Imaginary characters

Who was Charles?

[jp] Charles was the imaginary monarch of Borovnia. Pauline occasionally adopted his identity, but only in the real world. As Charles, Pauline wrote florid love letters to Deborah (Juliet) when the girls were separated by Juliet's confinement in the TB sanatorium. In Pauline's visions of Borovnia, Charles is always a plasticine figure with the features, and dulcet voice, of a youthful James Mason.

Who was Deborah?

[jp] Deborah was the wife of Charles. Her identity was taken exclusively by Juliet in the real world. In Pauline's visions of Borovnia, Deborah starts off as a plasticine figure with Juliet's features, but she eventually becomes a real vision of Juliet, in the key 'seduction' scene with John-the-boarder (see Deborah was always dressed in romantic, flowing dresses and gowns, and she was always smiling and laughing.

I have received many comments about how carefully-crafted and beautifully-portrayed are the fantasy images of Juliet (Kate Winslet) in her Deborah incarnations. Jackson went out of his way to make Deborah a very appealing character for the audience.

Who was Diello?

[jp] Fran Walsh: Diello was an imaginary character created by Parker and Hulme. He was "a murderous teen-age prince who'd kill anyone who was a problem to him."

Diello was the son of Charles and Deborah. According to Juliet at Port Levy, Pauline thought up the name. Diello was described by Juliet as "an uncontrollable little blighter who slaughters his nannies." We witness Deborah (Juliet) give birth to Diello (a cushion), assisted by Charles (Pauline), who comments: "You're such an incredible woman, Deborah!"

In Pauline's visions of Borovnia, Diello is a plasticine figure who clearly has the intense, scowling features and angry voice of a young, svelte Orson Welles, even though the girls had previously branded Welles "the most hideous man alive" and had apparently banished him from their pantheon of the Saints. So much for consistency. Ah, the vagaries of adolescent infatuation...

Diello's costume has very prominent lapels, shaped in a deep 'V' (see 3.1.14).

Juliet is the first to imagine Diello crossing over to the real world, where he saves her from Rev Norris in the TB sanatorium. Pauline only imagines Diello once in the real world, where he dispatches Dr Bennett (see

Later, Pauline's visions of Borovnia include Diello more and more frequently. Diello is shown murderously protecting Gina's interests and, eventually, it is Diello who carries Gina off to Borovnia, where he 'ravishes her.' Which, logically, would have been a completely incestuous homosexual fantasy on Pauline's part, since she had been his 'father', Charles... except this is the impossibly-convoluted, gender-bending and identity-swapping world of Borovnia.

Ah! but who was Diello, really?

[sb,cb] In the film "Five Fingers" (1952) James Mason played the part of Ulysses Diello, a suave and dangerous traitor and spy. Is this where the girls got the idea for the name 'Diello?' Possibly because, in real life, James Mason was the girls' principal Saint. There was confusion about Diello's name during the real- life trial (see 4).

Who was Gina?

[jp] Gina was an "incredibly beautiful gypsy girl" in Borovnia. This description is a clever allusion to real-life comments made about the real Pauline Parker (see 3.2.6).

Gina was Pauline's preferred incarnation in her visions of Borovnia. As Gina, Pauline wore long, red velvet gowns and was very popular and an excellent dancer. Diello seemed to be devoted to Gina, violently looking out for her interests in several scenes. By Christmas 1953, Pauline preferred being called Gina, though her mother wouldn't use the name.

And, in her final Borovnian vision of the film, Pauline imagines that the flesh-and-blood Gina has, at last, turned into a Borovnian plasticine figure. Gina gradually crosses over from the ugly real world to bright Borovnia, in Pauline's fantasies.

Who was Nicholas?

[jp] Nicholas was Deborah's tennis instructor in Borovnia, though he "has his eyes on Gina." This is the Borovnian alter-ego assigned by Pauline to John-the-boarder.

