Classically Speaking: From Page to Screen

09/03/2010 at 5:54 AM (BBC Drama, Books, Movies, Romance) (, , , , , , , )

I have been watching old DVDs I’ve missed out on voraciously during the winter. The source of my pleasure ( a fine public institution despite occasional walk-ins by people with bad body odour ) provides them free of charge. So I’ve found myself borrowing 4 per week and as some are 3-hour length Bollywood dramas  ended up giving a rude shock to my regular sleeping pattern.

North and South

I have a new found love for film adaptations of classics  (otherwise known as period dramas) . This started after I was introduced to the BBC mini-series North and South set in industrialist Victorian England. It is based on a little-known 19th century novel by Elizabeth Gaskell about the class divide. If you are  getting curious and hungry for more like a series sneak peek, click this.

Tess of the D'urbervilles


Well, I definitely had triggered my appetite for this genre and next stumbled upon Tess of the D’urbervilles BBC film, adapted from Hardy’s classic with sexy Hans Matheson starring as the cad, Alec, and the boyish Eddie Redmayne as the confused and hapless Angel Clare. If you are looking for more juice on the plot as it is new to you, click this (Spoiler Alert! : article reveals ending.)

I read the book a few days later which is not typical of my practice and felt they had made Alec more of a jerk and Angel appear far less cruel than he sounds in the book … ( Not to mention that in the film Hans is much better looking than Eddie.)

Vanity Fair

Next I discovered Vanity Fair starring Reese Witherspoon as social climber, Becky Sharp,  and a rather dapper looking Jonathan Rhys Meyers (especially in uniform) as George Osborne adapted from Thackeray’s ‘novel without a hero’.

They have substantially changed the character of Becky so if you did not like the Guy Ritchie version of Sherlock Holmes, you probably will not like Mira Nair’s stylistic changes to the book .

Note: the chilli episode will make you giggle.

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