Chrysta Bell and David Lynch: This Train
Anglicanorum Coetibus, Ten Years On

The Innocents

I finally watched this 1961 movie, reputed to be the best adaptation of The Turn of the Screw, and also a pretty dang good movie on its own terms. I agree with both opinions. It is really very good. To my mind it's an unusual sort of success: the filmmakers took a very good book (ok, novella, whatever), made a film based on it which simultaneously took a lot of liberties and remained faithful, and produced something that is as good a film as the book is a book. 

Well, almost. I don't know how hard I'd defend that last statement. I mean, maybe it's not quite up there with the acknowledged masterpieces of cinema. But then the same could be said of the book in its category. If it were all we had of Henry James, he would not be considered a major writer of fiction. Anyway, it's an exception to what seems the usual patterns: good book to bad or inadequate movie; bad or mediocre book to good movie; good book to good but not very faithful movie. And of course bad book to bad movie is a perennial. But none of that is as true as it once was; movie-making has improved in a lot of ways since 1970 or so. 

The Innocents is actually based directly not on the novel itself but on a play by the same name, adapted from the novella by William Archibald, who, along with Truman Capote, is credited as screenwriter. The play seems to be Archibald's only other claim to fame. It would be interesting to compare the movie to the play, to get an idea of how much Capote contributed. I had forgotten till this moment that I read Other Voices, Other Rooms many years ago, and the scraps of memory that have returned make me think it would be worth revisiting. 

You can find the trailer on YouTube, but it's sort of trashy, so I don't think I'll post it. I notice several comments to the same effect. 

So, for the moment, ends my fascination with The Turn of the Screw (see this and this). I'm tempted to read it again but other authors, other books have claims on me. I still count myself in the "apparitionist" camp as regards the reality of what the governess sees, but, as I mentioned in the second of those posts, I grant that the arguments for the opposing view. I'm inclined to stay with my original view: that the ambiguity arises from the fact that Henry James wrote a Henry James ghost story, arguably subtle to a fault. Apparently he never said anything to indicate that the apparitions were not real, but of course that doesn't prove anything. 

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While I'm at it: I also watched the Breaking Bad sequel, El Camino. I saw a review somewhere that described it as "inessential," which I guess is true, but that's ok, it's a very good story, as well-done as you would expect, considering that it was made by the same people who did the series. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who likes the series.

Also: I recently watched the fourth series of the British mystery show Shetland. And maybe it's just me, but I thought it was a cut above its previous series as well as most similar dramas, close to Broadchurch territory. You need to have seen at least the preceding series, though, to fully get some of the things that are going on. 

Comments

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Glad you liked The Innocents.

Felt the same way about El Camino and Shetland 4 as you did.

Just finished watching Marcella 2, which I liked a lot. Next up is Unforgotten 3, which just came out on DVD.

And currently rewatching Rectify, which in some ways is even better the second time around. Not having to think about the outcome (Will Daniel be retried? Is he guilty or not?) frees one up to focus on the characters and the personal drama.

I'm convinced that it ranks up there with BB and Broadchurch in terms of overall quality. It's probably the best straight drama (i.e., non-crime) I've ever watched.


As you may or may not remember, I bailed out on Rectify without (I think) even finishing the first season. Definitely without finishing whatever was available at the time, though. I can't blame the show, really--I mean, it's really well done and all, but it became sort of excruciating to watch. Felt sort of like scratching and scratching at an open wound, without any progression.

I agree about Marcella 2. Not sure if I've seen Unforgotten 3 or not. Definitely 1 and 2, though, and they're good.

Yeah, Rectify can certainly be wrenching, but man, the payoffs are just so good. And it is (ultimately) redemptive, which you get glimpses of along the way.

I'm sure that's true. I think another factor for me was that I just didn't really care about the people very much. No objective reason for that.

That reminds me of the series about the family in the Keys...what was it? Bloodline. I could make the same open-wound complaint about it, but somehow I cared about the characters.

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