Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Season 29 - The Turn of the Screw (1999-2000)

One night back in undergrad two of my friends and I decided to go rent a movie. Remember video stores? Full of all those wonderful films yet somehow kind of grubby. We were walking from Rivendell (no really, my friend Matt lived in a big purple housing co-op named Rivendell) to the local video store a few blocks away. On the way there we found over $20 in cash on the ground that some drunk college student had obviously dropped. So dinner and a movie was on said drunk college student who was probably pissed in more ways than one when they found out. Four Star Video was known for it's rather indie pics. You could find basically anything there that was offbeat. After much toing and froing we decided on the Ethan Hawke/Kyle MacLachlan version of Hamlet and The Turn of the Screw, because Colin Firth. I'm not sure how far we got into Hamlet before it was ejected, but could have been twenty minutes could have been a thousand years. And that, my friends, is why you always rent two movies when you go out in case one is an absolute stinking pile of shit. Well, we didn't fair that well with The Turn of the Screw either. None of us had actually read the story, so we were all unprepared for the whole evil wins ending. What's more, and in fact more to the point of why it failed to meet our expectations is that Colin Firth was in the first five minutes and then never seen again. That's false advertising that is putting his name first! And yes, after this debacle my friends said I should pay them for having to sit through videos dubbed my choices... but they were free! And more importantly we did put it to a vote! But looking back, while The Turn of the Screw isn't my favorite ghost story out there this is the best direct adaptation there is, because at least they didn't throw in a weird insane asylum/murder conviction plotline like the 2009 version with Michelle Dockery did. So if you're looking for a faithful adaptation of The Turn of the Screw you can't go wrong with Jodhi May and Pam Ferris who are superb actors, but if you're looking for the best adaptation out there check out The Haunting of Bly Manor instead.       


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