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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Balzac's "King Lear" Novel, 29 July 2006
Author: theowinthrop from United States
This was a reasonably good dramatization of Honore de Balzac's best
known novel PERE GORIOT (sometimes called OLD GORIOT). The story is
about a father (here Michael Goodliffe) who literally impoverishes
himself for his two selfish daughters. The old man keeps selling his
possessions whenever he hears that either of them need cash. The switch
here (over Shakespeare's Goneril and Regan) is that both daughters are
similarly using their money demands to try to keep the affections of
their less-than-caring husbands, and do (weakly) try to maintain
affection for their father. Normally they can't.
In the meantime, Balzac traces the Parisian career of young Eugene de Rastignac (David Dundas), who is living in the same rooming house with Goriot. Rastignac is taken under the wing of the slightly sinister Vautrin (Andrew Keir), who takes a liking to him, and uses him in a scheme to snare a fortune - bearing heiress. The parallel regarding the two comparable father-child relationships is typical of Balzac's sense of irony.
The acting (from what I recall) was pretty good, especially Keir as Vautrin (a character based on the founder of the modern Surete, Vidocq, and the notorious criminal Lacenaire). It was above-average for one of the lesser "Masterpiece Theatre" programs. Not as good as their previous Balzac production: COUSIN BETTE with Margaret Tyzack, but worth watching.
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