Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Well, I Started With Beatrix Potter
Yesterday I hopped on the treadmill to do those daily miles and happened to turn on the last forty minutes of Miss Potter, the sweet little film about Beatrix Potter's love life. Really, what can anyone know about Beatrix Potter's love life? I expect that there are biographies out there. But from what I saw of the film, she was passionately in love (in that naughty here's-a-peek-at-my-ankle Victorian way) with one of her publishers. Then, in the space of that forty minutes, he died of consumption, she bought Hill Top farm in the north country, and eventually married her lawyer.
Renee Zellweger did a lovely job portraying Potter: gentle but serious, hopeful, dignified. Ewan McGregor--well, I don't know what he was doing in the film. So earnest, but a little dull. I liked the clever animated sequences of Potter's several characters. In fact, the sequences in which they all seem to run away, deep into the world of their pages in fear reminded me why I'm drawn to her books.
I wasn't exposed to Potter's work as a child. My mother bought a complete set for Pomegranate when she was small, but I read them to her. The stories are so removed from so much of the pablumized dreck that's out there for children now. Yes, there are many, many fine children's books--but few picture books take on the darker side of life.
Potter's creatures are frequently endangered. In many of the stories I can recall, they risk death as they try to feed themselves or reproduce. Some are predators, some are prey. Me, I always admire the predators: Simkin, the wicked cat in The Tailor of Gloucester, Old Brown the owl in Squirrel Nutkin, Foxy Mr. Tod who covets Jemima Puddleduck's eggs, the hungry trout who tries to gobble up Jeremy Fisher. Potter seemed to have a farmer's understanding of the order of nature.
I know it's a kind of nutty question, but do you have a favorite Beatrix Potter story?
I would have to say mine is The Tailor of Gloucester.
(And especially for you, P--I found the lyrics to the creepy song from Pomegranate's BBC videos!)
The rain has moved on
And left a new day
Nothing seems to move everything is still
It’s just a perfect day
The shadows and light
That move with the wind
Hidden violets grow splashed with summer spray
Just another perfect day
On the wild and misty hillside
Fear is nature’s warning
Hunger here is never far away
And all of this world
Is for children who play
Days that never end
always should remain
Another perfect day
All this is very well, but the point I really wanted to get to here is about Daniel Craig. (Fellow writer Amanda Stevens occasionally has Clive Owen Wednesdays on her blog, but she hasn't had one in a while. I felt obligated to pick up the slack in the updates on ruggedly handsome actors category!) When I went to imdb.com to check out the Zellweger film, I clicked on Ewan McGregor's name. I discovered that he's starring with--you guessed it--Daniel Craig in a film called I, Lucifer. Has anyone read the Glen Duncan novel on which it's based? In it, Lucifer apparently gets a chance to redeem himself by living a well-behaved life in the body of a depressed writer. Hm. Doesn't matter what it's like, though. I'll see it if it's just Daniel Craig running around in a bright red union suit with a moustache painted onto his handsome face!
Photo credit here.