The Last Journey of John Keats

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

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The Last Journey of John Keats

Postby Malia » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:09 am

Hi Everyone,
This might be an old topic (in that this video may have been linked to in the past) but as it has been a while, I'm linking to it once more!
This is the Omnibus program that Andrew Motion put together for Keats's Bicentenary in 1995. I watched it when it first came out (as I was a student at Durham University at the time) and had a bugger of a time finding it afterward in the U.S.

Recently, I've discovered it online and thought my fellow Keatsians might be interested in either watching or, as may be the case, rewatching it once more. There's not a whole lot of "new" information in the presentation; it's all stuff a Keatsian would already know--but it is so interesting to see a ship that looks like the Maria Crowther, for instance, and get a sense of what the journey to Italy might have been like for Keats on a little more visual level.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xvodcs ... P9UR-hJ-ZB
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Re: The Last Journey of John Keats

Postby Saturn » Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:55 pm

Here's the full thing, in one go, on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-KrzsMfn7w

I haven't actually seen this myself, must take a look, thanks Malia.
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Re: The Last Journey of John Keats

Postby Malia » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:58 am

I wasn't able to watch the one on YouTube, Saturn. Something about copyright laws. I'll bet people across the Pond can see it. For those of us who don't have access, the one I linked will work--though it would be lovely to see it all at once rather than in parts.
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Re: The Last Journey of John Keats

Postby Ennis » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:09 am

Malia wrote:I wasn't able to watch the one on YouTube, Saturn. Something about copyright laws. I'll bet people across the Pond can see it. For those of us who don't have access, the one I linked will work--though it would be lovely to see it all at once rather than in parts.


Oh, thank you, Malia!! I found Motion's beautiful film for sale on dvd a while back for about 100 $$. I had to put that purchase on hold, but I wanted to see it so, so badly. Thank you for the link. Now, if I can just stop the tears. . . .
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Re: The Last Journey of John Keats

Postby Cath » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:01 pm

THANK YOU, Malia! I had heard Motion talk about this programme in interviews, but couldn't find a copy online or on DVD. So glad to have finally seen it. And yes, I cried too, Ennis :cry: . So sad, when Motion crawled into the tight bunk space on the ship and said Keats must have felt he was already lying in his coffin (I wondered whether his sentence about having an habitual feeling that he was already leading a posthumous life came to him in that position aboard that boat).

I have to say I thought Motion was terrible at reading those extracts of Keats's letters, though. The chap performing Keats's poems did a whole lot better in conveying their tone and spirit.

(The YouTube link didn't work for me in Germany either - it seems to be UK only).
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Re: The Last Journey of John Keats

Postby Malia » Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:18 pm

I'm glad that this video is "new" to many of you and that you're enjoying it. Yes, Ennis--when I first checked into purchasing a copy, it was about $100 (or more). Too steep for my blood! Thank goodness we have it for free online now.

It's true that Motion's reading of Keats is pretty terrible. But then, one could say that he's only being *true* to Keats, as it was said that Keats read his own works terribly (according to Woodhouse) and never did them justice. I thought the actor who read his poems was better, but still a little over dramatic for me. Not all Keats is meant to be read in dramatic whisper or with an exclamation mark attached to every line.

I thought that the demonstration of the bunk aboard ship was extremely telling and moving. These little details are what I most enjoyed about the program. It's hard to get a full sense of what Keats went through--and how it must have affected his mind and heart--without knowing something about his environment. I, as a citizen of the 21st c. who never sailed (and certainly not in a ship with *actual* sails), would not have been able to grasp the poignancy of his journey nearly as well without seeing what his ship was actually like.
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Re: The Last Journey of John Keats

Postby Ennis » Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:04 am

Cath wrote:THANK YOU, Malia! I had heard Motion talk about this programme in interviews, but couldn't find a copy online or on DVD. So glad to have finally seen it. And yes, I cried too, Ennis :cry: . So sad, when Motion crawled into the tight bunk space on the ship and said Keats must have felt he was already lying in his coffin (I wondered whether his sentence about having an habitual feeling that he was already leading a posthumous life came to him in that position aboard that boat).

