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Wolf Hall Dramatisation

mr_goomr_goo Posts: 3,755
edited March 2015 in The cake stop
Historical Masterpiece or Bloated Pedestrian Drudgery?

Yet to make my mind up for certain, another episode or two needed, but I am leaning towards the latter.
Always be yourself, unless you can be Aaron Rodgers....Then always be Aaron Rodgers.
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  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 52,586 Lives Here
    It's drama and needs to be treated as such.

    Nothing is a 'historical' masterpiece unless it's somehow changing the study of history in some meaningful way.

    If you're concerned about accuracy, then a) you don't really know because you weren't there, and b) of all pieces of history, Henry VIII stuff is the best example of the idea that history written (or filmed...) is a product of the time it is written in.

    Even journos have cottoned on to that: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvan ... erves.html
  • Paulie WPaulie W Posts: 1,492
    It was a little pedestrian but was lifted by two fantastic performances, Pryce and Rylance. He didnt say much but there was so much going on with Cromwell expressed mainly by Rylance's stillness - I did keep expecting a small black bunny to wander on to set though!
  • I thought it was pretty promising. It helps if you know a bit of the history or drum up and have some interest in history and politics. The book 'Wolf Hall' makes history feel very real and the tv version does too. Imagine being an Alistair Campbell or Peter Mandelson and losing everything and getting executed for getting it wrong or simply for falling from the king's favour. "Bloated Pedestrian Drudgery" might be appropriate if we were overwhelmed with high quality TV. If.
  • There were man comments beforehand that the codpieces had been downsized lest it cause offence!
  • RDWRDW Posts: 1,900
    There were man comments beforehand that the codpieces had been downsized lest it cause offence!

    Shocking! The BBC used to manage these important details much more accurately:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5A55eWbiBI

    The books are brilliant, so it will be interesting to see how much of Mantel's take on Cromwell makes it into the adaptation - what I've seen on iPlayer so far looks promising.
  • Finally got around to watching it, an hour in and nothing had happened so turned it off for Top Gear. I won't be watching the rest.
  • mpattsmpatts Posts: 1,002
    I watched it. It was really slow to get going, but really gathered pace. I'll keep watching.
    Insert bike here:
  • sswisssswiss Posts: 354
    It's drama TV; I wasn't expecting David Starkey.

    I enjoyed the first episode, I thought the performances where excellent and Rylance as Cromwell is nuanced, understated and very watchable. I will be catching the next episode.
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Brilliant. Absolutely loved it. Rylance was incredible and the lighting and atmosphere were excellent. Can't wait for the next episode.

    I'd say it's managing to portray the books' pace and style very well - slow moving and unhurried but intense.

    Best thing I've seen on TV for a very long time.

    Ruth
  • Yellow PerilYellow Peril Posts: 4,466
    BeaconRuth wrote:
    Brilliant. Absolutely loved it. Rylance was incredible and the lighting and atmosphere were excellent. Can't wait for the next episode.

    I'd say it's managing to portray the books' pace and style very well - slow moving and unhurried but intense.

    Best thing I've seen on TV for a very long time.

    Ruth

    Agreed, Tudic Noir at its best.
    @JaunePeril

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  • mr_goomr_goo Posts: 3,755
    Well 2nd episode in and still I am undecided. I cannot argue with some of the comments made. Yes, Rylance and Pryce are excellent. The filming, especially the hand held cameras and the sets, lighting and atmosphere are all excellent. But I still feel that it is lacking something. Pace? Anticipation? I don't know. Perhaps it is because it is merely another re-telling of historical fact that knowing the outcome renders it somewhat flat. If you know your history you should already know the fateful outcome for Cromwell. Although it seems we will have to await the release of book #3 and then the TV adaptation in 2-3 years time.

