Leslie Norman's adaption of Lawler's highly acclaimed "Summer of the Seventeenth Doll" fails to explore the in-depth issues that Lawler deals with so poigantly in his play. This is the result of Norman's intention to alter the play to make it more pleasing to his audience, however in doing so, he fails to capture the true tragedy that was the demise of the "lay-off" abd looses the film's appeal altogether.
The majority of the is set in Emma's house in Carlton, where every room is surrounded by Olive's kewpie dolls and sovierneers from Queensland giving off a highly clustered and clastruphobic effect. This setting adds to the atmosphere of the exaserbating tensions that Lawler captures throughout the play.
In contrast, Norman sets most of his film outside the house, either at the pub or Luna Park, loosing the overall effect and making it difficult for his audience to experience a sense of the build-up of tensions between the characters of Roo, Barney and Olive, that would ultimately lead to the tragic breakdown.
In the scene of the play that shows the characters "attempting" to celebrate New Year's Eve, Lawler gives insight to the feelings of loss from Olive, Roo and Barney through Pearl's cynical comment of "Glamorous nights! I mean - look at us!" which, unknown to her, creates an explosive effect of released emotion as "olive's resolve breaks and she crumples down" and Barney "turns his gaze from their naked misery and stares shamefacedly into his beer." This deeply tragic scene allows its audience to better understand the beginning of the characters' realisation of their loss, hence, when the scene of the final breakdown occurs, they are filled with heartfelt misery for the characters. Whereas, the film shows a petty argument between Pearl and Olive, followed...