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Author Topic: A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood  (Read 87485 times)

Offline garyd

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Re: A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
« Reply #945 on: March 14, 2011, 11:26:02 AM »
Tony, this is an interesting point.  It's been so long since we discussed the book here that I'm not sure if your point was made then.  If not, it's certainly apt in retrospect.

I think we discussed it a bit.  Look back on page 48 or so.
We all mentioned the fact that we all found the suicide preparations humorous to various degrees.


Offline tfferg

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Re: A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
« Reply #946 on: March 15, 2011, 06:18:11 AM »
Yes, I think there were a number of posts that made related points, which I was too tired yesterday to go back and find. I recognise that there is a huge challenge in translating a book which is centrally about George's thought-waves, emotions, moods, fantasies and memories into the film medium. I think the dominance in the film of the suicide preparations is a crude way of trying to do it and so the film fails to represent the book, Isherwood's intentions and the character of George. But if seeing the film leads some viewers to read the book, then it is useful.

Offline Ellen (tellyouwhat)

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Re: A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
« Reply #947 on: March 15, 2011, 12:02:27 PM »
Yes, I think there were a number of posts that made related points, which I was too tired yesterday to go back and find. I recognise that there is a huge challenge in translating a book which is centrally about George's thought-waves, emotions, moods, fantasies and memories into the film medium. I think the dominance in the film of the suicide preparations is a crude way of trying to do it and so the film fails to represent the book, Isherwood's intentions and the character of George. But if seeing the film leads some viewers to read the book, then it is useful.

I agree, the film fails to represent the book.

It is sort of its own work, in many ways.  The character of Charlie is completely different, IMO.  But in another sense, as a filmmaker I can see Tom Ford wanting to represent a different kind of woman.  He took liberties.

It's a little like The Shipping News -- a decent movie, IMO, that changed a few of the details for no good reason that the reader/viewer can see, but I would still recommend the book, in its own right, and the movie, for what it is.
sometimes I think life is just a rodeo the trick is to ride and make it 'til the bell --john fogerty

Offline garyd

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Re: A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
« Reply #948 on: March 15, 2011, 05:19:33 PM »
I think the dominance in the film of the suicide preparations is a crude way of trying to do it and so the film fails to represent the book, Isherwood's intentions and the character of George.

I don't really care for the suicide plot point either.  Apparently some scrlpt guru told Ford all about the need for dramatic tension but neglected to mention Chechov's gun.  ;)  Neither novel George nor film George is suicidal however so it really does not make much sense.

I do think the film does a decent job of representing the book however.  Isherwood wrote about isolation, loneliness, and the pain of being a member of a  marginalized transparent minority.  Ford accomplishes this as well.  

As for Charley, even Isherwood claims to have originally modeled her upon Iris Tree,(no frump she) so Ford's interpretation is not blasphemy.  

Follow this link for a pic of Iris as Isherwood would have known her:  
http://www.gonemovies.com/WWW/Drama/Drama/DolceDichter.asp
« Last Edit: March 15, 2011, 07:23:19 PM by garyd »

Offline tfferg

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Re: A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
« Reply #949 on: March 16, 2011, 01:16:19 AM »
Thank you, Ellen and Gary, for your responses.

I agree that the film is its own work in many ways and that it can stand on its own. I can appreciate it as such.

Ford does indeed in his own way show the isolation, loneliness and the pain of being a member of a marginalized minority. I liked the way, for one example among others, he brought George's lecture on minorities to life. It was mainly thinking of the suicide plot that led me to charge the film with failing to represent the book. The film does succeed in showing an unstereotyped, very individual gay man whose challenges are not problems of coming to terms with his sexuality, but the process of bereavement and grieving for the loss of his long-standing, loving committed partner and beginning to re-integrate himself again. I think the film is useful as there is  still a need for many more people to understand that gays are perfectly normal in having to face the life and death issues that everybody else does and that homophobia deprives many gay people of the support and understanding of family, workmates and friends who do not understand or accept them or to whom they cannot come out.

I hadn't heard of Iris Tree until I read that she was the inspiration for Isherwood's Charley. Thanks for the link to her pic, Gary.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2011, 04:33:48 PM by tfferg »

Offline Nikki

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Re: A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
« Reply #950 on: March 16, 2011, 05:35:16 PM »

I think Ford took a lot of liberties in the film.  He didn't see George as Isherwood did, but who cares.  Iris Tree certainly doesn't look like film Charlie -- the real Iris is too masculine for the film character. I wonder how Isherwood would have felt about the film. 
The shirts hanging on a nail shudder slightly in the draft.

If he does not force his attention on it, it might stoke the day, rewarm that old, cold time on the mountain when they owned the world and nothing seemed wrong.

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Offline garyd

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Re: A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
« Reply #951 on: March 16, 2011, 06:26:19 PM »
I think Ford took a lot of liberties in the film.  He didn't see George as Isherwood did, but who cares.  Iris Tree certainly doesn't look like film Charlie -- the real Iris is too masculine for the film character. I wonder how Isherwood would have felt about the film. 
(bolded)  True, film Charley appears to be the creation of Ford/Moore.  However if you google Iris Tree you will find some images that show her to be quite a beautiful woman.  She always wore her hair "bobbed".  She did live in Hollywood/LA for a while and was friends with the Huxleys which is how she met Isherwood. Her second husband was an actor and her son a screenwriter.  She was estranged from both which is alluded to in both film and book. 

Difficult to say what Isherwood might think of the film. 

Offline Nikki

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Re: A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
« Reply #952 on: March 16, 2011, 07:27:40 PM »
Yes, Iris Tree was married to the actor in 'Moby Dick.'  She appeared to be wan, pallied and representative of the '30s, but Moore was more beautiful and more representative of the present time.
The shirts hanging on a nail shudder slightly in the draft.

If he does not force his attention on it, it might stoke the day, rewarm that old, cold time on the mountain when they owned the world and nothing seemed wrong.

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive
But to be young was very heaven!