Monday, September 22, 2008

Brideshead Revisited Revisited

A sacred entity has been interfered with. Someone has re-made "Brideshead Revisited"! The ultimate televisual indulgence of my youth has had it's epic-ness cut to feature film length and someone has decided they can match or better its impeccable casting! The film has not been released in Australia so I have not yet had to make the decision of whether to go and see it and risk piercing my gloriously intact sense of nostalgia for Evelyn Waugh's own monument to nostalgia. (I recently had to make a judgement call about the latest iteration of "Sleuth" - another delight of my young adult cinema going life - and let the reviewers persuade me to preserve a fond memory).

What the news DID prompt me to do however was to pick up a very well thumbed second hand paperback copy of Evelyn Waugh's 1945 novel with luverly pix from the telly series on back and front covers and start to read it. I realised I hadn't before despite being quite a Waugh fan. 'Loving' doesn't do justice to John Mortimer's TV adaptation. Next to nothing of the book's wistful narrative, pithy conversations and exquisite description is omitted! It will be interesting to see what is done to the work for consumption by a post MTV audience.

A clever friend has pointed out to me that John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier who appeared in the Granada series were virtually contemporaries of Waugh's and would probably have known or certainly have known of the originals of some of the book's characters. Gielgud's performance as Charles Ryder's eccentric and sinisterly mocking father is so apt - it is one of the most delightful experiences ever provided on the small screen. I wonder who plays that role in the film. I also find it hard to imagine a more perfect Anthony Blanche than Nikolas Grace.

It may still be a couple of weeks before crunch time comes and in the mean time I am relishing Waugh's prose and reliving the Granada series all over again in my head!

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