Sunday, August 30, 2009

On a Most Diffucult Decision; Amy Dorritt or Owen Meany?; THE PRISONER; More JULIE AND JULIA

I read THE LEOPARD by Giuseppe di Lampedusa, enjoyed it greatly, contemplations on mortality when turning 50 was considered old. Written in the 20th c., love the pre-20th c.-style chapter section titles. I thought it should have ended sooner, with the last passage on Father Perrone's trip an unnecessary one of several postscripts.

I went to Netflix to look for the Visconti movie with Burt Lancaster and had a most difficult decision: to rent the Italian or English version. The Netflix reviewers favored the Italian version and I went with that. But did I make the right decision?

The conventional wisdom is that you want to hear the original language of the actors and read the subtitles. However in the Italian version, Burt Lancaster delivered his lines in English and his lines in the Italian were dubbed in Italian (with one exception--at the end of a line I heard the classic staccato Lancaster laugh). In the English language version, you get Burt in English, but all the Italian actors are dubbed. The English version is also cut a great deal.

When I recently saw PERSEPOLIS, I switched to the English for a bit and it was flat compared to the original French reading, including Catherine Deneuve as the grandmother. I'm sure I made the right choice to stick with the original French, but I'm not so sure with THE LEOPARD.


A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY sat on my bookshelf for twenty years before I read it. Apologies to my sister. Great read. Now I'm reading LITTLE DORRITT by Charles Dickens, on my old Rocket eBook. I understand that Irving has been compared favorably to Dickens. Just asking: who is taller, Amy Dorritt or Owen Meany?

THE PRISONER: Episode 10: Hammer Into Anvil

This ep is featured on AMC On Demand this month as part of the promotion of the AMC series update with Jim Cavaziel and Ian McKellen premiering in November 2009. It's one thing for Number 6 to have a suspicious tearful woman directly appeal to to him for help. "I'm waterproof," was his response in another ep. But when Number 2's interrogation of another woman prompts her suicide, Number 6 pledges revenge. Number 2 is played by Patrick Cargill. Number 6 exploits a personality flaw of Number 2--he's afraid of his masters--and breaks Number 2 in the end.

Cargill was the star of the Brit sit com FATHER DEAR FATHER and recognizable to me when I saw this PRISONER ep again after its original run in the '60s. There was a period in the '70s when independent channels in New York would run more creative programming than Judge Judy, such as Brit and Canadian sit coms. FATHER DEAR FATHER ran on channel 9, featuring Cargill as the father of two sexy daughters. The American version was another syndie, starring Ted Knight and retitled TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT.

One hilarious scene involved Cargill visiting his brother in hospital, sneaking him in a forbidden bottle of Scotch. If you know British humor or are a fan of the Austin Powers series you can see where this is going. They can't find a glass so the brother breaks out two specimen cups. As they toast each other, a nurse walks in, horrified. From the hospital bed comes a response to her stupefied look: That's ok mum, it's my brother's!

I heard Julie, the author of the book/blog on which the movie was based, interviewed on the Audible Books show on SiriusXM radio. They played a clip from the audiobook with a blog entry talking about trying to get pregnant, something the movie left out. There's a brief but very powerful scene in the Julia part of the movie (Julia hears her sister is pregnant) and I wonder if the writer or director thought that adding a pregnancy element to the Julie section would have taken away from this strong Julia scene? Julie is a nice girl but too young and whiny for us to feel much empathy for her. Two hours on Julia Child would have been a better movie.

She told her interviewer from the publisher that her blog responders are "my collaborators." I'm sure her lawyer loved hearing that. Shouldn't they get a royalty?


Brigid said...

Agree with you about Julie & Julia. I like Amy Adams, but the character was a bit too neurotic for me at times. On the flipside, all of the Julia Child scenes were great.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed every moment of JULIE AND JULIA. Amy Adams was great and Meryl Streep was flawless, as usual.