Don't Judge a Book by Its Movie

         It is always exciting to see particular books made into a movie; however, sometimes we are somewhat disappointed in the result. Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll's House is both original and suspenseful throughout. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the 1973 film version, directed by Joseph Losey and starring Jane Fonda. While the book was interesting to read and perhaps what one could call "a page turner," I spent much of the movie only awaiting its ending.

         The characters in the story were each very different from one another, both in their thinking and their personalities; and this factor is what really fueled the intrigue of the book. Furthermore, the manner in which Ibsen wrote the book made it as simple to understand as the characters themselves. Unfortunately, it seems that the film version demanded simply too much presence and difference in each of these characters. During much of the movie I found myself rolling my eyes at Nora, not because of her ignorance and childish manner; that is simply the nature of the character. It was more the overacting, overexcited manner in which Jane Fonda portrayed this character that made me feel as if the book was not being done justice.

         In addition to Fonda's overacting, it was matched only by David Warner's flat portrayal of Torvald Helmer, Nora's proud husband. The character of Torvald Helmer is known for being an intellectually gifted businessman; furthermore, he seems to find his little wife very cute and obviously childish. This is very apparent in Ibsen's book, and he fact that he is a busy man is also represented in the film. However, I found Warner to appear perhaps too stiff, cold, and masculine to be heard realistically uttering the words, "Is that my little lark twittering out there?" I certainly do not believe this is the stunning performance that led to his getting a part in The Omen less than three years later.

         Of course, I hate to seem what one may consider "harsh;" both Jane Fonda and David Warner possess fine acting abilities. However, I feel A Doll's House would have been better left to actors who were not so different in real life as the characters they were portraying. What started out as a demand for difference between characters, seems to have ended up too much of a difference between Ibsen's characters and the actors.

Alexis Dixon

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