I watched a movie I'd been anticipating since forever last night:TOPSY TURVY. I must say I didn't love it. Although I did enjoy it. I knew Gilbert and Sullivan mostly from their wonderful music and not much from the historical record. Although I had read that they didn't get along very well and didn't spend a lot of time together - the movie shows that. It also shows Sullivan as a bit of a wastrel with a mistress in keeping and Gilbert as a straitlaced, repressed invidvual. Neither of them very likable chaps. I had expected a sort of comedy I suppose, from the trailers I'd seen. But in truth, it wasn't. Not at all. Jim Broadbent is excellent, as usual. And Allan Corduner (an actor I'm unfamiliar with) as Sullivan is slightly repellent, but excellent as well. Two more different men I couldn't imagine having to work together and yet somehow, they managed it and produced brilliant work.
I loved seeing the backstage banter and dramatics, the nuts and bolts of putting a show together is always fascinating to me. Loved the scene when the actresses to appear in The Mikado are outraged over not having to wear corsets. And of course, enjoyed watching the scenes from some of the productions.
On the personal side: My heart went out to Gilbert's wife who appeared to suffer marriage to a man who had little enough affection to show her and seemed to have no clue what his wife needed from him. Near the end she tells him of a dream she's had (or vision, can't remember which) and it's obvious she's dying for some show of physical love from Gilbert. She mentions empty perambulators (baby carriages) and strangling by umbilical cords. I'm thinking that maybe she'd had a miscarriage or two? They appear to have had no children. Don't see how they would have, sleeping in separate bedrooms and Gilbert, apparently, leery of spending the night with his own wife. I guess all the emotion he had, he put into his work. Topsy turvy, indeed. A very good film, just not the great one I was expecting.
Being that April is National Poetry Month, I thought I'd end this post with a poem from Christina Rossetti (1830 -1894), one of my favorite poets. A poem that puts me in mind of Gilbert's sad wife and helps my understanding.
Pause of Thought
I looked for that which is not, nor can be
And hope deferred made my heart sick in truth:
But years must pass before a hope of youth
Is resigned utterly.
I watched and waited with a steadfast will:
And though the object seemed to flee away
That I so longed for, every day by day
I watched and waited still.
Sometimes I said: 'This thing shall be no more;
My expectation wearies and shall cease;
I will resign it now and be at peace':
Yet never gave it o'er.
Sometimes I said: 'It is an empty name
I long for; to a name why should I give
The peace of all the days I have to live? -
Yet gave it all the same.
Alas, thou foolish one! alike unfit
For healthy joy and salutary pain:
Thou knowest the chase useless, and again
Turnest to follow it.
Christina Georgina Rossetti was born into a remarkable family of writers and artists. Her brother was the pre-Raphaelite artist, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Read more about her at this link.
I apologize once again for the clunky spacing, but I simply cannot get Google Blogger to post properly. This has been going on now for a couple of weeks and is, needless to say, infuriating. But I'm damned if I'll stop posting just because it's extra difficult right now.
Please bear with me and allow me a very heartfelt: GAK!!