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'Brideshead Revisited' Revisited

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  • Relee54
    The Weekly Standard recently published an interesting piece on the new movie version of Brideshead Revisited that is premiering later this week . The article
    Message 1 of 9 , Jul 20, 2008
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      The Weekly Standard recently published an interesting piece on the new movie version of Brideshead  Revisited that is  premiering later this week . The article is entitled 'Brideshead Revisited' Revisited: a cinematic bastardization six decades in the making.

      For those interested, t
      he full text of the article is available at the Weekly Standard web site:


      http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/259qcdat.asp?pg=1

      It appears that those Waugh fans hoping for a film that remains  true to his literary masterpiece will be deeply disappointed.


    • Jeffrey Manley
      Here is a link to an artlcle by Sarah Lyall in today s NYTimes about the new BR movie. There is also a slide show of the actors in period costume. Much of
      Message 2 of 9 , Jul 20, 2008
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        Here is a link to an artlcle by Sarah Lyall in today's NYTimes about the new BR movie.  There is also a slide show of the actors in period costume.  Much of what the article points out is already familiar but it seems to blame the Waugh Estate for approving changes in the story such as adding Julia to the Venice trip.  It also notes the de-emphasis of religion (as does the recently posted Weekly Standard article) and sums that up as follows:
         
        “In that tug between individual freedom and fundamentalist religion, there’s a story that’s apposite for our time,” Mr. Brock said. “In the modern age that’s something we’re all dealing with.”
         
        I guess we'll have to see the move to know whether fundamentalist religion or individual freedom wins out in this version.  Here's a link to the article:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/20/movies/20lyal.html?ref=movies


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      • Jeffrey Manley
        Here s a link to the review of the new BR movie by NY Times critic A.O. Scott. In short, he didn t much like it but see for yourself. The review in the
        Message 3 of 9 , Jul 26, 2008
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          Here's a link to the review of the new BR movie by NY Times critic A.O. Scott.  In short, he didn't much like it but see for yourself.  The review in the Washington Post was a bit less negative but not exactly unmitigated praise.  It again asserts that the Waugh's heirs permitted the changes.  Since this keeps appearing, it must be something in the Press kit that was released by the filmmakers.  My guess is that in licensing the film there was probably some contractual langauge that permitted changes generally.  No filmmaker could proceed without that.  It would be surprising, on the other hand, if the filmmaker showed the final product to the copyright owners and ask for their specific permission to make specific changes.  I think I've read somewhere that it was EW's insistence to excercize that sort of control over the content of the earlier projected Hollywood version that at in least part cratered that deal.  Although I've also heard that this was merely an excuse given by the producers to let Waugh down easily for not making a film they thought would not be a commercial success in the late 1940s.   Does anyone know the nature of how this worked in this latest case?  It seems unfair for the filmmaker to claim the imprimatur of the Waugh family for changes they might find improper but about which they can do nothing.
           
          http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/07/25/movies/25brid.html?ref=movies

          Here's a link to the Washington Post review:
           
          http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/24/AR2008072403812.html
           
          jeff
           


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        • Christopher Sarbaugh
          I just saw the new movie. It does make Julia the main focus but alas it alters her character so that the plot no longer makes sense. The first half of the
          Message 4 of 9 , Jul 26, 2008
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            I just saw the new movie. It does make Julia the main focus but alas it alters her character so that the plot no longer makes sense.
            The first half of the movie had some changes to the original but when it undertook to tell Julia's story it fell apart.
            The most grievous change was to make her husband a Catholic albeit a convert. This is given as the reasons why she turned down Charles originally. From there the movie goes straight downhill.
            I'd like to hear what others feel.
            Paul Sarbaugh
            San Jose, CA
            P.S. My brother Christohper and I share a DSL account hence the Christopher in the address

            Jeffrey Manley <manleyjm@...> wrote:





            Here's a link to the review of the new BR movie by NY Times critic A.O. Scott.  In short, he didn't much like it but see for yourself.  The review in the Washington Post was a bit less negative but not exactly unmitigated praise.  It again asserts that the Waugh's heirs permitted the changes.  Since this keeps appearing, it must be something in the Press kit that was released by the filmmakers.  My guess is that in licensing the film there was probably some contractual langauge that permitted changes generally.  No filmmaker could proceed without that.  It would be surprising, on the other hand, if the filmmaker showed the final product to the copyright owners and ask for their specific permission to make specific changes.  I think I've read somewhere that it was EW's insistence to excercize that sort of control over the content of the earlier projected Hollywood version that at in least part cratered that deal.  Although I've also heard that this was merely an excuse given by the producers to let Waugh down easily for not making a film they thought would not be a commercial success in the late 1940s.   Does anyone know the nature of how this worked in this latest case?  It seems unfair for the filmmaker to claim the imprimatur of the Waugh family for changes they might find improper but about which they can do nothing.
             
            http://movies. nytimes.com/ 2008/07/25/ movies/25brid. html?ref= movies

            Here's a link to the Washington Post review:
             
            http://www.washingt onpost.com/ wp-dyn/content/ article/2008/ 07/24/AR20080724 03812.html
             
            jeff
             


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          • John H. Wilson
            ... It would be surprising, on the other hand, if the filmmaker showed the final product to the copyright owners and ask for their specific permission to make
            Message 5 of 9 , Jul 26, 2008
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              --- In Evelyn_Waugh@yahoogroups.com, Jeffrey Manley <manleyjm@...>
              wrote:
              >
              It would be surprising, on the other hand, if the filmmaker showed the
              final product to the copyright owners and ask for their specific
              permission to make specific changes. I think I've read somewhere that
              it was EW's insistence to excercize that sort of control over the
              content of the earlier projected Hollywood version that at in least
              part cratered that deal. Although I've also heard that this was merely
              an excuse given by the producers to let Waugh down easily for not
              making a film they thought would not be a commercial success in the
              late 1940s. Does anyone know the nature of how this worked in this
              latest case? It seems unfair for the filmmaker to claim the imprimatur
              of the Waugh family for changes they might find improper but about
              which they can do nothing.
              >
              > _________________________________________________________________

