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04/27/2016

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Not currently available on Netflix, darn it, although it's listed in their catalog.

About the superiority of British actors: agreed I'm struck by this over and over again. It's one of the reasons that I find myself watching so many British TV shows. So often there so much more range and subtlety in the acting.

I with you, Mac, on being drawn to British actors and TV series. There's a 2015 piece in The Atlantic you might like to read, The Decline of the American Actor, that makes these points about the difference between British and American actors:

The British send their actors to school for the sound reason that playing Shakespeare well takes a ton of technique, and Shakespearean actors are what English theatrical culture is designed to produce. American culture is in the business of making stars, which is more a matter of finding people who are able to be themselves—or some likable, reasonably plausible version of themselves—onscreen. Everything else, the Bard included, is gravy. ...

For English actors, there’s always the stage: at any given time there’s going to be somebody, somewhere, putting on Shakespeare—or Chekhov or Ibsen or Strindberg or Osborne or Stoppard—and even if it means hauling your weary carcass out to some godforsaken provincial repertory theater, it’s a chance to act. It nourishes the soul. American actors have fewer opportunities (and incentives) to explore the classical repertory when they’re young, which is when the experience would do them the most good. ...

Acting at its highest level is very, very difficult, but at the end of it there has to be, for the actor, an internal silly grin of satisfaction, whether the role is Captain Kirk or Captain Ahab. Most of the American actors fronting heavyweight Hollywood franchises these days, all those guys named Chris, do not have the air of men who are enjoying what they do. ... This is perhaps another area where non-American actors, Brits especially, have a significant advantage. Their relatively more detached, more technical approach to the imitation game of theater helps them maintain their sense of play.


I've always suspected that something like that was the reason. And long ago I came to that same conclusion about American actors:

"American culture is in the business of making stars, which is more a matter of finding people who are able to be themselves—or some likable, reasonably plausible version of themselves—onscreen."

The Brits in general have a much greater ability to just disappear into many different characters.

Australians too. Think Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Geoffrey Rush. I believe they also have much more theater background down under as well.

I'm not as familiar with those, but to the extent that I am, yeah, they do seem a cut above.

Well, there's a Criterion edition. Maybe they will stream it on FilmStruck. They can't start that soon enough for me.

AMDG

I went to their website Janet, and immediately see George Sand and Helena Bonham Carter in a scene from A Room With a View!

That's a good article Marianne, though overly long as they tend to be in The Atlantic.

or perhaps it is Julian Sands ... geez, get it together, Stu!

Heh. I did kind of wonder but just figured George Sand was an actor I'd never heard of.

Talk about getting it together -- that should have been "I'm with you” not “I with you" in my earlier post.

The part in that article that caught my eye was that sense of play the Brits are able to maintain with their acting. May help explain how very watchable they are.

George Sand was too hold for Helen Bonham Carter.

AMDG

Old not hold. Darn.

The problem my brain had is that Julian Sands plays a character named George Emerson in A Room With a View. So it is sort of a "trick or trout" kind of thing, I suppose.

Thanks, Stu. I enjoyed that and it's definitely going on my list.

At some point I quit saying I was "putting this one on my list", because it just all became overwhelming. I guess this whole series has just been incorporated into my list. I'm sure I'll never manage to see them all. But I'd like to.

Yes, 3:05 AM. Too much caffeine.

The good thing about the series is that it is it's own list.

I finally read something--or listened to something from the Authors list.

AMDG

Yes, that's sort of what I meant.

What was it?

It's been ages since I watched Howards End but I remember liking it very much. And I've been meaning to read the novel since Wendell Berry mentioned it in his Jefferson Lecture a few years back. I remember buying it immediately, then, of course, never reading it. Happens a lot with me. This piece has prompted me to put it on my short list, however. So thanks, Stu!

It's The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald. Marianne didn't actually talk about that one. I am now listening to Gate of Angels. I have found that listening to books on tape makes cleaning out closets more bearable.

I like the books. They are very pleasant to listen too, but not unfailingly cheerful--especially about human nature.

AMDG

I remember thinking that Fitzgerald really sounded worth seeking out. I haven't done so, of course.

I acquired two of her books. I started Off Shore but had to put it aside.

I think I mentioned this before, but you can get Fitzgerald's six best known novels in two nice Everyman's volumes -- three novels apiece. As her books are rather short, this doesn't make for big unwieldy tomes. I got one of them for Christmas.

I just looked at those on Amazon and they do look like nice editions.

Interesting that those Everyman editions didn't put her three early novels in one volume and her three later ones in another, but mixed them.

Nice to have three novels in one volume, I guess, but one of the things I like about reading her books is their smallness, both in the feel of the books and their actual length.

Yes, that's true too. There is something about reading a short novel as a short novel, in a small volume.

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