Thursday, April 3, 2014

Revisiting "Brideshead Revisited"

Today, as I was riding my bike through Berlin's famed Tiergarten Park, I was reminded of Brideshead Revisited, the television adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's 1945 novel. Somehow, the landscapes found in the Tiergarten reminded me of the Oxford countryside depicted in the series. I'd seen Brideshead  back in 1982, and again, just a few months ago; but seeing it a second time, especially now as a middle aged man, I could appreciate its nuanced qualities. The performances, the writing, the musical score, the costumes, and the set decoration all ring true. There's not a false note in the entire production.  

Like Graham Greene, many of Evelyn Waugh's works are rooted in religion and the English class system. Yet, Brideshead is foremost a story about thwarted love and finding "grace" through God's redemptive power, not subjects easily tackled on the screen, let alone on TV.

It's a tribute to the screenwriter (Derek Granger) and the directors (Michael LIndsay-Hogg and Charles Sturridge) that the series was able to capture the subtlety and delicacy of Waugh's writing without compromising the novel's integrity. It's one of television's true masterpieces.  

No comments: