Voyage to Italy

The life of John Keats the man: his family, his friends, and his contemporaries.

Moderators: Saturn, Malia

Voyage to Italy

Postby bratsche » Sat Dec 11, 2004 5:23 pm

As with all of us, it has occured to me on many occasions that the voyage to Italy--Severn & Keats and the small party on the Maria Crowther--is the stuff of great historical fiction... the astonishing light of Keats slowly extinguishing and the perhaps less astonishing light of Severn on the rise....
With so little information available about that voyage, does anyone know of work which has been done--either true scholarship or historical fiction (outside the mainstream biographical analyses)--which addresses this mythic voyage?
Would love to hear, exchange, etc.
Thanks.
bratsche
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 5:16 pm
Location: Gettysburg PA

Postby Saturn » Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:37 pm

You're so right - it would make a terrific movie, but I suppose the real problem with Keats for filmakers is that he didn't lead anything like as exciting and dangerous a life as Byron or Shelly who have had a lot more attention because if their very colourful lives.

Another real problem is who could possibly play him - whocould look like him and be the right age and the right height? It would ahve to be some unknown actor I think so he could fully realise the character without the burden of previous roles - no Hollywood stars could really do him justice that I can think of.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3939
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

No need for a movie...

Postby bratsche » Thu Dec 16, 2004 12:42 am

I'd actually rather avoid the scourge of Hollywood by just having a great novel.... would seem that that September - November crossing would be an incredible novel.... would rather the reader's mind invision the characters rather than the usual 2nd rate brains in Tinsletown.
bratsche
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 5:16 pm
Location: Gettysburg PA

Postby Saturn » Fri Dec 17, 2004 10:17 am

Maybe you should write it!!
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3939
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

Postby Despondence » Fri Dec 17, 2004 4:54 pm

Stephen Saturn wrote:Another real problem is who could possibly play him - whocould look like him and be the right age and the right height?
If you exclude known actors, then there's no answer to your question unless you personally know someone who would fit the bill. But I have no such reservations - I immediately thought about Elijah Wood. He doesn't quite have the pronounced upper lip, but the height, the slender figure and the boyish look could perhaps be molded into Keats with the right whig and attire! What do you think?
Despondence
 

Postby Saturn » Fri Dec 17, 2004 5:56 pm

That's actually a really interesting choice.

Don't know how that would go down with the snobby academics "What!!! Frodo Keats??"

Really good suggestion Despondence.

Now we have to cast everyone else!!!!

Brown, Severn, Hunt, Fanny Brawne etc.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3939
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

Casting Keats's Movie

Postby Malia » Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:32 am

Hello there. I know this is a veerry old thread--but I had to reply as it is something I've thought about, too. Keats's life would make a great mini-series, I think, in the vein of "Masterpiece Theatre". I always thought that Crispin Bohnam-Carter (ten years younger than he is now) would have been the perfect Severn. In the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice, he was nearly the spitting image of how I invisioned Severn to look--and to act (very lighthearted and almost naive). I have no idea who could play everyone else. I do like the "Frodo Keats" idea! It would take someone special to play Keats. But I don't think he'd have to be 5 feet tall--just noticably shorter than the actors around him.
User avatar
Malia
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 1606
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 12:55 am
Location: Washington State, USA

Postby Saturn » Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:54 am

Good point - casting Keats is always going to be the problem.

Also I think the problem for scriptwriters is that Keats' life wasn't as exciting as say Byron or Keats so it would be hard to make a drama out of his story.

It could be done though - his story has everything you would wish for genius, heartbreak, illness, loss and tragedy in equal measure :wink:
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3939
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

Keats: The Movie

Postby Malia » Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:01 pm

I absolutely agree that Keats' life has everything you need for a great movie (tragedy, love affair, an interesting cast of characters, etc.) But you are right--his life isn't what one would think of as "swashbuckling adventure" in the way that say Shelley and Byron's lives could be seen. However, if the subject of Keats's life was approached the right way--if one or two big themes were focused on, rather than a birth to death narrative--I think it could absolutely work. And it needn't be "swashbuckling" in order to be great. I mean, look at Jane Austin--the majority of her novels take place in drawing rooms and at dances and look at the following *she* has at the movie theatre.

Also, with today's special effects technology, I think we could easily "go inside" some of Keats's poems. I personally would love to see the poet's encounter with Moneta in The Fall of Hyperion shown in a dramatic way that connects with Keats's personal life. For example, in the movie, when the poet (Keats) finally sees Moneta's face, her face looks similar to his mother's--seeing but not seeing him--like the face of the moon. Flashes into the world of his poetic imagination would show at least in part (for dramatic effect) how poetry was a way for him to explore his inner self as well as show how cool his poetry really is, in general :)

Eeek, I'm afraid I'm not expressing myself very well--this is a subject I've been thinking about for some years. In fact, back in college, a friend and I put together an outline for a Keats movie as a special studies project for an English professor. I think, though, it would take a very careful hand to make a "go" of a Keats movie. I think his best bet would be a Masterpiece Theatre-type miniseries on public television.
User avatar
Malia
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 1606
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 12:55 am
Location: Washington State, USA

Postby Saturn » Fri Dec 09, 2005 9:59 pm

Maybe a Merchant-Ivory period drama could also be a possibility.

