PR, II, Ch 51, pp. 168-172; also Ch 72, pp.291-92. Reading news, trial delayed; Loveybond, lawyer, tells her Mr Bonteen right; they have brought back wife of Mealyus and documents, jailed for bigamy and Lizze bursts out Emilius the murderer (lawyer regards her as bloodthirsty, Mrs Bonteen as having caused her husband’s death); scene 14) Carlton Terrace, Duchess and Marie pour over map, Marie off to Prague, from PR, II, Ch 66, pp. 150-51, 154, grand moment, they kiss

Episode 4: Coin and Court: scene 15) PM’s chambers, Palliser, PM. Bungay, Monk asks for postponement of trial, new evidence, from PR, II Ch 58, pp. 158, where question of Duchess’s support of Phineas discussed between 2 dukes (Bungay, Palliser); trade problems invented as now threatening election, loss of Bonteen at Board of Trade is in another part of novel; scene 16: Carlton Terrace; Adelaide practices walking before Duchess, from PR, I, ch 18, p 157; Ch 21, pp. 189-90. Maule Abbey solution; scen e 17) Portman Square, from PR, II, 60, pp. 177-78, Monk and Chiltern persuade newly introduced Chaffanbrass to speak to Phineas; scene 18) Phineas’s prison room, from PR, II, Ch 60, pp. 180-84. Chaffanbrass and Phineas; noble aim of Phineas, narrow one of Mr Chaffanbrass (“they ain’t worth it”); ominous note at close (“if we can”); scene 19: Courtroom (25 minutes of episode left), from PR, II, Ch 61, pp. 184-86, full scene, Chiltern and Violet are us; accusation and Monk’s testimony with Chaffanbrass’s protest and Sir Gregory Grogram’s determination. Wholly original replaces Ch 61, pp. 188-93. Ambiguous evidence, e.g., Monk says Phineas “bitterly angry”, life preserver scene retold

Episode 5: Cloaked Figure: scene 19 continues: Courtroom, Superintendent Worth’s evidence (from narrator’s account of what court believed, Chaffanbrass’s angry interjections, steps down, Fawn’s evidence, PR, II, ch 62, pp. 197-203, Ch 63, pp. 206-7 (about coat itself), film much kinder to Fawn, Chaffanbrass badgers every bit of the story, first cloak brought forward; scene 20) Portman square: PR, II, Ch 71, pp. 189-90; Laura not allowed to testify, Chiltern and Violet’s pessimism, end on Laura’s face.

The thing to keep your eye on is how this melodramatic scene is changed It is derived from Phineas Redux, II, Ch 56, pp. 13-46, but with considerable changes and much original dialogue. The Original takes place in Meager household, includes Amelia the daughter, reveals the life of the lodging house directly.
Here the key is the relationship between the women which builds in the comfort of Madame Max’s house, and it through this built-trust that Mrs Meager reveals the unexpected important fact that there was another grey coat in the vicinity, one Mr Emilius could have worn. An irony is the women are more effective outside the established logical allowances of probabilty. The acting of barba Murray and Sheila Fay as the two women takes us beyond Trollope’s text where there is no such intimation and also the screenplay:

