Bloom and Hopkins as Ibsen's tormented couple
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 02/08/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In 1973 two theatrical version of Henrik Ibsen's classic play "A Doll's House" were filmed. This version, starring Claire Bloom as Nora, won national release, while the other, with Jane Fonda, ended up on ABC television. No other play from the 19th-century continued to be performed as often as "A Doll's House." The story is of what appears to be a normal family, Torvald Helmer (Anthony Hopkins), a bank lawyer, and his wife Nora, and their three small children. Torvald has blithely assumed his wife to be a flighty little thing, but Nora has been creating a facade to please her husband. Then we discover that in the past Nora forged a signature to get money to save her husband's life. When this act is revealed, Torvald is outraged and renounces his wife. Nora finally sees her husband for the miserable fraud he truly is and walks away from him and her children, leaving a stunned Torvald still trying to figure out who he has been married to all these years. Ibsen's play is a major classic of modern drama, one of the first superb character studies that provided a psychological portrait of an actual human being.As in any production, this version of "A Doll's House" rests on the actress playing Nora. With Bloom's characterization Nora is presented as being more noble than usual; her habit of lying is played down and we get the sense she is clever and cunningly playing the game of being her husband's "doll." However, the result of this approach is less of an emotional range than I would expect with Nora. Hopkins is, as you would expect, fully up to the pompous, hollow figure of Torvald. Indeed, the final scene succeeds largely on his reactions to Nora's departure. For me, choosing between these two 1973 films is pretty much a toss up since I am not overly enamored with either of the interpretations of Nora, although there are parts of both performances that are quite strong. However, Bloom does have the advantage of a better supporting cast. Christopher Hampton wrote the adaptation from Ibsen's play for this film version, which was directed by Patrick Garland."
A wonderful version
dfdinsauce | 08/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This version was originally a live TV broadcast in 1959. The PBS version had Richard Thomas ("John-Boy Walton") introducing the play with interviews from the cast and director about producing a 90 minute live TV broadcast. The best part about this version is that it is very close to actually seeing the play performed in a theatre because of the live nature of the original broadcast with only short breaks between acts--including flubs, prop problems and sound variations. The director claims to have gone back to the original Norweigan for a new translation before going into production.Julie Harris is a wonderful Nora--her slightly shrill voice and perfectly slight frame give her a great angle on the "little squirrel" character she plays. Christopher Plummer plays the stolid and oh-so-proper Torvald very well. He shows the attitude of the Head of the Household toward wife and children stunningly accurately.Other noteables are Jason Robards as Dr. Rank, played well, if a little flatly; Hume Kronon as Krogstad--has the most flubs, but still convincing as the weasely lawyer; and Julie Heckart with her already gravely voice as Christine.I show this every school year to my English classes when we study drama. They read the play, a version translated by Otto Reinhart, and they have generally felt that this video version explored the characters and issues very clearly--showing Nora's change and Krogstad's redemption well.An enjoyable version--even in black and white!"
A Doll's House, Seriously
James H. Dalglish | Al-Ain, UAE | 11/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 1970s production of Ibsen's classic play is well worth the viewing -- it's a solid and believable -- if unsensational -- reading of one of the most famous plays in literature -- and one of the key documents in feminism. The total lack of gimmickry and straight interpretation work in its favor -- A Doll's House is one of the canonical works that doesn't need to be updated. Claire Bloom & Anthony Hopkins (the latter shockingly young) support this production with subtle, nuanced, powerful performances. Denholm Elliott is especially good as Krogstad and Ralph Richardson is moving as the dying Dr Rank ("Thanks for the light!") This version of A Doll's House makes a strong argument for tragic plot patterns which have been banished by Hollywood. My Islamic female students responded positively to this play in DVD. I only wish there were more works available in DVD of this calibre."
Ibsen Admirer | Queens, NY | 05/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anthony Hopkins is wonderful as Torvald capturing both the insecure man and the dominating husband. The film is very close to the text. The director staged more aggression from Torvald in the final scene, but my students all agreed that even that, was true to his character and the integrity of the story."