A Dream Cinematic Collaboration

         Henrik Ibsen's 1879 A Doll's House is an interesting story, and both 1972 films we were exposed to do an equally impressive job of portraying it. If the two films, directed by Joseph Losey and Patrick Garland respectively, could have collaborated, the story could have been displayed better. Switching out some of the actors and scenes would have made a great improvement.

         I enjoyed the filming in Norway in Losey's version even though showing more of Nora (Jane Fonda) and Krogstad's (Edward Fox) meetings outside in the snow drifted from the original play. It gave a colder, more depressing feel to the story. It just added to the mood of the film more appropriately.

        Unlike Denholm Elliot, Edward Fox portrayed Nils Krogstad perfectly!! Elliot's Krogstad seemed too shy to pull the character off. Fox was cold and snide to Nora and wonderfully complex] in the role. Even though Losey's A Doll's House showed Krogstad with his children more than the other version and made him appear to be softer and kinder when he was around his children, Fox overcame that temptation to be softened in his dealings with Nora until the end of the movie and in doing so strengthened his character.

        The role of Christine Linde was better executed by Delphine Seyrig in Losey's A Doll's House. Anna Massey's appearance in Garland's version made her seem not intelligent enough for the role. Christine is a woman who has put the care of her family before any of her wants and desires. Because of this, life has been hard on her. Massey just did not pull off the character as well as Sevrig.

         Unlike David Warner's cold, surly Torvald in Losey's version, Anthony Hopkins in Garland's version was a wonderful Torvald.  His representation was more loving and affectionate when those characteristics were called for. His final scene was also much more passionately done. Even though viewers, especially women, were glad to see Nora take a stand for herself, viewers actually felt sorry for Hopkins' Torvald. The viewers could see the look of desperation in his eyes and felt as though he sincerely regretted his actions.

        In the role of Nora, I felt as though Jane Fonda fit the role more appropriately. She had a more childish and chipper personality in her interpretation. Claire Bloom's Nora in Garland's movie was too mature for the role. Bloom's image of creating the exterior of the perfect family and her nervous interior of her world falling apart was not done as well as Fonda's. Fonda's character was more expressive in her emotions. Also, Bloom's final scene was too drawn out. Audiences seem to get bored with her speech and begin to drift from watching the film.

        If the two directors and their fellow film makers could have collaborated on Ibsen's A Doll's House, they could have made a better interpretation that would have appealed to more viewers.

Brittany Fentress

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