Customer Review

41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A travesty of the novel, 24 Mar 2010
This review is from: Brideshead Revisited [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
This is not an adaptation of the novel of the same name. It is, rather, a truncation and, in plain speech, a mutilation of said novel. Like so many, I have fond memories of the TV series from the eighties. That was a faithful rendering of Waugh's book; made all the more remarkable by virtue of the fact that the adaptor of the novel for the small screen was John Mortimer, an avowed atheist.

Mortimer could not share or even sympathise with Waugh's religious convictions. Nonetheless, appreciating that Waugh's faith was woven into every strand of the novel, he was most diligent in ensuring that it was also seen to be at the very heart of the story of the TV series. This filmed version, in contrast, is a very loose adaptation of the novel. The plot has been drastically - I might say surgically- altered by the scriptwriter. Whilst I appreciate that it is not possible to squeeze the plot of a complete novel into a two hour film the changes that have been made here are drastic and destructive.

I came to this film expecting to find an accurate, albeit condensed, version of the story of the novel. If only I had been right! The love affair between Charles and Sebastian is cut out completely; Julia is written in to scene after scene in which her character is completely absent in the novel and Waugh's religious message is turned completely on its head. Waugh, to put it simply, saw God as the good guy. The scriptwriter of the film sees God as the bad guy- the true villain of the piece.

This is a perfectly legitimate point of view to hold but if he wished to convey this why did he not I wonder adapt another novel that held to that notion? Why ruin this one? Sterling performances by the cast and a beautiful background for filming (Castle Howard - the same great house that was used as Brideshead in the TV series) cannot redeem this film. I wish I could award it no stars at all or five stars in the negative. Do not buy - or even rent- this film.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Apr 2010 16:56:40 BDT
F. McGregor says:
Thank you for your honest comment. I watched the clip and it was as bad as I feared. I had considered, briefly, purchasing this film to add to our collection, but I decided to keep my money in my pocket and purchase one of the excellent classic films that Amazon has on offer.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Mar 2011 02:31:54 GMT
Mortimer's name is on the adaptation, but very little of his work -- as you can find out if you order the DVD of the Granada series and listen to the commentaries.

Posted on 28 Aug 2013 13:25:31 BDT
"Waugh, to put it simply, saw God as the good guy." That is, of course, only your opinion and may be valid, but the film IS, in my opinion, true to the novel's end in which Lord Marchmain returns to the Catholic fold, depriving the atheistic Charles of his victory. How is this seeing "God as the bad guy - the true villain of the piece"?

And why do you ask people not to see the film to make their own judgement?

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Feb 2014 02:15:35 GMT
Will says:
Waugh was a devout Roman Catholic - that is a fact not an opinion. The real victory in the novel is that the atheistic Charles becomes a Roman Catholic - in fact the novel begins at this point. The story is told in flashback. The problem with the film is that it purports to be a version of a novel called Brideshead Revisited, however the film is totally unfaithful to the theme of the novel. If the film was called Brideshead Revised, I would have no problems with it.
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