Vanity Fair is arguably the crowning achievement of British author William Makepeace Thackeray. In it, he created perhaps the greatest anti-heroine in English literature, Becky Sharp. The name of the novel is an allusion to a place found in Pilgrim’s Progress where travelers’ find themselves lured in by a fascination of material things. It can also be read as a satire on English society of that time. Thackeray’s masterpiece has been adapted for both the big and small screen many times. But despite having seen two film versions, it is iTV’s recent adaptation which finally introduced me to the brilliance of Vanity Fair.
Vanity Fair follows the journey of two young ladies from their friendship at school, through a decade of their lives.
Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley cannot be more different. Becky is orphaned and without fortune, but uses her education, charm and beauty to make the most of her paltry connections. Above all she desires financial security and the influence of social position. She has no conscience about how she achieves these things. In her ruthless betterment of self, Becky manipulates various members of the Crawley family, Amelia’s brother Jos and eventually the Marquis de Steyne. Though she eventually obtains her objectives, it comes at a higher price than she expects.
In contrast, Amelia is sweet-natured but passive and completely naïve to the true natures of those she loves best. Unlike Becky, her only real wish is to settle down with her fiancé George Osborn to a life of happy domesticity. William Dobbin an army captain and friend to George secretly assists her in gaining her heart’s desire. Like Becky, Amelia eventually realizes her dream, but it also comes at a high cost.
As these women navigate ambition, romance, war and disappointment they must eventually face the truth and consequences of their choices. They must also decide if they are willing to change.
For the full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.
Having recently written reviews for both Andrew Lloyd Webber’s film version of The Phantom of the Opera as well as a sequel novel, I decided it was high time I actually read Gaston Leroux’s original novel. As I’ve written in an earlier post, I don’t usually enjoy classic literature. I generally find it long-winded and with dour hidden message about the evils of life. But when writing about film adaptations and book sequels, reading the source material is a must.
For those unfamiliar with the story it is somewhat of a Beauty and the Beast type tale. The orphaned Christine Daae works as a dancer at the Paris Opera House, but has secretly been taking lessons from a figure she knows as the Angel of Music. At the same time the opera’s new managers are under the impression that the stories of the Opera’s ghost are just an elaborate practical joke perpetrated by the former owners. Rumors and tragic events which have occurred are all linked to this mysterious ghost.
Meanwhile, a young Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny returns to Paris and notices his old playmate Christine. Initially Christine ignores him and then sends him mixed signals which drives the immature but lovelorn Raoul to distraction. He is never quite assured of Christine’s affection, but eventually they play at an engagement. Christine finally confesses her love, knowing it is for naught since she is bound to her music tutor.
Everything comes to a head when Christine disappears from the stage in the middle of a performance. Continue reading “Book Review -Phantom of the Opera”
Il Paradiso delle Signore is an Italian television drama series loosely based on Emile Zola’s novel Au Bonheur Des Dames.
After breaking her engagement with the mayor’s son, Teresa escapes her small village and heads to Milan to visit her uncle. On her very first day in the city, she happens to run into Pietro Mori. A man with a very mysterious past, he also happens to be the owner of the ladies department store, Il Paradiso delle Signore. Teresa also meets Mori’s right hand man, long time friend and the store’s genius ad-man, Vittorio Conti.
Both men are instantly smitten with her and a love triangle forms when Teresa begins work as a sales girl in the store. But Mori is hiding a dark secret which is threatening his business and Vittorio is quite the ladies man. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Il Paradiso delle Signore (2015)”