Saturday, June 16, 2018

My Victorian Year #24

This week I read in Anthony Trollope's Rachel Ray. But. I also watched a new-to-me adaptation of Little Women: a TV miniseries from 1978. I'll start with that!

This adaptation stars dozens of familiar faces. Meredith Baxter (Facts of Life) is Meg March. Susan Dey (Partridge Family) is Jo March. Eve Plumb (Brady Bunch) is Beth. Ann Dusenberry is Amy. (She was the only one I couldn't place clearly.) Dorothy McGuire is Marmee. (She was in Old Yeller and Swiss Family Robinson to name just two.) Greer Garson is Aunt March. (I know her best from Pride and Prejudice which made the scene where she's nagging Meg about her choice of husband seem very hypocritical). Robert Young was Laurie's grandfather. (Father Knows Best, Marcus Welby, M.D.) Richard Gilliland was Laurie (Theodore Lawrence). I was not familiar with him but he was a busy actor back in the day apparently. Cliff Potts was Mr. John Brooke. (Mom recognized him; I didn't.) William Shatner (Star Trek) as Professor Bhaer. Can't say that he could pull off a German accent. And a beardless Professor for Jo seemed a bit wrong. But he can pull off being a romantic it wasn't that bad. William Schallert as Mr. March. (The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Patty Duke Show, Star Trek's Trouble with Tribbles episode, etc.) Virginia Gregg as Hannah. (Emergency! Dragnet, Perry Mason, My Three Sons, etc.) John de Lancie (Star Trek Next Generation, Q) as Freddy Vaughan. (They list him as Frank Vaughn for some bizarre reason).

I enjoyed this one. I did. It was in two episodes. It stuck fairly closely to the book. Some of the dialogue really did the book justice.

The only issue I had with this adaptation is Amy. Granted Amy isn't my most favorite character to begin with. But in this adaptation she's played by one actress--not two. So instead of a young girl acting--well as Amy does--you have a fully-grown woman acting like an immature, spoiled BRAT. (And getting away with it.) The scenes where she throws fits are RIDICULOUS. Some of what Amy does passes somewhat if you can picture her in the eight-to-twelve age range. But to see a fully grown actress acting that way it was just GRATING on the nerves. This portrayal focuses more on the outward drama of Amy being Amy without the quieter, subtler scenes of her maturing over the course of the years. At least in the book, there's character growth and one sees Amy go from being that bratty-brat to being an older-and-wiser woman.

Turning to Rachel Ray. Luke Rowan goes to Rachel's house and meets her mother, Mrs. Ray. They all have tea. He finds a way to ask permission to call on Rachel and perhaps propose to her if all goes well. As he's leaving, Mrs. Prime is coming by unannounced. She's the sister--if you remember--and she has a HISSY fit. Not in front of Luke though. It's not the only drama going down either. Luke's mother has come to visit and she's heard rumors of this Rachel character. She's decided to loathe Rachel though she's never met her before. She's poor therefore shes' trash. As if that wasn't enough....Luke's business partner truly has a melt-down. It looks like they will have to bring in some lawyers to work everything out. 

Quotes from Anthony Trollope's Rachel Ray.
He looked and spoke like a sheep; but then, was it not known to all the world that wolves dressed themselves often in that guise, so that they might carry out their wicked purposes?
On Monday, Mrs. Prime had left the cottage; on Tuesday, Rachel had gone to a ball, expressly to meet the young man! and on Wednesday the young man was drinking tea at Bragg’s End cottage!
“We’re so glad to see you, Dolly,” said Rachel, and in Rachel’s voice there was no tone of shame. It was all just as it should not be!
“But what ails him that he shouldn’t be a very good young man?” says Mrs. Ray. “And if it was so that he was growing fond of Rachel, why shouldn’t he? And if Rachel was to like him, I don’t see why she shouldn’t like somebody some day as well as other girls.”
I believe he’s a very good young man, with nothing bad about him at all, and he is welcome to come here whenever he pleases. And as for Rachel, I believe she knows how to mind herself as well as you did when you were her age; 
And if a young man isn’t to be allowed to ask leave to see a young woman when he thinks he likes her, I for one don’t know how young people are to get married at all.”
She had resolved that Luke Rowan was a black sheep; that he was pitch, not to be touched without defilement;
Luke chose to manage the brewery instead of being managed; and had foolishly fallen in love with Rachel Ray instead of taking Augusta Tappitt to himself as he should have done.
The civility which he wants is the surrender of my rights. I can’t be so civil as that.
I intend to marry neither the mother nor the sister; but Rachel Ray I do intend to marry, — if she will have me.
 I intend that she shall be my equal, — my equal in every respect, if I can make her so. I shall certainly ask her to be my wife; and, mother, as my mind is positively made up on that point, — as nothing on earth will alter me, — I hope you will teach yourself to think kindly of her.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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