In addition to reading Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play, A Doll's House, I had the pleasure of viewing the 1973 film directed by Joseph Losey. The director made one very big mistake from the very beginning. A mistake so great, in my opinion, made the film a flop before I ever viewed the first take. That mistake, was casting Jane Fonda in the role of Nora Helmer. Not only did the director make one mistake by casting Jane Fonda as leading lady; but he cast David Warner as Torvald Helmer, another catastrophe. While I have seen Warner in other movies and enjoyed his performances, he did nothing to help save this film from sinking into the history of cinema graphic flops.
The one thing that I did not hate in this movie was the beautiful scenery of Norway. This film, to my understanding was filmed on location in Roros, Norway. In the first scene, when Nora is at the restaurant with her school friend, Christine Linde (Delphine Seyrig), the director shows a take of the frozen pond and all the ice skaters. To give the director some credit, this was a good way of opening up the movie. Not only was the opening scene breathtaking, but there were several other winter scenes that were very beautiful as well. One scene that caught my attention was the scene in which the Helmers were leaving for Italy and the family was in the horse-drawn sleigh; the shot Losey took from above almost looked like a Christmas card.
The sad part about the movie and its scenery is that the scenery was about the only thing I did like about the movie. Jane Fonda overacted, as she does in any film, and totally annihilates the other characters. Jane is fake and unbelievable as a nineteenth-century homemaker. Fonda tried in this movie, as she does in all the movies I have seen with her in, omit--tries to be a queen bee of sorts. It was extremely hard for me to imagine her married to Torvald Helner, when all I kept thinking about was Ted Turner! Yuck!
I hate to be so judgmental of Jane Fonda; however, her portrayal of Nora Helmer ruined the entire movie. Jane needs to stick to workout videos; that way we can be sure no one ever watches her. Throughout the entire movie, during any scene Fonda was present, I had to control muscle spasms from my stomach forcing my dinner up. What can I say? Jane is a pain, and she does not belong on the big screen bringing literary masterpieces to life. My advice to Jane Fonda is to stay away from the big screen, (and me) and hide in a cave somewhere!