Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [mythsoc] The Two Towers

Expand Messages
  • David S. Bratman
    ... Not all of the defenders are quite that bad, but I ve noticed that an insistence that the changes were necessary does tend to go along with a) a conflation
    Message 1 of 20 , Feb 28, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      At 02:47 PM 2/28/2003 , Ernest wrote:

      >A fellow on the SpareOom list tried gamely, but I think his argument in the
      >end boiled down to the following _non distributio medii_, which I've
      >encountered from many defenders of the film: to successfully adapt a long
      >story to three hours, changes are necessary; Jackson and his team made many
      >changes in adapting _The Two Towers_; therefore all of the changes he made
      >were necessary.

      Not all of the defenders are quite that bad, but I've noticed that an
      insistence that the changes were necessary does tend to go along with a) a
      conflation of changes with cuts (nobody argued that cuts weren't
      necessary), b) a curious reluctance to try to explain why these particular
      changes improved the film. I wrote a letter to "Quickbeam" of TORN in
      reply to an article of his posted in January; his reply was quite long, but
      to my request that he defend the reasons for the particular changes he
      merely said that he didn't have time to teach me elementary screenwriting
      techniques. Actually, I've read quite a bit about elementary
      screenwriting, and none of it explains the need for these travesties; nor,
      if they are necessary, how the book managed to be so successful without
      them. (To that the reply is always "a book is different from a movie"
      coupled with an absolute refusal to explain how the difference requires
      these changes.)

      - David Bratman
    • jamcconney@aol.com
      In a message dated 2/28/2003 4:48:59 PM Central Standard Time, ... When the 4-hour Hamlet was shown on TV, I really didn t have 4 hours to spare, so I thought
      Message 2 of 20 , Feb 28, 2003
      • 0 Attachment
        In a message dated 2/28/2003 4:48:59 PM Central Standard Time,
        thiophene@... writes:

        > Aside: I am glad that Kenneth Branagh made his full-length, unabridged
        > _Hamlet_, because he proved that one could be entirely faithful to the
        > original words and yet _still_ screw up completely.
        >

        When the 4-hour Hamlet was shown on TV, I really didn't have 4 hours to
        spare, so I thought I'd tune in for the first bit, just to see how they were
        doing it, and then leave. You guessed it--I was sitting there mesmerized 4
        hours later and I don't know many times I yelled (at least to myself) "Yes!
        Whoa! Was this guy a dramatist or was he a dramatist!"

        I liked the _handling_ sometimes and didn't like it others--par for the
        course. But if Branagh screwed up, Shakespeare didn't. I was left remembering
        all the Hamlet's I'd seen in a cut-down version--Olivier, Burton, Richardson,
        even Mel Gibson--and realized how badly the play had been skewed by
        scriptwriters who didn't believe humans could sit through more than two hours
        of classic drama.

        The four hour version actually seemed to play faster than the abridgments.
        Even the terminally boring speech of Charlton Heston as the Player King
        reminded you of what that scene was there for in the first place--to give an
        aging actor a Big Moment on stage.

        I don't argue with you, Dave--I've never cared too much for Branagh myself--
        but I do give him credit: he has a lot of misses, but when he hits it just
        right, he hits it right BIG time.

        Anne


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Ernest Tomlinson
        ... From: To: Sent: Friday, February 28, 2003 8:18 PM Subject: Re: [mythsoc] The Two Towers ... were ... Yes!
        Message 3 of 20 , Mar 2 9:07 PM
        • 0 Attachment
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: <jamcconney@...>
          To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Friday, February 28, 2003 8:18 PM
          Subject: Re: [mythsoc] The Two Towers

          > When the 4-hour Hamlet was shown on TV, I really didn't have 4 hours to
          > spare, so I thought I'd tune in for the first bit, just to see how they
          were
          > doing it, and then leave. You guessed it--I was sitting there mesmerized 4
          > hours later and I don't know many times I yelled (at least to myself)
          "Yes!
          > Whoa! Was this guy a dramatist or was he a dramatist!"

          Was he! I admit that Branagh at least showed us that there was nothing
          boring about four hours of "Hamlet", no reason to pare it down by half to
          accommodate modern attention spans. But I believe also that his staging
          showed a paradoxical lack of faith at times in the power of Shakespeare's
          words. He kept goosing things along with an obtrusive visual style and
          melodramatic moments. When Hamlet is in his "wild and whirling" mood after
          speaking with his father's ghost, Branagh makes the camera to shake and the
          earth to split open--why? He interpolates a scene of his and Ophelia's
          having sex; the cynic wonders if this wasn't merely to show off Branagh's
          bod (cf. _Mary Shelley's Frankenstein_). When he says to himself, "And now
          I'll do it," on seeing Claudius at prayer (aside: we've seen far, far too
          little of Derek Jacobi lately), Branagh resorts to that tired cinemagraphic
          trick of showing us something--in this case, Hamlet stabbling Claudius--then
          cutting quickly away to show that it was just a fantasy. Finally, Branagh
          dispatches Claudius in a ridiculous fashion that reminded me of nothing so
          much than the ending of _Dead Again_.

