Thursday, February 08, 2024

M. A. McLaughlin's "The Lost Dresses of Italy," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Lost Dresses of Italy: A Novel by M. A. McLaughlin.

The entry begins:
The theme of my novel, The Lost Dresses of Italy, is the “hidden woman,” which I think would translate well to a contemporary film; however, there are dual narrators, which can be challenging for a screen adaptation. The two women who harbor secrets are separated by a century, each one with her own compelling story: grieving widow, Marianne Baxter, who has traveled to post-WWII Verona, Italy, to assist with an exhibit of long-lost dresses; and Victorian poet, Christina Rossetti, who owned the garments and left them behind in a sealed-up trunk after an ill-fated love affair. Two women. Two losses. But how to portray them both on the big screen?

Begin with Verona.

The “Painted City” of Romeo and Juliet combines both beauty and tragedy, light and shadow, hope and despair. It is the setting of both narratives, but framing the film with Marianne’s story in 1947, as Italy is recovering from the devastation of war sets the tone and mood of the central mystery of my novel. The re-building is moving forward, but lingering effects of families being torn apart by their wartime allegiances are just under the surface—in the manner of a Visconti film, the great Italian director who created sweeping cinematic portraits around Italy’s complex role in WWII. Marianne’s quest to find out what happened to Rossetti will create the main plotline and, as she examines each of the three dresses, a flashback will occur, exploring exactly what happened to Rossetti when she wore that particular garment on her trip to Italy. Each garment contains a clue that draws Marianne deeper and deeper into a century-old conspiracy, triggering a string of violent events. Eventually, both narratives will come together at a cliffside sanctuary, resolving the murder and betrayal from the past in a satisfying, though bittersweet ending.

Since Marianne would be the protagonist in the film, this character requires an actor with the kind of depth and power that Natalie Portman has displayed in...[read on]
Visit M. A. McLaughlin - Marty Ambrose's website.

My Book, The Movie: Forever Past.

The Page 69 Test: Forever Past.

Q&A with Marty Ambrose.

Writers Read: M. A. McLaughlin.

The Page 69 Test: The Lost Dresses Of Italy.

My Book, The Movie: The Lost Dresses of Italy.

--Marshal Zeringue