The Anger Factor

         The two film versions of the play A Doll's House, written by Henrik Ibsen in 1879, portray two different Torvalds. Both versions were filmed in 1973, but Joseph Losey's Torvald is a more distant and unlikable man than Patrick Garland's Torvald. Also, each Torvald deals with his anger towards Nora in different but still destructive ways. The difference in the two different reactions of the men is their anger factor.

         In Joseph Losey's version of A Doll's House, Torvald is portrayed by David Warner as somewhat of a cold-hearted man throughout the movie. He calls Nora (Jane Fonda) sweet little pet names; but he hardly ever smiles when doing so and certainly never gets close to Nora, as most husbands would. Losey's Torvald seems to give Nora money as pay off to leave him alone. It always appears as if there is a brick wall between them when they are in the same room together. For example, when Nora is practicing her Tarantella dance for the party and Torvald gets furious with her for playing around and acting silly, it seems that she never sees his anger. The surprising part of Losey's Torvald is evident when he finds out about the loan from Krogstad (Edward Fox) and Nora's forgery. Of the two film versions, I thought Losey's Torvald should have been the one to get angrier since he is generally a cold-hearted person. Although Torvald does get very mad, he never screams and throws objects around the room as would be expected. Patrick Garland's Torvald does a much better job at getting angry.

         In Patrick Garland's version of A Doll's House, Torvald, as depicted by Anthony Hopkins, seems very loving to his wife, Nora (Claire Bloom). He is always calling her pet names and hugging and kissing on her. They seem like the eternal newlyweds throughout the movie. Garland's Torvald gives Nora money because he knows she likes to buy new things for the children and herself. There is a connection between the two characters when they are in a room together, and the viewer knows that they love each other. When Nora is practicing her Tarantella dance for the party, Torvald playfully gets up and reminds her of the proper way to perform the dance. The shocking difference in Garland's Torvald is evident when he finds out about Nora's loan from Krogstad (Denholm Elliot) and forgery. For a man so loving to his wife throughout the movie, he becomes terribly angry with her in a split second. He screams at the top of his lungs, yells that she is a stupid woman, cleans off tables with one swipe of his arm, and even slaps Nora. The audience is able to feel Nora's pain as Torvald's fit of anger rages on. I never expected that kind of behavior out of Garland's Torvald. However, it really made the ending have a big impact on the entire movie.

         The anger management of the two different Torvalds surprised me on the basis of their personalities. The one that was generally an angry person does not get as angry as the happy-go-lucky Torvald in Garland's version. However, anger had been definitely a problem for both of them, which has precipitated the demise of their respective marriages to their Noras.

Paige LeFan

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