Sunday, August 10, 2008

No Need to Revisit Brideshead

So says Barbara Nicolosi (and I trust her judgement of any work for the screen). She says not only is is not worth the money, it is extremely anti-Catholic, where the source material was deeply in love with the Catholic church even with the faults and failings of its human members.

Having loved so much the book, I have watched with baited breath from the moment I heard they were going to mount this remake because I have always wondered for heaven sake why? In the face of perfection, (twice no less, once in Waugh's original print version and then again in the BBC Mini Series) why try to capture the magic again and in such a short length of screen time.

As I leared about the orgian mini series, the producers decided that the original six hour time frame was just nearly not enough time in which to tell Mr Waugh's story and do it justice, so the entire screenplay was reworked to come up with seven more hours to flesh out the story lines and characters. This new version purports to tell the entire story in a scant two hours or less?

If you watch, the dialoge in the mini series is taken almost verbatim from the book, in fact you can almost watch the mini-series with the book open in your lap and read the dialoge right along with the characters on screen the adaptation is so faithful.

So it brought me great pain to read this about the new screen play from Ms. Nicoloi's piece:

Another objection to the piece is how desperately clunky it is. Especially the dialogue. And this is particularly egregious because the dialogue in the source material by Waugh is so fabulously elegant. Why would you depart from it? As a screenwriter, I would consider the dialogue in Brideshead as an embarrassment of riches. Writer Davies refusal to use Waugh's words in scene after scene is also revealing of his ideological agenda. He can't use Waugh's dialogue, can he? Because he doesn't agree with what Waugh wants to say. So, in scene after scene he substitutes his own on the nose, agenda-driven hackiness, without the subtlety, magic and layeredness that makes Waugh's work so wonderful.

If you had this one on your movies to see list, don't bother. It doesn't do justice to the source material. If you really want to get a sense of what Wagh was trying to communicate, Watch the mini series.


1 comment:

Suzanne said...

I had a strong feeling this was going to "stink." Guess I was right!
Bet Father Don is having fits! LOL!