  • 1. Establishment shot: Madame Max’s table with yellow flowers. We have seen how she likes yellow flowers before (in all the scenes in her room these are there).
    2. Mastershot: two women walking in through the door, dialogue happening.
    Marie: “Now let us be quite clear about this, Mrs Meager.
    Mrs Meager looks round her suspiciously.
    Marie closes the door. “Mr Emilius lodged with you some time back. only after the murder, but you are sure he was back before the murder.
    Mrs Meager startled from her absorbed looking round at these beautiful apartments: “Hmmm? Uh oh yes ma’am that is quite true.”
    Marie: “Now we know he went to Prague and that he was back sometime before the murder happened.”
    Mrs Meager: “Uh yes ma’am back in the best room at 6 and 8 a week.”
    Marie (very earnest). “Now Mrs Meager, I want you to think very carefully about this. Was there anything at all odd in Mr Emilius’s behavior? Anything anything before he went to Prague or after he came back.”
    Mrs Meager (melodramatic expression, twisted and tight): “Odd?”
    Marie: “Anything he may have said? Something in his room. Something you may have seen (she goes over to pik up a purse and bring it back to the table) in his room?
    Mrs Meager: “Well, ma’am. there was just one thing.”
    Marie (puts down purse ostentatiously). “Mmmm?”
    Mrs Meager: “When he went away to that foreign part what you said he took his key with him.”
    Marie. “Oh” (gestures Mrs Meager to sit down)
    Mrs Meager (sitting) Ah which he hadn’t got no right ah seeing as how he wasn’t paying for his room while he were gone.”
    Marie. “Well perhaps he was just forgetful.”
    Mrs Meager: “Well that’s what he said later, ma’am, but he wasn’t usually forgetful. Anyways there was me and the front attic and any body else in the house there was just the one key between us all. That’s why I remember it so particular.”
    Marie’s face (close up): “So you only had the two keys.”
    Mrs Meager: “Yes, ma’am.”
    Marie take up the coin and puts it in front of Mrs Meager.
    Mrs Meager (then talks on): “And Mr Emilius had run off with one so there was the whole pack of us fighting over the other until Mr Emilius gets back and says eh’s ever so sorry in his best religious voice but that he forgot and left it in his drawer.”
    Marie. “But he hadn’t.”
    Mrs Meager: “No, ma’am, in ourline we is obliged to know about drawers.
    Marie: “So. He must have had it with him all the time.”
    Mrs Meager nods.
    Marie. “Hmmmn (put another coin on the table). “Poor Mrs Meager. what a very difficult life you must have (see still on groupsite page).
  • 74Pallisers917MrsMeagersHardLife

  • (More coins clinking on table. Mrs Meager’s face acknowledges the truth of this). Now can you remember anything else about Mr Emilius?”
    Mrs Meager: “Well, eh though not exactly about him, ma’am, but um there has been some talk about a coat” (suddenly eager, the sympathy extended has also had its effect).
    Marie alert: “Indeed there has.”
    Mrs Meager: “Well, ma’am, my husband, Mr Meager, he’s not ‘ere very often, but he does sor tof flit in and out from time to time. Well it just so happened that he flitted in on the day beforfe the murder and when he flitted in see he was wearing this coat.”
    Maried (sharp): “What coat?”
    Mrs Meager: “The coat there has been all the talk about, ma’am, a gray sporty sort of coat (Marie’s face is quivering).
    Marie: Have you told this to the police?”
    Mrs Meager: “No, maa’m, in our parts we is not overly keen on talking with the police.”
    Marie: “Well … (she looks down at purse, and more coins are put out). “Never mind, Mrs Meager (camera on pile of coins) “What happened to the coat?”
    Mrs Meaeger: “It spent the night in the house, ma’am, along with Mr Meager, a gallon of port and a bottle of Dutch gin.”
    Marie: “So. Mr Emlius could have borreowed the coat while Mr Meager was refreshing himself.”
    Mrs Meager: “an ‘im none the wiser, filthy sot.”
    Marie: “Where is it now?”
    Mrs Meager: “Oh well …. (stuble sounds) that’s har dto say, ma’am … I mean now the summer’s really coming I pawned it for sure.”
    Marie: “But it was definitely in the house on the night of the murder.”
    Mrs Meager: “Yes, ma’am, I saw it on the sofa before I went to bed.”
    Marie: “Mmmm. (faint music) (put more coins on table) Now. Mrs Meager send for your husband, find out where he pawedn that coat and redeem it at once and take it to that address.”
    Mrs Meager; “Not the police, ma’am, I hope.”
    Marie: “No no. A nice kind gentleman who is my solicitor and who will show himself to be (she pushes oisy coins on table towards Mrs Meager) most grateful.”
  • The women’s shared sympathy is strong. The best moments are in Fay’s face, for example the peculiarly tense look from actress’s face comes when she is telling of coat, of pawning, of her fears of police, and particularly her tones when describing Mr Meagre as a filthy sot. Much she has had to endure.

    The allusions to political novels in 9:18 and 9:19 anticipates Raven’s development of Trollope’s later political novel, The Prime Minister. No longer will we look at issues but at the workings of personal politics in the upper class and how coteries function, an important theme in Trollope’s own The American Senator, also alluded to in 8:17-18. Material bringing in the growing up of the Pallisers’ children is interwoven in conversation. Also Lady Glen’s tearing a letter from Burgo (from 1:1), the Duke’s memories of how his wife did not love him and wanted to flee shortly after they married.

