Thursday, October 5, 2006

RE: Richard III - Richard the Good

Well, it all shows what a poor reader I am. I DID send an e-mail, that must have been lost, asking if the senior Findlays were going to New York. And then I started imagining. We, on the other hand, have made a trip to Peoria/Chicago/Milwaukee and back. That was a trip! En route, we saw Hansel and Gretel in Milwaukee (a wonderful production that made me wish I had the list of boy-appropriate actions the young woman playing Hansel studied) and the new The Queen, which Ernst managed to download to show us last night in Ithaca (I ask no questions).

The whole reason I bring this up is that the film (which I think I liked better than Anthony Lane, who looks ever-so-slightly down his nose at it) is, like More's Richard III (and, subsequently, Shakespeare's), a re-working of relatively recent history (things pass into the past more rapidly today than in 16th-century England, perhaps). It is and it isn't revisionist. It isn't in that it seems to me less about rewriting history than about the curious ways random happenings and human motivation interact to create "history." It is revisionist, but less in the way it biases our opinions than in how it tries to adjust the ways the still-very-present Queen and Prime Minister might see themselves.


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