A Dollís House, Movie (Fonda) versus Play

         I was definitely not a huge fan of the 1973 movie version of Henrik Ibsenís 1879 A Dollís House, directed by Joseph Losey. I do not think that Jane Fonda was nearly subtle enough in her role as Nora. From the very beginning it was completely clear to anyone watching that Nora was much smarter and conniving than Torvald (David Warner) gave her credit for. The moment he left the room she automatically deepened and slowed her voice and spoke much more intelligently.

         I am biased against Fonda, of course, as my grandfather fought in Vietnam and absolutely forbade the watching of any Jane Fonda movie in his home, often criticizing her acting and character in general. This was the very first Jane Fonda movie I had ever watched, and she definitely did not impress. My grandfather was right: her acting left a lot to be desired. She was about as subtle as a shovel to the back of the head.

         I am not a huge fan of the play as virtually the entire thing is Nora prancing around pretending to be an idiot for her condescending, chauvinistic husband, but just reading about it is infinitely better than having to watch it unfold onscreen. The best part of the entire movie was really Trevor Howard as Dr. Rank. He really held the movie together for me. He was charming and snarky, just how I picture Dr. Rank when I read the play.

         So, really, I am just not a huge fan of A Dollís House, but I at least understand why the play is important. David Warner and Jane Fonda simply just do not have the chemistry to keep me interested in their lackluster portrayals of Torvald and Nora. I was a much bigger fan of either the play, or the Anthony Hopkins version. Hopkins was able to give his character enough humanity that it was actually a little heartbreaking when Nora leaves him at the end.

Alexa K Adams