Opening Up?

         And the award does not go to A Doll's House, directed in 1973 by Joseph Losey. We all know the story. Nora, played by Jane Fonda, walks into the house eating her forbidden coconut cookies (macaroons) and places Christmas presents around the Christmas tree. Presuming we all do know the story, I have to wonder what in the world was the first scene of this particular Doll's House movie all about? In this viewer's eyes, Joseph Losey "opens up" Henrik Ibsen's famous 1879 play terribly.

         It is not the fact that the director was trying to introduce the viewer to the beautiful Norwegian setting, where the movie was shot. It is all in the way he did it. Let me reintroduce you to the particular scene. The film opens. Nora and Christine (Delphine Seyrig) are sitting, talking about Nora's soon-to-be wedding. I guess they are supposed to be in school? No one really knows. We see the soon-to-be villain (besides Torvald) of the film Krogstad (Edward Fox) give Christine a dirty look from across the room. All of this in my opinion could have been left out.

         Foreshadowing is supposed to be done artfully-so one sees it, but one does not. The foreshadowing of the Christine and Krostad story is handled much better in the book. In the movie one gets a feel (due to the look) that this man has been wronged by this woman. In the book when Krogstad comes to the house while Christine is there, she simply asks Nora, "Is that Nils Krogstad?" The reader has a sense that they knew one another by name-possibly nothing more.

         I guess the one positive effect the "opening up" had on the film was the fact that the viewer did get to see a beautiful Norwegian countryside. I did like the way certain scenes were taken outside-shopping in the streets, the children sledding, Nora contemplating life, and all of the beautiful sled horses moving through the snow. All of this was shot outside. This gave the film a "movie" feel rather than a play. All of this, however, is still no excuse for adding the first scene between Nora and Christine in the coffee shop.

Rachel Zaudke

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