I have to say I thought Motion was terrible at reading those extracts of Keats's letters, though. The chap performing Keats's poems did a whole lot better in conveying their tone and spirit.

(The YouTube link didn't work for me in Germany either - it seems to be UK only).



I agree with Motion's reading of both the letters and the poetry. I still think Ben Whishaw has done the best job out of all those that I've made an effort to listen to (which is kind of ironic, considering he, Ben, was "taught" about Keats by Motion prior to the filming of "Bright Star" [if I'm not mistaken]). Benedict Cumberbatch doesn't do "Ode To a Nightingale" too badly.
"But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, 'twill not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures." JK to FB 08.07.1819
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Re: The Last Journey of John Keats

Postby Cath » Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:29 pm

I had to smile, though, when Motion was holding the plate of pasta out of Keats's Rome window and letting it fall. Although Motion didn't embody it, you could imagine the desperate humour with which Keats must have tossed that terrible, inedible food out of the window.
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Re: The Last Journey of John Keats

Postby Ennis » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:27 am

Cath wrote:I had to smile, though, when Motion was holding the plate of pasta out of Keats's Rome window and letting it fall. Although Motion didn't embody it, you could imagine the desperate humour with which Keats must have tossed that terrible, inedible food out of the window.


I agree! It was one of few times that I smiled during the film. I did laugh at Motion and his (poet) friend when they did the cayenne pepper and claret "experiment." Even though, if I'm not mistaken, Keats never mentioned that experience in his letters; it came to us from BRHayden, and he was known to embellish some, I still thought it funny. Just like Ben Whishaw, aka John Keats, climbing that tree and lying down on the upper-most branches (in Bright Star): did Keats really do that ? Who cares? It's still a perfect Keastsian thing to do.
I thought one of the most poignant scenes from Motion's film was that shot of Keats's death mask with the curtain wafting back-and-forth over it and that music/singing in the background. That's pretty much when I "lost it."
Frankly, if Keats had to actually sleep in a berth like the one Motion climbed into, I don't see how he could have managed that night in and night out without going mad.
"But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, 'twill not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures." JK to FB 08.07.1819
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Re: The Last Journey of John Keats

Postby Raphael » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:51 am

Thank you Malia and Saturn! Never even heard of this programme nor seen it ( will watch it tomorrow eve as got to go to sleep soon or will never get up for work in the morning...).

In Liverpool Maritime Museum they have a reconstructed interior of a late C 19th sailing ship ( just before the age of steam liners like Titanic) and it is very cramped, dark and looks uncomfortable. Still more space I expect than the Maria Crowther though.
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Re: The Last Journey of John Keats

Postby Raphael » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:21 am

I agree with Motion's reading of both the letters and the poetry. I still think Ben Whishaw has done the best job out of all those that I've made an effort to listen to (which is kind of ironic, considering he, Ben, was "taught" about Keats by Motion prior to the filming of "Bright Star" [if I'm not mistaken]). Benedict Cumberbatch doesn't do "Ode To a Nightingale" too badly


I posted a you tube link to a young man with dark hair doing a reading/dramatisation of some of the poems about two years ago- just remembered it but cannot find it anywhere. It was really good.Do you remember Saturn?
John....you did not live to see-
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what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: The Last Journey of John Keats

Postby Saturn » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:10 am

Sorry can't remember that Raphael.

As for this show, just watched it last night - wonderful programme, I was really moved by it, especially that final ghostly image of the death mask with curtains blowing over it...haunting.
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Re: The Last Journey of John Keats

Postby Raphael » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:10 pm

It was ok- the ghastly music ruins it for me.
John....you did not live to see-
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what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: The Last Journey of John Keats

Postby Saturn » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:16 pm

Wouldn't call it ghastly, surely - a bit over baked perhaps, overly dramatic. I thought it was mostly quite good, but very of its time late 90s overblown.
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Re: The Last Journey of John Keats

Postby Ravenwing » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:57 am

Adieu.
Last edited by Ravenwing on Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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