          Branagh's stunt casting of famous actors in walk-on parts did not help.
          Some worked; I think Billy Crystal made a fine gravedigger. Robin Williams
          doing Osric with fey, lisping mannerisms was unforgivable, though, and Jack
          Lemmon shouldn't have been let anywhere near the production. And casting
          big, shambling Gerard Depardieu for a one scene and a few lines doesn't make
          any sense to me.

          (Aside: I have been pleasantly surprised in the past by big-name actors'
          ability to play Shakespeare. I start with the general assumption that
          American actors can't do it, and then I can enjoy those who can. Kevin
          Kline, for example, was brilliant as Bottom in the _Midsummer Night's Dream_
          movie a few years back, but David Strathairn, an actor I admire greatly, was
          no good as Theseus. Marlon Brando did a great Mark Antony in John
          Mankiewicz's _Julius Caesar_ in the '50s; I didn't think he had it in him.
          Best of all, though, is Arnold Schwarzenegger as Hamlet in _The Last Action
          Hero_, and Jack Benny as Hamlet in _To Be or Not to Be_. <grin>)

          > I don't argue with you, Dave--I've never cared too much for Branagh
          myself--
          > but I do give him credit: he has a lot of misses, but when he hits it just
          > right, he hits it right BIG time.

          "Dave"?

          You know, I loved his _Henry V_, and love it still. Some of my movie-buff
          acquaintances would probably kill me for saying this, but his version is
          ever so much better than Olivier's. (For one thing--and a big thing--he
          makes Fluellen a serious character, not a comic butt with a vaudeville Welsh
          accent.)

          Cheers,

          Ernest.
        • WendellWag@aol.com
          I think the chief mistake that Branagh made in his version of _Hamlet_ is that he s miscast the main role. Branagh can t convincingly play a brooding
          Message 4 of 20 , Mar 2 11:16 PM
          • 0 Attachment
            I think the chief mistake that Branagh made in his version of _Hamlet_ is
            that he's miscast the main role. Branagh can't convincingly play a brooding
            character. (And he was too old, but that's a standard problem for
            productions of _Hamlet_.) As a slick conspirator in _Othello_ or a hammy
            war-leader in _Henry V_ he was well cast, but he's all wrong for Hamlet.
            Where do people get the idea that if you're right for one Shakespearean role
            you're right for all of them? Jacobi was great as Claudius (and he was also
            great some years ago as Hamlet in a stage version of _Hamlet_ that's
            available on videotape).

            Wendell Wagner
          • Stolzi@aol.com
            In a message dated 3/2/2003 11:09:31 PM Central Standard Time, ... Agreed! ... The costume & mustaches killed me! He looked like he belonged in the Emerald
            Message 5 of 20 , Mar 3 8:53 AM
            • 0 Attachment
              In a message dated 3/2/2003 11:09:31 PM Central Standard Time,
              thiophene@... writes:


              > I think Billy Crystal made a fine gravedigger.

              Agreed!

              > Robin Williams doing Osric with fey, lisping mannerisms was unforgivable,
              > though

              The costume & mustaches killed me! He looked like he belonged in the Emerald
              City of Oz.

              Cd have done without all the super-sexy stuff about Ophelia, and also the
              idea of Hamlet swinging down on the chandelier (or whatever) in the finale
              was... regrettable.

              But yes, it holds attention all the way through, and I can't forget the
              visual image of the great palace with its wide terrace (like a chessboard on
              which a great game is being played?) alone in the snowy waste.

              That lent authenticity to the part of the play which is on a world-events
              scale: Fortinbras and all that.

              Diamond Proudbrook


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Croft, Janet B
              I thought it was one of those uneven masterpieces -- spot-on perfect in most places, squirmingly off in others. But there s another Branagh full-text Hamlet I
              Message 6 of 20 , Mar 3 9:14 AM
              • 0 Attachment
                I thought it was one of those uneven masterpieces -- spot-on perfect in most
                places, squirmingly off in others. But there's another Branagh full-text
                Hamlet I like even better -- the BBC Radio version, also with Derek Jacobi
                as Claudius and with Judi Dench as Gertrude. If you search Amazon with
                "Hamlet BBC", you'll pull it up. It's available on CD and well worth it.

