A Dollís House: Joseph Losey versus Patrick Garland

        There are two film versions of A Dollís House, both directed in 1973 and based on Henrik Ibsenís play, which was written in 1879. One version was directed by Joseph Losey and the other one by Patrick Garland. Nevertheless, the storyline is in both movies pretty similar and close to the play. Nora has secretly taken out a loan and commits forgery in order to help her sick husband, Torvald. From that point on she lives in fear of Torvardís finding out. As he finds out, he sees his reputation injured and blames his wife. Finally, Nora realizes how naive she has been and leaves her husband. Although both movies lack exciting moments and are very static, I argue that Garlandís adaptation is the better one because of the acting.

        In the film directed by Garland, Anthony Hopkins portrays Torvald, and Claire Bloom plays Nora perfectly. The play is a classic, and it is acted to perfection by an excellent actors. Bloom's portrayal of Nora shows her to be cunning and deceptive from the start, but cleverly playing the game of being her husband's little 'doll.' Her voiceís intonation changes all the time and is full of emotions. Hopkins is pompous, arrogant and authoritarian, oblivious to his insensitivity to his wife's feelings and needs.

        In contrast, in Loseyís adaptation Nora is played by Jane Fonda. At a first glance Fondaís appearance seems to fit perfectly. However, her acting is very monotonously and emotionless. Her voice never goes up and down. Moreover, Bloom is able to let the audience feel Noraís transformation, whereas Fonda is never able to show Noraís struggle. David Warner, who portrays Torvald, does a good job and shows who is the boss, but it is hard to see the insensitivity and the struggle, especially at the end of the movie, when Nora leaves Torvald.

        Thus, Patrick Garlandís version is definitely the better adaptation of Henrik Ibsenís play A Dollís House. As already mentioned above, I am not a real fan of both movies, and I do not know why two versions of the play were released in the same year.

Sebastian Mildner