    I still think that if the BBC had adapted the CJ Sansom novels, as they intended to do a couple of years ago. Then we would have had an historical drama that would have delivered the history of the time, and would still have explained the personalities at the court of Henry VIII and how they influenced him and how their own beliefs changed like the wind in order to remain in favour especially Richard Rich.
    Good fact woven with a gripping storyline is what is needed to enthrall the viewer. Wolf Hall does not deliver on this. It is relying on its literary heritage of 2x Booker prizes to underpin it's standing as a TV classic.
    Always be yourself, unless you can be Aaron Rodgers....Then always be Aaron Rodgers.
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Mr Goo wrote:
    Well 2nd episode in and still I am undecided. I cannot argue with some of the comments made. Yes, Rylance and Pryce are excellent. The filming, especially the hand held cameras and the sets, lighting and atmosphere are all excellent. But I still feel that it is lacking something. Pace? Anticipation? I don't know.
    C'mon. Mr Goo - it's wonderful stuff! What do you want? A car chase or a shoot out?! :wink:
    Perhaps it is because it is merely another re-telling of historical fact that knowing the outcome renders it somewhat flat. If you know your history you should already know the fateful outcome for Cromwell. Although it seems we will have to await the release of book #3 and then the TV adaptation in 2-3 years time.
    Nah, it's because we know where it's going that it's so interesting. Loved the scene in the garden in Episode 2 where Cromwell first tells Henry his view of the corruption in the monasteries and explains the difference between the King of France's situation and his own. A massively loaded scene that showed Cromwell's genius and value to Henry in a few innocuous, under-stated sentences. Maybe this is why I like riding round the same cycling routes time and time again - I know what's coming!! :lol:
    I still think that if the BBC had adapted the CJ Sansom novels, as they intended to do a couple of years ago. Then we would have had an historical drama that would have delivered the history of the time, and would still have explained the personalities at the court of Henry VIII and how they influenced him and how their own beliefs changed like the wind in order to remain in favour especially Richard Rich.
    Good fact woven with a gripping storyline is what is needed to enthrall the viewer. Wolf Hall does not deliver on this. It is relying on its literary heritage of 2x Booker prizes to underpin it's standing as a TV classic.
    I've enjoyed a couple of the Sansom novels but they're like Enid Blyton compared to Mantel's writing. It would be Inspector Morse played out in Tudor costume.

    Mark Rylance has just become my new favourite actor. Love his craggy face and how he says so much with it without even speaking a word.

    Ruth
  • bianchimoonbianchimoon Posts: 3,942
    I think it's great TV, the darkness, no wasted dialogue and the subtle moments of humour, sure it's different and not to all tastes, but great TV nevertheless.
    All lies and jest..still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest....
  • I must admit I had no intention of watching it.........
    Watched the first episode and realised I was enjoying it.
    So watched the next one as well.
    By now well and truly hooked
    Now I don't want to miss the any of the remaining episodes.
    Not in anyway can I offer any intellectual criticism or comment......Er because I aint intellectual.
    Simplistically just compelling viewing.
  • Great that BBC has the balls to make this without concessions to the tv mobocracy who won't feel they've got they're money's worth from a 'period' (literally in Mary's case) drama unless there's plentiful nudity, pantomime villains and a sword fight. It must leave the Downton Abbey crowd flummoxed. Mantel's particular talent seems to be the ability to explore the ordinary motivations of extraordinary historical figures. No one thinks of themselves as a baddie after all. Rylance gets the kindliness / malevolence mix just right, if they ever make A Place of Greater Safety (Mantel's best book imo) they can slap a powdered wig on him and he's Robespierre
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  • RDWRDW Posts: 1,900
    Nice moment when Cromwell explains how the world works to Harry Percy:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02httwj

    (though the clip ends before the great line about the Duke of Norfolk).
  • GiraffotoGiraffoto Posts: 2,078
    I loved the books and I'm looking forward to the third one, and I've loved the episodes so far and I'm looking forward to the next ones. The only downside for me is the magnificent medieval oaths burned into my mind that I know I'll never get to casually drop into a conversation. By the thrice-besh!tten shroud of Lazarus . . .
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  • mr_goomr_goo Posts: 3,755
    BeaconRuth wrote:
    Mr Goo wrote:
    Well 2nd episode in and still I am undecided. I cannot argue with some of the comments made. Yes, Rylance and Pryce are excellent. The filming, especially the hand held cameras and the sets, lighting and atmosphere are all excellent. But I still feel that it is lacking something. Pace? Anticipation? I don't know.
    C'mon. Mr Goo - it's wonderful stuff! What do you want? A car chase or a shoot out?! :wink:
    Perhaps it is because it is merely another re-telling of historical fact that knowing the outcome renders it somewhat flat. If you know your history you should already know the fateful outcome for Cromwell. Although it seems we will have to await the release of book #3 and then the TV adaptation in 2-3 years time.
    Nah, it's because we know where it's going that it's so interesting. Loved the scene in the garden in Episode 2 where Cromwell first tells Henry his view of the corruption in the monasteries and explains the difference between the King of France's situation and his own. A massively loaded scene that showed Cromwell's genius and value to Henry in a few innocuous, under-stated sentences. Maybe this is why I like riding round the same cycling routes time and time again - I know what's coming!! :lol:
    I still think that if the BBC had adapted the CJ Sansom novels, as they intended to do a couple of years ago. Then we would have had an historical drama that would have delivered the history of the time, and would still have explained the personalities at the court of Henry VIII and how they influenced him and how their own beliefs changed like the wind in order to remain in favour especially Richard Rich.
    Good fact woven with a gripping storyline is what is needed to enthrall the viewer. Wolf Hall does not deliver on this. It is relying on its literary heritage of 2x Booker prizes to underpin it's standing as a TV classic.
    I've enjoyed a couple of the Sansom novels but they're like Enid Blyton compared to Mantel's writing. It would be Inspector Morse played out in Tudor costume.

