Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Brideshead Revisited - Remade

It is 11:41 PM. I think I am going to be sick. I was watching that idiot Glen Beck – I hate him! But that is not what makes me feel sick. As the segment cut to the adverts, I was folding my laundry. On the telly, a movie preview ad was playing and I caught a very British voice saying, “… announce my daughter’s engagement to Mr. Rex Mortram”. I felt dizzy and had to sit down. They have remade “Brideshead Revisited”. I hate them – whoever it is who have done that. I knew that the movie was being considered for production, but I was not prepared for it to be ready and hitting Theatres this Friday! One of my favorite books remade into a piece of utter crap – less than three hours with all the relevant bits ruthlessly chopped off! Apparently, there is no screen time focused on religion, they have eliminated the story of Sebastian and Charles’ relationship, and of Sebastian’s relationship with his family. This new “Brideshead…” is about Charles and Julia! I hate them. I feel sick.

I have been astonished at people’s reactions to the book and it’s 1981 flawless production. It seems that this book brings out in people fears of their own insecurities. An atheist person of my acquaintance who struggled with his relationship with the Catholic Church believed that this book was an expose of the cruel grip that religion has on people – of Lord Marchmain’s acceptance of communion before his death, this person said – “Religion did not let him go in the end. It kept its cruel claws in, even at the very end.” Evelyn Waugh did not mean that – and he wrote as much. The point of the book is not to portray Catholicism in a negative light at all – after all Evelyn Waugh was a Catholic convert and a staunch and fervent follower of the Catholic Church – he would hardly have denounced it. I showed what Waugh had to say about this to this person, but somehow, he did not see it at all. Yet another acquaintance of mine – who has not even read the book or watched the mini-series labours under the misapprehension that this book is entirely about gay men. That astonished me at first – and then made me laugh. It made sense of course – this man has some serious internalized homophobia.

Why does this beautiful book appear so twisted to people? It isn’t twisted – it is complex, clever and amazing. And it is being butchered ruthlessly for the screen. I know I shall go and watch it if only to get angry and rant more about it! I do feel very very sick!

P.S. I have decided to add to the orinal post and say a bit more about the 1981 mini-series. It was a masterpiece - with a star-studded cast (though many were not really stars at the time) - Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir John Geilgud, Jeremy Irons, Anthony Andrews, Claire Bloom and Nickolas Grace (inimitably playing Anthony Blanche). You can check out the IMDB page HERE.


Aarti said...

I had no idea what this post was all about uptil I actually saw a promo of the movie last evening! :)
So u planning to watch the movie?!

Azalea said...

I probably will. I am kind of masochistic that way. But I know already that I will hate it. If you plan on watching it, I recommend that you watch the 1981 Acorn Media production first. It's about 12-hrs long (a mini-series) to understand what the book is really about. This new one seems to miss the book by miles. They talk in the promo about Charles Ryder's "ambition".... no such thing exists. Charles was not socially ambiotious. All he did was motivated by his love for the various members of the Marchmain family. It's going to be a stupid stupid movie. I know!!!