Vanity Fair (1998)

TV Mini-Series  -   -  Drama | Romance
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1998  
5 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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16 half-hour episodes. In the time of Napoleon, Becky Sharp, a poor orphan girl, schemes for money and position. Her most-used stepladder is her old school friend, Amelia Sedley. Both women... See full summary »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Natasha Little ...
 Becky Sharp (6 episodes, 1998)
Frances Grey ...
 Amelia Sedley (6 episodes, 1998)
...
 William Dobbin (6 episodes, 1998)
David Ross ...
 Mr. Sedley (6 episodes, 1998)
...
 Rawdon Crawley (5 episodes, 1998)
...
 Mr. Pitt Crawley (5 episodes, 1998)
Janine Duvitski ...
 Mrs. Bute Crawley (5 episodes, 1998)
Michele Dotrice ...
 Mrs. Sedley (5 episodes, 1998)
...
 Jos Sedley (4 episodes, 1998)
Tom Ward ...
 George Osborne (4 episodes, 1998)
Frances Tomelty ...
 Mrs. O'Dowd (4 episodes, 1998)
Stephen Frost ...
 Bute Crawley (4 episodes, 1998)
Mark Lambert ...
 Major O'Dowd (4 episodes, 1998)
...
 Mr. John Osborne (4 episodes, 1998)
Janet Dale ...
 Miss Briggs (4 episodes, 1998)
...
 Lady Jane Crawley (3 episodes, 1998)
...
 Miss Crawley (3 episodes, 1998)
...
 Jane Osborne (3 episodes, 1998)
Robert Cole ...
 Little Rawdon (3 episodes, 1998)
...
 Sir Pitt Crawley (3 episodes, 1998)
Eleanor Bron ...
 Lady Bareacres (3 episodes, 1998)
Daniel Hart ...
 Ensign Stubble (3 episodes, 1998)
Zohren Weiss ...
 Little Georgy (3 episodes, 1998)
Gerard Murphy ...
 Lord Steyne (3 episodes, 1998)
John Surman ...
 Horrocks (3 episodes, 1998)
...
 Lord Bareacres (3 episodes, 1998)
Sarah Crowden ...
 Lady Blanche (3 episodes, 1998)
Bryan Pringle ...
 Raggles (3 episodes, 1998)
...
 Moss (3 episodes, 1998)
...
 Wenham (2 episodes, 1998)
Sara Powell ...
 Miss Swartz (2 episodes, 1998)
Felix Dexter ...
 Samuel (2 episodes, 1998)
Paul Bigley ...
 Isidor (2 episodes, 1998)
...
 Lady Crawley (2 episodes, 1998)
Casey O'Connor ...
 Little Violet (2 episodes, 1998)
Zoe Chester ...
 Little Rose (2 episodes, 1998)
Pom Boyd ...
 Glorvina O'Dowd (2 episodes, 1998)
Vicki Pepperdine ...
 Ann Dobbin (2 episodes, 1998)
Windsor Davies ...
 General Tufto (2 episodes, 1998)
Bill Thomas ...
 Mr. Chopper (2 episodes, 1998)
Martin Hodgson ...
 Ensign Spooney (2 episodes, 1998)
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Storyline

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Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

24 October 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Feira das Vaidades  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(6 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Color:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The black patterned muslin gown Janet Dale (Miss Briggs) wears at Park Lane is the same gown Pauline Moran (Mrs. Curtain) wears when Byron arrives for the wedding in Byron (2003), Gemma Jones (Mrs. Dashwood) wears when Edward comes to Barton Cottage in Sense and Sensibility (1995), Billie Piper (Fanny Price) wears to Maria's wedding in Mansfield Park (2007). The costume is also worn by an extra at the Meryton Assembly Ball in Pride & Prejudice (2005). See more »

Quotes

Rawdon Crawley: You don't mind the smell of my cigar, I hope?
Becky Sharp: No, I love it. I wonder if I might...
Rawdon Crawley: Yes?
Becky Sharp: You... wouldn't tell?
Rawdon Crawley: What, me? No! Never, damn it! ...Ah, what?
See more »

Connections

Version of Vanity Fair (1915) See more »

Soundtracks

When I Am Laid In Earth
Traditional
By Henry Purcell
Performed by Natasha Little
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Almost perfect ! Delightful.
5 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is brisk, fun production that doesn't take itself any more seriously than it should, and doesn't mind winking at us with a secret smile at the same time. The story of Becky Sharp, a girl who is never any better than she needs to be, and her friend Amelia who is much too good for her own good.

Natasha Little is simply perfect as Becky. Little is the kind of woman that women find hard to like: delicately beautiful, exceptionally talented – making her perfect to play Becky. It is the subtle nuances in her moments that give her performance great depth and complexity – needed for accessibility for a selfish character who is the smartest person in any room she is in. Becky is a woman who would agree with the quote of another brilliant beauty, Hedy Lamar: "Any woman can be glamorous. All she has to do is stand still and look stupid." Little's Beky is not as likable or vulnerable as Reese Witherspoon – who played Becky in a major motion picture film version made right around the same time – but with a miniseries we have time to understand her more. Besides, not many actresses are as likable as Witherspoon.

As the story begins, this production does not look lavish, but the casting is so wonderful, the script so strong, the costumes simple but just right, that we are given the ability to focus on getting to know the people we will be following through 6 episodes.

It is this initial simplicity that is the brilliance of the production design by Malcolm Thornton. In the early stages, poverty is cramped and messy; work is dark, cluttered and rotting, and wealth is clean, and bright and airy… like freedom. As we progress through the story, wealth becomes more complex, overstuffed and overdecorated, echoing the complexity of the lives of Becky and Rawdon. Rawdon played by the handsome and overwhelmingly talented Nathaniel Parker (INSPECTOR LINLEY, BLEAK HOUSE).

Breathtaking Andrew Davies, possibly the most brilliant adapter of the classics of all time, gifts us with a screenplay of grace and subtlety, weaving the ease of modern speech perfectly into the period action in a way that feels classic, but is totally accessible.

It all bounces along to the ohm-pa-pa of a brass band. This band is one of the anachronistic touches of the production. While it passes as a military band, it also has a the raw, slightly under-rehearsed sound of a New Orleans jazz band, and sometimes a 1940s dance hall… meanwhile Becky's musical choices are straight from the pub… to the delight of the men around her. The band is really the only downfall of the production, in the moments of great serious importance, the band hits us over the head with a blaringly repetitive theme that gets very annoying after 6 episodes. It is the only "wrong note" in an otherwise witty and wise score. One of the nice subtle touches is that even Becky's singing, which at first seems flawless and delightful, begins to sound a bit flat in the episodes where we see dark results of her behavior on those around her.

The music for Amelia and William is completely different. Plaintive melodies played as quietly as loyalty and love that things only of the good of the beloved. Philip Glenister as William carries the heart of the piece with affecting restraint. Miriam Margoles does her best work EVER here, and Jeremy Swift as Jos is absolutely delightful in every moment he is on screen!

This entire miniseries is just marvelous, aspects of the production in tune with each other, in service to the whole piece. FANTASTIC.


21 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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