04-24-2008, 10:33 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Sweetest Place on Earth
Masterpiece Theatre Is In The House II
On par with past
offerings, Masterpeice Theatre this past weekend broadcast My Boy Jack
-- about Rudyard Kiplings's son (played by Harry Potter a/k/a Dan Radcliffe) death in WWI and the resulting familial aftermath.
As luck would have it, I missed it -- and if it's not rebroadcast sometime soon, I'll have to Netflix it. Anyone catch it?
From the New York Times
A Different Kind of Kipling Adventure
By GINIA BELLAFANTE
Published: April 18, 2008
When Kim Cattrall of “Sex and the City” shows up on “Masterpiece” (formerly “Masterpiece Theater”) wearing cameos and high collars, the jokes write themselves as easily as if Judi Dench were appearing in the life story of Doris Day. From the trailers for the coming “Sex and the City” movie, we can see that Ms. Cattrall, at 51, still has a body that could forge peace treaties. If there is a crime in her casting, it is that she has been forced to stand around in front of William Morris wallpaper in floor-length, high-waisted solid cottons.
A Scene From My Boy Jack, Starring Daniel Radcliffe Ms. Cattrall is part of the cast of “My Boy Jack” (showing Sunday on most PBS stations; check local listings), a televised version of a stage play about Rudyard Kipling’s hardheaded, macho insistence that his fragile young son serve in World War I. As Kipling’s brazen American wife — is there really any other kind? — Ms. Cattrall suppresses her instincts for feline inflection. But no matter how hard she works to seem anxious or serious or miserable or bereaved, you can’t help thinking that whenever she is in the vicinity of a man in a uniform, she’s going to tell him she would sure as heck love to see his own Western front. What is she doing in this movie? Isn’t there a sale going on right now at a Neiman Marcus somewhere?
Still, Ms. Cattrall’s odd inclusion adds a spark and leaves you with something to talk about. Otherwise “My Boy Jack” is like a well-made hospital bed, all four corners too tightly tucked.
It is hard to find much emotion in a movie that tries to wrench drama from an eye test. Kipling’s son, Jack, here played by the Harry Potter movies’ grown-up and gravitas-bearing Daniel Radcliffe, suffers from vision problems and ought to have been barred from the military, but he can’t help fulfilling his father’s ambition that he fight against German tyranny.
Things go badly; Jack goes missing; Kipling, played with Olympian restraint by David Haig (who also wrote the play and this script), must grapple with the guilt born of his too-pushy approach to parenthood.
Most actors love scenes involving big, gushy Daniel Day-Lewis-style grapplings with conscience, but Mr. Haig seems as though he would rather be rereading “Bleak House.” His screenplay is supposed to give us a sense of the emotionally withholding Edwardian mind-set Kipling embodied, but it is hard to imagine that in the thick of the worst imaginable tragedy Kipling turned to his wife and said, “We’ll manage.”
Productions of “Masterpiece” often work so hard to avoid the taint of melodrama that they come off seeming like high comedy. In an effort at poetry, one can only suppose, Jack, whose masculinity has always been under assault, is shown suffering a battlefield injury to the most intimate region of his anatomy. It is as hokey as if the actress playing his mother started reciting “There once was a man from Nantucket."