The subtle trick Showtime's "Penny Dreadful is that it is far less about the blood, gore and the specter of gruesome death than the sharp pain and exhilarating pleasure of living, and the terror of feeling alone even in close company. Read our review in the May Picks section.
Presents the lives and loves of a family of cousins from 1939 to the present. Follows very closely the Mary Wesley novel. Begins with a funeral and uses the reminiscences of those gathered ... See full summary »
George 'Beau' Brummel, a penniless but witty London gentleman, maintains a refined lifestyle with his loyal servant, cook Robinson. Only the friendship of the unpopular Hanoverian heir and ... See full summary »
Tide of Life follows the fortunes of young housekeeper, Emily Kennedy, as she learns about relationships with three very different men. Forced from home of her first employer, Sep McGilby ... See full summary »
Set in the 1830's, the film tells the story of 16-year-old Cissie Brodie after the death of parents, and the repossession of the family home. She finds a barren place to live and care for ... See full summary »
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 »
Joanna once was married to Carl May, a very rich and powerful nuclear energy magnate. They love each other, but had to divorce after Joanna was caught on an incidental love affair. Since ... 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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