La revue de presse

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La revue de presse

Message  Matthieu le Ven 2 Jan 2009 - 23:58

Television Review, by Robert Hanks (The Independent, 12 novembre 2001).
WHAT IS the point of adapting a classic novel for television? The trailers for The Way We Live Now (BBC1, Sunday) offered one answer: Anthony Trollope's novel is "timeless" - The Way We Live Now (first published 1875) is about the way we live now. The programme itself is more equivocal, though: OK, it seems to say, it's timeless; but that doesn't mean it can't do without a little updating.

And as we all know by now, when it comes to TV versions of the classics, "updating" really means "adding a bit of sex" - Darcy ripping his shirt off, Anna Karenina taking a bath with Vronsky, Rodolphe's buttocks pumping away on top of Emma Bovary. In comparison, Trollope seems to have got off pretty lightly: when caddish Sir Felix Carbury has his wicked way with the simple country wench Ruby Ruggles, all we get is some gasping and moaning, and then some post-coital chat about whether Felix is up to doing it again.

So, not a lot to make your grandmother blush; still, I do find the predictability of this sort of thing rather tiresome. Andrew Davies, the adaptor, turned up on Radio 4 last week, justifying his decision to talentueux it up: his thinking was, more or less, that Trollope would have done it if he could have got away with it. Actually, in the early part of the novel, Trollope states quite explicitly that Sir Felix hasn't dared ask Ruby to be his mistress. But what bothers me about Davies' adaptation is not a lack of respect for the source material. If anything, he has the opposite problem. Davies has spent a quarter of a century writing for television; but I think that at heart he is an old-fashioned literary man, who believes that books can be complex and subtle, but that television is necessarily simpler and starker.

The best evidence for this last night came, not in the sex scenes, but at a moment of extreme decorum, when the upright Roger Carbury proposed marriage to his cousin Hetta (who is Sir Felix's much nicer sister). As Trollope wrote it, this was an emotionally barbed scene, with Hetta giving the bruised, bruising response: "I like you very much; but being married is such a terrible thing." Ouch. On television, though, all this was softened into cod-Victorian gallantries - I don't think anybody actually said "You have paid me the greatest compliment a man can pay a woman," but that was the thrust.

Of course, television often - usually - simplifies; but in the right hands it can be gorgeously rich and complicated: as a starter, Davies should check out ITV1's new soap, Night and Day, to see how multiple narratives, lightning shifts of tone, visual ironies can be compressed into a few minutes.

This dramatisation has some very good actors (David Suchet as the semi- bestial financier Melmotte, Matthew Mcfadyen engagingly insouciant as Sir Felix), as well as some neat visual touches (Melmotte contemplating his forthcoming ball, melting into Melmotte at the ball - a lovely illustration of how the world of high finance fuses reality and fantasy). But the main thing it says about the way we live now is: we're getting stupider.
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Re: La revue de presse

Message  Luce le Dim 3 Jan 2010 - 17:33

Touch of frost on Cold Feet (battu à l'audience par The Way We Live Now)
Par Peter Paterson (The Daily Mail, 19 novembre 2001).
WHAT a wonderful stage musical The Way We Live Now would make.

There's an operatic atmosphere to Andrew Davies's adaptation of Trollope's great, sprawling novel, now that minor characters have been cleared away and the action boiled down into bite-sized scenes.

The role of the monstrous swindler, Augustus Melmotte, would obviously go to a bass, and his delight at defrauding the shareholders of the South Central, Pacific & Mexican Railway - the song almost writes itself - would be a big production number.

A Mozartian pastiche, well within Andrew Lloyd Webber's powers, would help along the story of Marie Melmotte's plans to defraud her fraudster father and run away with the worthless baronnet, Felix Carbury - while country girl Ruby Ruggles would have a show-stopping number ruing the caddish Carbury's use and abuse of her.

And the main tenor role would surely be that of the mixed-up Paul Montague, in love with Carbury's sister, Hetta, but unable to escape the toils of the American siren, Mrs Winifred Hurtle, by breaking his illadvised engagement to her. MONTAGUE could also play the hero as the only board member of the Mexican Railway to see through Melmotte's cynical manipulation of the share price and the fact that he has no intention of building the 2,000-mile line from Salt Lake City to Vera Cruz.

But David Suchet is having a wonderful time playing Melmotte without having to sing, though in last night's episode his role as the arch-villain capable of producing a paroxysm of greed among the British Establishment was curiously impaired by scenes of his home life.

And can anyone entirely lack sympathy when engaged in constant domestic strife with a wilful and obstreperous daughter? Matthew Macfadyen's Felix Carbury gets better with every scene he's in, and his supercilious sneer is probably even now being practised in front of bedroom mirrors by teenage boys all over the land.

The moment in the latest episode when Ruby Ruggles indicates that she expects him to offer her marriage was a classic. 'Marry you?' said Sir Felix like someone being asked to clear up the cat's mess.

'No, I think not.' Dressed up in a cockney outfit copied from Dick van Dyke's in Mary Poppins (a disguise adopted to take lower-class Ruby to the music hall), Felix suddenly realised what he might be losing, and shouts after his mistress's retreating figure: 'I meant, not yet!' Ruby's wagging tongue is obviously set to embarrass Felix, and she also has the goods on the hapless Paul Montague, the disaster-prone innocent played by Cillian Murphy.

He is the ward of Douglas Hodge's Roger Carbury, and his rival for the affections of Hetta Carbury: the sound of their breaking friendship on Lowestoft beach, where Roger finds his protege promenading with Winifred Hurtle, must have been audible right across the North Sea.

