15 responses

  1. GSL
    October 3, 2013

    Prof C does have some interesting insights especially regarding setting the movie in 1910 and while I haven’t yet read this James novel the passages he cites and interprets are quite interesting and ring true with what I do know. Every time I hear “late James” it’s usually with a wincing shrug. I usually run from modern literary scholarship as it always seems so intent on chasing away the beauty.
    Lisa, your last statement is one of the reasons why this movie works so well. These days the clothes often co-star and intrusively overpower characters and narrative with an eye towards a Vogue/Vanity Fair photo spread or a Tiffany/Golden Bowl collaboration. This movie was perfectly cast and that includes having the wardrobe mistress know her place. My only quibble was the last scene-I was beginning to think they brought Eve Ensler in for a rewrite. The scene (and movie) was so well acted I didn’t need HBC sticking her nether regions in my face to help me with the “raw emotion”. I concur with Prof C’s “near perfect” pronouncement and I’ll netflick it again with his keen insights in mind.

  2. RoseAg
    October 3, 2013

    I’m not even going to pretend I’d slog through the book – my preferences are for something in-between a 140 character tweet and a 1,000 work paragraph. This enticing review this has pushed the movie up my queue, just as soon as I finish Season 2 of “Justified.”

  3. Parnassus
    October 3, 2013

    I never minded James’ complex prose. It has the effect of slowing down the reader, creating a mood in which the story can be better enjoyed and appreciated.

  4. Murphy
    October 3, 2013

    Fascinating post. I’ve never read anything by Henry James, except for “the Turn of the Screw” which my Dad recommended to me when I was 13. I don’t remember it at all, except that I thought it was spooky, and thus cool. Which of James’ books would Professor C – or you – recommend for a second foray into his work? Would it be “Wings of the Dove”?

  5. w b carnochan
    October 4, 2013

    Hello, Murphy —

    Try Portrait of a Lady (it’s early James).

    Prof. C.

  6. Meg
    October 4, 2013

    Clearly I should get back to some serious reading, though perhaps James is a bit of a stretch with a 10 month old.

    This essay was lovely, and the movie I remember as being wonderful. I slogged two hours into LA to see it at 17 (partially because of the production design, I’ll admit). I should probably watch it again, having now been to Venice.

  7. Murphy
    October 4, 2013

    Thanks for the recommendation, Prof. C!

  8. Emmaleigh504
    October 5, 2013

    I like to read classic literature and all the greats on PBS, BBC, and the like. I recently watched this movie on Netflix and liked it fine. But the whole time I watching I felt like something was left out, like I was missing something. So I thought I might get the book and see what I was missing, but it was late, the library was closed, and I was in my PJs (not my yummy sushi pajamas). I looked it up on Wikipedia and realized I didn’t really want to read the book. Wikipedia filled in the gaps ans I was quite happy with the movie, though I would have like more scenes with the aunt because I quite like that actress.

  9. Lisa
    October 5, 2013

    Well, this post certainly brought out everyone’s testosterone didn’t it:).

    I usually monitor comments super tightly but in this case I’m going to leave all this up, and assume it was friendly banter. If not, and if anyone wants me to edit at all, send me an email and I will get out my red pen.

  10. GSL
    October 5, 2013

    I do hope there is no need for the red pen and thank you again for a great post and bringing Prof C’s archived selections to my attention. I’m a huge Wharton fan.

    10/07/13
    6:36 pm
    Lisa said...

    No red pen requests. Phew. GSL, thanks for reading and commenting. Having Professor C. post here, now retired from Stanford but for decades a tenured professor in the English department, bumps up my intellectual cred to no end:).

  11. Susan Partlan
    October 7, 2013

    I loved the film and enjoyed this post. I enjoy all of Professor C’s posts. As for the book, I probably won’t read it. I think I’ve read all of the James novels I want to read.

  12. GSL
    October 7, 2013

    You know our exchange here was quite tame compared to that House of Mirth dustup (Prof C opened with) that got really nasty. I think the idea of comparing those literary films/novels is a fabulous idea as it doesn’t require a major time investment if you just want to do the movie and is interesting even if you haven’t done either. Looking forward to the next one and btw it’s the bicentennial of Pride & Prejudice…?
    Congrats on the marriage and retirement!

  13. Lisa
    October 8, 2013

    I spoke too soon, red pen request received and executed. Carry on.

  14. Redolence
    October 8, 2013

    The settings cannot be underestimated, especially the early scene in Lord Leightons house where the characters shimmers against turquoise Persian tiles.

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