Hey dilettantes, thespians, and artists alike!
Sorry it’s been a while since the last entry, but I was having trouble coming up with a decent way to close up Tudor England month here on Puccini’s Chronicles. And I think a nice way to take it full circle would be to bring it back to the story that started it: Phillipa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl. In contrast to the successful page-to-screen translation of A Man for All Seasons, highlighted in a previous post, TOBG wasn’t nearly as well-received by critics and audiences. We’re going to look at one particularly entertaining (and scathing!) review of the movie…and a couple of my own opinions…
The author of the film review was historian Alex von Tunzelmann. She first goes on to skewer the source material, which apparently changed the historical role of Mary Boleyn from that of a bed-hopping eldest sister to the innocent younger sister of Anne and George Boleyn. In the book, Mary’s motives and feelings are thoroughly explored to make this inaccuracy plausible, but for film, Gregory’s 600+ page yarn had to lose most of the detail that made it a great read. Ironically, she actually was a fan of the screenplay for her story. Von Tunzelmann (and other critics) note that while the casting of Anne (Natalie Portman), Mary (Scarlett Johansson), and Henry VIII (Eric Bana) was on point, the love triangle between the three was poorly staged and not terribly sincere.
One thing that Gregory’s novel got right was the number of Mary’s children by the king: two. In the movie, however, only one (the son) has existence. Also, my personal favorite parts of the book (the romance between Mary and her second husband William Stafford) were turned into a literal footnote of the film. But at least Stafford was portrayed by the then-unknown Les Mis star Eddie Redmayne.
By the way- congratulations to “Mary Boleyn” on the birth of her real-life daughter this week, who has a remarkably classic name: Rose Dorothy.
As for the announcements: One, the fictional Giacomo Puccini story that began this website will be suspended indefinitely until someone else submits a chapter for it. There’s only so much exposition I can create! If you like what you’ve seen so far, become an author for it. Please?
The second announcement is that of our theme for the month of September: COLOR. What do I mean by color? Well, anything- use of color in art, musical tone color, even color words in the titles of songs (think “Rhapsody in Blue” or “White Christmas”). This is going to be a very broad topic that investigates the different emotions evoked by notions of color.