The work of Henry James, matters of era-appropriate primness and stylistic obscurantism aside, has plenty of narrative intrigue and juice. Which hasn’t stopped film adaptors of James’ work from tricking things up every now and then. On the plus side you’ve got Jacques Rivette’s 1974 “Celine and Julie Go Boating,” which built a through-the-looking-glass main story around a theatricalized treatment of James’ odder-than-usual novel The Other House, and Scott McGehee and David Siegel’s 2012 “What Maisie Knew,” which laid out James’ story in a completely contemporary setting with bracing results.
Then there was Michael Winner’s 1971 “The Nightcomers,” a Turn of the Screw prequel that posited kinky goings-on between not-yet-dead Peter Quint and Miss Jessel, an item of interest mainly to fans of a near-dissolute Marlon Brando and a not at all dissolute Stephanie Beacham. Gonzo, but not exactly good.
And now there’s “The Aspern Papers,” which takes the possibly even more eccentric tack of playing a story about literary legacies and lost loves as if it’s “Interview With A Vampire” and sometimes even a Hammer horror film.
Directed by Julia