Jane Flounders while Claire Blooms

     Although both the 1973 films of Henrik Ibsen's 1879 A Doll's House, directed by Joseph Losey and directed by Patrick Garland, respectively, are very much alike, they are also very different. In my opinion the, second version was clearly better than the first.

     My first observation was that the first had extra scenes than the second, scenes that were not in the play. Such scenes include the beginning where Christine (Delphine Seyrig) and Nora (Jane Fonda) are discussing marriage as younger girls. Another scene shows Christine telling Krogstad (Edward Fox) the reasons she cannot marry him. We also see Nora visiting her dying father and coping with her ill husband. This does not give very much of a surprise later in the plot, as it does in the book. The second movie did not have those scenes, which I felt was better, seeing as all of information presented in those scenes could have been held until later in the movie for time's and clarity's sake.

     Another aspect about the second movie that I liked was that most of the scenes were shot in the same location. With the exception of the opening scenes and a few scenes throughout the movie, all of the shooting was done in the apartment building where the Helmers lived. In the first movie, the scenes were shot everywhere in the town, making the action seem more realistic than the second, but less like the play that was originally written.

     The final and most important reason that I felt the second version was the best was the acting. Claire Bloom and Anthony Hopkins did an excellent job. When reading the book, I could imagine Torvald's gooey sweet words flowing out of his mouth, as they did from Hopkins' mouth. The first Torvald, as portrayed by David Warner, seemed very sarcastic. He did not touch his Nora, depicted by Jane Fonda, and he really did not seem to care for her too much. He may have been in love with her, but he did not show it too well. However, the way that Bloom and Hopkins interacted-- always touching and flirting--made Torvald's infatuation with Nora more realistic. The way that his words were so light-hearted and sing-songy were exactly as I has imagined they would be.

     Because of the tighter story structure, the limited location shooting, and the loving nature of the Helmers in the second version, I much preferred it to the first version.

Julie Hallemeier

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