To my mind, a definite points win for Trollope over Bullen.
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Re: La revue de presse

Message  Luce le Ven 17 Juin 2011 - 18:00

The Way We Live Now: 2001 TV series (A Common Reader, 28 décembre 2010).
Felix Carbury: Matthew Macfadyen plays Felix in a wonderful portrayal that makes the cad likeable. There is nothing pleasant about Felix in the novel but Macfadyen plays on every sympathy possible, not just with the other characters but with the viewer, too. Felix’s lack of redemption, or if there is such a word his lack of redemptionability (spell-check tells me ‘no’), can be forgiven when you enjoy being around him. For the movie, Felix’s abduction to Europe leads to the same behavior on the continent (or maybe worse) than if he had stayed at home. The look on his face in the final scene, where he is practicing his card skills in a brothel, makes the perfect ending for someone that remains unperturbed by his changing circumstances or age.
All that being said, I highly recommend the movie as a good introduction to Trollope's wonderful novel.
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Une adaptation d'Andrew Davies

Message  Luce le Sam 18 Juin 2011 - 9:29

Sex scenes replace Trollope's heavy hints (The Telegraph, 5 Novembre 2000)

Sur les adaptations d'Andrew Davies, d'autres articles ici. Wink
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Une adaptation d'Andrew Davies

Message  Luce le Sam 18 Juin 2011 - 12:32

The Way We Live Now : on the Film Adaptation ( Ellen Moody and all, 2003)
Analyse fouillée de l'adaptation du roman de Trollope à la télévision par David Yates & Andrew Davies. Very Happy
Quelques extraits (mais il faut tout lire !) :
Yates and Davies have taken the story and characters of Trollope's novel and made them the pictorial foci of a grotesque comedy. Except insofar as the viewer watching the film can feel a strong emotional distaste for the values the action of the film dramatizes -- and we are encouraged or at least left free to do so -- this film is not meant to be emotional. The characters are kept at a distance from us; the mood is hard and alienated. In this Yates and Davies' work differs from most film adaptations of 19th century novels picked up or made by the BBC: for example, Wives and Daughters (written by Davies but directed by Nicolas Renton) is a highly emotional "women's emotion picture" in disguise. The film is a fascinating cultural document.
It may be that Davies and Company have something to tell us about Trollope _vis-a-vis_ the way we live now not just the way they lived then. And how they tell us this is of interest when drawn out of an articulated perspective. It may be that the best way to watch this film is to dismiss TWWLN from your mind, look at the story and characters as mere matter to be transposed, but from what I saw it struck me that TWWLN was very relevant to Davies and Company's purposes.

Paul Montague (Cillian Murphy) is kept so innocent in this film, probably a sop to readers who still buy into aspects of Victorian mores, but Felix is downright kinky. In physical type both are made effeminate (thus does the male oriented perspective so dominant in films nowdays see these older heroes), but McFayden's (sic) performance resembles that of Alessandro Nivola (who played Henry Crawford in the recent Mansfield Park as an ironically leering sexual adventurer) and he looked like the same type who appeared as Wickham in the 1994 Pride and Prejudice: Adrian Lukis. Nothing wholesome here ladies. Have you got odd appetites? This guy is ready for you.
Melmotte or Suchet again dominated the film -- perhaps even more strongly than in Part One, but as others have commented, Cheryl Campbell as Lady Carbury, the doting mother comes into her own in Part Two. I really thought Matthew MacFayden stole the show when he wasn't meant to until I looked up a couple of cast lists. He listed second to Suchet in the three I have found. MacFayden's scenes were among the most memorable and he was on the screen much more often than Melmotte. I tried to count but gave up, but as far as I got MacFayden seemed to have twice as many as Suchet and more than anyone else
Perhaps the weakest moments for Paul Montague in the film are those which occur with Hetta Carbury: they feel like old-fashioned Victorian melodrama, and contrast unfavorably with Felix Carbury (Matthew MacFayden who actually looks somewhat better in his workman's clothes (not absurd the way Trollope meant to see his) and Carbury's indifferent way of courting Ruby (Maxine Peake) which to the 21st century viewer come across as utterly believable, every day courting as we know it -- at least in mood or feel.
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Re: La revue de presse

Message  Luce le Mer 16 Nov 2011 - 22:10

Sur Ellen And Jim Have A Blog, Two, la suite du billet précédent Very Happy
Andrew Davies’s The Way We Live Now and Daniel Deronda: the fascination of repellent and strange beauty ( 23 décembre 2009)
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Re: La revue de presse

Message  Luce le Jeu 5 Avr 2012 - 18:35

"THE WAY WE LIVE NOW" (2001) Review (The Powell Blog, 15 février 2012).
Henderson injected a great deal of compassion and poignancy into Marie's character, making it very easy for me to sympathize toward her unrequited love for Sir Felix Carbury and the heartache she felt upon discovering his lack of love for her. Matthew Macfadyen must have finally made a name for himself in his memorable portrayal of the dissolute Sir Felix Carbury. I cannot deny that Macfadyen revealed a good deal of Sir Felix's charm. But the actor made it pretty obvious that his character's charm was at best, superficial. Considering some of the roles he has portrayed over the decade that followed "THE WAY WE LIVE NOW", I believe Macfadyen's Sir Felix must have been one of the most self-absorbed characters in his repertoire. And he did a superb job with the role. It is a pity that he never received an acting nomination or award for his performance.
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