Is Third Time Really a Charm?

     The old saying, "Third time's a charm," definitely did not ring true for Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play, A Doll's House. After reading the play and viewing both of the 1973 film adaptations, which were directed by Joseph Losey and Patrick Garland, I decided that with these three works, the first time had actually been the charm. Losey and especially Garland should have thought twice about remaking Ibsen's play without adding something a little different to each of their works. What is the point in making two films and one play with the same title, identical plots and even most of the same spoken lines?

     Simply reading Ibsen's play would have given me sufficient exposure to this story. At least in my first encounter with the story line, I was able to use my own imagination to develop characters and settings that lived up to the story itself. That always seems to be the advantage for curling up and reading a good book over watching a dull film.

     Even though I did enjoy reading the play, the story became redundant and very uninteresting after viewing the two films. I found my attention drifting off during both movies, especially Garland's, because I knew exactly what was going to happen next. At least in all of the other films we have viewed this semester there have been some plot twists or changes made from the first film adaptation to the second. For example, the endings in the adaptations of Emily Brontė's 1847 Wuthering Heights were completely different. I had no idea how the second film was going to end, so it kept me interested. Both versions of A Doll's House had the same plot, the same lines and the same ending. There was not even a big difference in most of the actors who starred in these two films. It was boring to have to sit through this film the first time and even more so the second time. The only thing that kept my attention in Garland's film was Nora's (Claire Bloom) pitiful attempts to imitate a squirrel.

     Henrik Ibsen had the right idea when he was writing this play. In my opinion, he was the only one of these three men who produced a work that was worthy of my classmates' and my time. In the future, I would suggest for any director to choose a new and original story to use for his or her film.

Regina Clark

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