                Janet

                (PS Someone asked what Jacobi's been up to recently -- www.imdb.com
                <http://www.imdb.com> shows he's been very active in 2002, but the last
                thing he's done that I've actually heard of was Gosford Park, which alas I
                have not yet seen.)

                -----Original Message-----
                From: Stolzi@... [mailto:Stolzi@...]
                Sent: Monday, March 03, 2003 10:53 AM
                To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [mythsoc] The Two Towers


                In a message dated 3/2/2003 11:09:31 PM Central Standard Time,
                thiophene@... writes:


                > I think Billy Crystal made a fine gravedigger.

                Agreed!

                > Robin Williams doing Osric with fey, lisping mannerisms was unforgivable,
                > though

                The costume & mustaches killed me! He looked like he belonged in the
                Emerald
                City of Oz.

                Cd have done without all the super-sexy stuff about Ophelia, and also the
                idea of Hamlet swinging down on the chandelier (or whatever) in the finale
                was... regrettable.

                But yes, it holds attention all the way through, and I can't forget the
                visual image of the great palace with its wide terrace (like a chessboard on

                which a great game is being played?) alone in the snowy waste.

                That lent authenticity to the part of the play which is on a world-events
                scale: Fortinbras and all that.

                Diamond Proudbrook


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



                Yahoo! Groups Sponsor

                ADVERTISEMENT



                <http://rd.yahoo.com/M=245327.2974023.4304644.1612068/D=egroupweb/S=17050202
                27:HM/A=1430287/R=2/id=noscript/*http://www.poetry.com/contest/contest.asp?S
                uite=A33405>

                <http://us.adserver.yahoo.com/l?M=245327.2974023.4304644.1612068/D=egroupmai
                l/S=:HM/A=1430287/rand=105280394>

                The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                <http://www.mythsoc.org>

                Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service
                <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> .




                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Ernest Tomlinson
                ... From: To: Sent: Monday, March 03, 2003 8:53 AM Subject: Re: [mythsoc] The Two Towers ... unforgivable, ...
                Message 7 of 20 , Mar 3 11:48 AM
                • 0 Attachment
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: <Stolzi@...>
                  To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Monday, March 03, 2003 8:53 AM
                  Subject: Re: [mythsoc] The Two Towers


                  > In a message dated 3/2/2003 11:09:31 PM Central Standard Time,
                  > thiophene@... writes:

                  > > Robin Williams doing Osric with fey, lisping mannerisms was
                  unforgivable,
                  > > though
                  >
                  > The costume & mustaches killed me! He looked like he belonged in the
                  Emerald
                  > City of Oz.

                  <snort> I don't think I'll be able to get _that_ similarity out of my mind
                  now! It didn't occur to me at the time because, believe it or not, I saw
                  _The Wizard of Oz_ some years _after_ watching Branagh's _Hamlet_.

                  Branagh does give Osric one fine moment; when he announces the arrival of
                  Fortinbras, he holds up his bloodied hand to demonstrate Fortinbras's
                  "warlike volley".

                  Osric's goofy costume points up another problem with Branagh's film; instead
                  of setting the story in some definite period or place, _any_ place, he
                  cobbles together an odd mixture of costumes and settings. It's everyplace
                  and no place. Now I'm not goose enough to fret over Shakespeare
                  adaptations' not being "faithful" to some definite setting; as Ian McKellen
                  astutely pointed out when his and Richard Loncraine's _Richard III_ came out
                  some years ago, the original Shakespearean productions were already
                  "modernized"; even the Roman-era plays, which would look pretty strange to
                  us if not portrayed in the usual toga-epic fashion that goes back at least
                  as far as _Ben Hur_ (1925), were played in Elizabethan dress. All I ask is
                  a self-consistent setting. McKellen and Loncraine set _Richard III_ in a
                  semi-fantastic '30s England because that was the last time in our memory
                  when it was conceivable that an English monarch could have become a
                  political power; one thinks of the rumors that the Nazis approached Edward,
                  the Duke of Windsor (or "Mr. Simpson" as my mother acidly called him), with
                  plans to make him king if they succeeded in conquering England.

                  It occurs to me though that I enjoyed Julie Taymor's recent _Titus_, even
                  though its setting and costuming is even more wildly muddled than Branagh's.
                  But it works, I hate to admit, in some crazy post-modern way, partly because
                  Taymor's introduction to the film explicitly compares her staging of _Titus
                  Andronicus_ to a child's violent fantasy, and as I can speak from personal
                  experience, childish fantasy isn't bound by consistency; one grabs elements
                  from any old place or source that appeals to the childlike imagination.

