Oscar and Lucinda. Oscar is a clergyman obsessed with gambling, Lucinda is a wealthy, headstrong young woman obsessed with glass.
I’m sorry I missed Oscar & Lucinda, both the 1988 book by Peter Carey and the 1997 movie; looking at the descriptions now, I am seduced. And grateful for the many ways technology allows us to view films long gone from the movie marquee.
The publishers take
This sweeping, irrepressibly inventive novel, is a romance, but a romance of the sort that could only take place in nineteenth-century Australia. For only on that sprawling continent--a haven for misfits of both the animal and human kingdoms--could a nervous Anglican minister who gambles on the instructions of the Divine become allied with a teenaged heiress who buys a glassworks to help liberate her sex. And only the prodigious imagination of Peter Carey could implicate Oscar and Lucinda in a narrative of love and commerce, religion and colonialism, that culminates in a half-mad expedition to transport a glass church across the Outback.
Watch after reading?Should I give the book a go before I watch the movie? That’s my current dilemma but this week’s #ThursdayThrowback is available to stream on Amazon, M-Go, GooglePlay, Vudu and YouTube so you all go ahead without me.
Introducing Cate Blanchett?I’m curious to hear if anyone knows why the trailer says “And introducing Cate Banchett.” The actress had been working a half dozen years in, mostly in Australian films, before she made this one??
R-Rated for sexualityThe R-rated film—for one sexual scene and a touch of violence—got a fairly glowy 3 star review from Roger Ebert which has me eager to see the movie, and that scene. Fiennes, always a masterful actor, looks so very odd with his red-tinged hair, I’m not sure the sexuality will work for me.
“ Oscar and Lucinda has been directed by Gillian Armstrong, whose films often deal with people who are right for each other and wrong for everyone else (see her neglected 1993 film “The Last Days of Chez Nous,” about a troubled marriage between an Australian and a Frenchman, or recall her 1979 film “My Brilliant Career,” in which Judy Davis played a character not unlike Lucinda in spirit). Here there is a dry wit, generated between the well-balanced performances of Fiennes and Blanchett, who seem quietly delighted to be playing two such rich characters.
“The film's photography, by Geoffrey Simpson, begins with standard, lush 19th century period evocations of landscape and sky, but then subtly grows more insistent on the quirky character of early Sydney, and then cuts loose altogether from the everyday in the final sequences involving the glass church. In many period films, we are always aware that we're watching the past: Here Oscar and Lucinda seem ahead of us, filled with freshness and invention, and only the narration (by Geoffrey Rush of “Shine”) reminds us that they were, incredibly, someone's grandparents.
“Oscar and Lucinda begins with the look of a period literary adaptation, but this is not Dickens, Austen, Forster or James; Carey's novel is playful and manipulative, and so is the film. Oscar is shy and painfully sincere, Lucinda has evaded her century's strictures on women by finding a private passion, and they would both agree, I believe, that people who worship in glass churches should not throw stones.Here’s the trailer.