Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It's like being there...

I watched the first part (of three) of Andrew Birkin's The Lost Boys. It's a BBC mini-series from 1978 chronicling the friendship between J. M. Barrie and the Llewelyn Davies family. Think Finding Neverland but accurate, less showy and more complete. Since Birkin is the authority on Barrie and from the amount of praise given this program, I expected it to be great. It has not disappointed.

From the moment it began, I knew I would love it. For those of you who know what this means, it even showed the balloon lady outside the Gardens. For the rest of you, it mirrored the feel of the Arthur Rackham drawings beautifully. It included little touches that made the past (and now fantasy of it) come alive. In a way that Finding Neverland did not quite achieve. From the costumes to the overall visual quality. And free of the 'must glamorize' mentality of Hollywood.

Another treasure-filled scene for a Barrie scholar is the re-creation of The Boy Castaways of Black Lake Island. This portion is not unlike having a time machine. Barrie's actual photographs are inserted every so often. They're placed amid history unfolding. We now see the Llewelyn Davies boys tromping along on their adventure, eventually striking the poses in the photos that have come to be known. (Only two copies of The Boy Castaways existed, one for the boys. One for Barrie.)

Thanks to Birkin, we have audio and video of Barrie. Ian Holm does a great job in picking up his speech patterns. Needless to say, his Scottish accent and acting are excellent. Also excellent is Paul Holmes, who plays George. (From the date of birth I assume it to be Holmes, for two boys have played him.) He doesn't seem to be acting at all - natural, convincing.

I enjoy it immensely. It's a delight to hear Barrie's most famous lines (of real life/notes, not from his literature) spoken and deftly inserted into conversations. Though not fast paced, it's compelling. It truly allows for the mundane moments to shine while they build to a lovely protrayal of how matters developed. Looking forward to the rest. (Even though it will be a sad story to come.)

Bravo Birkin! Bravo to Holm! And bravo to everyone who made this possible.
I've been waiting a long time to see this mini-series. It's been worth it.

Learn more about The Boy Castaways and see more of the pictures at Birkin's site.
The link is on the left.

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