The cliff notes version of a classic
Sidsel Roine | Lexington, KY United States | 01/31/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Mill on the Floss is an incredible novel, and arguably George Eliot's greatest work. All of the characters are extremely well-developed, the story is beautiful and the ending is heart-rending in its abruptness. The masterpiece theatre adaption of this wonderful book left me feeling somewhat empty. The main story is there, but it is unable to make a connection with the characters in the brief two hours. A lot of scenes are missing, a lot of character development is absent, and the viewer is thus left with characters acting through the story of the novel with barely any of the emotions that were attached to the words. Students and teachers be advised: Watching this movie will give you an idea of the novel's plot, but will leave you with a very superficial understanding of the characters. In other words, don't expect to ace the essay test if you watch this film and don't read the book. In the long run, I gave it 3 stars because it's hard to go wrong with this story, but it is definitely an example of the book being better than the movie. Read the novel, then watch this movie!"
1997 vs 1978
bookloversfriend | United States | 04/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The 1978 miniseries is over 3 hours long. The 1997 movie is 1 hour and 45 minutes long. Yet, every event in the 3 hour version is in the shorter version. The reverse, however, is not true. Five crucial events of the story are visible in the 1997 (shorter) version but are missing from the 3 hour version:
(1) the first conflict between Mr. Tulliver and Mr. Wakem, in which Tulliver wins, then insults Wakem. This shows why Tulliver thinks he'll win again and is strung along by a lawyer until he has mortgaged everything. It also provides motivation for Wakem's vengeful act of buying the mill, which in the longer version is left unmotivated. We are merely told that he is fed up with Tulliver.
(2) The selling of the mill to Wakem. In the 1978 version, we are told that it happened. In the 1997 version, we see it happen.
(3)The selling of the furniture of the Tullivers. This makes their homelessness visible and visceral.
(4) The scene in which Tom pays his father's debts. In the 1978 three-hour version, we are told that it is going to happen; then we see Tulliver on the way back from the meeting. We need to see this climatic event. In the 1997 version, we do.
(5) The restoration of the deed to the mill to the Tullivers.
The picture quality is acceptable in both versions, as is the music, but are better in the 1997 version. The casting is acceptable in both versions. The acting is acceptable in both. So, why do I give 3 stars to the 1978 version and four and a half stars to the 1997 version?
The screenplay. Since both screenplays tell the same story with almost the same events, this comparison provides an excellent study for those interested in screenwriting.
The 1978 version appears to have been written by a stage playwright (and not a good one at that). Each scene is set. People chat for a few moments. A character enters. Whatever is going to happen in that scene happens. Characters exit. Next scene.
The 1997 version is written like a movie. We are thrust into a scene just as something is about to happen. It happens. We cut to the next scene, where we are again thrust into the moment when something is about to happen. This makes for far more effective storytelling.
Also, the nitty-gritty of the scenes is better done in the 1997 version. It isn't the acting. It is the fact that the actors have a script that will let them make the emotions effective, and they do.
If you compare either version (or any movie version) with the book, then of course you can call it Cliff Notes. That tells you nothing.
The ending is better in the 1978 version and is also faithful to the book. The beginning of the 1997 version is also a mistake, while the beginning of the 1978 version is acceptable.
The problem is that the 1997 version is only available on VHS and hard to get at that. So, get the 1978 version if you can't get the videotape or don't want to; otherwise, wait and hope that someone will have the sense to put the 1997 version on DVD.
bookloversfriend | 01/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've seen this movie on Masterpiece Theatre and was thrilled to find it on amazon. It is well worth buying. If you like Wuthering Heights..you'll like this movie too."
It's Worth Seeing
Cosette | NJ | 01/05/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The movie was well done, and the acting is good. My personal thought is that the book is much better. Read the book for more insight into the characters and for a better scope of the whole situation. The ending (just like in the book) in unpredictable, which makes the movie worth watching."