The story jumps ahead several years. World War I has come to an end and of the older generation, only Uncle Timothy remains. Jon has an interest in farming and his parents agree that he ... See full summary »

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(novel), (dramatisation)
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Episode credited cast:
John Barcroft ...
June Barry ...
...
Jonathan Burn ...
John Dunn-Hill ...
Bramling
Susan Hampshire ...
...
Maggie Jones ...
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Suzanne Neve ...
Dalia Penn ...
Nicholas Pennell ...
Eric Porter ...
Nyree Dawn Porter ...
...
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Storyline

The story jumps ahead several years. World War I has come to an end and of the older generation, only Uncle Timothy remains. Jon has an interest in farming and his parents agree that he should go live with his sister Holly and her husband Val Dartie. June is running an art gallery - for her lame ducks, as Jolyon calls them - and quite by accident, Jon meets Fleur Forsyte, Soames' beautiful daughter. They soon realize that they are cousins of some sort but know nothing of the family feud as no one will tell them what happened all those years ago. Fleur has another admirer however, Michael Mont, though she is so caught up with Jon that she doesn't pay much attention to him. As for Jon, his father suggests that he accompany his mother on her forthcoming trip to Europe. Written by garykmcd

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Drama

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28 December 1969 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Soundtracks

Oh, Who Will O'er the Downs So Free?
(uncredited)
Traditional
Performed by Susan Hampshire and Martin Jarvis
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Encounter of Forsyte Generations
11 November 2015 | by (Cieszyn, Poland) – See all my reviews

"Most of my work was with Eric Porter and Martin Jarvis, whom I not only admired but had a very, very good working relationship with indeed. It was a great joy, a great, great pleasure and I just wish certain other parts of my working life had been so joyful." (Susan Hampshire reminiscent of working on the set of the series at the Alexandra Theater in Birmingham, January 1991).

I began the review on this episode with Susan Hampshire's quotation because episode 13 titled "Encounter" is the first one which develops the character of Fleur, perhaps the most intriguing female character of the series that stands for a new generation.

Through the death of Queen Vistoria in the previous episode, you could easily foretell a passing of an age, also in the context of the Forsytes and the content of the episodes that follow. It is time to say goodbye to charming moments of the Victorian generation and the chit chats at Timothy's...that is, perhaps, a little bit nostalgic piece of news. But, as the producer Donald Wilson stated in one documentary on the series, the story is now becoming more and more 'focused.' Characters who really play decisive roles are highlighted. Here comes a more modern view on the Forsytes because many years have passed and many members of the family are either in the family portraits or changed, transformed. At the beginning, we are struck by a huge time gap but soon get used to this 'modern' reality.

It is 1918, the end of the Great War, as Jo points out in his narrative, no war to end all wars but, due to 'growing noise and disturbance' peace to end all peace. The episode dramatized by Vincent Tilsley and directed by James Cellan Jones places us within a generation gap. The new era is depicted by clothes, decors, cars, behaviors; yet, above all, a character of great sophistication and disputable tastes, Fleur (Susan Hampshire) the daughter of Soames and Annette (Dalia Penn). As long as her birth was difficult, stormy, she will constantly break the schemes of expectations...

After all these years, the Forsytes have an unexpected encounter, seemingly the highlight of the episode. The place of this encounter is even more meaningful - a gallery of modern art where viewpoints differ considerably and human emotions take over the conventional manners. The gallery is run by June (just to remind some viewers, she is the daughter of Jo and Francis, Jo's first wife and has always represented an exception to the Forsyte stinginess). Predictably, the person who is most 'distasted' by 'weird' products of the up-to-date ideas in art is Soames, now the collector of paintings. Now older and even more moralistically pretentious, he inflicts his views on other people and clearly does not go that well with his wife. In one humorous scene, he considers her dress too daring and too low. But now let me come back to the...encounter.

The encounter scene is the crucial moment for relations to come and people to enter the formidable unit of Forsyte reality. There is Monsieur Profond (Christopher Benjamin), an art expert, an extraordinary guy on the tongues of many, there is young Mr Michael Mont (Nicholas Pennell) - a name indeed to become eminent, there is Fleur whose eyes meet with the most unexpected young gentleman...Jo and Irene's son Jon (Martin Jarvis), humorously called Jolyon VI. Indeed the daughter of Soames and the son of Irene having an encounter might bring about trouble. But heart knows no limits nor ancient animosities.

The youthful enthusiasm of the two distant cousins and mutual appreciations lead to a growing feeling between Jon and Fleur. The couple that will surely face disapproval of the family, a sort of 'Forsyte Romeo and Juliet' supply the episode with scenes of intense delicacy, subtlety, emotionally and visually involving. Ms Hampshire and Mr Jarvis portray a lovely young couple in love, the words that Susan Hampshire said and I quoted at the beginning find its relevance here. Credit to cameraman Tony Leggo for some outstanding shots of Jon and Fleur running down the hill and singing. Mind you that these are some of the first scenes shot entirely in nature, symbolizing the freedom and freshness of their feelings.

Meanwhile we get a few excellent embodiments of generation gap and parent-child relations. Here, a mention must be primarily made of excellent Jo-Jon conversations (a few others will follow in the following episodes), there is authoritative method of Soames towards Fleur.

Youngsters in love forgetting the world around, embodiment of new times, misunderstood by those haunted by the past. May they be a bridge of reconciliation?


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