Hollywood Road to Great Britain

     Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play, A Doll's House, went to Great Britain's equivalent of Hollywood twice. Both movies were made in 1973; one was directed by Joseph Losey, and the other by Patrick Garland. Both movies carried off the play fairly well. However, Garland's film was far better due to certain attributes which include translation techniques, filming techniques, and metaphors.

     Patrick Garland's film was better translated than Losey's film. Although the facts were brought out in a slightly different order than in the original play, Garland's film was much more fluid in motion. Every essential fact was included was included in the movie, and every line of the screenplay was put together in such a way that the movie never seemed to stop or even stutter. Losey's film, on the other hand, was not as continual in motion. Although, Losey's film did more accurately follow the story line of A Doll's House and all the essential facts were included, the film was still choppy. There were many unnecessary scenes that tended to make Losey's movie long and boring.

     Patrick Garland's movie was filmed more artistically than Losey's film. Garland used many different camera angles to illustrate certain facts. For example, in the beginning of the movie Torvald (Anthony Hopkins) made Nora (Claire Bloom) act like a mouse in order to receive more money. When she did this he camera view was shot from above Anthony Hopkins' shoulder. This made him appear larger than Claire Bloom's Nora. This effect enabled Garland to further stress the idea that Torvald had a significant amount of control over Nora's life. In the end of the movie Garland used this sort of effect to Nora's advantage. Nora (Claire Bloom) told Torvald (Anthony Hopkins) to sit in a chair. After he had seated himself, the camera view shot back to make Anthony seem smaller and Claire larger.

     Patrick Garland's film was filled with metaphors. At certain points in the movie when a major point was stated, a significant action was taken by one of the characters to further impress the importance of the event. For example, when Nora finally found the courage to admit to Torvald that she had forged her father's signature, she changed her clothes. When Torvald asked Nora what she was doing, she replied, "I'm taking off my costume." At that moment it was very clear that Nora was not going to play Torvald's games anymore. It was very apparent that in fact Nora had "changed." At many other points in the movie there were similar metaphors the had to do with the control Torvald had over Nora's life. However, in Losey's film there were no significant metaphors used.

     Patrick Garland and Joseph Losey both directed a film based on A Doll's House. Although both films followed the play, Garland's version was better artistically. Garland drew from every angle he possibly could to improve the impact of the film on viewers, and that is what film making is all about.

Elizabeth Satterwhite

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