"Willoughby as a villain"--foreshadowing in the screenplay (way too long!)
Posted by Barbara on July 16, 1998 at 17:02:28:
Okay, everyone! Time to get those Brandon vs. Willoughby wars fired up again!!!
Yesterday afternoon it was raining and I was dutifully watching S&S (just to translate the French, mind you, but I didn't want to take that bit out of context, so I watched the WHOLE thing ;-) ) I was noticing the number of hints that are dropped that make Willoughby look even more guilty in hindsight. Now, I know that in the novel, I don't believe that there is any hint at all that Willoughby knew who Eliza Williams was or of her connection to Colonel Brandon. I also can't think of much there that would seem to foreshadow what kind of a cad Willoughby is later revealed to be.
The screenplay, however, is maybe not exactly rife with these hints, but there are quite a few of them:
- First of all, in the movie, there is clearly animosity between Willoughby and Brandon. Brandon first hears of Willoughby's acquaintance with the Dashwoods when he is visiting Marianne with the flowers. The way he says, "Lady Allen's nephew?" when Sir John mentions him has a lot of suspcion in the tone. Also, when the colonel and Willoughby meet outside on the path, it is clear that this is not the first time they have met and that they dislike each other. Willoughby knows who he is without being introduced. They seem to half-circle around each other (reminded me of a boxing ring) Willoughby keeps the flowers for Marianne behind his back--why? Did he swipe them from Sir John's field? Did his "spies" (the neighborhood is crawling with his spies) tell him that the colonel had arrived with flowers? Does he suspect that the colonel wishes to court Marianne? OR, does Willougby not want the colonel to see him paying romantic attentions to some other young girl?
- Later, when Willoughby arrives to pick up Marianne in his high-flyer after the invitation for the picnic has just been issued, he mentions that Colonel Brandon has a very fine pianoforte. Perhaps he heard this from his aunt, but it is a bit suspicious to me that he is familiar with the furniture in Delaford. A suggestion that Eliza told him?
Marianne couldn't have, because she has never been to Delaford at that point either.
- When the picnic is cancelled, and Willoughby is mimicing Mrs. Jennings, he says, "Come, come Mr. Impudence! I know you and your wicked ways!" Wicked ways??
- Then, Elinor asks him why he should dislike Colonel Brandon so much, and there is a rather significant pause before Willoughby comes up with his flippant answer.
- At the end of this scene as Marianne walks Willoughby to the road he says something like "I am _______ (moved, pleased??) that so fair and virtuous a lady should compromise her honour by accompanying me to the gate unattended."
Marianne replies "That sounds like something Elinor would say."
Willoughby says, "And she would be right."
- Perhaps the most telling of all is that Willoughby's "confession" scene, one of the best scenes in the book, is not in this film adaptation. Emma Thompson said it was because she felt it would detract from the Brandon/Marianne love story.
I think that all of these little things together were meant to make the audience think back, after Willoughby's character is revealed, with a kind of "I should have known" and that the confession scene would have taken away from this villainous subtext that is written into the screenplay, but , IMHO, absent from the book.
Any thoughts? Leap to Willoughby's defense? Notice any other hints???
- Willoughby's "villainy" Hannah 21:55:27 7/20/98 (8)
- Where were you when I needed you? Linda K. 23:34:11 7/20/98 (7)
- Drabble's intro Hannah 14:13:32 7/21/98 (2)
- Not a villian. Kathleen Ann 10:51:48 7/21/98 (3)
- You're so good to us! Laraine 17:07:49 7/17/98 (0)
- Perhaps yes, perhaps no. Mark 20:24:08 7/16/98 (3)
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