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Saturday: August 11, 2007

What I’ve Been Watching (V)

Filed under: — site admin @ 10:33 AM GMT-0500

I haven’t read the novel in over 30 years, but bits of the German television miniseriesDoktor Faustus (1982) were familiar. Here’s one I’d forgotten (assuming it is in the book) — Satan in the guise of a theology professor (the unusually goatish goatee should have been a tipoff):

Verdict: not bad for a made-for-TV version of a novel. Of course, period detail goes a long way in making up for the omission of many of the characters and almost all of the words. Not that the period detail is flawless: some of the books in the cabinet behind Prof. Dr. Satan seem to have clear plastic dust jackets, which I’m pretty sure were not available a century ago. (The scene is set somewhere between 1905 and 1909.)

The credits include an interesting line: “Musik: Benjamin Britten, Rolf Wilhelm”. I wonder which one wrote the works of the fictional composer Adrian Leverkühn. If it was Britten, he did not do so knowingly, since he died in 1976. In any case, I hadn’t thought he wrote any twelve-tone works, so perhaps he provided some of the mood music, while Wilhelm impersonated Leverkühn for the concert scenes.

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