A Room With A View - TV Version

I was so irritated by the latest television version of this classic novel that I had to wait for a day or two, just to calm down, before posting about it. Have to say I mostly hated it.
This is a much loved book as far as I'm concerned, one I read over and over again - and always find something new in it. But what could have possessed the ubiquitous Andrew Davies to change the ending so radically and what could have possessed whoever was in charge to let him? Or does he now have so much power in television circles that nobody dares to question him ?
If you haven't already watched it, don't. Go and buy the excellent movie version instead.
There were other faults with the production too, although it seems like overkill to detail them here. But one did wonder whether the casting director had quite deliberately chosen plain Brits so that he or she could contrast them with beautiful Italians. Plainness would have been forgiveable. It was just that the young men in particular had a lumpish and underanimated quality that made you wonder why anybody could ever have fallen for them. George came across as just a bit of a lad instead of the wonderful, complex and troubled young man of the novel and the film. Plus the accents, particularly Cecil's (who is written to perfection in the novel) were dodgy in the extreme. But all of this pales into insignificance beside Davies' inexplicable and wrong headed decision to kill off our hero in the war and show us a last scene with Lucy and a young Italian (admittedly a much more beautiful Italian than poor dead George) picnicking in the Florentine hills with the implication that there might just be a bit of obligatory Davies bonking round the corner.
It was AWFUL and not just because it wasn't Forster's ending at all. Because the new ending was predicted right at the start of this adaptation, and then throughout, by various flashes forward to a shorn and short skirted Lucy alone in Florence, the whole lovely balance of the book and the movie, the inevitability of the ending which is at once romantic and revolutionary, the headlong rush of it all, was not just upset but completely and utterly destroyed. Which perhaps explainswhy it left me feeling not just upset but incandescent with rage. I'll have to go and watch the film again, just to get a sense of perspective!


Anonymous said…
Didn't see this unfortunately. Thought this was interesting take though: http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/organgrinder/2007/10/a_sexy_poignant_room_with_a_vi.html

What it said about Julian Sands and class was interesting I thought. And Cecil. And the postscript ending.

I must be one of the only people on the planet who didn't love the film. I didn't hate it either but it never really hit any spot with me - much prefer Howard's End or The Remains of the Day or Passage to India which all seemed to have something more about them and something more to say. Still, thought I'd flag up the link in case of interest to you.
Interesting point of view Rosie. Still don't agree with it, but it's a fair enough argument! My quarrel with George (like the guardian blogger's observation about the film version of Cecil) was that he was just so unattractive and wishy washy that you couldn't see how anybody with Lucy's passionate nature could ever have fallen for him! The Cecil engagement was different in that it was undertaken in the headlong flight from all that George represented in terms of sexuality, physical love, etc - so that would have been understandable. And when it came to the final frame with the handsome Italian I was beside myself! Having dramatised rather a lot of books for radio at one time, I know there will always be complaints - but also there are some things you just have to leave alone when you are working on such a well loved book. I remember hearing somebody else's dramatisation of Wuthering Heights (never found one I like yet - wish they would let me do it!!!) in which the writer had given Frances and Hindley key roles very much at the expense of Cathy and Heathcliff. Just makes devotees of the book ballistic, (ie me) and confuses the others....
It would be like doing Ben Hur without the chariot race. Or The Hunchback of Notre Dame without those damn bells. Or Kidnapped without the tower at the House of Shaws. Or The Bride of Lammermoor without Lucy going comprehensively bananas. All of which I have dramatised, and all of which have included these key scenes. You might think about it briefly, but you just can't bring yourself to do it because there are things that people will always remember, whether from original novels, or films. I feel that we are all a bit like kids who get very angry when you try to 'miss a bit' because you are bored with whatever you are reading to them - but they aren't!
Very interesting debate though!
Anonymous said…
We in North America just saw this new version of ARWAV last Sunday. I can't agree with you more about the ludicrous twist in the ending, especially the last picnic scene. I've just written a review on it in my blog and just want to see what others feel about this Andrew Davis adaptation.
Also, you're right on about the casting. I remain a fan of the 1985movie, with its strong cast and excellent acting.
This is my first time visiting your blog and I find many of your posts just fascinating. Will sure come back for more!
-- Arti of Ripple Effects www.rippleeffects.wordpress.com
Anonymous said…
If I can add a word from Australia where this production was shown on Sunday 17 November. I thought the TV production fell down badly against the film version, and the final twist was completely inexplicable - what is the point? None of the cast measured up to the film cast, and the production did no justice to Forster's complex novel. I was also amazed that there was one scene where the noise from a passing motor bike had been left unedited - to me, this summed up the second ratedness of the whole production.