How could I forget such an auspicious occasion? March 1 was Persuasion’s Sir Walter’s birthday. Had he survived old age and decrepitude, he’d be 278! I think that’s the oxygen birthday. Yes, gallows humor all around!
In honor of the old boy, he’s a little retrospective of several of the men who have played him in adaptations:
Basil Dignam’s portrayal was the closest to the Sir Walter Austen wrote. He wasn’t overly foolish, and not so sharp-tongued as other performances. Unfortunately, the 1971 adaptation, while faithful to the book, is hampered by polyester and zippers. LOTS of polyester and zippers.
Corin Regrave gave a great performance of Sir Walter. The guy is so foolish as to think that giving up an estate for a townhouse in Bath is a step-up in the world. This humorous portrayal gave the character a lot of undeserved sympathy, but it was fun to watch.
Anthony Head’s performance was, in my opinion, what men with an overweening sense of importance are really like. He was harsh and intractable when countered, and when his mind is made up, all boats will be floating or all are going down with his ship. And with Walter at the tiller, man the lifeboats.
So, here’s to Sir Walter, the man who retrenched and thought it a good thing.