Customer Review

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Foreboding Realism, 27 Jun. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Britten: The Turn Of The Screw [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Based on the novella by Henry James, another gay artist with an outsider's perceptive eye into the human condition, Benjamin Britten's opera was written in 1954, less than ten years after "Peter Grimes". With only six characters, Britten here seems to have taken to heart James's injunction to view mere character as plot, a line of thought whose logical conclusion would end in Britten's "Death in Venice" where one sole character ruminates on life's sadness and joys. But, in "The Turn of the Screw" there is still plenty of plot to fascinate the observer, despite the pared-down cast list.

And it is not only the cast-list that is so small. It seems the older Britten became, the less melodic were his operas: you won't be humming tunes from "The Turn of the Screw" as you skip down the stairs. No, what replaces melody here is a vivid sense of a haunted and haunting atmosphere, into which this marvellous production draws you and holds you tight until the very end. Beautifully shot in a late autumn landscape of unkempt foliage, misty marshes and forlorn rooms, this is a film of the opera, not a staged production, and all the better for that.

Quint (Mark Padmore) and Miss Jessel (Catrin Wyn Davies) are brilliantly evoked, the one barely seen with his guilty eye to camera, the other seen all too clearly, her tortured face and gaunt figure wonderfully portrayed in the autumnal half-light. The two children are good, but could have been better directed. But for me it is Diana Montague as Mrs Grose, and especially Lisa Milne as the Governess who do wonders for the viewer's nerves, chillingly conveying the sense of ominous mischief that is gradually revealed. Their singing is superb, some parts being clearly recorded but some being live to their place, for one can often here their echoes reverberate around the bare rooms, adding a foreboding realism to the scene. The City of London Sinfonia conducted by the ever-dependable Richard Hickox support.

No gripes? Well, it is a shame that there are no extras. But, overall, a wonderful film that is true to the opera in every way: I'm sure Britten himself would have approved. Although you won't be humming his tunes, you will nevertheless feel that the experience has been worthwhile.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Feb 2008 07:09:03 GMT
Tunes may not be the point of this opera, but I certainly hum them! Miles's "Malo" song is haunting and beautiful, as are Quint's seductive melismas. I find them unforgettable melodies.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Location: Plymouth, Devon, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 131