well, even more melodrama than is in a Catherine Cookson adaptation. I got this DVD box set awhile ago and tried to watch it and found it so over the top I put it aside.
I've been on a Cookson kick (rewatching all my DVDs and videos) so I pulled the Mallen set out and started watching it and still cringed through the first two episodes -- the acting, especially by David Rintoul (under much better direction and control in the 80s BBC Pride and Prejudice), is ridiculous. His acting is really quite like an old SNL skit -- picture Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi and Bill Murray putting on exaggerated posh Brit acting and you'll have his performance.
The veteran Irish actor playing the Matriarch actually gets better as the series progresses -- there is a very difficult rape scene right at start of the film (actually what turned me off when I first tried to watch this)and it's really hard to wrap your head around this dominant character (meaning he's constantly in the storyline).
At any rate, the locations are pretty, but be prepared that this is shot much like the 80s BBC dramas, where indoors is on video and outdoors is on film and it's a bit disconcerting as they shift back and forth. The indoor sets are very rudimentary and look almost like a theatrical set, but the outdoors are nicely lush.
If you can get past the dated aspects (the horrible overacting, the style in which it's shot, etc.), it's always nice to have the full Cookson library at your period-melodrama command.
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