Father Brown Radio vs Books
Quickly reviewing the BBC's Father Brown radio presentation from the 1980s, including changes they made to the original stories. Each episode is overall quite good, but there are things to note.
Due to the format, they can't be blamed for leaving out Chesterton's Christian/anti-Feminist/anti-"Socialist"(1920s btw) narration. So I won't. However, there are a few changes in characters and dialogue that Really Make Ya Think.
1- The Blue Cross
Solid, very good. Great voice acting for Detective Aristide Valentin. No significant changes, except for a theological conversation between Brown and Flambeau the thief being cut short. Valentin's VA is as enjoyable as the character himself, and it's a shame we didn't get much more of him.
2- The Queer Feet
Mr. Lever the jewish hotel owner, is changed into an absolute angel who bends over backwards to assist Fr. Brown, instead of the decent but hestitant man just concerned with running his business of the original story. Fantastic voice acting from the entire cast, though, including Lever.
3- The Eye of Apollo
Fr. Brown is asked to test Flambeau's sincerity in giving up crime. In the original story, they were already friends. Other than that, solid. However, the voice actor for the Sun Cult leader, Kalon, is terrible. Kalon in the book is described as--here, I can't do it justice myself:
The man who called himself Kalon was a magnificent creature, worthy, in a physical sense, to be the pontiff of Apollo. He was nearly as tall even as Flambeau, and very much better looking, with a golden beard, strong blue eyes, and a mane flung back like a lion’s. In structure he was the blonde beast of Nietzsche, but all this animal beauty was heightened, brightened and softened by genuine intellect and spirituality. If he looked like one of the great Saxon kings, he looked like one of the kings that were also saints.
The voice actor sounds like a weak, elderly man. Not charismatic whatsoever-- and is saved only because so much of the original dialogue is kept. The battle between Kalon and Father Brown is a masterpiece that deserved a better voice for Kalon.
4- The Invisible Man
The main character, an openly Christian anti-Communist, is changed into a Communist who does-not mention Christianity at all. "Interesting" change. Other than that, the story's the same.
5- The Honour of Israel Gow
solid, but inexplicably missing Flambeau. The bagpipes are extremely painful, too.
6- The Hammer of God
solid, no significant changes.
7- The Sins of Prince Saradine
solid, no significant changes. Something new is that Flambeau narrates a sword duel between two characters, and it's great. #ItalianStyle
8- The Perishing of the Pendragons
solid. 1 change is that a woman is removed entirely. She's not a totally insignificant character and her existence has some interesting implications for another character. That other character appears only at the end of the story anyway, after all is said and done. The mystery is unchanged. To be fair, I'm not sure how they could have written her in anyway.
9- The Arrow of Heaven
solid, no real changes besides one character pointlessly simping for American Indians, whereas in the original story, he's just a war veteran recounting how skilled they were at killing Whites-- which actually had something to do with the story.
10- The Mistake of the Machine
An American scientist is changed into a complete fool with zero good ideas. Baffling decision, and idk if it was out of disdain for Americans or for Chesterton's finding of flaws in scientific innovation.
11- The Curse of the Golden Cross
The story is tweaked to remove criticism of jewish moneylenders abusing Christians, and a female voice actress is given new dialogue to sound demonically-delighted at the prospect of a jew being harmed. One other, minor, change is a would-be murderer stalking a man through a cave-- in the book, he outright tells him he won't attack yet because his prey is also armed, but promises to kill him eventually: then continues to simply stalk him at a distance all the way back to the outside, and is not seen again by his victim. In the radio play, the stalker does have a creepy voice, but also just open-fires and misses as the guy runs away, which is less creepy.
12- Actor and Alibi
can't comment, didn't read this one
13- The Absence of Mr. Glass
A criminologist named Dr. Orion Hood, who I've both seen asserted is based on Sherlock Holmes or actually *is* Sherlock Holmes-- well, in fact actually *is* Sherlock Holmes now. Having never read any Sherlock Holmes, I can't comment on that. But the BBC decided he's Sherlock Holmes now. Instead of Father Brown coming to him for help, Hood and Flambeau summon Brown. While the original Hood takes several jabs at religion, Sherlock Holmes-Hood does not. The rest remains fairly accurate-- Orion Holmes, or Sherlock Hood, making brilliant deductions, painting vivid pictures of the crime based on the smallest possible bits of evidence, and ending up being magnificently wrong.