Tale of Two Torvalds

         Two movie versions of Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play A Doll's House were presented in class: one directed by Joseph Losey, the other directed by Patrick Garland. Both were made in the same year, 1973. Both only slightly diverge from the dialogue in the original play. With the exception of a few added scenes, a couple rearranged or changed lines of dialogue; and a couple of locations both of the movies are almost identical to the play. However, with all of these similarities, the movies are still very different; this mainly presents itself in the choice of actors, their acting styles, and the tone and pronunciation of lines. One of the biggest differences resounds in the actors playing Torvald; in Losey's version he is played by David Warner, and in Garland's release Anthony Hopkins portrays him.

         Warner's Torvald seems almost dismissive of Nora (Jane Fonda) from the very beginning; he seems rough and uncaring toward her. He just does stuff to get her out of his way so he can attend to business. He gives Nora money and leaves her alone. He is reprimanding and unkind when she pretends she cannot remember the dance. Basically, he does not appear to be very loving.

         Hopkins' Torvald, in contrast, seems to genuinely love Nora (Claire Bloom). He does things to try to make her happy, gives her money or caters to her. He tries to explain his actions to her. He spends time with her. While he does seem to get slightly agitated when she says she cannot remember the dance, he is slightly teasing about it. Most importantly, however, he seems truly destroyed and devastated when she decides to leave. This is only one of the few differences in character. Every character seems almost original when the two movies are compared.

Sandra Way

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