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A Harlot's Progress (2006)

Drama looking at artist William Hogarth and his relationship with the prostitute that inspired his most famous piece.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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William Hogarth
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Mary Collins
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Jane Hogarth
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Sir James Thornhill
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Mother Needham
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Nathaniel Hirsch
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Henry Fielding
Oliver Ryan ...
Samuel Scott
Vicky Hall ...
Sarah
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James Dalton
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Sir John Gonson
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Doctor Rock
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Gaoler
Kate Ambler ...
Top Floor Whore
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Storyline

In 1731 the humane artist William Hogarth is struck by the plight of prostitutes who have descended into Mother Neddwell's brothels and determines to paint a series of cautionary tableaux,using young prostitute Mary Collins. Hogarth's wife and father-in-law are dismayed but Hogarth has no sexual interest in Mary,hoping only to help her with the posing fee he gives her. Unfortunately life mirrors art as Mary's downfall follows that of the harlot in the paintings. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Sex. Squalor. Art.


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2 November 2006 (UK)  »

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Virgins are Like the Fair Flower (The Beggar's Opera)
Lyrics by John Gay
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Toby Jones brought Hogarth to life
2 April 2017 | by See all my reviews

Toby Jones is wonderful as Hogarth. This is a tightly focused and well-made movie. Jones portrays a stubborn and intensely idealistic Hogarth, without giving too much away of the man's psyche. His internal struggles and observations of the human condition are conveyed expressively, not with any overburdened dialogue or exposition. While we may never know the truth behind his involvement with the Harlot--was it simply a keen eye and vivid imagination, or was it something deeply personal on his part--this historical drama is emotionally entangling and one leaves it feeling vindication for Hogarth's artistic triumph. The subtle director's touch of adding the odd siren and audio of a current news report at the beginning of each segment that deals with precisely the same issues in this period drama is most effective, without being too clumsy or heavy-handed. Hogarth is such an awesome and modern man, in the subject matter of his artwork and sensibility, as well as the way he chose to disseminate it to a wide popular audience. This film also places him firmly in his historical context, one of great importance in the chronicle of lives chewed up and spat out in the modern city. We are still faced with rakes and harlots in our time--nothing has changed. The cautionary tale of avoiding a life of depravity is just as relevant as it was in 1730. Toby Jones really got me though, and I will be on the lookout for his work. He seems to be born to play period characters, and there should be no limit to the number of figures he can bring to life for us to learn from and enjoy.


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