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Brush With Fate
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BASED ON THE NOVEL "GIRL IN HYACINTH BLUE" Inspired by love, sold in desperation, bought in passion and stolen in greed: this priceless masterpiece has played a pivotal role in the lives of everyone who has owned it. As he settles into his new job at an American prep school, an art teacher, (Thomas Gibson) is approached by a reclusive historian Cornelia Engelbrecht (Glenn Close, Sarah, Plain and Tall) who believes he alone will appreciate a secret treasure she has long guarded - an unknown Vermeer painting. Although Richard is overwhelmed by its beauty, he doubts its authenticity. How could such a masterpiece be hidden for centuries? Drawing upon a lifetime of singularly focused devotion to its history, Cornelia reveals the secrets behind the mystery of "Girl in Hyacinth Blue." From the moment three centuries ago when an impoverished Dutch artist painted the beautiful image of his daughter seated at an open window, the legendary masterpiece has been admired, coveted and pursued by its owners - from impoverished farmers to a wealthy society woman (Ellen Burstyn). All forever entwined in its legacy and unknowing participants in its future. Based on Susan Vreeland's best-selling novel, Brush With Fate traces the history of a masterpiece that has changed many lives, but still has a greater secret yet to reveal.
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'Girl in Hyacinth Blue' was a finalist for Book Sense Book of the Year in 1999. It has become part of the curriculum for many schools and universities. I was privledged to meet the author, Susan Vreeland, and saw this film as a private theater viewing during a literary festival in Dahlonega, Georgia. Vreeland's novels have been translated into 25 languages.
In Brush with Fate, the woman who lost the bid for the painting when it was up for auction was 'Magdalena', the girl in the painting and daughter of Vermeer, but now grown and poor. She wished to buy it back, but could not afford it. This is evident in the hard version, but Hallmark edited some scripting to allow for time. Also edited were scenes of the illicit affair to make it more for family viewing.
The film was shot entirely in the Netherlands. Although Vermeer was an actual painter, he only painted about 40 canvases. Magdalena was not one of the them, but rather a figment of the author's imagination, and depicted extremely well in the film version. It shows the influence of art upon those who appreciate art.
Vreeland focuses on bringing art to life through its alleged history. Her inspiration came after viewing artifacts in a museum and wondering how many hands and lives it went through to get to its current place.
According to Vreeland, it was actress Glenn Close who suggested the near-sighted Cornelia to be the eccentric woman she portrayed. In the original book, Cornelia was 'Cornelius', but when the movie was made the producer could not find a suitable man to play the part, thus it was changed to be played by Close.
I thought this movie was superb. Excellent cast, excellent script. The author was present and got a standing ovation, after which she took questions and answers.
Worthy of purchase. I bought the book.
Gail Gupton, author The 31-Day Diet of Spiritual Enlightenment and Seekers of Truth
can watch many times and not get tired of it. Glad Amazon had it in stock.