                  Cheers,

                  Ernest.
                • David S. Bratman
                  ... I await the Jackson-defender types who will tell you simply not to think about it. ( Branagh s Hamlet is a movie! The Wizard of Oz is ... er, um ...
                  Message 8 of 20 , Mar 3 12:35 PM
                  • 0 Attachment
                    At 11:48 AM 3/3/2003 , Ernest wrote:

                    >[Stolzi wrote]
                    >> The costume & mustaches killed me! He looked like he belonged in the
                    >>Emerald City of Oz.
                    >
                    ><snort> I don't think I'll be able to get _that_ similarity out of my mind
                    >now!

                    I await the Jackson-defender types who will tell you simply not to think
                    about it. ("Branagh's Hamlet is a movie! The Wizard of Oz is ... er, um
                    ... another movie!")


                    >one thinks of the rumors that the Nazis approached Edward,
                    >the Duke of Windsor (or "Mr. Simpson" as my mother acidly called him)

                    Unfortunately for that joke, there really was a Mr. Simpson: he was the man
                    that Mrs. Simpson was divorcing in order to marry Edward. And just to be
                    further irritating, Mr. Simpson's given name was ...


                    - DB
                  • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
                    David Bratman said: I await the Jackson-defender types who will tell you simply not to think about it. ( Branagh s Hamlet is a movie! The Wizard of Oz is ...
                    Message 9 of 20 , Mar 3 1:19 PM
                    • 0 Attachment
                      David Bratman said: I await the Jackson-defender types who will tell you
                      simply not to think
                      about it. ("Branagh's Hamlet is a movie! The Wizard of Oz is ... er, um
                      ... another movie!") >>

                      (Pauses from deleting movie posts for a sec....) That would require caring
                      as much about either of them as one cares about Tolkien. Or maybe care
                      isn't the word. The power of something to sweep one away is beyond caring.


                      Lizzie Triano
                      lizziewriter@...
                      amor vincit omnia
                    • Jason M. Abels
                      ... If you want to get into, I can go into quite a bit about Books vs Movies, with the Wizard of Oz as my primary example. Both are movies that deviate
                      Message 10 of 20 , Mar 3 1:32 PM
                      • 0 Attachment
                        > (Pauses from deleting movie posts for a sec....) That would require caring
                        > as much about either of them as one cares about Tolkien. Or maybe care
                        > isn't the word. The power of something to sweep one away is beyond caring.

                        If you want to get into, I can go into quite a bit about Books vs Movies, with
                        the Wizard of Oz as my primary example. Both are movies that deviate (sometimes
                        greatly) with the source material, even changing character motivations, and yet
                        remain true (in my opinion) to the overall *feel* of the book.

                        --
                        Jason M. Abels
                        "The world is coming down around our ears and you're sticking at a few
                        vampires!" - Ben Mears, _Salem's Lot_
                      • David S. Bratman
                        ... (sometimes ... and yet ... Maybe we shouldn t, because the it was all a dream? frame-story of the 1939 Oz film seems to me to be utterly at odds with the
                        Message 11 of 20 , Mar 3 1:41 PM
                        • 0 Attachment
                          At 01:32 PM 3/3/2003 , Jason M. Abels wrote:

                          >If you want to get into, I can go into quite a bit about Books vs Movies, with
                          >the Wizard of Oz as my primary example. Both are movies that deviate
                          (sometimes
                          >greatly) with the source material, even changing character motivations,
                          and yet
                          >remain true (in my opinion) to the overall *feel* of the book.

                          Maybe we shouldn't, because the "it was all a dream?" frame-story of the
                          1939 Oz film seems to me to be utterly at odds with the feel and spirit of
                          the book, casting a pall over the entire proceedings. It's still a great
                          movie, but it won't give you much of an idea of what Baum is like. (Even
                          so, I will defend Jackson's LOTR as pretty good films, which won't give you
                          much of an idea of what Tolkien is like.)

                          - DB
                        • Jason M. Abels
                          ... I black out when she says There s No place like home and I wake up when the credit s start to roll. I remember being *horrified* the first time I saw the
                          Message 12 of 20 , Mar 3 1:52 PM
                          • 0 Attachment
                            > Maybe we shouldn't, because the "it was all a dream?" frame-story of the
                            > 1939 Oz film seems to me to be utterly at odds with the feel and spirit of
                            > the book, casting a pall over the entire proceedings.