At first, Gina is convinced that Nicholas is madly in love with her, and she with him. However, John-the-boarder's inept, awkward, selfish and traumatizing performance as Pauline's lover caused Nicholas to fall out of favor with Gina in the Borovnian universe (see Nicholas is then dispatched violently by a lurking Diello in one of Pauline's Borovnian visions.

Nicholas is lured to his death by Diello, using a pink gemstone from a ring. This scenario was used again in the murder of Pauline's mother (see also

In real life, Nicholas figured prominently in Pauline's diaries (see 7.4.3) and in trial testimony (see 7.7.2).

Who was the fool (the jester)?

[jp,G&L,mf] The fool was Henry Hulme's alter-ego in Pauline's visions of Borovnia. The fool was initially a plasticine figure, but he became flesh and blood later in the film, when Pauline declared that they were all 'M-A-D.' At that point, she declared Dr Hulme to be "as mad as a March Hare," an allusion to Lewis Caroll's "Alice in Wonderland." This phrase does appear in Pauline's real- life diary entries (see 7.4.3).

It is also possibly a rather cruel allusion by Pauline to real-world rumours about Dr Hulme. The phrase actually refers to the crazed behaviour of rutting male hares in springtime. In real life, Dr Hulme was rumoured to have engaged in extramarital affairs himself [G&L,mf]. In "Heavenly Creatures" Hilda Hulme as much implies this when she declares that she had to accompany her husband on his 1953 trip because "it's a long time for your father and me to be separated."

Who was Mario Lanza's alter-ego in the Fourth World?

[jp] Mario Lanza was himself. He was apparently an important enough Saint for him to retain his own identity in the Fourth World. He was invariably shown singing, on a pedestal, dressed in a tuxedo. Mario begins as a plasticine figure, but he becomes flesh and blood in the ecstatic 'loveliest night of the year' during the girls' tumultuous final days together. Mario has a few key scenes in which it is clear he is devoted to both Deborah and Gina, his biggest fans.

Doesn't Orson Welles appear as two different characters?

[jp] Yes. Diello has Orson Welles' features whenever he appears in visions, irrespective of which world is shown. After the girls see "The Third Man," they also imagine Orson Welles as Harry Lime, but this incarnation of Welles only occurs in real-world visions. It is as Harry Lime that Orson Welles, or 'IT,' is finally elevated to the status of an official Saint.

The events in "Heavenly Creatures" which follow Orson Welles' canonization are the source of much controversy, of course (see

Who was Prince Runnymede?

[jp] Jonathon Hulme was playing the part of Prince Runnymede on the first morning Pauline came to Ilam. Juliet tells Jonsy to "Bugger off! We're not playing anymore!" when he breaks Pauline's record. (Side note for the historically challenged: Runnymede is the spot ("meads" or meadowland) by the Thames where the Magna Carta was sealed by King John in 1215.)

Who was Lancelot Trelawney?

[jp] Juliet first referred to Lancelot Trelawney in her story at the dining table when she went to "Meet the Riepers" (see 3.1.9).

Later, Pauline dresses up as Lancelot in red velvet breeches and crashes through the bushes at Ilam, scattering Dr Hulme and his guests.

Ah! But who was Lancelot Trelawney, really?

[jp] In real life, Lancelot Trelawney was an imaginary Cornish soldier of fortune invented by the real Pauline. (Cornish = born in Cornwall, the western 'foot' of England). Lancelot Trelawney came to be Emperor of Pauline's imaginary Kingdom, Volumnia, in her writings (see 7.4.1).

Who were the nameless inhabitants of Borovnia?

[jp] The nameless inhabitants of Borovnia also tended to be faceless, or have poorly-defined features. This characteristic is used with disturbing effect in several visions of Borovnia. Their identities are unknown.

The nameless Borovnians also make very unsettling, wordless animal grunts and noises in several scenes. Very creepy and effective use of sound by Jackson.

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