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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Half-heartedly live-blogging A Room With a View

Andrew Davies takes his hatchet to EM Forster AND the Merchant/Ivory team, a combo I've blogged about before, upon my return from Firenze. Methinks nudity and a lack of subtlety is in store.

So to start with some 6 degress of period drama: Mr. Beebe is Arthur Weasley, Sophie Thompson aka Mary Eliot is Mrs. Charlotte Bartlett, and Peter Pettigrew is Mr. Emerson.

9;10 pm So far, so good. Definitely, a darker tone that the Merchant-Ivory version (AND the book). The fact that it's told by the widowed, and bob-haired Lucy after George has been killed in WWI, does cast a pal over things.

9:16--"If Ms. Honeychurch takes to live as she plays, it will be very exciting for us."
Said to the backdrop of rain. Mr. Beebe says he hasn't the courage to live his life to the fullest. And by that he means he doesn't have the guts bone other men. We get it it.

9:18-- Lucy stares at bare buttocks of statues, mouth agape. Oh, the dark, sensual, Italian landscape. Erotic transference wherever you go! Still, would it be a BBC production without women starting at portraits or statues to symbolize sexual repression?

9:21--The murder-fight scene on the piazza is vastly inferior to the Merchant-Ivory one. Why the slow-mo blood spitting? That's just gross.

9:26--I just realized--Miss Lavish is played by Mrs. Thornton from North and South. What totally different role, steel vs. feathers, and she's awesome at both of them.

9:27--Oh, the italian countryside, part due. At least the Italian driver and his "sister" actually look Italian. His poor sorella, she has to walk back.

9:30--Yo, WHERE"S THE PUCCINI? Here it is.

9:34--Smooches in the poppy-and golden Florentine Hills! And more smooches.

9:37--This half-naked, near the toilet, smooching in the Pensione hallway business seems a bit unnecessary, no?

9:41--Cecil Vyse is the weird Mr. Wizely or whatever, who was the best part of Becoming Jane. Not bad casting, eh? but still, no Daniel-Day Lewis.

And now they're engaged.

9:47, redux: Mr. Beebe to Cecil: "You asked her to marry you? But...but... you don't like the vagina!"

9:50--Ah, the nude bathing scene. My personal fave. Even better: Channel 13 is BLURRING THE BUTTOCKS. Too risque for the baby boomers!

9;51--Andrew Davies is milking Forster's "piano as an outlet for sexual and emotional frustration" metaphor to the extreeeeme. Everytime anything happens, Lucy dashes to the piano.

9:55--Cecil Vyse reads Miss Lavish's sexy novel-passages out loud whilst his fiancee gets frisky neath the shrubbery with George Emerson. What a cuckold.

9:57--Miss Bartlett talks about "thrashing" and "horse-whipping" and elicits my first hearty laugh of the production.

10:00--George professes his amore to Lucy. This is a good speech. I like the fact that Davies gives George Emerson so many words.

...And he's rejected. Charlotte Bartlett shows her less spinstery side by shedding a tear on behalf of True Romance.

10:03--Lucy gets ready to dump Cecil. Instead of talking about how Cecil thinks women are like Leonardos, possessions, she talks about all he cares about are books and music, which is less convincing. Also, the scenes with his mother where she says they'll "take the Honeychurch" out of her are gone.

10:09--Mrs. Honeychurch and Lucy are shouting at each other. I'm bored. Lucy goes off to the woods. wouldn't it be awesome if this production ended up with a co-ed skinny-dipping scene?

10:12--Sophie Thompson rocks, but this Miss Bartlett-is0really nice meme is taken a bit to far.

10:17--Taking one last SWIM. Andrew Davies will do anything to show more nudity. And they are both in the water! Yo, I CALLED IT at 10:09.

And we flash from a water-logged make-out session to a full-on sex scene.

10:19--Finally, some opera. And the war comes. George Emerson lies dead in the trenches. That's pretty graphic. And sad. I can't get too mad at Davies for tacking this on--I mean the Great War pretty much killed an entire generation of young men.

10:22--She's picnicking with the Italian, and they're going to have sex. Are those fascists marching by them in the hills? Is is already Mussolini time?
Suddenly I think I'm seeing Lady Brett Ashley and the Toreador in The Sun Also Rises.

10:27--Andrew Davies, taking us from EM Forster to Ernest Hemmingway in 90 minutes.

While this is not as groundbreakingly fantasmic as the 1985 production, it was interesting and had good moments and the War stuff added a good dimension. Classics can withstand a battering, I always say ;) But still, he would have done better to adapt a book that hadn't already been turned in to one of the defining movies in recent history.
Just sayin'.

Signing out, til Cranford.

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