At long last, Anthony Powell's 12 volume novel sequence A Dance to the Music of Time has been dramatised for television. If Powell's "Journals" are to be believed, this is after any number of false starts spanning the best part of 20 years. The dramatisation was in four two-hour episodes, each covering approximately 3 books. They were shown on UK's Channel 4 TV in October 1997. The format of four 2-hour films was, in many ways, unfortunate as it severely constrained the amount of the action which could be shown, however given the exigencies of modern TV scheduling it was probably the only way in which "Dance" was ever going to get televised. As a devotee of the books, I was apprehensive about how they would translate into film. Just how do you condense 12 novels into 8 hours of television? However in my view the dramatisation worked extremely well, notwithstanding the necessary omissions. What helped the whole production was some interesting, and at times inspired and doubtless extravagant, casting which included: Edward Fox (as Uncle Giles), Zoë Wanamaker (as Audrey Maclintick), John Gielgud (as St John Clarke), Alan Bennett (as Sillery), Miranda Richardson (as Pamela Flitton)... some interesting choices!! Overall an interesting and enjoyable series. I just fear that having been done once that we'll never see "Dance" recreated in a different (better?) format and that Powell will remain relatively unknown in comparison with contemporaries like Evelyn Waugh ... which is in my view quite unjustifiable as Powell is a much better writer. Fortunately Channel 4 released these 4 films on video - which is excellent as they're well worth watching again.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?