Ashenden

A catch-all for older favourites.

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Anniemouse
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Re: Ashenden

Post by Anniemouse » Wed May 12, 2021 5:27 pm

I will I think it will explain a lot. It was quite a daring show for its time, it also looked expensive which might have counted against it.

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Anniemouse
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Re: Ashenden

Post by Anniemouse » Mon May 17, 2021 5:51 pm

I am enjoying the book but cannot as yet report on Jason's character as he has not appeared yet. Maughn writes really well with a lovely pace feels at times a fore runner to James Bond :D

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thunder
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Re: Ashenden

Post by thunder » Tue May 18, 2021 1:34 pm

Is the book very different than the series?

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Anniemouse
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Re: Ashenden

Post by Anniemouse » Tue May 18, 2021 5:32 pm

So far in parts yes. Maughn is such a concise writer the episodes seem to have had a wider outlook at times. I still have not found Jason's character at all and sections so far feel like an abridged version of the tv show. I will need to complete the novel and check the TV show for a more concrete appraisal. The TV did a great job of trying to expand the premise and in both versions their writing of the actual characters are great.

The novel at times feels very old fashioned and one thing I noticed is that women are underused; I lost track in the Miss King chapter how often her elderly face, body and dress sense were portrayed by Ashenden with a sense of revulsion yet I wonder if her role will be more pivital as the novel progresses. Other women are portrayed as frivalous or described often as fat. It does feel like a novel from 100 years ago. His writing style is great and very punchy, like James Bond before James Bond.

I will continue reading.

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thunder
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Re: Ashenden

Post by thunder » Wed May 19, 2021 2:08 pm

Thanks for sharing, Annie. :D

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Anniemouse
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Re: Ashenden

Post by Anniemouse » Thu May 27, 2021 7:31 am

Spoilers; Spoilers; Spoilers.


I have finished reading the Ashenden novel.

Pro's

A really well written novel and as mentioned before, this must have had some influence on both Ian Fleming's James Bond and John Le Carre spy novels. If Ashenden reflects British Spying as WW1 comes to a close; Bond inhabits the Cold war era.
Ashenden's spymaster is referred to as "R" in the novel and when a character asks for a dry Martini I just burst out laughing. The novel brings the reader into a world of faded and near deserted hotels, fallen women and a world where underhanded tactics are accepted as long as you do not fire a gun yourself.
Pacy and smart the plots seem to have made up the four seperate episodes of the Ashenden TV series and Alex Jennings was such a great piece of casting as the central character Ashenden.
Somerset Maugham captures the era of the English gentleman as Spy all coded letters and plots to undermine people.

Con

It feels a novel of an era where gentleman like Ashenden could look at everyone else with an air of superiority and maybe I am just wet but I often felt uneasy at descriptions of fat men and women of vulgar clothes and airs of character. Women were either fallen stage performers who are used to break hearts of get to enermies. As a plus the Russian former lover of Ashenden "Delilah" is smart and a match for him in every respect and the novel ends in a deeply moving fashion.

Here is the surprise ********************

Jason's character is nowhere in the novel. I am really baffled by this. I see that this was possibly only Jason's 5th tv appearance (straight after Capital City) and I wonder if there were plans to make more episodes.

I am re watching the tv show to compare the novel against the tv series but I would love to know why they added extra plots and characters.

Enjoyed the novel and the TV series. I would love to know what Jason thinks of this all in retrospect.
Last edited by Anniemouse on Thu May 27, 2021 10:47 am, edited 2 times in total.

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thunder
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Re: Ashenden

Post by thunder » Thu May 27, 2021 8:28 am

Thanks, Annie. That was interesting. Maybe you can ask Jason if you get a chance to meet him some time. :D

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Anniemouse
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Re: Ashenden

Post by Anniemouse » Thu May 27, 2021 10:42 am

I would love to know what Jason thought of this project and why he was attracted to it. I would recommend the book as well.

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Hilary the Touched
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Re: Ashenden

Post by Hilary the Touched » Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:23 pm

Thanks, Annie!
It is interesting to view things like this through an updated lens. When I was a tween, I was much taken with The Man Who Would be King, which starred Michael Caine and Sean Connery as a pair of ne'er-do-well ex-soldiers who con their way into the monarchy of a region of Afghanistan.
Like, it's a cracking tale, with an amazing cast, location, and costumes; but there's only a single named female character, and my former admiration of Sean Connery is forever colored by his assertion that it's cool to give women an open-handed slap, that sometimes nothing else works.

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Helen8
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Re: Ashenden

Post by Helen8 » Mon Jun 07, 2021 8:48 pm

I agree, Miss Hils. I went off him when I saw that interview with Barbara Walters.

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