Sunday, February 9, 2014

Do you read the book first?

TCM is currently showing 31 Days of Oscar nominated and winning movies and it is one of my favorite times of the year. I pay an astronomical cable bill each month and I really only watch one that one channel. There are many reasons I enjoy movies made before the 1960's and the characters are what draw me to them.

I will admit I have not read the book based on tonight's movie. The differences I have read about in the movie and in the novel give me pause for reading it now. Of course, it is inevitable but I do hope it does not change my regard for the movie version. So many movies are made from books that do not stay true to the author's vision that I often hesitate in seeing the movie before I have read the book.

"The Heiress" strikes me a terribly sad movie, but oh, that Olivia De Havilland! The movie is based on Henry James 1880 serial "Washington Square"and is located here to read free from Project Gutenberg.  There is a more modern movie by the same name released in 1997, which of course, I have not seen. I do wish I could have seen the 1947 play with Wendie Hiller. It was also revived on Broadway recently and featured Dan Stevens, formerly of Downton Abbey.

Most people associate Olivia De Havilland with the role of Melanie Wilkes in "Gone With the Wind", but her abilities were so much more than that character. If you have any doubts, just watch "The Snake Pit". She does manage to work magic as the character of Catherine Sloper as the heiress of the title. I believe this movie could translate into modern day. The character of Catherine is socially awkward, shy, honest and her plainness is only highlighted by her insecurity in herself.

Her father reminds me so much of modern parents who just want to protect their children from the misunderstanding of others.  In some ways however, her father has the air of a misogynist. Catherine only desires what almost every human being craves and that is love. They way she is shown love by the two men that matter most her shapes her attitude on the subject. Her father's love comes with comparisons to her long gone mother. Once her father decides to disown her and leave her to her penniless beau, she still decides to elope with the man. She does agree to a six month trip to Europe with her father.

We are given an insight into the character of the young man. He admits he squandered his money. He frequently visits the house to visit Aunt Lavania while Catherine and her father are gone. We are teased with the idea that he IS only out to marry Catherine for her home and her money. He does dubiously mention that he is really not the type to work for money. All I can say is, um hum, I know some of those guys now in real life. Catherine is determined to marry the man she loves and is willing to sacrifice her comfortable home and her inheritance. She tells the young man that they will never ask her father for anything and they shall live upon their own wits. The young man leaves her waiting and breaks her heart. He does return years later and tries to renew his acquaintance. She tells him to go and get his things and she will pack. He returns ringing and knocking upon the door. Catherine calmly finishes her needlework and retires upstairs, leaving him outside calling her name.

I am off to read "Washington Square" now, but I would like your thoughts on reading the book first. There is an time traveling romance releasing this week and my kindle is calling.

My link of the week is a very entertaining site named Conflict and Scotch. His take on divorce and dating had me laughing out loud! The reminiscence  piece "Worlds Oldest Boy Band" was just awesome.

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