Thursday, June 08, 2017

Portrait of a Lady (1968)

Portrait of a Lady (1968) starring Richard Chamberlain, Suzanne Neve, Edward Fox, Ed Bishop, James Maxwell, Rachel Gurney, Sarah Brackett, and Kathleen Byron.

 I recently read and reviewed Henry James' Portrait of a Lady. This is the film adaptation my library had. It is a six-part miniseries from 1968--a BBC production. So even though James is an American author, this is a British production of his work. The book begins and ends in England, so that makes sense to me.

If you are looking for a production that stays true to the original, then this miniseries is for you. It hasn't been that long since I read the book, and, I can tell you that I recognized lines of dialogue as coming straight from the book.

Isabel Archer, the heroine, seeks to see the world and make her own path. At first she is greatly helped by her aunt and cousin. Ralph, the cousin, becomes one of her best friends. He is her biggest advocate. He convinces his father--her uncle--to leave her a lot of money in his will. He does. And she uses that money to see much. Unfortunately, she's now become even more vulnerable. Gilbert Osmond, for example, wants to marry her for her MONEY. Her money will make him a man. Of course, his idea of a perfect wife is a woman with no thoughts, ideas, opinions of her own. And absolutely she must be void of all gumption and independence. Her money may be his salvation. But the marriage may prove her undoing. But Isabel doesn't take marriage lightly. And though she realizes after the fact that her charming suitor is a monster, she's in it for better or worse. But that doesn't mean she won't follow her heart, her conscience. The same conscience that won't let her leave him, is the same one that calls to her that she must attend her dying cousin's deathbed no matter what her husband dictates.

I definitely enjoyed this 1968 production. It is almost six hours in length. I will admit that it looks like an "old" production. You can definitely tell the difference between a BBC production say from the 60s or 70s and one from the 2000s. But I appreciate that nothing has been added to make it more dramatic and appealing. I have not seen the 1996 production, but it describes itself as sensual.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Joy Weese Moll said...

I don't think I've seen either version. Sounds interesting.

hopeinbrazil said...

Thanks for this review. I have yet to read the book, but I'll look for this video to supplement my reading.