[lit-ideas] Re: Movie

  • From: "Andy Amago" <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2006 00:46:12 -0400

Thank you for the blog on Waugh.  Actually, I had just done a little
checking on the Internet.  Apparently Waugh was parodying Futurism and
Modernism in his novels, including Vile Bodies.  That may be so, and no
doubt is so, but there seemed to me a streak of something else, something
deeper, assuming, of course that the movie is reasonably true to the book. 
I think often authors think they do one thing and wind up doing either
something else, or doing both what they set out to do as well as put in all
sorts of unconscious stuff.  This movie worked for me but I didn't think it
was funny even slightly.  And I don't think the paparazzi sections were
parodies at all.  Princess Di said she was always followed by at least 35
photographers.  Likewise the drugs.  River Phoenix, Betty Ford, many many
rich and famous are on drugs.  Fun fun fun, it?s what people live for and
what is so unsatisfying.

The reason I thought (100% intuition) that he put himself into Nina is
simply because (1) he was (I believe) a homosexual, which (intuition tells
me) made him feel outside of society, and in fact homosexuality was against
the law in England, and (2) many homosexuals are quite feminine men (I
don't know anything about Waugh himself).   That seems implicit in the
title of the book, Vile Bodies.  On some level he may have hated his
sexuality, as Nina finds her 'seduction' by her lover painful and among the
worst things she ever experienced.  Yet Nina has the ability to be warm and
to love him genuinely.  That's why I thought he put himself into Nina.  And
Nina is also more level headed.  She sees the value of money, as Waugh had
to be level headed to see the society he was writing about.  However, as
you say, books and movies are often worlds apart, as this one may be. 
Still, it was a worthwhile experience.

> [Original Message]
> From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Date: 6/11/2006 12:22:20 AM
> Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Movie
> I feel I should be able to be helpful on the question.  I saw the movie 
> recently.  I've read lots of Waugh.  But I can't think how a 
> Conservative, with a big C, and a Catholic, with an equally high C, one 
> and the same person, might end up in the body of a female character.
> And what Fry wrought is a long way from what Waugh wrote.
> I'm wondering if you'll find this essay on the differences between the 
> book and the movie helpful:
> http://blogcritics.org/archives/2004/09/01/114136.php
> David Ritchie,
> Portland, Oregon
> On Jun 10, 2006, at 8:54 PM, Andy Amago wrote:
> > I saw a pretty good movie tonight, Bright Young Things, based on the 
> > book Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh.  I liked it.  Better, I thought, 
> > than Great Gatsby.   I've never read Evelyn Waugh.  Going completely 
> > by intuition, I suspect he put himself into the character of Nina but 
> > I am definitely open to correction.  Is anyone familiar with Mr. Waugh 
> > and this book?

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