Guy Crouchback, heir to a declining English Roman Catholic family, returns to England from Italy at the start of World War II, and joins the Royal Corps of Halberdiers along with various ...
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Guy Crouchback, heir to a declining English Roman Catholic family, returns to England from Italy at the start of World War II, and joins the Royal Corps of Halberdiers along with various eccentrics, though his attempts to get back with his wife Virginia, from whom he is separated, fail. After being implicated in a colleague's death, he is sent to train a commando brigade on a Scottish island, and ends up on Crete, taking part in its evacuation, and escaping to Egypt with fellow officers Ludovic and Ivor Claire. He is returned to England courtesy of Mrs. Stitch, to possibly prevent him from naming Claire as a deserter. Guy marries Virginia a second time, by which time she has a child by ex-lover Trimmer. While Guy is in Yugoslavia having a confusing time with the partisans, Virginia is killed, along with Guy's uncle Peregrine, by a doodlebug bomb. Guy returns to England after getting involved in charitable agencies, and eventually remarries. Written by
don @ minifie-1
Just watched this with my better half on DVD. I had read the books before, she hadn't.
I was positively surprised that the writers did not change much of Waugh's novels for dramatic condensation; they just omitted lots of peripheral characters and events of minor meaning to the overall plot.
The main characters are well cast and the acting is excellent. In contrast to some other reviewers, I am convinced that Daniel Craig is the perfect fit for his appearing neutral in the crucial point of class. Guy does not represent a specific class in the novels either: He's too catholic and too old for being a "chap" among the officers, he is too introverted and serious to succeed in society, and too rich and educated and considering to be a role model for the ordinary men. No, he remains an outsider to all worlds - which gives him the best position for observing and documenting all the others.
My better half liked the acting and thought the film gave her two good evenings of entertainment. Yet she was confused with the abrupt changes of locations and times (I had no problems with that with all the background knowledge of the novels and the dozens of Wikipedia pages I consulted to understand the novel's story while reading it).
I can understand her: If you are not really into WWII (and even more: if you are non-British), you really get lost if those sandy rocks now represent mock Crete in Scotland, Egypt or real Crete and what the heck were the British doing in Greece anyway? I don't think it was a good choice to split the story in two parts, while the book is made of three. The story lacks a stringent climactic structure anyway (life seldomly follows the rules scriptwriters have set for entertaining plots), and stopping in the midst of volume 2 does not really make things better. Maybe a 3 or 4 part miniseries with a run-time of 7 or 8 hours total would have been more fitting with the Crete and Yugoslavia episodes deserving a full leg of attention.
What I missed was the mentioning of Stalin. In the novel, two of Stalin's moves are main triggers for Guy's decisions: The Hitler-Stalin-pact of '39 convinces Guy to go back to England, join the army and fight the forces of evil. Germany's invasion of the USSR in '41 causes Stalin to change sides which makes Guy doubt his cause. The co-operation of the Allies with Stalin's Soviet Untion forms the quintessence of his conviction of the overall senselessness of his efforts. I can see that it is hard to make this fit into a movie version, but not to mention it at all? I also missed Stalin's sword mentioned although it is the name-giver to Waugh's trilogy.
What became clear to me after watching it is that the material is still well suited for movie or series adaptations. So, Netflix, Amazon - anyone?
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