Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Telegraph explains how James Norton was cast as the Duke of Wellington (toy soldier version) in the upcoming To Walk Invisible... only to be mostly gone on the final cut:
Sally Wainwright, the writer, said the actor had found the idea of playing a toy Duke of Wellington soldier for a few scenes “as funny as we did”, joining them on set for a day.
But, she admitted, after filming three scenes with the cast, two of them had to be erased for the final edit. (...)
He is credited as the “Duke of Wellington” in honour of his moment in the spotlight, dressed up in military uniform as the young Brontës manhandle him.
“We just asked him,” said Wainwright, of why he had taken the role. “I think he thought it would be as funny as we did.”
But, she said, Norton was eventually cut from two of her favourite scenes, which saw him appear as a mourner, and enter into a spirited swordfight while strapped to a mechanical rig which saw him spin around with his opponent.
“It was a shame,” said Wainwright. “There was another scene - this is terrible - where he was on a rig. There was a sword fight between Wellington and Napoleon and they were on a rig being swirled around.
“It was meant to be juxtaposed with the scene where the [Brontë] children are sword fighting on the stairs.
“The rig actually went a lot slower than the sword fight on the stairs, so when we cut to it it actually took the energy away.”
Despite trying to speed the rig up, she said, the centrifugal force pushed the two actors away from one another and further exacerbated their slowness.
“It just didn’t work,” the writer said. “I have apologised to James for that because he did have to spent half a day fastened to this rig and I think it was a bit uncomfortable.” (Hannah Furness)
The Daily Express publishes more or less the same but with the unmistakable Express subtle style:
Sally Wainwright AXED James Norton scenes from her new drama To Walk Invisible.
The Daily Mail has seen the production and you'll never guess what the central point of its article is:
The black sheep Brontë brother: Alcohol, opium, an affair with his boss’s wife...how Branwell's hedonism took its toll on his famous sisters
Oh, the good old tabloid tradition at its best.
Far from being privileged little misses, a new period drama from Sally Wainwright, the BAFTA-winning writer of Happy Valley and Last Tango In Halifax, tells how the three eccentric sisters – Charlotte, Emily and Anne – overcame scandal, trauma and poverty to write some of the greatest novels in the English language.
The one-off drama To Walk Invisible focuses specifically on their brother Branwell’s appalling behaviour during the last three years of his life, from 1845 to 1848, while his sisters were trying to become published authors, and the impact it had on them.
During this time the sisters had to tiptoe around their brother, half-loving, half-loathing him, while he spiralled out of control with alcohol and opium addiction. ‘This was when the Brontës’ lives became properly dramatic,’ says Sally Wainwright.
‘They were living with a brother who was sinking into addiction and they’d realised they didn’t like their jobs as private governesses. Their plan to open a school failed and they knew they had to make money out of writing.’ (...)
‘Their lives were tragic in many ways,’ says Sally. ‘Even as they were becoming famous they couldn’t enjoy it because their brother was an alcoholic who was becoming more and more ill. The sisters were women in a predominantly male world where it was considered vulgar for women to publish novels, let alone powerful, violent and passionate ones. This is why they hid – or walked invisible – behind their pseudonyms.’ (Lisa Sewards)
Letterpile discusses dogs in Wuthering Heights:
The more one reads Wuthering Heights, the more one is struck at how Emily Brontë gave great thought to the overall structure of this work. Nothing appears to have been random but rather, carefully crafted.
Dogs are mentioned frequently throughout the novel and they appear to not only denote innate traits of the main characters but are also used to portend events yet to unfold. In a series of master strokes Brontë uses the dogs to set the mood and foreshadow both good and bad.
By taking a closer look at these creatures, we gain deeper insights into a masterpiece that fans never tire of dissecting. (Read more) (Athlyn Green)
Keighley News talks about the reopening of the Kings Arms pub in Haworth:
A popular Haworth pub is opening a new chapter by turning back the clock to the time of the Brontës.
In a nod to the village’s famous literary sisters the Kings Arms on Main Street has returned to its Victorian roots.
The transformation has come as part of a major £180,000 renovation project.
In addition to the traditional new interior, the pub will serve a range of Victorian-inspired food and drink, including real ales named after the Brontë sisters. (...)
