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Richard Attenborough's Shadowlands
Most of the articles memorializing director and actor Richard Attenborough cite his role as the nearly-mad scientist, Dr. John Hammond, in the film version of Jurassic Park or his directoral work on the film biography, Gandhi. Today, though, NPR's Morning Edition cited an interview in which Attenborough stated that his best work was the movie version of William Nicholson's play, Shadowlands.
Shadowlands tells story of the short, happy marriage of writer and theologian C.S. Lewis and the American novelist and poet, Joy Davidman Gresham. Gresham met Lewis in 1952 while traveling in England. The two became close friends, and, when Gresham divorced and moved to England, Lewis agreed to marry her in a civil ceremony to allow her to stay in the country. The two continued their friendship until Gresham was diagnosed with bone cancer. Lewis dismayed at the prospect of losing her, realized he was in love (Gresham, it seems, had fallen in love with Lewis some years before). The two were married in a religious ceremony in 1957, but Gresham died three years later. The film, like the play on which it is based, tells this story with a quiet beauty and elegance that few other modern films have managed to achieve.
Unfortunately, the Attenborough film is currently out of print. However, the library circulates both a printed version of Nicholson's play and an audio recording of a production by L.A. Theatre Works. A BBC television adaptation that preceded the film can be viewed in the main library at 42nd street.