    ***************************

    Again I will situate or contextualize 9:19 and 10:20 with a barebones summary.

    9:19: Second half of trial, Phineas’s vision and depression, wedding, PM transition in Arcadian gardens once again.

    Episode 6: Defensive Proof: Scene 1) courtroom, now defense, PR, II, Ch 53, pp. 206-10: Chaffanbrass harangues on hearsay nature of Fawn’s evidence, brings forth second cloak, Phineas’s holding out life preserver called “jocular”; Monk still there, and Duke testifies to Phineas’s character; scene 2) Carlton Terrace, Duchess reading People’s Banner, Phineas’s life on a thread, from PR, II, Ch 58, pp 161-62 (some of this chapter went into 9:18, Episode 4, Scene 15); Duke reassurres, accepts, brings up problems at Board of Trade; business about him asking her to clean Gresham’s shoes; scene 3) courtroom, PR, II, Ch 53, pp. 212-13; Grogram making strong case against Phineas (Bonteen blocking his advancement); telegram, Chaffanbrass shouts to bring all to halt; judge protests, Duke of Omnium intervenes to explain who lady is,

    Episode 7: Prague evidence: scene 4) Phineas’s prison room, Phineas, Monk, Chiltern, Phineas’s great distress and anxiety, inclination to dismiss Madame Max’s efforts and man named Peter Prasker; scene 5) courtroom; now there is no such scene in PR, a hint on p. 227: Madame Max’s testimony and fun over latin by Judge triumphing over Chaffanbrass; Prasker asked to make a copy, identifies Emilius as the man; acquitted rom PR, II, Ch 67, pp 239-40; Phineas’s continued depression and even bitterness, Chaffanbrass congratulates

    74Pallisers919ChaffanbrasscongratulatesdevastatedFinn

    but Phineas remains stunned and at long last showing how shattered and appalled he’s been; almost paralyzed he is taken out by Palliser, cf PR, II, Ch 67, pp. 233-34, 241-43 (book has Chiltern, Cantripp, Low); scene 6) the streets, Phineas re-enacts the night, from PR, II, Ch 68, pp. 245-47; even in grey coat; the major departure where ghost says Phineas wanted to do it, and Phineas doesn’t deny that, just says he didn’t; Duke of Omnium turns up and pulls Phineas away

    74Pallisers919BonteensGhost

    Episode 8: Pained Freedom: scene 7: Phineas’s lodging house room, substitute argument by Palliser where he says they all believed him innocent but doubt is inevitable for it shows people are frank with themselves, and brings up how his wife could have run away (the same as a murder?); letter which Phineas says disturbed him in I, Ch 71, pp. 280. In book it’s Monk and Low and about Phineas’s depression directly, PR, II, Ch 68, pp. 249-52; scene 8) Parliament before the door, Finn walks in and is congratulated by Erle (who interrupts another topic, all shake his hands; cf PR, II, Ch 73, pp. 295-96; scene 9) Matching Priory; Madame Max in lovely grey-blue light by those windows, to her Duchess,

    from PR, II, Ch 68, p 248; Lady Glen says Phineas recovered and Madame Max had better snatch him up; Madame Max does not snatch people up; in come Phineas, PR, II, Ch 74, pp. 302-2, 354; Duchess removes herself and at long last he tells her how he loves her, they kiss and hug tightly, sway

    Episode 9: Offers Revealed: scene 10) Prime Minister’s chambers (or conference room, not clear what it is), trade, foreign affairs, election crisis; Duke glad at offer of Board of Trade; Monk puts in word for place for Phineas, Gresham shrugs; 11) Matching Priory: Marie, Duchess, planning wedding, Phineas with letter, Duchess leaves, Phineas not sure he wants it, not sure he’s wanted by Gresham; Marie “you are quite right” (perfect mate all right): in book he meets with Marie after refusing offer; 12) Prime Minister’s chambers/conference room, from PR, II, Ch 77, pp 337-39, Phineas says no p. 350 (much later in book); just about new dialogue, PM’s annoyance, cannot forget defection over Tenant’s rights even if now the thing is a done deal; Phineas brave and sincere: he was falsely accused, he’s troubled in his mind, PM sneers in effet; resembles Crawley and Grantly (terms in which discussed); Gresham polite at end, offered it, Finn walks off silently; scene 13) Matching Priory, from PR, I, Ch 22, pp. 190-92 (one sees how Raven could skip about): Gerald tells of scene (that occurs in PR) and sneer at Lady Glen; Gerald unkind, Adelaide slaps him, he walks off, she cries desperately; scene 14) Portman Square: long beautiful walk, with words from PR, II, ch 70, and again 78, pp. 347-9 condensed into one beautifully acted but necessarily inadequate scene. Probably Raven does not feel for her and sees her as unfair, transgressive; she remembers all that has happened (when he turned to Violet) but words are taken from cliched (I worshipped you when I should have worshipped god) showing Raven is not himself reliving or feeling this for real (afresh)

