Kangaroo: Taming Lawrence's
If Lady Chatterley's Lover remains essentially unfilmed after three attempts, it is at least clear why moviemakers have continued to try. By comparison, Kangaroo seems not so much camera shy as downright hostile, so that it is surprising anyone has made the effort at all, even an Australian director like Tim Burstall. Toward the end of Kangaroo, Lawrence himself becomes embarrassed by the novel's anticinematic properties — its interminable lectures from author to reader, for instance, in place of normative dialogue and action. “Chapter follows chapter, and nothing doing, ” Lawrence admits, or even more frankly, “He [Somers] preached, and the record was taken down for this gramophone of a novel, ” or ironically, “I hope, dear reader, you like plenty of conversation in a novel: it makes it so much lighter and brisker. ” 1
It would be easier to film conversation than the pages of monologue Lawrence offers us instead. A director attempting Kangaroo could always resort to voice-over to preserve the narrative, a familiar technique which Burstall for the most part refrains from using. Or he could transform monologue into dialogue by converting Lawrence's lectures into the give-and-take between characters — the very “conversations” Lawrence seems to enjoy dangling before his readers' noses, then denying them. Burstall makes such transformations with some success in Kangaroo, as when portions of “Harriet and Lovat at Sea in Marriage, ” a long parable on the subject, reemerge in a lively and amusing quarrel between husband and wife. In general, however, Burstall's strategy for coping with Lawrence's language is to surround it with images of his own making — to tell Lawrence's heavily worded story while showing us its visual objective correlative. Such a method
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Publication information: Book title: D. H. Lawrence:Fifty Years on Film. Contributors: Louis K. Greiff - Author. Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press. Place of publication: Carbondale, IL. Publication year: 2001. Page number: 186.
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