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In 1939, young Oliver, Calypso, Polly and Walter visit friends and family in Cornwall. Spanish Civil War is over and WW2 has begun, so they enjoy their love life while they can. Decades later, they gather again, this time for a funereal.
Based on a little known 1848 novel by Anne Bronte, Tara Fitzgerald stars as an enigmatic young woman who moves to 19th Century Yorkshire with a young son. Distancing herself from everyone ... See full summary »
The peaceful, secluded, country hideaway of three diverse, lonely, supposedly lesbian, women is suddenly shattered when their gardener discovers a partially decomposed corpse in the old Ice... See full summary »
Set in 1935 when the Englishwoman Louisa Durrell, whose life had fallen apart, decided to move from Bournemouth to the Greek island of Corfu. Her husband had died some years earlier and she... See full summary »
This was an adaptation that was almost bound to fail. Squeezing 12 novels into eight hours of television allows just 40 minutes per novel. 'The Valley of Bones' was condensed into just 17 minutes. If this had been done well it would truly have been a miracle of compression. However, it was achieved by eliminating about two-thirds of the book.
So it is really rather surprising that the adaptors should have created scenes which were only hinted at rather than described in the book. I counted four, all of which added unnecessary violence and gore. I think if Powell had wanted to make these scenes explicit he would have done so - but he preferred for them to happen offstage.
What is also hard to forgive was the decision to play fast and loose with the chronology towards the end of the series. For example, the launch of 'Fission' should have been immediately after the end of the war rather than somewhere in the mid 50s, while the award of the Magnus Donners prize took place in 1968 or 9 rather than 1963. Anyone who has any feel at all for the period would know that the difference is immense.
But there are good things about this too. The casting is excellent with no-one out of place; the atmosphere for the most part convincing and compelling. A pity that the cast did not have the chance to work through a real adaptation, rather than this drastic and unsatisfactory abridgement.
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