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Tony Grist

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To The Ends Of The Earth [Jul. 7th, 2005|10:07 am]
Tony Grist
William Golding's Lord of the Flies is read in schools, but the rest of his novels are a minority taste.

Maybe this will change now the BBC has filmed his trilogy, To The Ends of the Earth.

Set on board a clapped-out man-of-war turned emigrant ship at the close of the Napoleonic era, To the Ends of the Earth is a bracing riposte to the Hornblower mythos. The cabins drip, the bilges stink and the sailors are into buggery. The characters are all flawed in unlikeable ways. The hero is callow, arrogant, snooty and unfeeling.

The film gives us the creased uniforms and sweaty faces but misses out on Golding's poetic intensity. It's less visual than the book, less cinematic. We get lots of reading aloud from journals but only odd, perfunctory glimpses of sea and sky. The book deals with sex, class and the romantic imagination; the film deals with sex and class.

I'll watch the next two episodes. But what I really want to do right now is go out and buy the novels.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-07-07 05:10 am (UTC)
I just found out what is happening in London--so awful.

Thinking of you today-Jackie
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-07-07 05:56 am (UTC)
Thanks.

We'd been out at the shops, came home and heard the news.

The latest news seems to indicate that there were 4 bombs and something like 200 casualties- many only superficially hurt- but it's all fairly hazy as yet.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-07-07 05:12 am (UTC)
I just watched Bergman's Autumn Sonata.

What a beautiful face Ingrid Bergman has! And what an actress!

I hear that Bergman wants to direct another movie. Wouldn't that be great?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-07-07 06:00 am (UTC)
Bergman "retired" in the mid 80s, but has made a number of films since, all, I think, for television- and none of them available (that I can find) outside Sweden.

I think Liv Ullman's performance in that movie is pretty special too.

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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-07-07 05:19 am (UTC)
Oh my goodness. First of all, it's difficult to know what to say about the attacks in London. I too am thinking about you.

I have no wish to read this book. I read Lord of the Flies and hated it. Not because it wasn't well written, but because of the subject. I found it very upsetting....

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-07-07 06:02 am (UTC)
Thanks. News of the bombings is still coming in. It's not yet clear quite what happened.

To the Ends of the Earth is an upsetting book. Golding had a fairly bleak (or should that be "realistic") view of human nature.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-07-07 06:06 am (UTC)
Yes. A bleak view seems appropriate today...thinking of reading On the Beach...

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-07-07 06:19 am (UTC)
I haven't read it, but the film- which I saw in my teens- was an unforgettably miserable experience.
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2005-07-07 06:09 am (UTC)
YOu know...John Irving is a great writer (technically) but I hate his stuff. I hate it because he lulls you into thinking that this time, everything is going to turn out well...and then he pulls the rug out from under you.

Yes, I know, his books always sell and I've heard him speak. But I don't like his books.

I think that's allowed. Although, I guess his view of the world is also 'realistic'.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-07-07 06:21 am (UTC)
Well, yes, of course that's allowed.

Good writing doesn't have to be likeable. I admire Hemingway no end while disliking almost everything about him.
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[User Picture]From: zen_punk
2005-07-07 06:57 am (UTC)
Erm, what is buggery?

What's going on in London? Was there a terrorist attack? I hadn't heard anything until I saw the comments.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-07-07 07:33 am (UTC)
Anal sex.

Yes, there's been a series of bomb attacks in London- on buses ans underground trains. Details are still hazy.
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[User Picture]From: zen_punk
2005-07-07 07:56 am (UTC)
Yes, that's what I thought buggery referred to...but I didn't want to be wrong.

The reports about London sound dreadful. Do you live near there?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-07-07 09:04 am (UTC)
I'm a Londoner by birth, but- no- I live in the north of England.

The current confirmed death toll is 33. There were four explosions. Three on underground trains and one on a bus.
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From: ex_kharin447
2005-07-07 11:44 am (UTC)
I wrote a review of The Spire and Pincher Martin a few weeks ago:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/kharin/79353.html

There are some plot spoilers for Pincher Martin though.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-07-09 03:26 am (UTC)
Thanks for this.

My copy of To the Ends of the Earth arrived today. My, but it's huge. I want to get stuck in, but I need to finish Little Dorrit first.
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