Most of the Nazi leaders considered themselves not merely Christians but instruments of God’s will, proclaims Richard Steigmann-Gall, a young Canadian historian. Many people think that if the Nazis had any religion it was derived from Wagner’s operas and Teutonic mythology.
The ismail Merchant--James Ivory production team, now synonymous with elegant costume dramas set in the 19th century, first attracted notice in 1965 with ShakespeareWallah, the story of the Kendalls, an English theatrical family who toured Shakespeare productions around India.
In cinematic tradition, when far-flung families gather for a domestic celebration the air is pervaded with the sound of rattling skeletons. Scandalous revelations are made, suppressed feuds liberated. What really happened between grandma and granddad and the lodger from Poughkeepsie back in 1942 is at last exposed. For dramatic purposes, happy families are usually of little use.
Based on John Bayley's two memoirs about his marriage to novelist Iris Murdoch, Iris is in almost all respects expertly done. But the movie, directed by Richard Eyre, from a screenplay by Eyre and Bayley, is so saturated with details from Bayley's books that the story can't breathe. It's more collage than narrative.