Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Forgotten TV: Therese Raquin





In 1980 the BBC adapted Emile Zola's Therese Raquin, which does not get enough attention for being a terrific crime novel. It was a part of Masterpiece Theater season in a 3-episode adaption.

(From Wikipedia) Thérèse Raquin tells the story of a young woman, unhappily married to her first cousin by an overbearing aunt who may seem to be well-intentioned but in many ways is deeply selfish. Therese's husband, Camille, is sickly and egocentric, and when the opportunity arises, Thérèse enters into a turbulent and sordidly passionate affair with one of Camille's friends, Laurent.

The BBC version stars Kate Nelligan, Brian Cox and some other familiar faces. It was good enough to send me off to read several Zola novels. This was my favorite although he is a terrific writer.

14 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - I must admit I never saw this adaptation. Interesting!

Al Tucher said...

Now there's a forgotten crush of mine. Kate Nelligan! I'm very fickle in onscreen affairs of the heart, but between EYE OF THE NEEDLE and THERESE RAQUIN, she had me for a while.

Deb said...

I loved this back in the day. Had totally forgotten Alan Rickman, but remembered Kate Nelligan and the wonderful Mona Washburn. This adaptation is quite faithful to the book but Therese is more of a sympathetic character in the tv version.

We're in Natchitoches now, obsessively watching the weather channel and hoping for the best. I'm assuming your trip to N.O. was cancelled or are you swimming on Bourbon Street right now?

pattinase (abbott) said...

She had me for a while, Al. And then she disappeared.
It was cancelled this morning, Deb. Hope you guys are all right. It just isn't fair for it to happen again. Megan is flying into MS. today though. Yikes!

Ben said...

All-star director Chan-Wook Park has adapted it in 2009...with vampires. it's called THIRST. It's really cool.

Anonymous said...

Glad your trip was canceled Patti - I saw pictures of a deserted, boarded-up Bourbon Street - but what is Megan thinking? Yikes.

As for this, somehow I missed it entirely. I remember the very vivid BBC adaptation of NANA from 1968 but not this one. At one point I bought a bunch of Zola's books in the British Penguin editions but didn't read any.


Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Megan insisted Oxford was too far north too be impacted. We'll see.
That sounds great, Ben. Will look for it.

George said...

I have a stack of Penguin ZOLA novels. I'll have to read a couple during Winter Break. I'm in full Fall Semester mode right now. Classes start the day after Labor Day.

pattinase (abbott) said...

The semester starts tomorrow here. Phil only had M & T classes though.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Great choice Patti - been years since I read the novel (went through a real Zola phase at one point, for the best part of six months read virtually nothing else)

Yvette said...

Saw this many MANY years ago. Sordid is one way of putting it. Ha.

These dames stuck in boring marriages...Wow.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Apparently it's a common French problem. Zola was interested in social problems. Not so many writers tackle that today.

Deb said...

I remember the adaptation of Nana, which I saw in the early 1970s. There were some incredibly lurid elements (at least to my 14-year-old self) that I assumed must have been added by the scriptwriter. Later I read the book--and it was all there.

John said...

Brilliant book. Foreshadows the work of James Cain by more than sixty years. More people ought to read the original novel. A few months ago I saw a revamped French version I didn't like so much, but Simone Signoret was fabulous.

Charles Ludlum noticed the similarity to James Cain's work and did a loopy spoof of Zola's novel interpolating noir types into the roles of husband, wife and lover. It becomes a sort of hybrid of POSTMAN... and THERESE RAQUIN. It was set in a pet shop and called THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE. Fantastic play -- very funny, very smart, often frightening. Ludlam even retains all the domino scenes which give it an added dimenion of surrealness.