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photography and film – facts, ideas, values



Book Society Edition 1952

Conrad Victory: Book Society Edition 1952

Harold Pinter’s Victory

Available on BBC iPlayer for who knows how long. Unfortunately Harold Pinter wasn’t there to do read his own stage directions. If you heard Pinter’s Proust Play on BBC radio many years ago, you will understand.

Here the blurb from the iPlayer webpage:

Harold Pinter’s previously un-produced screenplay of Joseph Conrad’s last major novel, Victory, adapted for radio by director Richard Eyre. Lena, a touring English violinist, accompanies a commercial ladies orchestra to the Dutch East Indies in 1900. There, she encounters Heyst, a reclusive Swedish baron who lives alone on a deserted island. Tired of being pursued by a host of predatory men, Lena is intrigued by the aloof and mysterious Heyst, who in turn forgets his disenchantment with life and humanity and invites her to escape with him to his remote home. However, the pair’s romantic idyll is interrupted when one of Lena’s spurned suitors seeks vengeance. Psychological drama, starring Bjarne Henriksen and Vanessa Kirby, with narration by Simon Russell Beale. {1}

World premiere for Harold Pinter play – 33 years after it was written

Playwright’s discarded script for a film based on Joseph Conrad’s novel Victory has been adapted for Radio 4 by Richard Eyre with roles for Vanessa Kirby, Mark Strong and Simon Russell Beale

Radio 4 to broadcast forgotten Harold Pinter screenplays


Amazing how many editions of Victory there were, which can be seen by looking at the Google search. Hard to make a choice. Could profitably spend a while looking at book covers of Victory and all Conrad books while waiting for warmer weather. Note some have the full title: Victory – An Island Tale. Penguin Modern Classics took a detail of Die Windsbraut by Oscar Kokoschka

Conrad Victory : Penguin Modern Classics

Conrad Victory: Penguin Modern Classics

Victory e-book [Gutenberg]

Another e-book version at The Literature Network with better layout and individual chapter links.[But NB you’ll need to use Control + or – to get the text right]

An audio book summary [12 mins. Says it’s speech synthesis, though the voice is very good, not mechanical. As per speech syn., it’s a continuous flow without the gaps a reader would put in for punctuation. Quite funny.] ~ Just imagine this is Pinter speed-reading his own summary of the novel and he’s thinking, thinking about the screenplay.

Over the years 5 film versions, one Polish. Interesting to note in wiki: Joseph Conrad the list of Conrad films and adaptations, famously the based on Apocalypse Now [1979].

Quite natural to start to think about Conrad’s filmability. That Heart of Darkeness was a tricky one is well known. Conrad on Film [1997], here on GoogleBook enough even with the missing pages for many facts and thoughts. There is discussion of fidelity, Conrad’s irony and mention that Victory has been the favourite Conrad of filmmakers [so you’ll wnat to check tht out to see why..]. NB in the notes, p.15, that Orson Welles wrote a screenplay for Lord Jim and one for Victory which was called Surinam. The Lord Jim we known was written by Richard Brooks.

Joseph Conrad in Context

Pub. 2009.

[p.91-97/92 & 93 unavailable, tantalisingly about Conrad’s attempts to write plays of his books]

Ch. 12. Dramatic and other adaptations by Richard J Hand. As always just when it gets interesting a page is missing….but talks of play adapatations before going on to film in section II, which starts promisingly with, “Cinema provides the real triumph of Conrad adaptation.” Couple of paras on Welles’ involvement with screenplays of Conrad.

What can you adapt and how can you adapt it has always been a film preoccupation of mine. In COTA mentions of Fowles’The French Lieutentant’s Woman [Carol Reitz] and a post or 2 on Pinter’s Proust screenplay [available as a book], which only ever got to be a radio adaptation, which was a worthwhile thing to do, both because it was wonderful to listen to and at the same time as visual as a film. Film vs. radio adaption is an interesting and important topic.

Currently, though not posted about, my idée fixe on Graham Moore’s screenplay of The Imitation Game as an example of how not to do justice to a famous, important real person [though everyone seemed to enjoy the film]. Or even: how not to do it at all once presented with the enormity of the justice required [SMILES. PURSES LIPS. NODS.]. I tweeted furiously for weeks giving excerpts from the screenplay in the hope it would help in some small way to discouraging thoughts of awarding it Best Adapted Screenplay. Mirabile dictu – though not through my tweets, obviously – it hasn’t had a look in so far, except in being nominated. There will inevitably be a biopic soon on the life of Graham Moore, scriptwriter, for which I have put down in my mental notes for a script a must do reference, in some form or other, to Altman’s The Player, even if it only in the form of those trendy TXT-messaging-heads-up-on-screen thingys between scriptwriter and producer. If you feel an urge to work up a script along those lines, I’d be happy to join it. A fiction of course.

March 12, 2015 - Posted by | Pinter | , , , , , ,

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