Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ordinary people

During the troubled summer of 1977, a good friend of mine sent me a copy of the book "Ordinary people", by Judith Guest. As the book's wiki states, the book "tells the story of a year in the life of the Jarretts, an affluent suburban family trying to cope with the aftermath of two traumatic events". Maybe it was a very suitable book for me then and maybe it was the least suitable; after all, the book starts with Conrad Jarrett, the eighteen year old son, returning home after spending some months in a mental hospital after he tried to commit suicide.

I loved the book and read it frequently. In 1980, it was made into a film by Robert Redford, starring Donald Sutherland (the father), oh so perfect Mary Tyler Moore as the mother and Timothy Hutton as the son. I would have seen the film then but films from the 80s (and earlier) had a habit of disappearing after a few years.

I often found myself wondering if I was ever going to see the film again. I was reminded of it again a few days ago when I was looking at 'Three days of the Condor', starring Robert Redford. I think I got there because of Faye Dunaway, who I had just seen in 'Bonnie and Clyde'. As in every year, from mid-February, the satellite tv company to which we are subscribed starts screening oscar winning films, hence B&C from 1967.

Yesterday evening, I idly looked at the films to be screened in the coming week, and to my surprise and delight, I saw that 'Ordinary people' was scheduled to be shown in another ten minutes! I swiftly set up our machine to record it.

Later, after supper, we discovered that the satellite decoder had frozen at some stage and that we had to perform a 'hard reset' (ie remove the power cable, wait a few seconds then reconnect). This morning I wanted to transfer 'Ordinary people' to dvd but discovered that the decoder's failure had ruined the recording of the film. Oops.

Fortunately, the film is shown again at 10am, and this time I started recording it both to the decoder and direct to dvd.

As I remember, it's a fairly accurate transcription of the book (whose author also wrote the screenplay), but naturally some aspects get lost whereas some are gained.

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