The Questionable Value of Added Scenes and Strident Feminism

         I think when Henrik Ibsen wrote A Doll’s House in 1879, he wanted Nora to be the focal point. He wanted her to be a hero, someone for the reader to look up to. She is held captive in a way by her husband’s ego. She plays down her own feelings, beliefs and wants to keep him happy. I think that the writer does a wonderful job of making us feel the emotions of the characters. When the director, Joseph Losey, and screenwriter, David Mercer, made the movie, they kept it close to the book; but the feminist Jane Fonda did not do justice to Ibsen’s Nora, whereas Claire Bloom was a more rounded version of the character in Patrick Garland’s 1973 cinematic version, which was closer to the original play.

         The only real difference in the Losey version was the scene in the beginning with Nora and Christine (Delphine Seyrig) at the restaurant, with the Norwegian snow outside, which shows Nora gushing over her future marriage to Torvald (David Warner). Although it might have been unnecessary, it does give the people watching the movie a visual background of the relationship of the characters in the film. However, Patrick Garland’s movie omits the above scenes.

         I believe that the director that cast Jane Fonda was trying to keep up with the “feminist” feel of the film, but I do not think that this was a good part for her to play. I believe that her views as a very vocal feminist hurt her as an actress. I do not think that she played the character Nora to the best of her very able acting ability. She did not show the timid and quiet and almost withdrawn Nora of the book. I know that Mrs. Fonda is a great actress, but I do not think that this was a role that she could dominate. If anything I think that she over-dominated the part. I do think that the other actress Claire Bloom, was a more rounded version of the character in her movie because she could portray Nora’s vulnerability and strength without a feminist agenda.

Kristin Anderson

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