Gabriel Byrne, currently about to star in a mini-series for Channel 4 UK, starred in another project for Channel 4 back in 1984: Reflections.
Based on the novel The Newton Letter, by John Banville, this television film offers great writing, of course, and a great cast, including Byrne, Donal McCann, Fionnula Flanagan, Harriet Walter, and Niall Tóibín. That is not just a great cast; that is a stellar cast. All of these actors have had amazing careers and it is lots of fun to see them in this drama from almost 30 years ago.
John Banville, as we know, also writes under the nom de plume Benjamin Black. Gabriel Byrne is essaying the role of his main character Quirke later this month for the BBC. Intriguing that their relationship (writer and actor) goes back so far.
Rachel Portman provided the score for this, one of her first works in an illustrious career of composing for the screen.
Of Reflections, the New York Times says:
The immediate subject of ”The Newton Letter,” originally published in Britain in 1982 and appearing in the United States for the first time, is not Newton’s own speculative shift but an analogous series of shifts in the perspective of an aspiring Newton biographer, who in the late 1970’s rents a rural retreat in the south of Ireland where he intends to finish the book that will set the record straight once and for all. There he himself becomes embroiled with women, the middle-aged Charlotte and the young Ottilie. A third character, Charlotte’s husband, Edward, emerges from the background as the narrative develops, completing the romantic triangle-plus-one that indicates how thoroughly history is implicated in this story – not only the history of science but literary history as well. For Charlotte, Ottilie and Edward are the three main characters of Goethe’s 1809 novel ”Elective Affinities,” a work that is similarly organized around a structural metaphor drawn from the sciences.
The entire film is available below in a YouTube Playlist. There are 5 parts.
This is Banville the novelist and Byrne the actor in their earliest days. Enjoy.
Many thanks to ElfIsByrning for sharing this gem with us all! Making this available to you has been a true collaborative effort and we are the beneficiaries of her foresight in saving this all these years. Thanks, Elf!