The Women in Black by Madeleine St. John is a little treasure – a deep and true message delivered with humour and fun.
The film version, titled Ladies in Black, is charming, and the casting is spot on. But the film is not quite as charming as the book. And not quite as funny as the musical.
The musical used St. John’s dialogue basically word-for-word, and added a little razzle-dazzle. The dialogue in the film was different – still good, still appropriate, but different.
That said, the film is sumptuously nostalgic – the frocks, the food, the good manners, the stereotypes – I loved it.
If you had to choose – book, musical or film – I’d probably say toss a coin between the book and the musical and then go from there – but don’t miss the film – it really is superb.