Recently I watched the black-and-white 1935 and 1952 film adaptations of Les Misérables. But I also watched the much more recent 1998 color adaptation starring Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, Uma Thurman, and Claire Danes. In Victor Hugo’s novel the revolutionist Enjolras is said to have the appearance of a good-looking ephebe, with “long fair lashes, blue eyes, hair flying in the wind, rosy cheeks, pure lips, and exquisite teeth.” Now, in this politically-correct fin de siècle adaptation, Enjolras is a nigger!
This vindicates what I recently said in “My Fair Lady”: forget recent films and see only the films that our grandparents liked. This said, once in a while there are rare exceptions. The premier episode of the first and only season of The White Queen, which was broadcast last June, is a gem.
You don’t have to watch the entire season since, right on episode 2, the extremely nasty court instigations began—as most of the season is set against the backdrop of the War of the Roses: two royal houses, Lancaster and York, fighting for the throne of England. Backdrop aside, I found the very first episode absolutely inspiring. In fact, that is precisely the world that we must fight for, at least visually!
There’s a scene that lasts less than a minute when, in the gardened path leaving their home, the commoner Rivers family wears white roses to honor Edward IV. The scene, which depicted a beautiful, rather large family, elevated my spirit to the heights of my inner world (so to speak): the world I would like to create on Earth. The blond children together with their elder brothers and beautiful sisters and parents in bucolic England are the perfect embodiment of why the fourteen words must be our creed and religion.
I highly recommend renting the season and watch the very first episode: the series premiere. (The whole season on the other hand will only make you suffer because of the nasty court intrigues of the War of the Roses.)