Film Comparison - A Doll's House

             In class, we were shown two film versions of Ibsen's play, "A Doll's House." The first, starring Anthony Hopkins, was a more strict adaptation of the play. The second, featuring Jane Fonda, presented a broader vision of the play by using additional scenes and dialogue to expand the viewer's understanding of the characters and their dilemmas. For simplicity's sake, this essay shall refer to the films as "strict" or "broad" respectively, in order to identify them. First, the original play's impressions are quite different from the film versions in the reading. A reader is left only to the benefit of her own imagination while reading a play. It seems actually more like listening to an old fashioned radio show because it is mostly dialogue. But there aren't even tones of voice with which we interpret so much conversation. There are no rehearsed or measured pauses which create a very frenetic impression of many of the characters – especially Nora. Nora comes across as a top spinning out of control. Her husband reads as disinterested, his affections just that, affected. Christine is not anchored into the plot as well as she is in film. Strangely, Grogstad seems even more threatening on paper than on film. My conclusion, as one not accustomed to plays or theatre is that a script is the original physical reality of a play but that it takes the winds of theatrical talent to breathe life into it. The characters seem one-dimensional. The author may have his intentions but the soul of each performance and the spirit in which it speaks its truths to the audience varies. That variation depends on exactly what the director wants the audience to perceive.
             The strict film adaptation confined itself largely to a set approximating a stage set. It began literally at the beginning without embellishing. Without an introduction, the plot is hard to grasp and it is much easier to criticize the characters for surface impressions than to empathize or und...

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