Sunday, March 28, 2010

First Impressions of Musée Eden, Episode 1



Sainte-Catherine West in 1910. Valentine and Son's postcard.

I'm old enough to remember this Montreal Main street in the 60's, when it still had major echoes of what it had looked like in the 1910's.




So, I saw the first episode of Musee Eden http://musee-eden.radio-canada.ca/ ;


And as a connoisseur of period pieces and an expert, of sorts, in the 1910 era in Canada I thought I'd comment.


The first episode if Musée Eden is meticulously produced, although it suffers from a lack of exterior shots, that characterize British Period pieces. (Well, the British have all those wonderful locales, castles and such.)


So the tone is dark, which, in a big way, befits the crime thriller nature of its plot.


What exteriors there are seem to be shot in Old Montreal, which was around back then, but I don't think that area evokes the 1910 era. Still, the extras in the exteriors are all wearing great costumes, so I enjoyed them.


From what I saw, the costumes in Musee Eden are perfect, bang on middle class wear. They are the kind of suits and blouses shown in pictures on this website. Right down to the Merry Widow hat one of the leads was wearing.


In this first episode, two young women from Manitoba, played by Laurence Leboef and Mariloup Wolfe, arrive to take possession of their inheritance, a wax museum, where their uncle has been murdered. As they arrive, a man is being tried for his murder. Handsome men ensue.


Yes, as befits a Period Piece, the lead men, Vincent Guillaume Otis and Eric Bruneau are beautiful, indeed, Bruneau greatly resembles Colin Firth, especially around the brows. And he's got dark Mr. Darcy curls and the lead women , Wolfe and LeBoeuf, are fresh faced and engaging, so that women will identify with them. So Musee Eden, in my opinion, is well cast.


The acting by everyone is terrific and the pacing is excellent, so good editing and direction.


I will have to watch it again to better critique how authentically 1910 Montreal life is depicted. (Of course, any historical drama is more about the present than the past.)


As my website, http://www.tighsolas.ca/ reveals, women in 1910 had very little freedom. Edith Nicholson, 26, couldn't go out alone to 'lectures' which were respectable venues. Marion couldn't go to the 1909 horse show ( a big event) as she had no beau or elderly matron to take her. (Well, she was independent and didn't want to have to go somewhere chaperoned.)Two sisters living alone would have been fairly scandalous, (see the Nicholson women in 1913 when they get a place of their own) and if these young women had no maid....well, remember, it took Edith two days to iron her dresses.




I saw adverts in the 1910 Montreal Gazette for tea rooms for women only and skating rinks with matrons on hand. Still, lust and love existed pretty much as today and so the 'romance' parts of Musee Eden between the younger sister and adorable Paul McCartney style gent (Vincent Guillaume Otis)are not far off the mark. (I have to better think this out.)



Funny, funny. In the first episode of Musee Eden, Otis's character recites a list of French Canadian millionaires. Well, the Nicholsons cut out a list of Montreal millionaires which I posted on this blog, earlier on. Otis leads off by naming Forget, who is my relation, and one of the reasons my grandfather, Jules Crepeau, rose to be Director of Services for Montreal in 1921. Dandurand is also named. He is named on my Tighsolas website as the first man to own a car in Montreal. My grandfather knew him, too.

PS. As I wrote this blog I put the link for SRC in and most of my blog disappeared, so I had to rewrite it. Hmm. Never hurts to rewrite anything.