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Showing posts from January, 2022

Gawain and the Green Knight (1991)

The two other versions of Gawain and the Green Knight I’ve looked at on this blog both use the original story as a sort of springboard and bounce off it to do their own thing - Stephen Weeks turned it into a swashbuckling romp, David Lowery into the sort of bad dream a Portland hipster might experience after going overboard on the artisan cheeses. This Thames TV version from 1991 stays much closer to the source material, and, despite a lower budget and less starry cast, it’s easily the best. Screenwriter David Rudkin is mostly known nowadays for his famously spooky 1970s TV play Penda’s Fen, but he wrote a lot of other plays and adaptations, many dealing with eerie goings-on in rural settings - the type of thing that gets called ‘folk horror’ nowadays, though that’s not a term I like. Anyway, he clearly knows his stuff, turning in a taut hour-and-a-quarter retelling of Gawain with alliterative dialogue which echoes the original. The main change he makes is to open with Gawain set