Saturday, July 15, 2006

Nerdiest use of a DVR ever

Because I am perhaps the biggest dork in the universe, I just experienced what I consider to be a very exciting double feature, thanks to my DVR. Through what I imagine to be serendipitous programming, two different versions of "The Importance of Being Earnest" were on TV this morning, one on TCM and one on IFC. I recorded them both, then settled down this evening for a fun four hours of compare and contrast. (What? I already admitted that I'm the biggest dork in the universe.)

In my experiment watching the 1952 and 2002 movies back-to-back, I thought one would stand out as better than the other — given my fondness for old movies, I put my odds on the 1952. However, my final verdict is that there is no clear overall winner. BUT there were clear strengths and weaknesses in each film. Not that you care, but here is a list of some of what I deem to be the highlights:

-1952's Dorothy Tutin is hands down the superior Cecily. Sorry, Reese Witherspoon. I know you won the Oscar for your performance in "Walk the Line" (which was very good), but you can't hold a candle to Dorothy Tutin in this role. Whereas you just seem like you, she comes across as natural and appealing — and perhaps most importantly for the story, a sparkling young girl.

-2002's Anna Massey as Miss Prism. Whoever came up with the hilarious walk that she exhibits is a comic genius. I still remember that watching her run away from Lady Bracknell was the highlight of my experience seeing the movie on the big screen when it first came out.

-2002's Judi Dench as Lady Bracknell, of course. 1952's Edith Evans was good, but Judi Dench — come on, now.

-1952's tea scene between Cecily and Gwendolen. The subtle verbal catfight between the two ladies should be required watching for all actresses.

-2002's tea scene tussle between Jack and Algy. And that's a high compliment from me because when I think back on reading the play well before seeing either movie, my delight over this scene's exchange about muffins still stands out.

-2002's Colin Firth. That's all I have to say on this subject. I just love Colin Firth.


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