Casanova (03/04/2005)

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The BBC tries to bring an enigma and stereotype to life...and overall do very well.

Everyone has heard of Casanova the renowned lover, but other than odd tidbits that have survived the centuries, not much is known about him by the general populace.

I had heard that one of the ways he seduced women was by waving a hankerchief in their faces... a hankerchief he had used to wipe the sweat from his armpit.  This made them faint (unsurprisingly), probably with the combination of too tight corsets and the overwhelming stink of B.O. How attractive.

Russell T Davies has actually created a Casanova who is at once human, flawed and yet a tremendously attractive character. David Tennant and Peter O Toole between them have brought this character to life perfectly.  At the beginning of the series you do wonder how such a weedy, grinning little man could possibly be Casanova, but by the end of the series you can see absolutely why so many women were won over by his charms, and that is no mean feat for either writers or actors. This Casanova is attractive to women because he takes the time to listen and to understand women. He does not really ever seduce the women, but just seems to ride his luck at this and so many other things.

The programmes themselves are fast paced, and cheekily self-aware. Tennant's knowing looks to camera carefully balance the  way the programme plays fast and loose with historical accuracy.  The programmes are necessarily bawdy, but I would be surprised if anyone was offended by any of the scenes.

Overall, the story is tied together by Casanova's love story with Henriette, and by the way the whole tale is retold by the elderly Casanova.  It works very well, and is a great addition to the BBC's original drama collection.

My only real complaint is that I thought three hour long episodes was a little too short for this whole story.  I would have liked maybe one more episode with a bit more background and padding to some of the peripheral characters.

Page Last Updated Wednesday, May 11, 2005 at 15:09:54