At times comedic and at other times heartbreaking, the series follows the intertwining lives of three Manchester couples at different stages in their relationships. At the start, Adam ... See full summary »
The trilogy presents a comically fraught weekend from three different perspectives, as family and in laws gather at the decaying country home of their bedridden mother; the drink flows, and... See full summary »
It was generally believed that the central character in this mini-series, a brilliant Jewish student at Cambridge who becomes a novelist and film writer, was an autobiographical portrait of Frederic Raphael, the scriptwriter of the series. See more »
Having watched this through on three occasions, at various times of life and separated by many years, The Glittering Prize does not become stale. It is a rich and fulfilling drama, with humor and the disappointment of maturing lives. It does some things very well and returns to them over the span of the years covered in the series: Jewishness after the Holocaust, living and true life being two stand out themes.
But there are also aspects that pall: for instance, it is too discursive at times, the scenes drag on too long as if the point of discussion had already been covered well enough but the flying jests and insults of the dialog are too great to edit. The other thing is that the chief protagonist (Adam) is allowed too much time to show off, to use word play and therefore to inhibit the action around him. For this reason the first play is the best, in balance and through action. The last play is weak as Adam is allowed too much time, too many Groucho moments and everyone else, his wife included is an acolyte.
If an editor had insisted on changes it might have rectified these gnawing problems. It may also that almost 40 years later we are impatient for the flow of drama to move on once things have been done. In any case it is a weakness and the wish to hit fast forward is difficult to stop.
A greater and deeper weakness is the writing of the women characters and of women in general. This is a masculine view of life and of the heroes through life: the women are supporters, adjuncts, mistresses, and sometimes difficult burdens. But they are not well developed on their own. But again that may be an aspect of life that has changed much since the series was made.
All in all it is engaging and witty but have new batteries in the remote to speed past the sluggish sections.
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