“Dangerous” Adaptations and Quick Notes on “Juego de Peligro”

It was in 18th Century France where Pierre Chorderlos de Laclos wrote the epistolary novel Les Liaisons dangereuses. The story revolves around the cunning exploits of the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont, conniving ex-lovers who resort to seduction and manipulation for cheap thrills. Their unwary targets: the conservative (and married) Madame de Tourvel and chaste Cecile de Volanges, who then falls for her music tutor Chevalier Danceny, a commoner. Written in the form of letters, the book was so popular, even Marie Antoinette was said to have a copy. It gained further traction during the French Revolution for lavishing on the decadence of the elite.

Glenn Close, John Malkovich, and Michelle Pheiffer in Stephen Frears’ “Dangerous Liaisons” (1988); IMAGE CREDIT: The Red List

Given that history, it’s easy to understand why the book spawned so many adaptations. The most notable of which is Stephen Frears‘ acclaimed 1988 film. Glenn Close (who had already shocked audiences in Fatal Attraction the year before) received her second consecutive Best Actress Oscar nomination for playing the scheming Mertuil. Michelle Pfeiffer, likewise, earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nod for playing Tourvel. John Malkovich also excelled, although he was arguably miscast as the womanizing Valmont. While then-newcomers Uma Thurman and Keanu Reeves played the star-crossed lovers. Continue reading ““Dangerous” Adaptations and Quick Notes on “Juego de Peligro””