10 February 2011

STYLE NOTES : BRIDESHEAD REVISITED



"You’re to come away at once, out of danger. I’ve got a motor-car and a basket of strawberries and a bottle of Chateau Peyraguey, which isn’t a wine you’ve ever tasted so don’t pretend. It’s heaven with strawberries."
- Sebastian Flyte


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"If you asked me now who I am, the only answer I could give with any certainty would be my name. For the rest: my loves, my hates, down even to my deepest desires, I can no longer say whether these emotions are my own, or stolen from those I once so desperately wished to be. On second thoughts, one emotion remains my own. Alone among the borrowed and the second-hand, as pure as that faith from which I am still in flight: Guilt."
-Charles Ryder


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"Sometimes, I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there’s no room for the present at all."
-Julia Flyte

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All images from fuckyeahbrideshead

"I can't watch past Et in Arcadia Ego," a fellow appreciator of the original 1981 series once said to me, "It just gets too sad."

In a way he's right. I wish they had extended the first 100 minute episode into many and perhaps tidied the estrangement of Charles and Sebastian, the fall of Brideshead and Sebastian's decline into a sallow and sickly alcoholic in Morocco into a secret compartment in the boxset.
What a philistine I am. But as a diehard Evelyn Waugh fan, I feel I can get away with it.
From a stylistic point of view, though,  my theory makes perfect sense. Because although Brideshead is a tragedy, on screen it is a beautiful one, and the series is a visual dessert tray (we're talking Marie-Antoinette cakes here) of the most sublime, flamboyant yet tasteful male style; utterly timeless, utterly elegant. Every 3-piece is perfectly accessorized with a pastel carnation and a glass of fizz, Sebastian's pink pyjamas steal an entire scene and even Aloysius (the teddy bear) looks dapper in a fez. These boys, never quite sure whether they are in love with girls, or boys, or just beauty, move effortlessly through a delicately preserved yet fated pre-war landscape completely detached from reality, racing on the last dregs of the upper classes and the wine of the Empire before the fall.
It's saccharinely indulgent, but so aesthetically pleasing that I can never help myself. I just can't believe that Castle Howard (the location for Brideshead house in both the 1981 BBC series and the 2008 film) is so close to where I live in Leeds and yet I still haven't visited. I'm waiting for a warm day in May, when I can have a Brideshead champagne picnic for my 21st birthday. Pink pyjamas compulsory, darling.


4 comments:

kate woods said...

Imo... You are possibly unaware that this is my favourite (obviously the original series - although i have both). What a treat to hear you speak of it so fondly. Sadly not many around us have had the luxury of seeing it let alone having heard of it's title.
Lucky am i.. the girl who is able to study such things in Museum Studies and Heritage a History Modules. I could certainly tell you a thing or two about Castle Howard!!

My favourite scene?..... When Sebastian and Charles are sitting outside Brideshead on a barmy summers evening... sipping at wines. This does of course end in the slightly awkward first kiss between the two young men.

Oh and has any teddybear had such a glorious name as aloysius?

...I think not

Yummy post xxxx

Jo said...

This is amazing! Isn't the scenery beautiful? I really need to watch it! x www.lostinthehaze.com

Caryn W. said...

Thank you so much for your comment on my post about the Not Guilty tees! I really appreciate it, and I'm glad you did too.

Kudos,
Caryn
herfashionanthology.blogspot.com

Thomas said...

I applaud the idea of the post, but to be honest putting imagery of that new and in my opinion sad and pathetic remake version of BH alongside images from the flawless original Granada production of glorious Brideshead Revisited is in my view an utter disgrace to the original, Waugh and taste. It ruins the entire post for me.

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