Many people despise their work with an irrational hatred but I always check their movies out as they generally are very faithful and respectful to the source material.

Another, more risky venture could be taken by the avante-garde director Julien Temple.
If anyone hasn't seen his film 'Pandaemonium' [based on the relationship between Coleridge and Wordsworth] I would urge you to sniff it out as it's well worth a look.

In that film two of Coleridge's greatest poems The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan are visualised in a dramatic and powerful way.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3939
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

Postby fleshyniteshade » Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:18 am

My girlfriend just went to the Keat Shelly house when she visited Rom e (by my sake) and took some pictures. She went in the last week of November 2005 so rather new.

I Shall rather post those pictures methinks. Not the best but she tried!!!


Enterance
Image

The Main Lobby...nice and blurry for ya
Image

Face Mask
Image

The Bed
Image

Somebody's Reading!
Image

I think this is Fanny keats in her old age, not all that sure
Image

The publication says 1820 if you don't have super eyes
Image

Look, I see a shadow! It must be a ghosttttt...or a shadow!
Image
"aye, my envious dreams do shyly express thy tenderous lips fairly laced with sensous honey and I like aroused virgins dwell upon such dining"
fleshyniteshade
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2005 12:16 pm
Location: Laramie, Wyoming

Postby Saturn » Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:15 am

Excellent - I was there on a hot summer day in 2003 - don't remember seeing the bed though :roll:

I didn't bring a camera in because the curator said I wasn't allowed to take pictures :cry:

Did your girlfriend sign the guestbook???

Anyone going in future check out my message - August 13th 2003

:wink:

Oh and your girlfriend is :shock:
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3939
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

Postby Saturn » Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:36 pm

I just extracted some images from my video of my trip to Rome in 2003.
The quality is a bit bad but you get the general idea:

Image


Image


Image


Image


Image


Image
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3939
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

Postby Credo Buffa » Wed Dec 14, 2005 7:24 pm

Well, since this appears to be a "Keats movie" thread as much as anything. . .

While there may not be a movie of Keats's life out there, I just recently found out that there IS a short film of "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" currently making film festival rounds. Check out the trailer at the official site here: http://www.celophaine.com/lbdsm/lbdsm_top.html. it looks beautiful.

I concur with the rest of you, though; it would certainly be difficult to find an actor to play Keats. It seems to me like it would have to be a relative unknown. As Stephen said, it would be too easy to see the actor or his other roles when we'd really want to be seeing Keats. I am reminded of what Milos Forman said about casting the role of Mozart in Amadeus; a lot of big-name actors wanted the part, but he knew that the film wouldn't work if the audience recognized the actor playing Mozart, so he went with Tom Hulce. . . and, for those of us who have seen the film, we know that he was completely brilliant (regardless of the fact that he didn't particularly look like Mozart).

In my mind, a really good film about Keats would have to be made by a really dedicated director in association with an independent production company. Any big studio would want to hire well-known actors and sensationalize the story on the grounds that it would make them more money. For that reason, like you've all said, Keats's contemporaries make for better Hollywood material, but I think it's a shame that it's so easy to overlook what parts of the Keats story would really work; Keats is the kind of person who is "average" enough for the audience to identify with him, but extraordinary enough to be inspiring and engaging enough to carry a whole story by himself.

And, honestly, the film industry is getting to the point of desperation as far as finding original stories (HOW many of the films released in the last few years have been remakes? It's sickening, really) that maybe there's a chance for us seeing Keats's life made into a film of some kind in our lifetimes ;)
"Holy Kleenex, Batman! It was right under our nose and we blew it!"
User avatar
Credo Buffa
Lamia
 
Posts: 935
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 1:42 am
Location: Minnesota

Thanks

Postby Malia » Thu Dec 15, 2005 12:14 am

Thanks for the photos, fleshyniteshade and Stephen. They were great--even if some of them were a bit blurry. I'm in the middle of reading a book about Keats's last days entitled: "Darkling I Listen" (and I think the subtitle is "The Last Days of John Keats"). Anyway, getting a look at the photo of the bed in that tiny bedroom where he died really adds to my vision of what his last days must have been like.
As for the book, it is all right. I'd give it 3 stars out of 5. The author makes some overblown statements about Fanny Brawne's character, I think. He basically considers her an incurable flirt who had little true feeling. He insists that her heart was extremely aloof. I can imagine that she was more a thinking than feeling person, generally, and that she was flirtatious and sometimes awkward and unthinking (she was only 18, after all), but I don't think she was stringing Keats along or enjoying his pain as this author seems to imply. Also, I think the author defends Keats's jealousy and bad behavior toward Fanny a bit too much. Keats was no Cyrano. He was often jealous and constantly feared abandonment and betrayal. His emotional intensity would frighten off most women, I think.
Anyway, the book has some interesting points and it is written in an easy-to-read format. If anyone else has read this book and has any comments about the book, I'd love to hear what you think.
Stay Awake!
--Anthony deMello
User avatar
Malia
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 1606
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 12:55 am
Location: Washington State, USA

Next

Return to Life and Letters

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests