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Though I missed this when it was first shown (back in 1992) this was a fine production of a fine novel. Elizabeth Spriggs's performance was excellent as the sad, well-meaning Inge. The other characters were also portrayed with sharp insight. The wide ranging settings of this gripping story were projected in photography of distinction. It was a great pleasure to be reminded of Wilson's witty and engaging novel in this faithful representation after twenty years or so since I read it avidly. One of our greatest 20th century novelists, Willson's works deserve to be household names. Are there similar DVDs of Hemlock and After, The Old Men of the Zoo and others? Is this DVD available for purchase? I can't seem to find where.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
We saw the 229 minute 3 episode DVD version and it was very difficult to find a single character you could sympathize with. The performances are uniformly excellent but it is hard to identify with almost any of them. Richard Johnson is superb as the older Gerald Middleton as he carries the main burden and emerges the least despicable of all the cast. Standout performances are given by Douglan Hodge as the younger Gerald, Tara Fitzgerald as the younger Dolly and especially Elizabeth Spriggs as poor Gerald's irritating and overbearing wife. Many of the characters are homosexuals and they are portrayed as an extremely motley group that will cause many in the audience to cringe at their antics. Daniel Craig and Kate Winslet are mention on the DVD jacket, I suspect mainly because of their current prominence. However, they have minor roles especially Ms. Winslet whose brief appearance as a chubby young lady gives little hint to her future talent. My wife commented throughout, "What a bunch of sleaze-buckets." Though an attempt was made to neatly tidy up the story at the end with Gerald reuniting with the elder Dolly, impressively played be Dorothy Tutin and showing his wife with two of their dysfunctional children. We don't know the fate of the remaining son Robin and his wife? Fine performances are marred by a parade of sorry misfits that do not make for an entertaining evening of viewing.
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