The British Raj: though their position seems secure, thoughtful English men and women know that "their" time in India is coming to an end. The story begins with an unjust arrest for rape, ... See full summary »
The British Raj: though their position seems secure, thoughtful English men and women know that "their" time in India is coming to an end. The story begins with an unjust arrest for rape, and the consequences of this echo through the series. Questions of identity and personal responsibility are explored against a background of war and personal intrigue. Written by
There's a small scene in the first 2 hour episode of Jewel in the Crown about 80 minutes in. Susan Wooldridge, a gangly maladroit, clearly not cut out for India, is sleeping. The long awaited rain wakes her and she gets up and walks out onto the balcony. The obsessional loving care and artistry that is evident in just this single minute tell you everything you need to know about the quality of Jewel in the Crown. The set and the lighting on the sleeping figure momentarily transforms the character who will later be known, pejoratively as "that Manners girl" into the Diana-like beauty she always imagined she would become. Wooldridge is convincingly asleep and wakes naturally, and surprise, delight and relief register on her face as she revels in the feel of rain on her face. Nothing is out the book. It's all fresh, original, new. A great piece of acting by Wooldridge, never surpassed or even approached by all the other actors and actresses who have had to play this popular little scene, present in so many other movies. A great piece of directing, lighting, scene setting and costume design.
Aside from this one, there are 649 other minutes and the same care and devotion is taken with all of them. In the episode "The Mughal Room", Sara Layton and Guy Perron spend Guy's last afternoon exploring the Governor's Summer residence at Pankot. 7 minutes go by without any dialogue in this little elegy for the cobwebbed glory of the Raj before they settle down in one of the bedrooms to make love. You won't find anything else like it in mainstream television. Very hard to do but very beautiful.
But then the whole story is excellent, beautifully paced, tragic, funny, pathetic, illuminating and exciting by turns. I've watched it a number of times and I never want it to end.
It really is the best drama series ever made.
29 of 30 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?