Clarissa Harlowe is a young 18th-century Englishwoman. Her family have aspirations to move into the aristocracy and want her to marry the repellent Mr Soames as part of their plan. Clarissa manages to escape from them with the help of the handsome Lovelace, whose intentions towards her prove to be less than entirely honourable. Written by
Peter Brynmor Roberts
With a budget of over £3 million, filming on Clarissa began 29 Apr 1991 and continued for 16 weeks until 19 July 1991. Locations included several large country houses (one in the north of England, another near Stratford, and a third in Hampstead). Some exteriors were shot outside The Inns of Court in London but much of the filming was done at London's Ealing Studios, where a three-storey Georgian house was specially constructed for the series. See more »
I watched the entire series in one sitting and loved it so much that I plan on reading the novel. This was an excellent period drama with all the trimmings, an unforgettable story about the conflict between a virtuous young woman trying to avoid being forced into an awful marriage and the libertine who becomes unhealthily obsessed with her and the idea of testing her purity.
When reading a summary of the story, very little seems to happen, but the characters are so fascinating and their psychology so complex that one becomes engrossed. The heroine, whom many have criticized as being an annoying goody two-shoes, is made relate-able through the three-dimensional performance of Saskia Wickham. She's an amazing character, more than the simpering ingenue people make her out to be. Though she is pious and naive, she's also a woman who refuses to be put under anyone's control, not her family's and not Lovelace's. Lovelace is brought alive by Sean Bean, who was made for the part, channeling the character's charisma and cruelty. He totally sells the character's twisted affection/obsession for Clarissa.
The entire production is well acted, scored, and directed. An ideal period piece, highly recommended. I would definitely see it again.
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