Floundering Jane versus Blooming Claire

         After I watched both Joseph Losey's and Patrick Garland's 1973 cinematic adaptations of Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play A Doll's House, I realized that Claire Bloom does a much better job playing the role of Nora Helmer than Jane Fonda could have possibly dreamed of doing.

         In the beginning of Ibsen's play. Nora is quite childlike. She lets her husband lead her around by the nose. Until the very end of the play, Torvald is in control of her actions. Jane Fonda, because of her raging feminism, could not possibly portray Nora as her character truly should be. Jane Fonda's Nora seems much more self-assertive throughout the movie. Therefore, the role is much more toned down and fails to evoke the same kind of emotion that Nora's role in Ibsen's play would have. Fonda does not seem to be Nora so much as she had wanted to be Nora. It seems to me that Joseph Losey could have done a much better job choosing the cast for his version of A Doll's House.

         Patrick Garland's depiction of Ibsen's play is of far better quality than the previous. Claire Bloom is an excellent choice for the role of Nora. Her performance (especially when compared to that of Jane Fonda's) is spectacular. Bloom actually seems as though she were Nora Helmer. She performs all of the ridiculous tricks that Torvald (Anthony Hopkins) demands of Nora. The fight that acts as a catalyst for Nora's departure is also much more believable. In Losey's version, I really did not feel certain that Nora had a reason to leave Torvald because the fight is so bland and dull. I had no such problem with Garland's work. I actually became angry at the characters in the film. Any time a movie can spark such a reaction with the audience I would call it a success.

         Claire Bloom is obviously a better choice for the role of Nora than Jane Fonda. Joseph Losey could learn a great deal from Patrick Garland--at least about casting.

Mary Parker

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