    Mark Rylance has just become my new favourite actor. Love his craggy face and how he says so much with it without even speaking a word.

    Ruth

    Ruth

    1. Not even a car chase, shoot out, pack of zombies or a Terminator could make Wolf Hall interesting.
    2. CJ Sansom like Enid Blyton!! Really? I don't reckon you have read any of them to make such a comment. And what is your considered opinion of SJ Parris novels.
    3. Mark Rylance would have made a marvellous Matthew Shardlake. And he may have even got to remember a decent sized script. Instead of talking with his eyebrows.
    Always be yourself, unless you can be Aaron Rodgers....Then always be Aaron Rodgers.
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Mr Goo wrote:
    1. Not even a car chase, shoot out, pack of zombies or a Terminator could make Wolf Hall interesting.
    :lol:
    2. CJ Sansom like Enid Blyton!! Really? I don't reckon you have read any of them to make such a comment. And what is your considered opinion of SJ Parris novels.
    OK, I suppose comparing Sansom to Blyton is a tad harsh. :lol: I haven't read any Parris.
    3. Mark Rylance would have made a marvellous Matthew Shardlake. And he may have even got to remember a decent sized script. Instead of talking with his eyebrows.
    Ah yes, but all the silent observation and eyebrow-waggling is the whole point. The Tudor court through the eyes of the master politician and power-holder, who spends as much time in the shadows as actually speaking...

    Still loving it.

    Ruth
  • I don't do period dramas full stop, but thought I'd give it a go.

    Struggled with the first two episodes, as I felt they moved along slower than tectonic plates. Loved the third episode though, will definitely continue with the rest of the series.

    Loved the Shrouds of Lazarus line quoted above, brilliant!
  • mr_goomr_goo Posts: 3,755
    BeaconRuth wrote:
    Mr Goo wrote:
    1. Not even a car chase, shoot out, pack of zombies or a Terminator could make Wolf Hall interesting.
    :lol:
    2. CJ Sansom like Enid Blyton!! Really? I don't reckon you have read any of them to make such a comment. And what is your considered opinion of SJ Parris novels.
    OK, I suppose comparing Sansom to Blyton is a tad harsh. :lol: I haven't read any Parris.
    3. Mark Rylance would have made a marvellous Matthew Shardlake. And he may have even got to remember a decent sized script. Instead of talking with his eyebrows.
    Ah yes, but all the silent observation and eyebrow-waggling is the whole point. The Tudor court through the eyes of the master politician and power-holder, who spends as much time in the shadows as actually speaking...

    Still loving it.

    Ruth

    For all his silent observation and Roger Mooresque eyebrow raising it certainly does not make any connection to the audience.

    I do recommend the SJ Parris novels. All set in Elizabethan court. Another wonderful weaving of historical fact, real people, fictional characters and fictional/factual plot. A good read.
    Always be yourself, unless you can be Aaron Rodgers....Then always be Aaron Rodgers.
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Mr Goo wrote:
    I do recommend the SJ Parris novels. All set in Elizabethan court. Another wonderful weaving of historical fact, real people, fictional characters and fictional/factual plot. A good read.

    Thank you. I shall take up your recommendation.

    Ruth
  • Have it on catch up (to late for me need to be in bed for 9pm so as to be up for my ride to work.)
    Love it , enjoyed the book and love the show.
    Going to watch it now . dont tell me what happens !
    regards
    ILG
  • mr_goomr_goo Posts: 3,755
    Fell asleep halfway through it. Going to have to watch it on iPlayer. And as for those that don't want any spoilers. Cromwell gets his head chopped off. But that won't be happening for a year or two as Mantell hasn't released the 3rd book yet.

