The Success of A Dollís House Films

         The most similar film-literature combination was Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House (1879) and the 1973 film directed by Patrick Garland. The other film, directed by Joseph Losey, was also a great interpretation of the play. These films went best with this play because they kept the central concept of Nora (Jane Fonda/Claire Bloom) attempting to do something on her own, failing, and then trying to avoid the outcome. They also show how women had very few of their own wills in the nineteenth century. They each also had their differences.

         The film directed by Joseph Losey had a different beginning to show the women, Nora and Christine (Delphine Seyrig), in their youth, excited about the married lives ahead of them. This scene also sets up more reasoning behind Krogstad's (Edward Fox) cruelty toward Nora and life in general.

         A major difference in the film directed by Patrick Garland was the obsessive behavior of Dr. Rank (Ralph Richardson). In the play, he obviously adored Nora (Claire Bloom); but in the film, his attraction for her was overwhelming. I think that his obsession almost took something away from the movie.

         These films did, however, have the important aspects of the play in them. They show that women had very few options available to them, yet they carried many burdens. Mrs. Linde (Anne Massey in Garland's film), for instance, lost her husband, lost her mother, took care of her brothers, and was then left on her own. Anne (Anna Wing/Edith Evans), the nurse, had to give up her own illegitimate child to take care of Nora because it was her best available option. Then there is Nora, who has had someone to look out for her through her entire life. The actresses portrayed her excellently by showing her childish manner, but they also showed her determination in pleasing her husband (Anthony Hopkins in Garland's film). Nora took a risk by forging her father's name and agreeing to pay back the money herself in order to save her husband. But in the nineteenth century, her mistakes were also considered his mistakes, and that is why he was so outraged when he learned what she had done. He almost had a right to be. The play and the film both have the audience torn, but more on Nora's side.

         The A Doll's House films portray the play so well. The actors and actresses portray the characters well also, and I enjoyed watching the films. I had no major objections to the way they were done. They left no important details out, and I found all of the main points from the play.

Adrienne Dumke

Table of Contents