Clever Woman in a Doll's World

     The play A Doll's House was very interesting. The most interesting thing about the play is that it can be applied to many families today. Unfortunately, there are still many women that depend on the man for everything, or the man expects them to be depended upon, and women are not always given an opportunity to express their true intellect. Women are very smart and cunning. I think that many people would say that women could be more sly than men. A Doll's House, the 1879 play, written by Henrik Ibsen, and A Doll's House, the 1973 film, directed by Joseph Losey, differ in many ways. The main plot of the play remains the same; however, the film rearranges some of the settings of events.

     The film opens up the plot and the setting in the very beginning for the audience. In the film, more background information is given than what is in the book. The opening begins with the friendship of Mrs. Linton (Delphine Seyrig) and Nora ( Jane Fonda), talking about Nora's soon-to-be husband, Torvald (David Warner). Then, Mrs. Linton begins to talk with Krogstad (Edward Fox) about a letter she had written him telling him that she was giving him up because she had to be with someone that had money to support her family. However, in the book we are led to discover all of this information, but it is meant to be discovered at specific intervals, basically as it becomes important to the plot of the play. This opening up in the film seemed to take something away from the performance.

     In one of the scenes Torvald pays a visit to Dr. Rank (Trevor Howard) at his medical office. In this scene, Dr. Rank shows Torvald a slide of what he thinks may be wrong with himself. However, in the book we are told that Torvald does not like messy or nasty things. In the film when Christine reunites with Nora, Nora immediately takes Christine into her bedroom, whereas in the play, they talk in the parlor. When Krogstad approaches Nora about keeping his position at the bank in the play, they are in the parlor. However, in the film Krogstad and Nora take a walk and speak of the predicament in a secluded place. This would be another example of the way film opens up the setting for the audience.

     I also found it really interesting that in the film, Torvald tells Nora that they would share the crisis as man and wife if Krogstad tried to start anything with him. Nora also takes a trip to visit Dr. Rank in his home, which was odd since that in the play Nora never really leaves the house. The play never mentions that the people of Norway use sleighs to get from place to place, but the film uses them to open up the setting. Also, I had no idea how gorgeous Norway could be. The snow was absolutely beautiful, and I usually abhor snow.

     For the most part, the play and the film goes along the same guidelines. Nora still leaves Torvald; Krogstad still writes the letter, and Dr. Rank is still dying. I thought it was interesting that they were able to keep so close to the plot of the play and make the film a success. The only thing I did not really like was that Jane Fonda's Nora seemed to be trying to hard to make her character believable, so something was lost from the performance.

Mendy Adair

Table of Contents