    Don't think I would have fallen asleep if it was a Shardlake adaptation.
    Always be yourself, unless you can be Aaron Rodgers....Then always be Aaron Rodgers.
  • jewbsjewbs Posts: 139
    I like period dramas and i'm enjoying wolf hall but what spoils it for me personally is when i see lazy set design or just ignorance of period interiors or in other words tudor interiors furnished with furniture that would not exist for at least 2 to 3 hundred years.
  • bianchimoonbianchimoon Posts: 3,942
    jewbs wrote:
    I like period dramas and i'm enjoying wolf hall but what spoils it for me personally is when i see lazy set design or just ignorance of period interiors or in other words tudor interiors furnished with furniture that would not exist for at least 2 to 3 hundred years.
    makes me smile when I see the outdoor scenes with stonework that is a few hundred years old :wink:
    All lies and jest..still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest....
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    jewbs wrote:
    I like period dramas and i'm enjoying wolf hall but what spoils it for me personally is when i see lazy set design or just ignorance of period interiors or in other words tudor interiors furnished with furniture that would not exist for at least 2 to 3 hundred years.
    I haven't the faintest clue about period interiors but I was rather enjoying some of the interiors which seem very beautiful, grand and REAL. I guess the requirement to only have Tudor furniture on the sets is pretty obvious but - I'm genuinely very interested - what is wrong with the rest of the interiors?
    makes me smile when I see the outdoor scenes with stonework that is a few hundred years old :wink:
    Surely they would have had stonework that was a few hundred years old in Tudor times just as we do today? Or are you saying the style of the stonework is post Tudor times?

    I guess if most of the viewers are as ignorant as me about architecture, interiors and buildings then it won't be a distraction to too many of us. Personally I keep marvelling at the incredible lighting which seems to enhance and single out Rylance's performance in a way that seems entirely appropriate to the Cromwell-centric perspective of the Mantel books.

    Ruth
  • RDWRDW Posts: 1,900
    Mr Goo wrote:
    Don't think I would have fallen asleep if it was a Shardlake adaptation.

    Isn't that a bit like saying you'd quite like a Sherlock Holmes series, but aren't really interested in anything that's just about, say, Queen Victoria and Disraeli? Pretty much all the characters in Wolf Hall are real people, and the plots and killings are real events. But Hilary Mantel has a fresh take on them, which is coming through pretty well in the series so far.
  • jewbsjewbs Posts: 139
    BeaconRuth wrote:
    jewbs wrote:
    I like period dramas and i'm enjoying wolf hall but what spoils it for me personally is when i see lazy set design or just ignorance of period interiors or in other words tudor interiors furnished with furniture that would not exist for at least 2 to 3 hundred years.
    I haven't the faintest clue about period interiors but I was rather enjoying some of the interiors which seem very beautiful, grand and REAL. I guess the requirement to only have Tudor furniture on the sets is pretty obvious but - I'm genuinely very interested - what is wrong with the rest of the interiors?


    It tends to be the gilded furniture that is wrong. In a couple of scenes of cromwell waiting on Anne Boleyn he walks through a room with a gold centre table, that is an 18th century table. In other rooms there are a sets of tall gilded candle stands known as torcheres that date from the regency period early 19th century. Also some of the chairs look like high back chairs dating from the late 17th century. I will keep my eye out for what else i can spot. I know its probably irrelevant to everybody else except me but it can spoil it for me . I've noticed it before in other series and in major films such a shame they don't put the effort in to get it right when they put so much in to getting the costumes etc historically accurate. I have spent the best part of my life restoring the best furniture money can buy and making copies of it including original pieces by chippendale , Adam etc so it bugs me to see it in the wrong context.
  • mr_goomr_goo Posts: 3,755
    RDW wrote:
    Mr Goo wrote:
    Don't think I would have fallen asleep if it was a Shardlake adaptation.

    Isn't that a bit like saying you'd quite like a Sherlock Holmes series, but aren't really interested in anything that's just about, say, Queen Victoria and Disraeli? Pretty much all the characters in Wolf Hall are real people, and the plots and killings are real events. But Hilary Mantel has a fresh take on them, which is coming through pretty well in the series so far.

    I do get your point. I think that what is grinding my gears about the books and now the TV series is that Mantell is being heralded as the greatest novelist of our time. All she has done is used research material from experts on the era, employed researchers and added a bit of her own narrative.
    Always be yourself, unless you can be Aaron Rodgers....Then always be Aaron Rodgers.
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