    Episode 10: Hope and Peril: scene 15) Carlton Terrace, major change again, for Palliser persuades Finn to take office, it will restore confidence in him, they will work together, Phinaes is won over; scene 16) Matching front room: scene of four of them, two couples as winners, where Duchess persuades Duke to let Adelaide have the income older Duke of Omnium meant for Madame Max, from PR, II, Ch 76, pp. 321-22 (no such scene but the details are from book, and this is what happens; I feel actors getting a kick out of not caring about 20,000 pounds; sudden telegram from Gresham, government in trouble and Duke must return; ending of cheer on Phineas still looking forward first to honeymoon, and Duchess to go find and tell Adelaide 16) Arcadian gardens around Matching: the wedding, jokes about wedding albums, photos, mild satire on modern ritual”

    It’s a funny scene between Dolly (Donald Pickering) and the Duchess (Susan Hampshire) where he informs her what such picture albums left on tables for others to see are for.

    74Pallisers919TheWeddingPhotos

    Dolly then mentions he hears Duchess’s sons both “great characters at Eton, particularly Silverbridge”; the walk in front of the building (parallel for transitions into Phineas, 3:6, and and Eustace, 6:11); political choral dialogue in great tent afterwards between Erle and Dolly on coming election, Erle serious about trade, Dolly mocks (“twade”); scene 17) Matching. Duke and Duchess, private quiet room at night, what to do, the boys are away, office is gone; moving dialogue of tender affection and respect = love, no equivalent in Trollope

    The Prime Minster itself is begun more in earnest with this political talk of Barrington Erle (Moray Watson) and Dolly at the wedding and then in the final touching nightime scene between the now Duke (Plantagenet, Philip Latham) and Duchess (Lady Glen, Susan Hampshire) who have grown to love tenderly, value, esteem one another despite great differences in attitudes. They talk of what they will do outside the political world, thus telling us they care intensely about it and will rejoin.

    ***************************

    In 10:20 the Lopez story is begun, denuded of many characters (as was Frank Greystock’s story in the Eustace Diamonds parts) and is to be fitted into the political and sexual vision of this part. There are strong hints (never elaborated), again through allusion (to Swinburne) that part of the mystery of Lopez is he’s homosexual. The Lopez story vies for space as at the end of the part we have the entrance of Lady Mary (Kate Nicholls), Silverbridge (Anthony Andrews) and Frank Tregear (Jeremy Irons) into the films, Silverbridge having been thrown out of Oxford (for painting a master’s house red), Lady Mary a close loving daughter with her mother, and the two young men (hinted) a strong loving friendship (they go to Venice in a later part, living there together).

    The strongest scenes in the part are those which dramatize the relationship between the Duchess and Duke, and I give a transcript of the last one in the part. First a summary of the part to situate this scene:

    10:20: Lopez introduces; the Duchess’s way of politicking

    Episode 11: Call to Office: scene 1) The Club, Dolly and Erle; 4 years have passed; liberals out for “bungling money,” a coalition forming (invented information dialogue; scene 2) Carlton Terrace, private sitting room we’ve not seen before (piano, place to sew, coffee table); from Prime Minister, I, Ch 6, pp. 50-51 (all narration with only hints of this fully dramatized scene): Palliser gravely tells; and when she first looks at him, she sees how ill he is.