Alongside the Bronte themed ales, which are all brewed by the Bridgehouse Brewery at the Airedale Heifer, is a seasonal menu of locally sourced and Victorian themed dishes such as wild boar stew and Yorkshire Sliders, mini Yorkshire puddings served with beer. (David Knights)
The Spenborough Guardian aptly titles an article about the closing of the Red House Museum as the end of an era for a Brontë landmark.
It is with irony, therefore, that this year will also see the death of a Brontë literary landmark. Red House Museum in Gomersal is not just a landmark because of its location. It is a landmark because as the former home of the influential Taylor family, it was a setting that provided Charlotte with ideas and inspiration that would permeate throughout the novels for which she would become famous.
As children, Charlotte Brontë first met Mary Taylor at school. The two pupils developed a close friendship, and Charlotte became a regular visitor to Mary’s home in Gomersal. Mary’s family were characterised by Charlotte as the family ‘Yorke’ in Shirley, and their home the Red House as ‘Briarmains’. In The Professor, Charlotte combined traits taken from Mary’s father and brother for the character ‘Hunsden Yorke Hunsden’. Encouraged by Mary to be independent and to travel, Charlotte journeyed to Bussels, accompanied by Mary and some of the Taylor family. Charlotte’s experiences in Brussels suggest scenes used in both The Professor and Shirley, but most notably in Charlotte’s masterpiece, Villette. Thus, having been a significant influence on three of Charlotte’s four novels, could the Taylors of Red House also have been an influence for Charlotte’s best known novel, Jane Eyre? Possibly. The answer may be found in the Taylors connections with the nearby Moravian Church settlements at Gomersal and Fulneck, and a discovery made by a retired school teacher in 1997. It was whilst doing some unrelated research in Fulneck Church archives that the late Margaret Connor first saw the name Jane Eyre. The entry was dated 1843. A Frances Jane Eyre had applied to join the Moravian Church at Fulneck. Further research in the archives revealed that Miss Eyre had been a boarder at the Fulneck Moravian School as a child, and was now returning as an adult to join the Church. Margaret was aided in her research when she received an unpublished memoir which confirmed that a relative of Ellen Nussey, a friend of Charlotte Bronte and Mary Taylor, had been a pupil at Fulneck School with Miss Eyre. Margaret’s findings were published in Bronte Studies. (Read more) (Kit Shorten)
The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel mentions Jane Steele on their best books of 2016 list:
Jane Steele” (Putnam), by Lindsey Faye. A clever witty homage to Charlotte Brontë and Edgar Allen Poe, this historical crime novel set in 19th-century England is narrated by Jane Steele who has penned a killer autobiography after she read “Jane Eyre.” (Carole E. Barrowman)
Financial Times reviews Under a Pole Star by Stef Penney:
Flora Mackie, the Scottish heroine of Stef Penney’s Under a Pole Star, is, like Jane Eyre, thoroughly plain. Not plain as in “doesn’t know she’s beautiful”; plain as in, most men wouldn’t give her a second glance. (Suzy Feay)
Radio Praha (in French) interviews the film director Nicole Garcia (Mal de Pierres):
Il y a un autre trio dans le film, celui entre Gabrielle et les deux hommes de sa vie. Comment avez-vous organisez ce casting masculin autour du personnage de Gabrielle ? (Pierre Meignan)
 « On la marie de force avec cet homme qui a fui la guerre d’Espagne, un réfugié politique, qui se loue dans les saisons, dans les vendanges parfois ; là c’est la récolte de la lavande. Il est très taiseux, il est maçon à la Ciotat, il est le contraire de ce qu’elle attend d’un homme. En dehors de la sensualité et de la sexualité qu’elle appelle très fort de ses vœux, elle attend qu’il lui dise le monde, qu’il lui apprenne. Elle attend des hommes qui ont une culture plus grande que la sienne. Elle est tombée amoureuse d’un instituteur parce qu’il lui donne ‘Les Hauts de Hurlevent’. Elle croit que c’est un message d’amour. Et quand elle rencontre Louis Garrel, il lit, il lui donne un livre : ‘Propos sur le bonheur’ d’Alain. Ils sont à l’opposé et pourtant l’histoire va montrer que celui qu’elle ne regarde pas va lui prouver un amour inconditionnel, sans révéler le secret du film. » (Translation)
The Brussels Brontë Blog posts about the annual Brussels Brontë Group Christmas Lunch which took place last Saturday, 3rd December. Miss Jane (in Italian) imagines how Christmas at the Parsonage would have been . Zaklęcie na szczęście (in Polish) reviews Wuthering Heights.

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