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Produced by Jonathan Goodwill; directed by Brad Turner
Atlantis Films/South Pacific Pictures, 1992. VHS cassette, 23 min., $99.00
Distributed by Magic Lantern Communications, Unit #38, 775 Pacific Rd., Oakville, Ont. L6L 6M4.

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up

Reviewed by Kathleen L. Kellett-Betsos.

Volume 21 Number 4
1993 September

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.
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