The Fast Forward Revue


Brideshead Revisited (in its various forms) by kswitz
July 15, 2008, 2:47 pm
Filed under: Author: kswitz, Cinema, Literature

So I’m sure many of you have seen the trailers for the modern re-make of Evelyn Waugh’s 1945 classic Brideshead Revisited. But what you may not have known is that this is not the first remake of the book, and that an acclaimed television series was made in Britain in the 1980’s, and that this series, from the look of things, will actually remain the more true-to-text adaptation, and likely the favorite of fan of the book.

(But first, a personal anecdote:

I’m currently reading the book, with about 50 pages to go…. But last night I lost it on the Bathurst streetcar, after spending the day filling it with various bookmarks out of papers I’d found… Seriously hoping to get it back later today…)

Cover of Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh

Cover of Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh

Well anyway, the book itself is set up as “the Sacred & Profane Memoirs of Captain Charles Ryder”, and is the lavish and indulgent depiction of the youth and adulthood of Oxford-educated Charles Ryder. The main plot of the book is centered around Charles’s relationship with an Oxford friend named Sebastian Flyte, and then with the rest of the long-established and extremely wealthy Flyte family, proprietors of Brideshead Castle. This connection with the family leads Charles into the high-society circles of England’s oldest and most powerful families, as well as drawing him into the dark conflicts within and surrounding the Flyte family itself, and years later leads to an adulterous romance between Charles and Julia. (And this is where I got to, 250 pages in, before I lost my book).

Brideshead Revisited (1981 Mini-Series)

Brideshead Revisited (1981 Mini-Series)

In 1981, the book was adapted into an 11-part British television serial, starring Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews as Charles and Sebastian, and Diana Quick as Julia Flyte, Sebastian’s sister. The adaptation, which won two Golden Globes and an Emmy award in 1982 and 1983, goes on for over 13 hours, and includes many scenes with dialogue taken exactly as it is written in the book.

Brideshead Revisited (2008)

Brideshead Revisited (2008)

The puzzling thing is that there’s a remake coming out July 25th, shot in the exact same location (Castle Howard in England), but this time the movie is set up as a love-story between Charles and Julia, not the story of the adventures of Charles and Sebastian, the major theme of both the book and the previous screen adaptation. Seems rather more like Cruel Intentions or Titanic (minus the shipwreck) than like Brideshead Revisited…. But we’ll see….

(I’ll review it when it comes out).

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Looking forward to your review! (And I hope you get your book back somehow!)

Have you seen the trailer for the upcoming remake? It’s very… dramatic. The music, the captions – they feel more like something for Rocky than Brideshead Revisited, haha.

http://www.apple.com/trailers/miramax/bridesheadrevisited/trailer/

Comment by E. Sempé

[…] Brideshead Revisited (in its various forms)So I’m sure many of you have seen the trailers for the modern re-make of Evelyn Waugh’s 1945 classic Brideshead Revisited. But what you may not have known is that this is not the first remake of the book, and that an acclaimed … […]

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