Monday 18 May 2015

Far from the Madding Crowd

When farmer Oak smiled ... So begins chapter one - that is if you're reading Thomas Hardy - but not if you are watching this year's film release starring Carey Mulligan. The actors do well against beautiful location shots. But with such lines as 'Whenever I look up there you will be and whenever you look up there I will be' missing totally from the script I wondered whether anyone had tried reading the text. 'The knot of knots there's  no untying' was removed from the script too. The excellent scene where Troy says to Fanny after she's gone to the wrong church for their wedding 'More fool you for so fooling me'  was, yes, you guessed it, absent too.

Troy is badly cast - imho - the scene where he shows Bathsheba his sword fighting skills doesn't excite. Fanny has no dog to lean on as she struggles to the workhouse. The reason poor Fanny's coffin  
rests for a night at Bathsheba's farm is because the driver of the 'hearse' is too late for the church. While she is cold in her coffin he has been carousing in the pub. The pitiful scene where Troy tries to plant bulbs on her grave, too late a task, and they are washed away by water from the spout in the mouth of the ugly gargoyle above her resting place, is completely missing. Bathsheba spends a night sleeping out of doors - outcast. Shouldn't this have been included? Another key scene which has vanished is where Troy is disguised as a player in a travelling circus and sees Bathsheba and farmer Boldwood in the audience - as a couple - she's been told he's drowned.

Why bother making a film of a book and make it into a typical Saturday evenng TV drama ? With such rich phrases from  Hardy still available to us - why not use these profound words?