Character Swapping between Two Cinematic A Dollís House Versions

        After we read the 1879 play A Dollís House, by Henrik Ibsen, we were fortunate enough to see two movie adaptations of the play. This gave me a better ability to analyze both the book and the movies because it gave two different portrayals of some of the characters and the way things were interpreted.

        In the book, the scene begins with Nora coming home after Christmas shopping. In the first movie we viewed, directed by Joseph Losey, the first scene open with people ice skating and we meet Nora (Jane Fonda) and Christine (Delphine Seyrig) and learn that Nora is soon to be married to Torvald. I think this scene was added to give the viewer who had not read the book some history and idea of what was going on, though I do not know that it was necessary.

        The beginning of the second movie, directed by Patrick Garland, starts the same way as the book did. I liked this movie version better for I believe it was closer to the book. Also, most of the acting was better than in the first movie. For example, in the first movie, I felt annoyed with Jane Fonda's Nora. She came off even more flighty and fake than I felt she was in the book. In the second movie, however, the performance was better. Claire Bloom's Nora and Anthony Hopkins' Torvaldís relationship seemed more realistic.

        I would, however, liked to have swap some characters from the first movie to put in the second to make the cast perfect. The doctor (Trevor Howard), Christine, and Krogstad (Edward Fox) from the first adaptation were more convincing and lively. In the second movie, Christine, as portrayed by Anna Massey, came off as bland and a forgettable character. The doctor, as depicted by Ralph Richardson, was grimmer, not how I pictured in the book. He was funnier and more real in the first one. Also, he was not as creepy. And Krogstad, as acted by Denholm Eliot, in the second production did not seem like one to blackmail. He seemed nervous and not exactly like he wanted revenge. He was more like just a timid salesman or something. Krogstad in the first movie, however, was more vicious and seemed tortured. It was easier to see in the first movie that Krogstad really loved Christine and that she loved him. The scene where they finally get back together and he is going to take the letter back but Christine stops him is one of my favorites because it really looks as though they cared for each other, as opposed to the second film where the scene just seemed to fall flat.

Sarah Verive