Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Casanova (Sheree Folkson, 2005)

Masterpiece Theatre and Doctor Who producer Russell T. Davies bring us the story of Casanova. David Tennant and the legendary Peter O'Toole portray the mythic lover, O'Toole recounting his tale, and Tennant in the remembrances.

I am not familiar with Histoire de ma Vie, or "The Memoirs of Jacques Casanova" and cannot speak to the authenticity of the story, but it is a well done tale, told in about four hours. It follows Casanova from his childhood to his death, ever in search of his one true love, Henriette. The story is fun and exciting at times, bawdy and lascivious at others, and ultimately bitter-sweet. Peter O'Toole plays Casanova nearing his death, in hiding and writing his memoir. A young girl, Edith (Rose Byrne, 28 Weeks Later, Damages, X-Men: First Class) discovers the old man who is currently a Duke's librarian. He begins relating his tale, partly in an attempt to seduce her, partly to shock, and partly to stave off loneliness. At 73 years of age O'Toole is still quite striking, and the wife acknowledged that he still has "the look." I am sure when pressed the old Irishman can activate the panty-melter. The scenes with Tennant, which make up the bulk of the screenplay have a decidedly Doctor Who look to them, no doubt due to Davies' involvement. It is a period piece with a difference, much like Amadeus or I would imagine Marie Antoinette (which also featured Rose Byrne). Tenant is all charm, and you can totally buy that women all over Europe are throwing themselves at him.

The rest of the cast is quite good, particularly Nina Sosanya as Belino (Love Actually, Doctor Who) and Laura Fraser as Henriette (A Knight's Tale, Vanilla Sky). The sets are costumes are quite interesting, and at times avante garde. It is hardly a stuffy tale many of us think of when we think Masterpiece Theatre. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be on Netflix. I purchased the single disc, two episode British version from Amazon. It is quite enjoyable, and worth looking for.


T. Roger Thomas said...

I liked that girl in 28 Days Later.

I'll keep an eye out for this series in the future.

Darius Whiteplume said...

It is fun. I don't know why Netflix does not have it at all. They have tns of Masterpiece Theatre.

Lockwood said...

Did you ever watch "Quills" with Geoffry Rush as the Marquis de Sade? I quite liked it, though it is NOT a happy or especially sexy movie. I'd be curious to hear (read) your thoughts... or a link if you've already reviewed it (subscribing to comments). Here's the wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quills

Darius Whiteplume said...

I saw Quills some time ago. I don't remember liking it too much. It had its moments, but I thought the end was kind of lame. I should watch it again and do a proper review. I have read much more Sade since seeing it, and might have a better grasp. If you can find it, "Marat/Sade" is a very cool play. It is a discussion between Sade and Jean-Paul Marat about the Revolution, and Marat's assassination by Charlotte Corday. It is set in the Charenton Asylum, and is a fictitious Sade play.

Since Quills streams on Netflix, I'll likely get to it soon. Another good Sade biopic is De Sade with Keir Dullea. Not great, but interesting. I believe it is on Hulu, and does stream on Netflix.

Anonymous said...

I watched it via HULU here in the US. It may be on Netflix by now.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Cool. It is on Hulu here. They seem to have blocked Netflix at work, so I could not check there :-(

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