Entertainment QotD: Boleyn For Dollars

Which book would you love to see adapted into a film?

I'll get to that – because there is something else that is getting screen time:  history.  History is hot.  History is money.  And one family in particular is attracting the attention of filmmakers who know as much about their subject as I know about roof thatching.  In their eyes, the Tudors are tight-bodiced, heaving, pouting, smooth-faced and spotless.

I can start with the soon-to-be-relased The Other Boleyn Girl.  Now, it's a little unfair to tease it for any inaccuracies, as its origins are in Philippa Gregory's book of historical fiction.  It's speculative reality.  Also the relations between Anne and Mary Boleyn are not my strong points.  I do, however, know that Anne was black-haired and olive-skinned, slim and sharp.  I just don't think that a dewy Natalie Portman is the girl for the job.  And why the devil someone couldn't run to the nearest drugstore and buy a henna rinse for Eric Bana (Henry VIII's hair was auburn – a small point maybe, but still a physical trait closely associated with the man) is beyond me.

And then there was Showtime's gangsta epic, The Tudors, starring 'Henry 8'.  I've written about this in more detail, some time ago.  But suffice it to say that the sight of a whisper-thin, brooding Henry, in a blouson shirt and tight, shiny pants simply withers my soul.  People, I am not interested in your new, swinging version of history.  History has happened.  It is an established fact.  That's why we call it history.  Don't f*ck with it.

Moving on.  First, let me say that I positively revere Helen Mirren.  She's tough, talented, dignified and beautiful.  I just can't understand why she portrayed Elizabeth I as a hormone-addled schoolgirl.

When she and Leicester (Jeremy Irons) were strolling together towards her assembled army at Tilbury, where she would give her famous speech, she said something like, "You know, Bobby, my Edible Earl, I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a King!"  He pauses…he has a look in his eyes…yes:  it…just…might…work…

Cut to the next scene, she's speaking to her men and using that very line.  I believe that is when I set my hair on fire and went outside to howl at the moon.

I can't say much about Elizabeth:  The Golden Age.  I haven't seen it, and you know Aubrey likes to be fair.

And on a side, non-Tudor note:  Ms. Coppola:  if the only way you can portray a teenager's angst – as she is flung from the safety of her home to a foreign court, to marry a foreign king – is to throw in a pair of Keds amongst her satin slippers, you, madam, deserve to be slapped.  History has its own irony – it doesn't need yours.

OK.  That's better.  As for books to film:  this weekend I read in Vanity Fair that a screen version of 'Brideshead Revisited' is in the offing.  I will be watching developments very carefully.  I've read the book close to ten times.  I've seen the PBS series nearly as often.  Both are thrillingly wonderful.  Suffice to say, I know the story well.

I didn't find any of the acting choices offensive.  Julie Flyte looked a little lost, but perhaps she'd just had an ice cream and was exhibiting the symptoms of a brain freeze.  I am pleased to say that Emma Thompson will play Lady Marchmain – however in her photo, she looked a little too cold, too intimidating.  Weren't her destructive qualities seen only through th eyes of the most dysfunctional members of her family – her husband and her younger son?  Still, she was weariang a lovely olive and black cloak, so that made it better.

I know that I can be too judgemental when it comes to  historical re-enactments and portrayals.  I can be very steely-eyed when it comes to a new interpretation of something I care deeply about.  But I'm not saying people shouldn't try.

They had just better be careful.

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11 responses to “Entertainment QotD: Boleyn For Dollars

  1. I hadn't heard they were redoing Brideshead. I'm a big fan, too. I'm afraid I will go see the Other Boleyn Girl, but mostly for Eric Bana, who at least has more physical presence than Jonathan Rhys-Myers. I agree the casting of Anne is ridiculous. I've heard they've also toned down the number historical inaccuracies in the film version, but I'm sure it still won't pass the Aubrey test.

  2. As for you, your expectations are perfectly fitting and your disappointments are completely understandable. Off with their heads.I am aware, as viewers, we are like fans at a boxing match shouting our directions at the players in the ring?As for me, I shall ignore your last paragraph (not the last line). May I remind you again, Aubrey never has to use apologetic language.

    … I seem to use that often when it comes to you. Interesting.
    Anyway, thank you for validating my decision not to watch that Coppola movie with the woman and so forth. It just looked awful.

  4. Laurie: I'm with you on Bana's presence; but I just don't think people understand how witty and satiric Anne was – those were the qualities that made her such a magnet – not her looks!
    pyrit: I thought I was getting a bit shrill in this post, hence the final paragraph. And I would love to amongst the fans surrounding the 'round ring' shouting edits and corrections to the actors!
    lostette: Thank you so much for your vote of confidence. I really thought my opinion regarding 'that Coppola movie' was in a kind of wilderness.

  5. The Tudors got me sucked in for a while, even though I had to look past the stupid bits of shock value. As husband said, "I had no idea English history had so many people doing it doggie style!"The Coppola film was actually alright I thought, but I knew what to expect with her, the modern music wasn't too in-your-face and even though there were annoying bits, I liked it better than I thought I would.Brideshead Revisited I can't wait to see!

  6. Dearest Aubrey: you have wit, you have panache, and you have standards. Apologize for nothing!It looks like the New York Times agrees with you about the Boleyns.I saw most, not all, of the Coppola movie, and I used some screen shots in a presentation about telling detail I gave at a writers conference–"Look! They even took her dog! You can tell those French are heartless! And later in the movie, look! She's got a whole pack of dogs to show how lonely she is! And see how she's eating those desserts!" I think the purple Chucks were there as a data point to get the audience to relate–"You're not so different, you've got a closet full of retail therapy too!"–because you know kids today couldn't draw that conclusion on their own ( <–Coppola: mighty swing with the Message Stick).As further historical films to revile, I offer Iron-Jawed Angels and Hoodlum.

  7. Arty: Will The Tudors stagger through the entire reign of Henry VIII? What will they do with poor Jane Seymour? The 'Flemish Mare'? No matter what, they'll have to deal with those girls before getting their time in the naughty sun with Catherine Howard.
    Brideshead has promise – it rather does!
    Peg: Thank you! And "mighty swing with the Message Stick" just makes me happy.
    The subjects of those two films are less than one hundred yeards old (a mere hop, skip and a jump away) – how current does a subject have to be before it gets done right?

  8. I love Helen Mirren too and was actually first taken by her in the Elizabeth I series. Anyway, I don't know much about the history and such to make a judgement but I enjoyed it far more than the recent film with Cate Blanchett playing Elizabeth. I think my favorite scene in the performance by Helen Mirren was on the battlefield. I actually cried…not sure why though šŸ˜€ And then in the end of the film when she just sort of stood there looking out the window for a very very long time, I got pretty disturbed.
    I've read The Other Boleyn Girl and am looking to watch this film coming out based on the book. I have to say I thought the book was disturbing. Some things seemed more real than others. But, like I said, I'm not very keen on the historical facts and such. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Yes, I'll have a hard time buying Eric Bana as Henry VIII. Don't get me wrong: he's a fine actor. He's just too attractive for the role.

  10. Not only should Ms. Coppola be slapped….
    She should be slapped…..
    TWICE !!!
    Oh…..is it unfair to say that when I never even saw the movie ??…..
    OMG……WHY should I see it…..I read the book….a long time ago…..I'm sure the Keds remake won't come close…
    LOL…way to sling the zings, Aubrey !!!!

  11. I once had a menage a trois with a boy who was obsessed with the tv version of Brideshead Revisited. He had it playing while we were playing in his bed (!)

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