Saturday, October 17, 2015

_Crimson Peak_

I saw Crimson Peak today (I don't have any very strong opinion about it - it wasn't boring, but it wasn't all that memorable for me either, although it might appeal more to those with more visual interest than me.), and. . . well, it was obviously meant to be deliberately reminiscent of Rebecca.  It was obviously meant to be deliberately reminiscent of Rebecca because my friend sitting next to me whispered at one point that it was just like Rebecca, and because, look, it's a story about a young woman who marries a more experienced man who takes her back to his creepy mansion (among other elements that are also reminiscent of Rebecca).  Rebecca is a fairly well-known story (my friend has never even read the book or seen the movie, but he still recognized the references), so I do think that references to it are pretty clearly intended to be picked up on by viewers.

However, I couldn't really focus while watching on the similarities to Rebecca, because the story was just so reminiscent of The Portrait of a Lady.  The protagonist is a young woman with some money from upstate New York (albeit Buffalo instead of Albany).  Four of the characters match up pretty clearly to specific characters in The Portrait of a Lady (there was one character whom I just spent the entire movie thinking of as Caspar Goodwood).  There's even one specific scene where a character is introduced playing the piano which really must be a deliberate reference to the introduction of a certain character in The Portrait of a Lady.

I was, therefore, glad to find this interview with Del Toro where he specifically says, "One of the guys that I love and revere is Henry James."  Although of course he explicitly mentions Turn of the Screw, he says enough that I'm pretty convinced that the references to Portrait of a Lady are entirely deliberate.  Good to see my intertextual recognition skills are still on-target!