              Alexander Waugh, Auberon's son and Evelyn's grandson, once told me that
              his approach to film rights is to get the money and let the filmmakers
              do what they want. I suspect that is the extent of the "approval"
              claimed by the filmmakers in the current Brideshead project.
            • Robert Lee
              The following excerpt from Jonathan Last s recent article in The Weekly Standard reviews the background of Waugh s dealings with Hollwood, and indicates
              Message 6 of 9 , Jul 27, 2008
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                The following excerpt from Jonathan Last's recent article in The Weekly Standard reviews the background of Waugh's dealings with Hollwood, and indicates that he did insist on veto power over the script:


                "The new Brideshead is an outrage. But it's also an utterly predictable degradation. The first time Hollywood circled Brideshead was in 1947. Waugh journeyed to Los Angeles to meet with MGM, which offered him $140,000 for the rights. He was keen--very keen--for the money, but insisted on retaining a veto over the script treatment. As Douglas Patey notes in his excellent Life of Evelyn Waugh,


                Predictably, given the novel's publicity--its American dust-jacket advertised "an extraordinary love story" set among "the rich, the beautiful, and the damned Marchmains"--it soon became clear that MGM viewed "Brideshead purely as a love story" [worried Waugh]. "None of them see the theological implications."



                Talks fell apart and the movie was never made.

                Waugh subsequently wrote two essays for the Daily Telegraph titled "Why Hollywood Is a Term of Disparagement" and "What Hollywood Touches it Banalizes" in which he listed a long bill of complaints about the American moviemaking industry, including the memorable quip that Hollywood is "[a] community whose morals are those of caged monkeys." Struck by Hollywood's aversion to the centrality of Catholicism in Brideshead, he later wrote,


                in my future books there will be two things to make them unpopular: a preoccupation with style and the attempt to represent man more fully, which, to me, means only one thing, man in his relation to God.


                So why the new godless Brideshead now? The film has long been percolating. At a 2003 conference at Georgetown, Teresa Waugh D'Arms, the executrix of the Waugh estate, was asked why she had signed off on a film, which even at that early stage of development looked like an abomination. In a response worthy of her father she replied, "For the money, of course."

                The entire article can be viewd at: http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/259qcdat.asp

                 



                 


              • Jeffrey Manley
                To: Evelyn_Waugh@yahoogroups.comFrom: jwilson3@lhup.eduDate: Sun, 27 Jul 2008 00:41:54 +0000Subject: [Evelyn_Waugh] Re: NYT--tedious, confused and banal
                Message 7 of 9 , Jul 27, 2008
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                  To: Evelyn_Waugh@yahoogroups.com
                  From: jwilson3@...
                  Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2008 00:41:54 +0000
                  Subject: [Evelyn_Waugh] Re: NYT--tedious, confused and banal

                  _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _

                  .>Alexander Waugh, Auberon's son and Evelyn's grandson, once >toldme .that
                  >his approach to film rights is to get the money and let the filmmakers
                  >do what they want. I suspect that is the extent of the "approval"
                  >claimed by the filmmakers in the current Brideshead project.


                  _So, It's more that the Waugh estate allowed or acquiesced in the changes necessary to get the film made.  And the filmmakers would do well to make that clear.  jeff
                  _._,_.___
                  .



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                • Walter Horn
                  The Boston Globe reviewer didn t care for it much either: http://www.boston.com/ae/movies/articles/2008/07/25/new_take_puts_movie_
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jul 28, 2008
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                    The Boston Globe reviewer didn't care for it much either:

                    http://www.boston.com/ae/movies/articles/2008/07/25/new_take_puts_movie_
                    romance_at_the_heart_of_brideshead/

                    I think it was clear for several years that the plan was to tart it up.
                    Really no other way to compete with the BBC mini-series.

                    W
                  • Jeffrey Manley
                    Thanks for posting this. It s really a fairly thoughtful review. Some one should remind the Globe, however, that the earlier TV production of BR was made by
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jul 29, 2008
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                      Thanks for posting this.  It's really a fairly thoughtful review.  Some one should remind the Globe, however, that the earlier TV production of BR was made by Granada for ITV.  BBC had nothing to do with it.  Over here it was broadcast on PBS as a Great Performances feature distributed by WNET, with introductions by William F. Buckley, Jr., not Alastair Cooke as would have been the case on Masterpiece Theater, a WGBS production.  I couldn't find a comment button on the attachment but perhaps there's one on the website if the story's still there.  Indeed, some one may have already set the record straight by now.  jeff


                      To: Evelyn_Waugh@yahoogroups.com
                      From: calhorn@...
                      Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2008 00:37:50 +0000
                      Subject: [Evelyn_Waugh] Re: NYT--tedious, confused and banal

                      The Boston Globe reviewer didn't care for it much either:

                      http://www.boston. com/ae/movies/ articles/ 2008/07/25/ new_take_ puts_movie_
                      romance_at_the_ heart_of_ brideshead/

                      I think it was clear for several years that the plan was to tart it up.
                      Really no other way to compete with the BBC mini-series.

                      W




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