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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Movie: From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler (1995) - Starring Lauren Bacall

The adaptation of E.L. Koinsburg's book of the same name, From the the mixed up files of Basil .E. Frankweiler, is an entertaining story of two precocious children running away from home and getting a new look at life. The movie is directed by Marcus Cole and stars Lauren Bacall as Mrs Frankweiler, Jean Marie Barnwell as Claudia and Jesse Lee Soffer as Jamie. The movie made for television was released in 1995 and also had a older version which released in 1973 staring Ingrid Bergman. The book penned by the great E.L Koinsburg is the winner of the Newbury medal for the best in children's literature.
Claudia, a spunky 11 year old feels neglected in a family of three and decides to run away. After weighing options she settles on the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art as the destination. She also enlists the support and savings of Jamie, her younger brother. Now Jamie has a steady head and is renowned for his frugality / money management practices. So all set, the pair draw out well etched plans and “escape” from home. They reach the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and soon blend in with the endless stream of visitors and make the bath room their hideaway.

Soon the routine sets in as Claudia and Jamie mixing in with the museum crowd never giving out any suspicions to the caretakers. Claudia also vets her interest in art and passes time studying the exhibits. Soon a sculpture of an Angel fascinates her. Transfixed by its beauty she wants to check out whether the angel was sculpted by Michelangelo. By checking the records they find that the piece of art was sold to the museum at an absurdly low price by Mrs Basil. E .Frankweiler
So the adventure continues as the duo goes in search of Mrs Frankweiler. She being a kind lady takes them under her wing. Mrs Frankweiler, Claudia and Jamie undertake the journey of getting the identity of the sculpture creator established. They have small troubles but make lot of friends and enjoy life anew. Claudia starts appreciating her family and Jamie sick of their separation calls up Mom and Dad. A grand reunion is achieved bringing the curtains down.
The movie may be a tad too slow for the young viewers and many nuances of the books are not properly experienced. In fact this movie considerably deviates from the book to satisfy current technology changes like the telephone which was not so ubiquitous when the book was written. Some of the characters have been given a bye which might cause some heartburn to Koinsburg's fans. Lauren Bacall is well cast as the eccentric but lovable Mrs. Frankweiler. The kids, Jean Marie and Jesse Lee perform admirably and end up winning the maximum accolades. But still the book is more enjoyable. Just watch the movie first and then definitely reach for the book. You may end up having the best of both worlds or else the movie may not satisfy your senses.

Movie From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler (1995) - Starring Lauren Bacall

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