A Brontë a Day – Day 23: Devotion

I wanted to share this horror today because a new biopic has been announced about Emily Brontë. The headline cast features a love interest for Emily. A love interest. For Emily Brontë. While scholar Virginia Moore famously couldn’t read Emily’s writing and so misjudged a poem entitled “Love’s Friendship” as about Emily’s hitherto unknown French lover “Louis Parensall”, I think we all know this is another attempt to Hollywoodise a woman who would never have cared for Hollywood. Rather than descending into my customary rant about why people have to add in men to a story about successful women (Why was Branwell unsuccessful 😱 Look at how well their father did 😯 Anne must have had a lover 🥱), I thought back to another infamous example, 1946 film Devotion.

Devotion features Olivia de Havilland as Charlotte and Paul Henreid as Arthur Bell Nichols (with a surprising Austrian accent). In it, Emily and Charlotte duke it out for the love of Mr Nicholls. They actually fight over Mr Nicholls. And then Emily dies for the love of him. And there are balls and fancy frocks and Anne once again barely gets a look in.


Is it hilarious or depressing how little Hollywood fashions have changed?


I agreed to participate in the #ABrontëADay Challenge during May for the A Walk Around the Brontë Table Facebook group. I will also be sharing posts on my Instagram feed.
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