Tristan & Isolde (2006)
I remember there were a number of posts about the movie Troy on this forum before it debuted, citing it as an example of a film that would have been perfect for a Classically-proportioned actress.
I've found another one that falls into this category -- although, like Troy, I do have some hope that this will be a faithfully historical motion picture, and will avoid modern politicizing and feminist revisionism.
It's called Tristan & Isolde, and it's set for release in 2006.
Here's the official trailer for the film:
The film looks like it will be very atmospheric and true to the Northern European spirit of the source material.
Interestingly, the music will not be by Wagner. I adore Wagner's score, but it probably would have been difficult to compress into a feature-length film. I believe the plot will also diverge somewhat from Wagner's.
Perhaps the most uncanny thing about the film is that the actress who plays Isolde, Sophia Myles, is remarkably similar to Kelsey Olson (who is probably everyone's dream image of what an Isolde should look like):
A British actress, Sophia has lovely round facial features, a little like Kate Winslet's, and was an infinitely better better choice than any Hollywood waif with a radioactive tan would have been. But still, Kelsey or a fair-haired Christina Schmidt would have been more visually-appropriate Isoldes, for the time period.
[Images posted courtesy of sophiamyles.org--HSG]
Re: Tristan & Isolde (2006)
Indeed, let us hope that this movie will be a pleasant surprise, and will join the short list of period of films that actually manage to eschew the values of the present day, and immerse themselves in the environments of older--and nobler--cultures.
The presence of director Kevin Reynolds bodes well for the film. With his thematically faithful adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo several years ago, Reynolds demonstrated that he can convincingly evoke the spirit of a different age. And let's not forget that, in many ways, his Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), which predated both Bravehart and The Last of the Mohicans, set the tone for every successful Hollywood period film that has followed: naturalistic, shot on location, but with sophisticated contemporary camera work.
A Tristan and Isolde film is extremely welcome because, alone among the principal Wagner operas (except for The Flying Dutchman), there is no historically-faithful production of the work currently on video. All of Wagner's other major operas (Dutchman aside) are available in faithful interpretations, performed by The Metropolitan Opera, under the direction of James Levine. But the Met's Tristan production is modernist rubbish, so this film will immediately become the definitive video document of the legend.
And what a brilliant move on the director's part to shoot the film in Ireland. The landscapes and skies in the trailer are indeed breathtaking, and immediately transport the viewer to a realm of myth and legend. As anyone who has lived in (or toured) Europe can attest, there is a certain quality about the perpetually-overcast Northern skies, with the sunlight breaking through in shafts of glowing white gold, that cannot be experienced anywhere else in the world (no, not even in New Zealand).
Incidentally, that Irish coastline would provide an ideal backdrop for a plus-size model photo shoot--especially in the historically-inspired fashions that are rightly so popular today . . .
The epic beauty of Irish goddess Charlotte Coyle (who would require no love potion to capture the heart of any living Tristan):
Re: Tristan & Isolde (2006)
I just wanted to let everyone who is interested in this film know that the movie now has an official Web site, along with a complete trailer:
It looks quite authentic as a period piece, and although Sophia Myles is a very slim Isolde, the timeless beauty of her facial features is indisputable. Emily is right - she reminds me very much of the beautiful Kelsey Olson, or Kate Winslet in her younger years.
Oh, and be sure to select the "Large" version of the trailer, which is still quite small. The others versions are too tiny to see properly.
Re: Tristan & Isolde (2006)
All indications are that this film could be magnificent; although, with a January release date, the lack of publicity that it has generated is worrying. Perhaps after flops such as Alexander the Great and Kingdom of Heaven, Hollywood fails to appreciate public enthusiasm for period films (whereas the failure of those movies is due not to their historicity, but to the filmmakers' decision to impose modern political sensibilities on timeless stories, rather than acknowledging the radically different value-systems that existed in bygone eras).
The only distracting element in the Tristan & Isolde trailer is the contemporary background music (which is hopefully restricted to this promo, and will not be present in the actual movie). The film itself is being scored by a standard, prolific Hollywood tunesmith, and although one can understand the desire not to use a cut-and-paste version of Wagner's music, it's a shame that the producers failed to employ composers who have proven their ability to create surging orchestral soundtracks for period films, as Howard Shore did in Lord of the Rings, or as James Horner did in the flawless Braveheart.
Then again, Wagner can be successfully integrated into a film score; e.g., John Boorman's flawed but atmospheric Excalibur (1981), which is easily the best screen treatment of the Arthurian sagas, and features musical passages from many Wagnerian operas.
Incidentally, anyone who ever has the opportunity to visit the legendary Neuschwanstein castle in Bavaria will witness an unforgettable tribute to Tristan & Isolde in the king's Neo-Gothic bedroom:
The walls of the bedroom are adorned with paintings by A. Spiess, depicting moments from the Tristan & Isolde saga, including this sensual interpretation of their moonlight rendezvous:
And just for good measure, here is another wonderful painting of a moment in the story, the title of which explains the scene: "They Fought for the Love of One Lady, and Ever She Lay on the Walls and Beheld Them," by Sir William Russell Flint (1880-1969):
There is something utterly irresistible about the notion of the fair Isolde reposing indolently on a castle wall, taking pleasure in the sight of two knights locked in mortal combat for her favour. Nothing less would be her due, as a legendary beauty.
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