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In the 1840s, Cranford is ruled by the ladies. They adore good gossip; and romance and change is in the air, as the unwelcome grasp of the Industrial Revolution rapidly approaches their beloved rural market-town.
The series tells the story of Amy Dorrit, who spends her days earning money for the family and looking after her proud father, who is a long term inmate of Marshalsea debtors' prison in ... See full summary »
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The extended Forsyte family live a more than pleasant upper middle class life in Victorian and later Edwardian England. The two central characters are Soames Forsyte and his cousin Jolyon Forsyte. Soames is a solicitor, all proper and straight-laced. His love for the beautiful Irene is his only weakness as is his beautiful daughter Fleur. Jolyon is the opposite, a free-thinking artist who abandons his wife to live with his children's nanny. Their lives and their children's lives will intersect over 30 years bringing happiness to some and tragedy to others. Written by
But gratified that this stunningly "realized" cinematic re-creation of the Galsworthy classic, one that truly merits the reference, scores an 8.6 overall. It's actually better than that, but more than several peers of equal merit have scored lower, undeservingly. Without reading most of the comments from peers and betters, I simply wish to record mine own, subjective and biased? input here, to wit: Whereas the "original," black-and-white filming is likely "superior," or at least closer to the author's vision and intent, I doubt not that the "present" version is equally "superior" technically and in many subtle AND obvious ways to its predecessor. That said. and the likelihood of the original Soames being better "cast" and fuller in film-flesh, it seems to me that Adrian Lewis somehow still manages to project, pinched nostrils and all, the underlying "character" of this "man of property" and child of Imperial Brit moralities and values. He and the remaining points of the psychosexual triangle that lies at the base and heart of Galsworthy's eminently sophisticated and observant appreciation of his peers and times, Gina McKee and Ioan Gruffudd, darn those Celts, are, each in his and her own persona way, essentially inauthentic to character and period?, yet somehow, the trio, by the agencies of excellent scripts and direction, manage a more than convincing and audience-involving dynamic. Together, they fascinate and move the viewer to vicarious identification AND the true test of any theatrical, catharsis. That said, the true and stunning performances are those of the scion of a British royal family of the theater, Colin Redgrave, and relative newcomer Rupert Graves. If there have been finer cinematic performances anywhere, I would like to see them, Redgrave especially. His "Indian Summer" passage is heart-warming and gut-wrenching, down to the twirl of his moustache, and Graves fulfills the promise of his early essay as the fiery-eyed gay gamekeeper in "Maurice." All in all, how could anyone carp at this astonishing "picturization," and a "moving" one at that, of a time and a place and a covey of English "birds," in the bush as well as the boudoir? I, for one, can't.
Addendum. After yet one more viewing, even semi-deaf and clouding vision, I find myself moved to amend. First, of course it's CORIN Redgrave, whose elegantly bravura performance is literally nonpareil. Second, misogynist I must appear, BOTH Gina MkKee and Gillian Kearney more than match their male counterparts, the former in a "loveliness" that launches the adoration of fou doughty men, and the latter a cheeky "liberated" woman who would do honor to an Annie Besant. Adrian Lewis, too handsome here for his own portrayal, nevertheless is "heartbreaking" in more than a few scenes, the lack of pallor in his sickbed scene more a matter of makeup. And, finally, both Stephen Mallatratt's scripts and dialog, and Christopher Menaul's direction are, in a word, superb. And each episode maintains both pace AND tenor AND bite. The fact that the "modern" generation of Forsytes fail to match their progenitors is, after all, simply "anticlimax," for the tale peaked before the latter "coda." That noted, this "Forsyte Saga" is an artistic, creative even, benchmark, like Bergman's "Fanny och Alexander," for future pretenders to the throne of cinematic royalty. And each and every single "featured" and "bit" player struck this viewer as close to perfection as possible. Overboard? Likely. But I am certain it is warranted.
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