Related Posts with Thumbnails

Friday, January 14, 2011

BBC's Desperate Romantics

Millais, Rossetti, Hunt, and "Fred"

After two marathon nights of viewing, regrettably I can give only a mixed review of BBC's six episode mini-series about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Desperate Romantics.  It started off great, focusing on the friendship of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and a fourth fictionalized friend Fred along with their love interests, Lizzie Siddal, Fanny Cornforth, Effie Gray, and Annie Miller.  All of these characters were brilliantly realized and acted, offering convincing portrayals of our favorite bohemian bad-boys and their gals (as well as the sexually repressed, if not downright perverted Ruskin).  Rossetti in particular, portrayed by Aidan Turner, was mesmerizing....who couldn't fall for this charming roue´?  I hope we see him again soon.

 Lizzie posing as Ophelia in tub

But then episode 5....oh woe is me...introduced William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones, and Jane Burden.  Ugh!  Could these actors have been any less convincing in their roles!?!  Morris was played as a simpering, stuttering buffoon who at one point, quite literally, impales himself in the back of his hand with a fork while seemingly jizzing in his pants.  Seriously, there is not one moment in the portrayal of Morris by this actor where even a glimmer of the man's genius and creatively is allowed to shine.  Jane, the most stunning of the "stunners", who history anointed the embodiment of pre-Raphaelite ideals of beauty, is played by a nondescript woman with bad skin.  I can't even find "in-character" photographs of these actors on the web to show you---testament to how quickly everyone, even the actors, wanted to forget about them?  Did the director make any effort at all to think about these "minor" characters?   Masterpiece Theater and BBC, isn't it time for a real mini-series about the life of the great one?

Rossetti and Ruskin

Hunt posing in front of the hideous "Scapegoat" (one gal's opinion).