Sentimental Schmaltz and Yarn-based Crimes: When Film Adaptations Fail to Deliver

I’ve just watched the film adaptation of Elizabeth Taylor’s Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont and I really wish I hadn’t. To be fair, I’ll admit that the location and the majority of the characters were remarkably similar to my imagination of them when reading the book, however, I found the film excruciating to watch.

Despite boasting a strong cast including such stellar talents as Joan Plowright and Anna Massey, it dismally failed to match the book for subtlety and nuance. If only I could turn back time!

mrs palfrey film

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont was one of my favourite books of last year. What I loved about it was the dry crisp prose and wry humour that saved the melancholy story from tipping over into sentimentality. If only the film had done the same. Maybe it was the liberal application of schmaltzy music emphasizing the pathos of each and every scene, maybe the multitude of emotive weighty pauses that peppered the dialogue, or maybe it was a combination of both.

mrs palfrey book

One thing that didn’t help was the distraction of Mrs Palfrey’s young friend, Ludo, wearing one of the most hideous hand-knitted jumpers I’ve ever encountered on celluloid, which meant I couldn’t take him seriously for the rest of the film. I’m going to need some serious binge-viewing of Homeland to return Rupert Friend to his rightful role as CIA operative, Peter Quinn, and cleanse my retinas of such a yarn-based abomination, not to mention the sappy character wearing it!