                            I black out when she says "There's No place like home" and I wake up when the
                            credit's start to roll.

                            I remember being *horrified* the first time I saw the movie and they said "it
                            was all a dream". I was also horrified at Judy's age, the stupid lion, and
                            everything else they had cut from the book. Over time, though, it has become my
                            favorite movie because I think it still captures something of the original
                            magic.


                            > It's still a great
                            > movie, but it won't give you much of an idea of what Baum is like. (Even
                            > so, I will defend Jackson's LOTR as pretty good films, which won't give you
                            > much of an idea of what Tolkien is like.)

                            My opinion exactly.

                            --
                            Jason M. Abels
                            "The world is coming down around our ears and you're sticking at a few
                            vampires!" - Ben Mears, _Salem's Lot_
                          • Ernest Tomlinson
                            ... From: Jason M. Abels To: Sent: Monday, March 03, 2003 1:52 PM Subject: RE: [mythsoc] The Two Towers ...
                            Message 13 of 20 , Mar 3 4:00 PM
                            • 0 Attachment
                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: "Jason M. Abels" <jason@...>
                              To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                              Sent: Monday, March 03, 2003 1:52 PM
                              Subject: RE: [mythsoc] The Two Towers

                              > I remember being *horrified* the first time I saw the movie and they said
                              "it
                              > was all a dream". I was also horrified at Judy's age, the stupid lion, and
                              > everything else they had cut from the book.

                              Roger Ebert lists _The Wizard of Oz_ among his "Great Movies", and defends
                              the casting of Judy Garland, saying that a child actress--especially, if I
                              may interject, at a time when serious child roles, qq.v. _Night of the
                              Hunter_ and _To Kill a Mockingbird_ among others, were still some years
                              away--would not have had the depth needed for the role of Dorothy. "When
                              she hoped that troubles would melt like lemon drops, you believed she had
                              troubles," writes Ebert. But of course he cites her reading--or singing
                              rather--of a line that is not Baum's.

                              Cheers,

                              Ernest.
                            • jamcconney@aol.com
                              In a message dated 3/2/2003 11:09:09 PM Central Standard Time, ... Mea Culpa! Mea Maxima Culpa! Anne P.S. Yes, I agree with you about Branagh, especially about
                              Message 14 of 20 , Mar 3 6:22 PM
                              • 0 Attachment
                                In a message dated 3/2/2003 11:09:09 PM Central Standard Time,
                                thiophene@... writes:

                                > "Dave"?

                                Mea Culpa! Mea Maxima Culpa!

                                Anne

                                P.S. Yes, I agree with you about Branagh, especially about his tendency to
                                get way too cute. And I too loved his Henry V



                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • jamcconney@aol.com
                                In a message dated 3/3/2003 1:57:50 PM Central Standard Time, ... I remember reading the suggestion, not entirely unserious, that Titus Andronicus was a
                                Message 15 of 20 , Mar 3 6:29 PM
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  In a message dated 3/3/2003 1:57:50 PM Central Standard Time,
                                  thiophene@... writes:

                                  > _Titus
                                  > Andronicus_ to a child's violent fantasy

                                  I remember reading the suggestion, not entirely unserious, that Titus
                                  Andronicus was a collaboration between Marlowe and Shakespeare because it
                                  would have taken TWO
                                  twenty-something young men to think up all the horrors.

                                  Anne


                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Jason M. Abels
                                  ... Oh, I agree. Once I saw the movie, I knew that judy was right for the role as portrayed. Only she could have belted out those songs like that. I try to
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Mar 4 6:06 AM
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    > Roger Ebert lists _The Wizard of Oz_ among his "Great Movies", and defends
                                    > the casting of Judy Garland, saying that a child
                                    > actress--especially, if I
                                    > may interject, at a time when serious child roles, qq.v. _Night of the
                                    > Hunter_ and _To Kill a Mockingbird_ among others, were still some years
                                    > away--would not have had the depth needed for the role of Dorothy. "When
                                    > she hoped that troubles would melt like lemon drops, you believed she had
                                    > troubles," writes Ebert. But of course he cites her reading--or singing
                                    > rather--of a line that is not Baum's.

                                    Oh, I agree. Once I saw the movie, I knew that judy was right for the role as
                                    portrayed. Only she could have belted out those songs like that. I try to
                                    picture Shriley Temple in the role and shudder. Judy was the wrong age for
                                    book-dorothy. She was just right for movie-dorothy.



                                    --
                                    Jason M. Abels
                                    "The world is coming down around our ears and you're sticking at a few
                                    vampires!" - Ben Mears, _Salem's Lot_
                                  Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.