84, Charing Cross Road (1970) is the documented real life twenty year correspondence between New York write Helene Hanff and London bookseller Frank Doel. It’s been some time since I’ve read the book, but I watched the film today so it brings me memories about the lovely epistolary memoirs. I think anyone who truly loves books should read it because Ms Hanff expresses so many views of why we love prose, poetry (like her, I’m a Donne and Blake girl), and beautifully bound books. The letters are a testament to the relationships that are born and thrive under mutual, ardent bibliophilia. It’s quite a short book, and quite satisfying in my opinion since I love letters almost as much as I love books.
The movie was madeÂ in 1986 and stars Anne Bancroft as Helene, Anthony Hopkins as Frank, and features Judi Dench as Nora Doel. Bancroft did well here, and it was refreshing seeing Hopkins and Dench so young. I think it’s a fine adaptation that not long expresses the relationships from the book and more, but it features all the good things that come out of a period piece drama. There are so many nice moments of detail about the time including the rationing in post-war Britain and the student protests of the 1960s. A nice companion to the book with lovely historical visual detail.