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The tongues of London high society gossips begin to wag when John Harmon --a young man whose inheritance depended on his marrying a woman he had never met-- is found dead in the River Thames. The fortune passes into the hands of the working-class Boffins, who take into their new home both Bella Wilfer (Harmon's would-be bride), and a mysterious secretary known as Rokesmith. Meanwhile, Lizzie Hexam, the daughter of the boatman suspected of Harmon's murder, is pursued by two suitors: obsessive and self-righteous Bradley Headstone and roguish and lethargic Eugene Wrayburn. An expansive and varied cast of characters create an epic intertwining tale. Written by
I've been recently seeing so many good adaptations of classical novels into mini-series, that I am becoming convinced they should never be made into feature length at all. I saw this on video all at once, which was almost six hours long. But, I could not stop watching. The character and plot developed so well, it was like reading a novel in one go. I don't often have the endurance to read a novel in one go. I must be honest I have not read 'Our Mutual Friend'. Often, when I see an adaptation of a novel, I want to read the novel. But this adaptation was so satisfying that I didn't really feel that need.
The performances were slightly varied in style, which seemed to suggest that it was the actors who had the control, not the director. David Morrissey's Bradley Headstone was very realistic, portraying him as a kind of ready to burst, angry and passionate man, as his face often changed color with anger, despair, passion and fear. So Keeley Hawes as Lizzie Hexam, being intimidated by and scared of Headstone was believable. I'd seen Keeley Hawes in the 'Begger Bride' before this, and I was fairly impressed by her portrayal of a completely virtuous character. She easily portrayed the mild, beautiful, and so very modest girl.
This adaptation also had the biggest TV role for Anna Friel at the time. And she was surprisingly good, and I always will expect her to play the feisty role, which is not a bad thing.
So, nice one.
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