Finally, a Human Torvald!

        After watching Joseph Losey’s disheartening 1973 adaptation of A Doll’s House, I was relieved after seeing Patrick Garland’s 1973 re-make. His choice in actors was a complete turnaround from Losey’s version. Also, the overall feel of Garland’s movie was much more pleasing to the audience. The film captured much of the emotion that the play’s original author, Henrik Ibsen, had intended back in 1879.

        The biggest turnaround was the way that Garland presented Torvald, the play’s protagonist. Anthony Hopkins brought life to the role, while David Warner’s take on the character in Losey’s version lacked hardly any human emotion. As Torvald, Hopkins showed the positive emotions that Torvald possessed at the beginning of the play. It was not just the positive emotions that made Hopkins’ Torvald better, but also his condescending attitude and his hatred of Nora close to the end of the play enhanced his performance. The anger that Hopkins shows toward Nora (Claire Bloom) is much more emotionally-driven and more believable, mainly because of his demeanor toward her at the beginning of the film. It seemed as though Hopkins’ Torvald had come a very long way in his hatred of Nora. Warner’s version, however, seemed to despise her from the very beginning.

        The setting in Garland’s version was much easier to cope with as well. The same snowy, Norwegian atmosphere was the setting, but Hopkins and Bloom made it much more tolerable for the audience. The bond between the characters was much more evident in Garland’s film; and, in return, that bond truly helped offset the cold and lifeless weather of Norway.

        While the only advantage that Losey had on Garland’s version of the film was that Losey had actually filmed in Norway, it was by no means enough to justify it as a “better” movie. Because of the acting of Anthony Hopkins and Claire Bloom, and the interaction that Garland forced upon their respective characters, their version takes the cake as the more favorable film adaptation of A Doll’s House.

Marshall Toy

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