A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Monday, January 14, 2008

Almost Persuaded

"Masterpiece Theatre" -- which I guess is now calling itself just "Masterpiece" for some reason -- did a new version of Jane Austen's Persuasion last night, and it was, like, three-fourths successful. The Anne Elliot (Sally Hawkins) was suitably faded and the Captain Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones) suitably stalwart (though I prefer the performances by Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds in the 1995 version). And it was fun to see Anthony Head (Giles from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") as Sir William Elliot -- he gave the part an oddly more menacing edge than one expects.

But it was only three-fourths successful because although it did a fine job of capturing the first three-fourths of the book, at that point everyone involved seemed to get bored. The denouement, in which all the hidden truths are revealed and Anne and Wentworth decide they love each other, was summed up in a frantic race around Bath in which characters darted up, gabbled some exposition, and then hurried on. Clench, kiss, music up and out.

Here's the trailer for the original British series of Austen novels that PBS will be running. Pretty mushy stuff.