    Susan Hampshire as Duchess registering strain on her husband’s face

    But when he tells her the news, she’s intensely awed, exhilarated, excited, exultant; if it were not “cowardly” he’d “avoid this task” if he could; he talks of memory of when he gave up office for her, he doesn’t have gifts for this; she vows to work for him; scene 3): hall before throne room, Duke and Bungay go in; scene 4) Carlton Terrace, return to same sitting room, Duchess and Mrs Finn, from PM, I, Ch 6, pp. 54-56. Duchess’s plans to be hostess, closely taken from book, except added is modern Tory point of view on places; Duke’s idealism an obstacle, Mrs Finn his beliefs ingrained from the workings of his own mind.

    Episode 12: Pain of Power: scene 5) Carlton Terrace, front drawing room where we’ve seen them entertaining, Duke and Duchess, from PM, I, Ch 7, pp. 56-58. Closely from book, Duchess asks to be Mistress of the Robes, refused on grounds she’s his wife, and he doesn’t want to exercise power in this way unless he must; she is hurt, angry; then from, PM, Ch 7, p. 59, also Ch 63: Bungay enters, and they must allot the postions again versus “ideals” and “moral vision”; scene 6: The club, Dolly reading paper and Erle pouring wine, from book and dramatizing narrated material, PM, Ch 63, talking of who gets what, “not many Tories” says Dolly; oh we’ll have Sir Orlando Drought; Lopez’s first entrance, snobbish disdainful reaction of Erle, Dolly mocks “you the pillar of the liberal party;” but also moves to exploit Lopez’s insider info, PM, I, Ch 11, p 95) Lopez wangling invitation to Duchess; scene 7) another room in club, where Everett Wharton playing solitaire, from narrator, PM, I, Ch 2, pp. 17-22, pp. 22-24 (this is substitute of modern talk): Everett’s desire to wangle a seat, but his father won’t pay; Lopez’s cynical motives v Everett’s unthinking naive defense (“somebody must make the laws”), Emily Lopez’s target, father won’t like it

    Episode 13: Expansive Plan: scene 8) Carlton Terrace, again sitting room, Duchess sewing, Duke walks in from PM, I, Ch 8, p. 68: he gives Mistress of Robes to Duchess of Jersey, Finn gets Ireland, with Duchess’s regret Mrs Finn might accompany him, leads to PM, Ch 11, pp. 89-91, she gains permission to open Gatherum where they can entertain up to his new position; he reluctantly agrees; scene 9) London park, the invented picturesque stroll, Duchess and Mrs Finn encounter Lopez and he recites Swinburne which Mrs Finn gets but Duchess does not, Duchess says she will take this young man up, Mrs Finn suspicious of this unknown man, dubious plan; rich women in beautiful park and elegant man supposed to be contrast to dialogue; scene 10) Sexty Parker’s office, from PM, I, pp. 14-16. Sexty’s character, Lopez’s unknown background, bullies the man (with his “missus and three children”) into cosigning for “750 quid.” Some dialogue taken from book.

    Episode 14: A Proposal: scene 11) Mr Wharton’s chambers, Lopez proposes himself as suitor to Emily, from PM, I, Ch 3, pp. 29-31, angry resentful old man, will not countenance man with background he doesn’t know (Protestant gentleman necessary; Lopez says he’s Portuguese, English mother, where educated, his business in trading stocks; father “gambling;” by end of scene Lopez angry in face, Wharton grim; scene 12) Wharton home, front hall, PM, I, Ch 4, pp. 36-38, Everett going out to dine at club with Lopez, Wharton remarks it’s injurious to purse; sexy Emily glimpsed coming down stairs; dressed as a man’s toy; scene 13) Wharton’s study, son still there but leaves after Emily comes in, PM, I, Ch 5, pp. 43-46, Wharton tells Emily of Lopez’s visit, and Emily says she loves him, Wharton it cannot be (“no family … adventurer … doesn’t belong”); she (he’s English, educated, lives with gentleman as gentleman, Everett’s friend); no no no, she asks him to look into it, not to make her unhappy for nothing and he agrees sternly; she looks grateful and trusting; scene 13) long entry by coach of Duke, Duchess, Mrs Finn into gatherum castle; different stone building from Matching, has walls and gate around building. From PM, I, Ch 19, pp. 157-58; we see workmen, raking sand; scene 14) grounds further out around castle, Duke walks and sees workman, he on parapet

