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The Brothers Karamazov


CaveGirl
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Now I've said it before that I think good old, fun loving Dostoevsky should have written instead a book called "The Sisters Karamazov" but he didn't so we shall have to deal with this one, which is on late tonight or early tomorrow. Actually tomorror while it is still dark out but I digress.

I love to wallow in misery, and there is no misery like that of a Russian who has been imprisoned and then released, who chooses to write, so you can bet this book has lots of very serious topics like that of diametrically opposed value systems, along with religious, and free will issues, with a dose of patricide included. I loved reading the book and Alyosha was definitely my favorite character and in the movie he is played by William Shatner, who actually does as good a job as any non-Russian possibly could I guess, to show his more innocent qualities. The film also has Yul Brynner and Richard Basehart as support, with Maria Shell as Grushenka, a part I think that Marilyn Monroe always wanted to play possibly. A fine cast with people like the wonderful David Opatoshu and Lee J. Cobb, though I'm not sure I totally get him in the part of the domineering father. He's domineering to be sure, as always but I don't buy him as Russian.

Just like some will tell you, read the book first, as they did when "The Bible" came out with Michael Parks as Adam, I will say it probably would help to read it first, but who cares. If you would like some heavy handed drama, this is the movie for you. Save the book for a day you need to know why your life is really not that depressing, and read it then. Dostoevsky was a great writer and all his books are the proof of that, but they might be a bit hard to theatricalize [I think I made that word up maybe?] but this is a good try by director, Richard Brooks. Opinions welcomed!

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I saw the movie version ages ago and if it was on a bit earlier I would watch it

again as I've forgotten a lot of the plot details. I haven't been able to access

Watch TCM for a while, not sure why, but I'll try again. I think if you go along

with Dostoevsky's beliefs in the power of suffering to eventually lead to salvation,

with a strong dose of that good old religion and the futility of much human action,

you will likely have at least an emotional reaction to the book. If you don't buy much

of this, it's just an entertaining novel with a little food for thought. I've never been

depressed reading this book and as I have said before I always get a kick out of

Daddy Karamazov and his gibes and mockery. 

 

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5 hours ago, CaveGirl said:

Dostoevsky was a great writer and all his books are the proof of that, but they might be a bit hard to theatricalize [I think I made that word up maybe?] but this is a good try by director, Richard Brooks. Opinions welcomed!

My favorite Dostoevsky novel is The Idiot (in the now probably unfashionable Constance Garnett translation). I liked it so much that a friend used to call me "Prince Myshkin."

The Idiot has been filmed several times: by Kurosawa in 1951; by Ivan Pyrev in 1958; and by Vladimir Bortko (a mini-series) in 2003. I have seen segments of each of these, and what I have seen is choice. There have been other adaptations as well. Here is a quote about the 1958 version from a punter on IMDB:

"This is how Dostoevsky adaptations need to be, and hardly ever are. 1) Everyone needs to act like they're on crack all the time, 2) It needs to be either snowing or 100 degrees all the time, and 3) Everyone's eyes have to be crazy. 

This film meets all those requirements, and it's the only one that does. Although the second part was never made, the first part is worth watching and re-watching. The crazy Soviet montages, the crazy eyes, the red velvet everywhere, the lighting from beneath that makes everyone look like they're in hell...it's brilliant."

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On 7/21/2018 at 1:13 PM, NipkowDisc said:

I just think maria schell is hot.

Unfortunately she needs more than just hotness as Grushenka and she doesn't deliver. Her angelic face laden with saccharine smiles, accentuated with quick close ups blinking her eyes with that gushy expression is irritating to the point of being very nearly unbearable. Grushenka needs a stronger actress anyway. The hardness of her character underneath all the glitter is barely visible. She has a good scene, however, near the end when she dumps her "boyfriend" for Dimitri, although she is not totally convincing.

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On 7/21/2018 at 8:59 PM, Swithin said:

My favorite Dostoevsky novel is The Idiot (in the now probably unfashionable Constance Garnett translation). I liked it so much that a friend used to call me "Prince Myshkin."

The Idiot has been filmed several times: by Kurosawa in 1951; by Ivan Pyrev in 1958; and by Vladimir Bortko (a mini-series) in 2003. I have seen segments of each of these, and what I have seen is choice. There have been other adaptations as well. Here is a quote about the 1958 version from a punter on IMDB:

"This is how Dostoevsky adaptations need to be, and hardly ever are. 1) Everyone needs to act like they're on crack all the time, 2) It needs to be either snowing or 100 degrees all the time, and 3) Everyone's eyes have to be crazy. 

This film meets all those requirements, and it's the only one that does. Although the second part was never made, the first part is worth watching and re-watching. The crazy Soviet montages, the crazy eyes, the red velvet everywhere, the lighting from beneath that makes everyone look like they're in hell...it's brilliant."

