She Just Did Not Work for Me

     The film A Doll's House, Joseph Losey's 1973 cinematic version of Henrik Ibsen's 1879 A Doll's House, had an adverse effect on me, not because of the story line, but because of one Ms. Jane Fonda, who attempted to portray Nora Torvald. However, Claire Bloom's depiction of Nora in Patrick Garland's 1973 more traditional version had a positive effect on me.

     Now being a product of the 1960s, I had a problem with Ms. Fonda from the beginning. I could not see her in any other way except weaving through crowds of G.I's at army bases all over Vietnam. "G.I. Jane" seemed to think she could win the war just by her views and her presence. So, when I saw through this film, I could not focus on her in any other way. Nor could I see her in any other part. Jane was good at one thing, and that was manipulation. I will give her that, perhaps because I have a feeling that she may be that way in "real-life."

     Jane seemed to be trying to hard to be a good actress in this film, and she just could not pull it off. Ms. Fonda has her issues with feminism, and that is what she wanted to convey. It is my understanding that she used this film as a vehicle for her own feminist views, and I feel that is all I saw in this film.

     On the other hand, when I consider this same character, as she was played by Claire Bloom, I see a vast difference in the way I reacted to Nora's character. I did not know Claire Bloom, nor did I know any of her issues. Therefore, I was able to watch her with much more ease without all the baggage that Ms. Jane Fonda had carried with her into the part.

     Do I believe the actor can make or break a part? Yes, I do. It is my feeling that directors and producers need to look at the whole part and the whole person they want to play the part, before they choose someone just because of his or her name or a certain look he or she may have. For example, in another, more recent time zone, we have Ms. Meg Ryan, one of my favorite actresses, who could probably play the role of Nora quite convincingly. Ms. Ryan tends to do movies that are fairly light, romantic comedies, although she has played some more serious parts, such as Courage Under Fire, directed in 1996 by Edward Zwick. Moreover, the Meg Ryan I associate with such films as Sleepless In Seattle (1993) and You've Got Mail (1998), both directed by Nora Ephron, I could not associate with such inappropriate movies as Striptease, directed in 1996 by Andrew Bergman, or TV's The X files. I would hope that a producer would also see that when attempting to cast an important role. We tend to associate people with the way we first see them, in other words, our first impressions of them.

     Therefore, Jane Fonda, with all her real-life roles, in this film just seemed foreign to me as Nora in her version of A Doll's House, unlike Claire Bloom. Jane just did not work for me. That's a wrap.

Rory Hughes-Melton

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