25 July 1999 | eunice-4
Another chance to see Rufus Sewell
Rufus Sewell must be one of Britain's busiest actors and popular romantic lead. He must have appeared in some 10 films this year and the year is only half way through. Rufus is a throwback to the glory days of Gainsborough pictures when James Mason, Stewart Grainger, Michael Rennie et al caused hearts to throb in period dramas as they swirled their capes, drew their swords, fought duels, bedded wenches and in general acted like lusty MEN! Rufus Sewell saves this film from being a feminist sounding board by playing a young lover forced into an arranged marriage by the custom of the times without appearing weak and sappy. The medieaval Italians spent their time wheeling and dealing in a way that would put a Hollywood mogul to shame, and arranging marriages was part of the dealing.
Catherine McCormick does a wonderful job as Veronica and the film is helped by wonderful supporting players. I must confess that I felt sorry for the abandoned wife of Marco.
For my taste, the feminist revision of history is grating. People in those times knew the score: no one married for love and no one expected to. Veronica, being from a good, albeit impoverished, family could have married a noveau riche merchant wanting to move up by marrying into an old respected family. She became a courtesan by choice, it was in her blood, and had she not stuck her neck out and antagonised the church she would not have been hauled before the Inquisition.
The film looks handsome and is worth watching twice. I just wish I could have seen it on a cinema screen, but as there were no car chases, no teenagers, and it did not star Bruce, Arnold, or Sylvester, it was not shown in my area.