British officer Ross Poldark returns to his native Cornwall after the Revolutionary War after escaping as a prisoner of war. He finds that because he was believed dead, his home has fallen into ruin and his estate has shifted to his mercenary uncle following the death of his father. His uncle has committed to selling the family copper and tin mines to a ruthless local land baron while his former fiancee has agreed to marry his cousin in his absence.
The old Poldark afficiandos regard this as a blasphemy. But I've noticed some reviews on Amazon that are a little less anorak and a little more objective, some of which are fairly favourable, one or two very much so. On its own terms it does have flaws. The book on which it is based is more an old man's ruminations than a story and any adaptation was going to run into problems. That said, the cast is great (the much-missed originals might well have floundered with their mannered performances, okay in the seventies but ... well ...), the locations and design are quite stunning and the story sort of lopes along a bit erratically but there are some good scenes. Laxton directs with finesse, in my view, and the script is more elegantly poetic than I think its audience was expecting. It does end rather suddenly but this was probably meant as a pilot to a series. On reflection, the stories are resolved, in a way, but leave something to the viewer to work out. Probably far too ambitious considering its natural constituency and in the end, possibly a compromise between something new and pandering to the old. It couldn't win. But it's actually a good piece of work. Congratulations all round.
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