KURT VONNEGUT'S MONKEY HOUSE: MORE STATELY MANSIONS
Produced by Jonathan Goodwill; directed by Brad Turner
Volume 21 Number 4
More Stately Mansions is one in a series of adaptations of short stories from Kurt Vonnegut's Welcome to the Monkey House (Dell, 1970), with Vonnegut himself welcoming the viewer to his fictional world.
Having just moved, the Millers are fascinated despite themselves by their new neighbour, Grace Anderson, who overwhelms them with free advice on expensive ways to redecorate their home. A visit to the Andersen's reveals their shabby decor, the husband's business affairs being in serious difficulty. Still, Grace endlessly clips decorating ideas for her overflowing filing cabinets, while visualizing her new decor. When her husband, thanks to an inheritance, uses her ideas to redecorate their home while she is in the hospital, she does not perceive the transformation but simply returns to her beautiful home as she has always imagined it.
The acting is particularly good, especially Madeleine Kahn's performance as Grace Anderson. Certain details of Vonnegut's story have been modernized: Grace's new phonograph has become a CD player and Ann Miller, apparently a housewife in the original story, is now working on her thesis. The decision to change the character's names is more puzzling.
The excellent technical quality of the film allows for full appreciation of the transformation of the Anderson home. Music is used to emphasize the story's rhythm. The film would be useful support material for study of Vonnegut's book in English classes.
Kathleen L. Kellett-Betsos is an assistant professor at Ryerson Polytechnical University, Toronto, Ontario.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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