    Episode 15: scene 15) Gatherum, a sitting room, PM, I, Ch 19, pp. 158-59; a dramatization of Duchess’s housekeeping, Pritchard and Duchess go to the numbers, the problem with chef (artist, bohemian), Duchess wants to say she wishes she didn’t have to go through this, Mrs Fin “it would have broken your heart;” and we see grown Mary for first time; innocent and loving mother (she greets each child with open arms and delight in face, each reciprocates fully), they talk of Silverbridge as 18 and needs to pass exam; Duchess looks out, he hates waht we have done, wants to pass if off as “a few friends,” Marie’s concerned face; scene 17) Duke’s time walking through grounds, from PM, I, Ch 19, pp. 159-62. Powerful comic ironies as he is told it’s not for them to decide; scene 18) upstairs private sitting room in Gatherum, Duchess in purple with white apron; this is powerful clash transcribe below, heavily invented and yet close too, taken directly at high points; his distaste, apology but continued distress, her anger, hurt, not resolved at all; scene 19) back to gardens; camera catches big machine making flat lawn, the tents, and we watch people coming through gate, getting out of carriages; scene 20) upstairs sitting room, Mary dressed up, waiting Silverbridge dramatic opening of door, brings Tregear, the attraction between Mary and Tregear, story of how he’s been expelled, so Duke’s Children, Ch 1, p,. 3, Ch 18, pp. 113-14: Duchess asks if Tregear sent down too, oh no, seems more worried about father and not bothered deeply about how Silverbridge refers to himself lightly as “a fellow,” proposed they go to a tavern to stay out of the way until she tells father, Palliser arms, the tale told and Mary laughs, Duchess smies, Tregear rueful,Silverbridge makes a naughty face, but she says father will not see the joke; they are pushed away, with our hearing Tregear’s voice, “yes, Mary, and the two women link arms to confront world. The sense is of something hard but worthwhile winning.

    **********************

    Now chose I chose this scene because if you compare its ultimate major source (Prime Minister, Vol 1, Chapter 19), you will discover that surprizingly little is actually taken from the original scene, key phrases and sentences, some memorable hot words (“vulgarity”), and much is invented. The scene feels as if it were Trollope and anticipates the ending of PM where indeed we find that the Duke has learned to like power and does not want to give it up. I can imagine people hunting for the full scene in the book, and finding themselves a little startled to see how much original development there is here.

  • From Prime Minister, I, Chapter 19, pp 162-63
    Scene 18: A sitting room at Gatherum Castle
    Establishment shot: Duchess laying on couch, in heavy duty white apron, tired
    He walks in quickly; she sighs and smiles upon seeing him, does not move.
    Duchess: “I’ve never geen so tired in my entire life. I’ve just planned every menu for the entire month, making sure that no guest should have the same dish twice. And I have been into every bedroom and moved most of the furniture with my own hands.:”
    Duke: “Oh, was that necessary, Cora?”
    She begins to get up.
    Duchess: “Well, if I’d gone to bed instead, the world would have gone on I suppose. Well, people must eat and some of the more important like Sir Orlando are staying a week or more, which makes it very difficult. Well, you wouldn’t want Sir Orlando to have the same dish twice. It mght choke him.”
    Duke (turns). “Hmmm. (Has looked at papers scattered and piled on the desk.) Cora, so far … now I’ve always let you have your own way in everything.”
    She is now sitting and looks up at him as he straddles himself.
    Duchess: “You’re going to scold. I know you are going to scold. I shouldn’t have said what I did about choking Sir Orlando. Don’t worry I shall sing to him like a siren for the next seven days.”
    (She does not understand what he is protesting or is wishing it were something other than it is.)
    Duke: “Cora (louder). Now I don’t like what you’ve done out there. That’s not necessary.”
    Duchess: “People do make changes in their garden without necessity.”
    Duke: “Yes. But these have been made to impress our guests. Now had you done it to gratify your own taste, I’d have said nothing at all. No, no, even though I think you might have told me what you intended.”
    Duchess (beginning to get very excited from within): “What!? When you’re so burdened with work you don’t know where to turn.”
    Duke: “I’m never so burdened that I (dark face) cannot turn to you. Now what distresses me is this. Those thing which were felt to be good enough for our friends before are not felt to be insufficient (he paces). It’s cause of this (points up) this post I hold.”
    Duchess (very close up shot): “You agreed that we should entertain at Gatherum.”
    Duke: “Hey I did not (half cough) agree you could dig up half the country round. Hey. In order to make a display. Hey I’d almost have said there’s ah well there’s a vulgarity about this which offends me.”
    Duchess (unusual close up now). (She begins to look askance and deeply offended with an expression of intensity unusual to her.) (She rises her body a little.) (Whispers the word). “Vulgarity? How dare you?”
  • 74Pallisers1020DuchesscalledVulgar

