Whether you got here to this blog from the website or from my board House of Cards, on Pinterest, welcome! On this blog we talk of many things—writing, art, myth and psyche, film, travel and—the greatest mystery of all—life.
Here, you’ll also read about The Osgoode Trilogy, where, in the world of the law, murder and fraud are found amid love and compassion. In The Trilogy of Remembrance, you’ll find glamour and glitter in the shadows of the world of art. Please have a look around while you’re here and leave any comments you like.
HOUSE OF CARDS with Ian Richardson
I love film and television shows especially if they’ve grown out of a novel, which House of Cards did some years ago. Michael Dobbs was the novelist. He was an advisor to Margaret Thatcher before she became Prime Minister of Great Britain. Don’t insiders always have the absolutely very best stories?
The story line, adaptable to just about any country, which has a semi-functioning government, is of unbridled Machiavellian political power with endless opportunities for dark, devious and complicated plots. One might say such stories are universal wherever human beings lust for power–and that is pretty well everywhere.
Here is F.U. short for Francis Urquart, [Yes! He is actually called F.U.] In the lead role, Ian Richardson plays a most Machiavellian schemer who will stop at nothing to gain, maintain and extend power. Think iron fist. He is a member of Parliament in Britain and eventually becomes Prime Minister just as Spacey becomes President. I will not tell you the final fate of F.U. But I wonder aloud whether the same fate awaits Spacey’s character? Only more seasons will tell.
How does Francis Urquart conduct himself? In this video, you’ll get an idea about the man.
And is this not the devil incarnate? Richardson’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes is layered. Just beneath the gentlemanly, proper surface, it seems the devil is lurking to tempt a pretty young woman. What a great actor can convey with just a glance or a tiny smile. Just watch this video, especially right at the end, where Ian Richardson plays Sherlock Holmes. Tell me if it’s not the smoothest and most sly form of temptation in The Sign of Four.
May I present the Lord Chancellor in Charles Dickens’ Bleak House
Doesn’t the Lord Chancellor express a certain dangerous quality beneath the exercise of his judicial discretion? It’s subtle–never overplayed. Yet another pretty young woman!
HOUSE OF CARDS with KEVIN SPACEY
Have you watched Season 1 and 2? Season 3 will start Feb 27th on Netflix. Kevin Spacey, veteran film, television and stage actor, is now producing and starring in this American version of House of Cards along with Robin Wright. Follow the trials and tribulations of a master chess player Spacey’s Frank Underwood.
Here sits Machiavelli himself. Power is everything. Nothing comes close–not love or sex or money! If you’ve watched the first two seasons you will now how far, not only Francis will go but how far his wife will. Remind you a little of Macbeth and his Lady? Except that couple seemed tormented by some conscience. Not much of that in Frank Underwood’s Washington.
Interesting that Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood often breaks away from the scene and addresses you, the audience directly. Certainly Ian Richardson did the same frequently in the BBC version.
It’s an old technique from the theatre sometimes called “breaking the fourth wall.” Imagine the stage with a back and two sides. The fourth wall is the invisible one which separates the actors from the audience. Actors usually do their parts as if the audience did not exist. This technique was used as far back as Shakespeare’s time. When an actor turns to the audience and speaks his thoughts, it seems he or she makes the audience [in a strange way] complicit in the evil deeds. And the audience loves it!
In 2003, Kevin Spacey was appointed as new artistic director of the Old Vic Theatre Company and was instrumental in its revival. Not only was he the artistic director but he acted as both Richard 11 &111 at the Old Vic.
Both Richardson and Spacey are very fine actors capable of many different roles. Personally, I prefer Richardson’s depiction of F.U. because of the great subtlety he brings to the portrayal of the character. One moment, he is the proper British gentleman back-slapping with the best of them. The next he exhibits a wonderfully feral quality.
Especially when an actor is playing the “bad guy” or the evil one, if he can express different aspects of the character, the performance is enhanced. Richardson brings that special quality of an evil character–the pleasure and excitement he gets in causing pain–to the portrayal. For me, Spacey’s acting has not yet brought out that side of Frank Underwood. But hopefully there are many more seasons to go and we’ll see that develop.
What do you think?