Monday, April 5, 2010

The Woman in White - Read the Book/See the Movie

If you read my last post then you know how much I love the book, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I decided to watch the Masterpiece Theatre mini-series of the novel as part of the  Read the Book/See the Movie Challenge hosted by C.B. James. I was very disappointed. Though the film, which was made in 1998, has a good cast that includes Tara Fitzgerald, Simon Callow and Justine Waddell, I still thought it was a poor adaptation. The plot was greatly reduced and simplified. Even the name of the character of Marian Halcolmbe was changed to Marian Fairlie. This was probably done to simplify Marian's origins but then viewers are confused when both are referred to as Ms.Fairlie. Other liberties were taken by the director and scriptwriter with the plot and characters that completely changed the spirit of Wilkie Collins' brilliant novel. Please avoid this movie at all costs.

I've read that the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical version of The Woman in White is fantastic though I have yet to see it. There's also a BBC 1982 adaptation of The Woman in White that's apparently excellent and more true to the novel but it's not available in a dvd version. Has anyone seen either of these? I'd love to hear what you thought of them.


  1. I warn you that I was slightly disappointed in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical - but I may just have been a bad mood! On the other hand - although I have not seen the BBC adaptation - BBC drama in that period was cracking so i suspect that it is good.

    Lovely post,
    Thanks for sharing


  2. I watched that movie after reading the book, too, and totally agree with your opinion that it should be avoided at all costs. Very disappointing!

  3. Thanks for the warning about the miniseries. I second Hannah's opinion of the ALW musical: I saw it in London in 2005, and afterward I wished I'd spent the money on something else (like booooooks!). It wasn't terrible, but I didn't care for it much.

  4. Ive heard bad things about the musical from friends who said it was OK but they would have rather seen something else. Mind you its been running a while so somebody must like it!

  5. I have awards for you over at my blog :)

  6. Ditto Hannah and Jenny. I saw the ALW musical in London and was fairly disappointed. Admittedly, the set broke down completely during the performance I went to see and the audience had to be evacuated. But even if this hadn't happen I don't think I'd have been bowled over.

  7. We watched this on Christmas Eve and I was underwhelmed to say the least.

  8. "The Woman in White" is an investment of time. It is, however, an investment worth making. Originally published in book form in 1860, this classic mystery combines intrigue, suspense and just a touch of insanity. Each section is narrated by a different character, so the tone and voice are constantly changing. This is typical in mystery writing today, but it was quite revolutionary in the 19th century.


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