I read that, but boy, it's been a long time ago, though that name still rings a bell. I don't think I've ever seen any version of it on film, so I appreciate you giving me some more things to put on a want list, Swithin!

Great review that really makes me want to see the 1958 one. Too bad that Eisenstein was not into making a version and think what fun it would have been to see in color, if the color footage from "ITT" is any indication of the possibilities.

There was a time I was reading all the most famous of Dostoevsky's works, so I've got about five of them under my belt and "Crime and Punishment" is my favorite with good old Raskolnikov, but I've never read "The House of the Dead" yet, but still want to. I mean, who doesn't enjoy a good book about being in a Siberian prison camp and suffering daily?

Thanks, Swithin!

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On 7/22/2018 at 5:25 PM, laffite said:

Unfortunately she needs more than just hotness as Grushenka and she doesn't deliver. Her angelic face laden with saccharine smiles, accentuated with quick close ups blinking her eyes with that gushy expression is irritating to the point of being very nearly unbearable. Grushenka needs a stronger actress anyway. The hardness of her character underneath all the glitter is barely visible. She has a good scene, however, near the end when she dumps her "boyfriend" for Dimitri, although she is not totally convincing.

Maria Schell's specialty is the inappropriate smile. You will see it in many of her movies. I believe she even uses it in a childbirth scene in Cimarron. Think of someone desperately insecure who tries to smile to get approval from others. I must admit that there is something about her that I really like.

The Richard Brooks movie of The Brothers Karamazov just doesn't work for me, although William Shatner is surprisingly good as Alyosha, and Yul Brynner is cast well as Dimitri.

Swithin, there was also a BBC mini-series of The Idiot starring David Buck (circa late 60s/early 70s). Though highly praised, it was not shown on Masterpiece Theater in America, and I believe that it has now been lost. You'd think the BBC would have done better with their archives, but not so. A superb BBC mini-series of The Possessed, around the same time, was shown in America, but one of the five episodes has been lost, so it has never been released on DVD.

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2 hours ago, kingrat said:

Maria Schell's specialty is the inappropriate smile. You will see it in many of her movies. I believe she even uses it in a childbirth scene in Cimarron. Think of someone desperately insecure who tries to smile to get approval from others. I must admit that there is something about her that I really like.

The Richard Brooks movie of The Brothers Karamazov just doesn't work for me, although William Shatner is surprisingly good as Alyosha, and Yul Brynner is cast well as Dimitri.

Swithin, there was also a BBC mini-series of The Idiot starring David Buck (circa late 60s/early 70s). Though highly praised, it was not shown on Masterpiece Theater in America, and I believe that it has now been lost. You'd think the BBC would have done better with their archives, but not so. A superb BBC mini-series of The Possessed, around the same time, was shown in America, but one of the five episodes has been lost, so it has never been released on DVD.

I don't understand your first paragraph. She practices this smile in all her roles ... ??

Save Maria, I thought that everyone was pretty good in TBK. And overall not bad for what i believe is fundamentally a Hollywood-made film (that might be wrong). The recurring subplot of the The Caption, The Son, and The Insult was particularly moving for me. I once remember choking up at the apology scene that ends the movie. This last viewing (just recently) disappointed me because I had apparently remembered wrongly how it went. First came the two gifts which the son refused. Then the full and complete apology which the son approved. My memory was that after the two gifts, Dimitri tried to get off what we know as a "false" apology. It was close but the the boy was perceptive enough to see through it and when his father looks at him he says no. It was then, finally, that Dimitri issues a humble apology that satisfies the dying boy. I wish it had been that way, I think it would have worked. But then again, we can't have Dimitri miss his train, haha.

[ ... ]

There is a BBC miniseries Crime and Punishment done in the 80s with John Hurt as Raskolnikov and a fine English actor named Timothy West as Porfiry, the investigator. The famous cat-and-mouse game was certainly an entertaining aspect. West has an eerily diabolical face and was good. No wonder he drove Rasky up a wall. Overall, I'm not sure how the show rates in general, but I remember enjoying it.

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1 hour ago, kingrat said:

Swithin, there was also a BBC mini-series of The Idiot starring David Buck (circa late 60s/early 70s). Though highly praised, it was not shown on Masterpiece Theater in America, and I believe that it has now been lost. You'd think the BBC would have done better with their archives, but not so. A superb BBC mini-series of The Possessed, around the same time, was shown in America, but one of the five episodes has been lost, so it has never been released on DVD.

Thanks, never heard of that. Just looked it up -- it was 1966, a few years before Masterpiece Theater got started (with The First Churchills in 1971). I remember when The Possessed was on Masterpiece Theater, but I didn't see it. It was part of the first season (1971). 

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Yes, lafitte, Maria Schell uses the inappropriate smile in some of her other roles. It's not always clear if this is an acting choice or an involuntary tic.

Swithin, thanks for looking up the dates of those Dostoevsky productions. I'd love to see The Possessed again, even missing an episode.

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