12 May 2010

resonances and connections

As you may know if you read this blog or talk to me about life and art, I love it when life wraps around and makes connections. The house above is Carlton Towers in Yorkshire, one of the homes of the Duke of Norfolk. It is the setting for the movie "A Handful of Dust" (1988) based on the book by Evelyn Waugh and directed by Charles Sturridge. It stars James Wilby and Kristin Scott Thomas, along with Rupert Graves, Judi Dench, Anjelica Huston, and Alec Guinness. I cannot remember who recommended the film but I was delighted to see the actors' names as they appeared in the opening credits. I'm quite a fan of Kristin Scott Thomas but Wilby and Graves will always be favorites because of their roles in "Maurice."

So why the opening reference to connections? You see I was looking through The Victorian country house by Mark Girouard (Yale University Press, 1979) just the other day which includes Carlton Towers among the featured houses in the second half of the book. It's got a grand tower with an outsized and rather awkward Mansard cap. As often happens in movies, the interior shots don't seem to have been done at Carlton, or at least they seemed to use a different staircase and what's a country house movie without the right staircase?

Not only the house but when Tony, the owner of Hatton as the house is called in the movie, is "kidnapped" in South America, some of the scenes were shot near some dramatic falls which reminded me of Iguacu Falls which were part of one of my ARTstor cataloging assignments. I guess it wasn't Iguacu Falls since the closing credits claimed the movie was shot in Venezuela and Iguacu Falls are on the border of Brazil and Argentina. Details, details. What good are resonances without a bit of slippage?

At any rate, Tony ends up in the hands of a Barbardian-Indian fellow who just wants someone to read to him. He gives some potion to Tony who falls asleep for two days and misses the English adventure hunters who are given his watch and other mementos which will convince them he is dead. They will go back to England and tell the family that Tony is dead. His widow is ruined, I guess, though it would appear that she marries Jock. And now I wonder if there is a fate worse than being lost in the jungle and having to read for your meals.

Those aren't the only resonances. One could revisit the Klukas plan for my country villa, built like Carlton Towers on an ancient foundation. One could talk about how "resonances" and "connections" are both based in French and there have been a lot of French statuses in Facebook recently, thanks to Jonathan Walz and others. But we'll stop and go to bed. By the way, the next movie that Netflix has brought me is "Desperately Seeking Susan" so I'll probably reflect on Sue Sylvester as that flashes before my eyes.

The picture of Carlton Towers at top is from the Ryan Browne wedding photography site.

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