Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Dvd/150: A PICTURE OF KATHERINE MANSFIELD (Alan Cooke. 1973, tv)

An oddity: a 1973 BBC series that combines the life of writer Katherine Mansfield with two dramatizations of her short stories per episode.

The studio-set Mansfield scenes jar with the (mostly) filmed short story segments which all have insistant music and some over-wrought performances.

The main interest is a rare 70s tv role for Vanessa Redgrave who is luminously vibrant as Katherine - one longs to see more of her than the clunky short dramas.  A passing reference to Mansfield being from New Zealand does not warrant Redgrave attempting an accent (luckily).

Jeremy Brett struggles to make the ghastly John Middleton Murry interesting and also cast are Annette Crosbie as Katherine's adoring doormat/friend and Michael Williams as DH Lawrence.

What the series sadly dodges is Katherine's complicated relationship with Virginia Woolf: part admiration, part rivalry.  Michael Gambon and Phyllida Law are among the casts of the intrusive dramatizations.

Shelf or charity shop? Shelf if only for Vanessa's compelling performance...

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