<body bgcolor=#666666 text=#000000 link=#9900FF vlink=#6633CC alink=#FF00FF> <font face="Helvetica"> <!-- google ad frame begins --> <div align="center"> <script type="text/javascript"><!-- google_ad_client = "pub-6797459863105118"; google_ad_width = 728; google_ad_height = 90; google_ad_format = "728x90_as"; google_ad_type = "text_image"; google_ad_channel =""; google_color_border = "660033"; google_color_bg = "ffccff"; google_color_link = "0000ff"; google_color_url = "008000"; google_color_text = "000000"; //--></script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> </script></div><br> <!-- google ad frame ends --> <!-- film illustration frame begins --> <div align="center"> <table border=5 cellpadding=5 cellspacing=4><tr><td bgcolor=FF99FF align=center width=700> <img src="http://www.weirdwildrealm.com/filmimages/gormenghast.jpg" alt="Gormenghast" align="left" width=226 height=275 hspace=8 vspace=0 border=3>
<h3>GORMENGHAST. 2000</h3> Director: Andy Wilson<br><br> Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl <br><br> </font></td></tr></table> <br> <!-- film illustration frame ends --> <!-- review frame begins --> <table border=5 cellpadding=5 cellspacing=4><tr><td bgcolor=CC99FF align=left width=700><br>
The two-part made-for-British-tv film <i>Gormenghast</i> debuted in America on Public Broadcasting, then was released in its entirety on a two-disc DVD.<br><br> The first part was overwhelmingly beautiful, &amp pretty well sustained in the second part. A few things from the books, such as the feral child sequences, were too synoptic to succeed, &amp the sunny knight errant ending was the epitome of anticlimax. One might just as well turn it off after the villain gets skewered.<br><br> <img src="http://www.weirdwildrealm.com/filmimages/gormenghast-lee.jpg" alt="Gormenghast" align="right" width=165 height=195 hspace=8 vspace=0 border=1>But part two's story of the Dim Sisters certainly was horrific &amp cool. Still, the first part was so fluid, held together as a whole by Titus's alzheimers-afflicted father &amp madly protective Master Flye, whereas Part Two gets a bit choppy with some excellent scenes &amp some that failed. Of course so do Peake's novels deteriorate as they progress.<br><br> Many years ago Sting owned the rights &amp tried to raise the money to produce &amp star in <i>Gormenghast.</i> He was so good in the arty horror film <i>Brimstone &amp Treacle</i> (1982) that I would really like to have seen him as Peake's villainous kitchen rat cum poisoner, but of course he'd've been far too old for that role by the time it was actually filmed.

That's too bad because the young chap they did find to play the villain lacked Sting's charisma, &amp alas could not compare to the great character actors surrounding him -- he's why Part Two is weaker since his character is unifier of the tale once Titus's father is eaten by owls.<br><br> <img src="http://www.weirdwildrealm.com/filmimages/gormenghast-still.jpg" alt="Gormenghast" align="left" width=275 height=165 hspace=8 vspace=0 border=1>The real star of this adaptation of Peake's masterpiece would have to be the sets &amp costumes, all inspired by famous classical paintings so that occasionally it becomes a "name that painting!" guessing game, though not so obtrusive one fails to be absorbed by the characters.

The acting was certainly up to the design, with Christopher Lee particularly brilliant as Master Flye, &amp Bob Hoskins as the keeper of the ritual hopping about like a rabid dog throughout. Indeed, even with a few faults, <i>Gormenghast</i> was very likely the most convincing &:amp best heroic fantasy film up until Peter Jackson did such a bang-up job for <i>Lord of the Rings.</i>

Having none of the usual faults expected of television productions, <i>Gormenghast</i> found a "look" &amp attitude that is truly otherworldly &amp effective. And those Brits sure know how to cast things; if it'd been done in America it'd had a bunch of Ken Doll lookalikes nobody but soap opera fans would recognize.<br><br> Trying to find other films with such extraordinary "look" to them, I can't bring to mind another that was a television production, though the French theatrical releases <i>Delicatessen</i> (1991) amp <i>City of Lost Children</i> (1995) are comparable (last I looked by the way, <i>Delicatessen</i> wasn't available in letterbox, a filthy shame, as much of the stunning design was lost in the video version that so horrified me I had to stop watching it altogether, it was a wreck compared to the widescreen original I saw in the theater).

I heard director Andy Wilson interviewed in National Public Radio &amp he seemed charming, aware that he had made something awfully good (he's not done better before or sense), but a little deluded about how fandom would recieve it. He seemed really to hope it might become a "fad" like <i>Star Trek</i> &amp fans would have conventions for the next thirty years. Or, rather than merely deluded, he came off as himself a fannish naif with big dreams, though he'll have to settle for having made a fine long film worthy of repeat viewings, &amp take pride in having so well honored Mervyn Peake. <br><br><div align="center"><span style="font-size: 80%;">copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl</span></div><br>
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