  • Duke (suddenly backtracks, backs literally a step, and gets a kind of smile on his face): “Stammers. My my dear … I … I retract the word (smiles deprecatingly, placatingly as we watch him watch her) (holds up hand). Now I never really said it. I used it in the conditional sense, the optative mood. ‘I had almost said …'” (quoting himself)
    Duchess: “Oooh … you … said it all right. Vulgarity indeed. (She swallows). (Whispers loud fiercely) Yes. Of course it’s all vulgar but you don’t think that I do it from any pleasure that I get from it. The lavishing of smiles on butchers and tinkers must always be odious and vulgar. You cannot have power and remain untainted. It is impossible to be be both public and private at the same time. You must submit to vulgarity or cease to be the first minister.”
    Duke (from within is regathering his forces together): “My dear, I would remind you of this. There is no personal ambition (very intense face)”
    Duchess: “So you have always said yet you enjoy ooh how you enjoy telling us all what is best for us” (concise kind of pointed enunciation).
    Duke (now unusual close up to his face as she has hit him with a truth we have seen — we have seen her let him bully his sons and herself)
  • 74Pallisers1020DukeHurt

  • Duchess: “Nothing now would persuade you to let it go.”
    He looks sad, remorseful, hurt, she now turns and looks like she feels bad, moves over slightly to himi with gesture that seems about to reach to him to soften what she has just said but then stands still.
    Duchess: “Oh.”
    He walks in front of her before the camera and by. He picks up his hat and cane from her desk and then walks out.
    She has tears in her face (because she is doing it partly for him), like a little girl, her face scrunches up.
    He shuts door with a snap. She tears up and looks away.
    Then with a sudden fierce gesture and deep sound from within, she pushes and throws all the papers across her desk and to the ground.
  • The acting of Latham and Hamsphire is at this point superb. He often makes wordless sounds and his body language replaces words; he has become the older Duke over the year.

    I do not think Hampshire usually that powerful an actress; the type she plays is one who is guarded and makes a point of living on the surface in front of others, but in this rare moment in the series, she drops her mask and we see her intensely grated upon as she hears the word “vulgarity” from the Duke as a description of all her hard work fixing up the grounds, turning the castle into a super-hotel, being a hostess who is all smiles. In the still I have included her lips and the right side of her face just begins to move into a hard sneer of deep offense and irritation.

    Much of scene between Duke and Duchess not in the book but it could have been and feels so right; he writes what Trollope could have and makes us think it’s there. It’s almost there 🙂 Much is invented.

    74Pallisers32017HeHatesIt
    “He hates it,” the Duchess observing the Duke wandering about the gardens of Gatherum Castle

    In the audio-commentary by Emma Thompson to the 1995 Miramax Sense and Sensibility film (directed by Ang Lee), she remarks that the Atlas scene between Elinor (Emma Thompson), Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant) and Margaret (Emilie Francois) has seemed to some viewers who know the novel to be so like Austen that they ask where in the novel does it occur. For my part I find it too sweet for Austen, but there are other scenes (between Elinor and Marianne, Kate Winslett, for Lucy Steele and Mrs Jennings (Elizabeth Spriggs) where you think the scene is close to Austen’s own and when you go back find much has been changed or invented. Thompson says she is most delighted when people ask her to tell them where in Austen’s book this dialogue or scene occurred when there is no such line or quite this scene. She feels she has performed the ultimate function of recreating Austen for us.

    So perhaps Raven, only he has changed the inferences of the whole hour by new additions, scenes which are quite different, important eliminations and allusions. But I must save the discussion of this for when I come to the end of writing out all the screenplays and after I have written two chapters of my much longed-for (meaning me, meaning I do long to do it) “The Austen Movies.”

    74Pallisers1020Duketolditsnotforhimtoask
    Comic moment of what Duchess might be seeing: Duke told it’s not for him and the workman to ask questions about what’s being done to the grounds

    Ellen

    Read Full Post »