One of the reasons I’m not blogging very much at the moment is because I’m working my way through the TV version of Brideshead Revisited. It really is probably the most perfect screen adaption of any novel ever. The only possible fault is Anthony Andrews’ Sebastian. He’s a bit too spoilt and self pitying.
My favorite characters are Cordelia (with her pig Francis Xavier and her black Cordelia babies) and the elder Mr Ryder: “Your friend who was ill. Did he die?” “No father.” “I’m so glad. I worried so much about him…” Mr Ryder is up there with Jane Austen’s Mr Bennett or Mr Woodhouse as comic father figures, and the grotesque Anthony Blanche counts as one of the most uniquely hilarious and revolting fictional characters every created.

The scenes in Venice, Oxford and Brideshead capture the book perfectly, and each character is played to precision.

Waugh referred to Brideshead as he was writing it as his G.E.M (Great English Masterpiece) One of the best things about the book is that it portrays very flawed Catholics (as well as a few saints) with total realism, and conveys Catholicism as something that is first of all true–and not primarily attractive for superficial reasons.

I could say more, but I must prepare RCIA for this week. It’s on confession.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13669565372315999650 Jeffrey Smith

    Say more later, then. I’ll never forget the scene of the standard being lowered when Lord Marchmain died. You forgot to mention the music fits it perfectly.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04298493682961935337 Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ

    I njust received the DVD pack..Anthony Andrews..well gorgeous comes to mind!

  • Anonymous

    Love this series — it’s a true classic, and infinitely superior to the crap that’s on the air today. Anthony Andrews, in his prime, wsa indeed scrumptious to behold, even as you say his Sebastian was a whinger. For this superior kind of drama, my hat is off to the British — “Nobody does it better”!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06710927638399318664 A Simple Sinner

    I have always been afraid to watch it… Compared to how it looks in my mind – perhaps my favorite book, which I have read 5-6 times…But now you are making me reconsider. I trust your opinion enough to know you don’t “blow smoke.”You know I still laugh out loud when reading the page where Charles Ryder takes a friend home to visit his father, and his father just bored and attempting to amuse himself pretends to misunderstand Charles’ friend (who is English) to be from America… “Cricket, something rather similar to the baseball you Americans play!”Very funny.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10697706672495544901 Catholic Bibliophagist

    Simple Sinner,Do give the dramatization a try. The portrayal of Mr. Ryder is spot on.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06710927638399318664 A Simple Sinner

    That settles it!Will do!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13669565372315999650 Jeffrey Smith

    I can only say it’s the best and most faithful film adaptation of a book I’ve ever seen. That may be because it had the finest group of actors ever assembled. Sir John Gielgud got old Ryder’s playacting perfectly.