Unable to negotiate a satisfactory settlement, the libel action against Fleur Mont goes to court. Soames has laid the groundwork for a successful defence and with an effective barrister, ... See full summary »

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(novel), (dramatisation)
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Episode credited cast:
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George Benson ...
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David Brook ...
Policeman
John Byron ...
Bullfry
Richard Caldicot ...
Mr Justice Brane
Hal Hamilton ...
Francis Wilmot
Susan Hampshire ...
John Lawrence ...
Court Usher
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Richard Pearson ...
Foskisson
Nicholas Pennell ...
...
Eric Porter ...
Alan Rowe ...
Settlewhite
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Unable to negotiate a satisfactory settlement, the libel action against Fleur Mont goes to court. Soames has laid the groundwork for a successful defence and with an effective barrister, has every hope of succeeding. Once Marjorie Ferrar is on the stand, Soames' barrister is able to demonstrate that Fleur's statement that she is without morals is quite possibly correct. Marjorie's refusal to answer a key question from the witness box seems to doom her case. Michael Mont for his part thinks the strategy is flawed and believes they may have made Marjorie and her fiancé Sir Alexander MacGown objects of sympathy. His fear proves to be correct when they begin to receive the cold shoulder from the society crowd. Written by garykmcd

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Drama

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1 March 1970 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Moral Gloom
24 February 2016 | by (Cieszyn, Poland) – See all my reviews

"In society, it is not easy to know who is a friend and who isn't" (Marjorie on her stand in the court).

The opening scene of the episode with Michael's narration foreshadows the drama to come. It is not the drama of the Forsytes who "take the same attitude towards the House of Parliament as they do towards the Church of England" but the drama of the moral gloom symbolized by 'current morality' and embodied by Marjorie Ferrar (Caroline Blakiston). As no money can be made out of either politics nor religion, the only motive that drives the Forsytes to the courtroom is honor combined with pride -the evident insults along with the paragraph about the 'Bucaneering politics' can ever be let unnoticed.

Action for libel results in the bitter reaction directed towards legal proceedings. It is not the first time for the Forsytes (consider the fact that the legal background is crucial for Galsworthy's novel) but Fleur, the creature devoted to herself quite incapable of any other kind of devotion and not merely content with this for today... However, Soames' pampered daughter plays second fiddle here. Far more important person who draws our attention as a woman and as a character beautifully incorporated to the plot is the modern representative of aristocracy, Marjorie Ferrar.

It is out of the question that she is one of the truly most memorable supporting characters of the serial. Why is it so depends on a particular viewer. I think that what makes her so unforgettable is Ms Blakiston's magnetizing performance and the features of Marjorie's character that modern audiences often identify with. On the one hand, she represents aristocracy that, as her grandfather Marguess (George Benson) in another brilliant scene of his points out, a group of society who "have no power, no divinity these days but still stand for something;" on the other hand, she is most modern of them all. In this society, however, it is hard to tell who is a friend and who is not.

The scenes at court are brilliantly executed echoing some aspects depicted in masterpieces, namely PARADINE CASE by Hitchcock. Aubrey Greene (John Bailey), the painter is called as a witness, Marjorie is a plaintiff. Sir James with his pushing attitude towards the woman who allegedly 'has no morals about her' highlights the very spirit of a court scene that is nothing short of dynamic emotions and eloquent language. Marjorie does not supply her testimony with any 'linquistic ornaments' but appeals to us with straightforward lines. With the book CANTHAR mentioned in the previous episode, it becomes the judgment of a woman and her morality. From "Have you had a liaison?" all the drama is on her side, as Michael rightly observes. Then, with her decision not to tell and not to tell the truth either, it becomes a matter of men's jealousy, namely Sir Alexander MacGown's (John Phillips) whose pride and dominance suffers a serious gravity and Francis Wilmot (Hal Hamilton) whose chivalric nature is disillusioned with harsh reality and subjected to mockery. All is revealed within the walls of Marjorie's room. Poor guys...poor Marjorie...

The most 'realistic' and at the same time identifiable character among the men is, perhaps, Michael (Nicholas Penell) who is clearly able to pity a woman and her drama and, at the same time, find the exact usefulness of belonging to the parliamentary circle thanks to his ideas for the future of the country. He does not like 'cold water at home as well as abroad.' I liked his scene with Soames when, actually, for the first time they have a slight contradiction. While for a true Forsyte, there is no danger as long as the pound is going up, for Michael, the anticipation of problems is far more objective and insightful. With his distance towards all the fuss, it is no 'moral victory' for him at all. Moral attitudes, herein lies the drama. Pity he does see the problems at the political level but does not see it at the domestic level yet...

The culmination of the whole emotional fuss comes with the public event. As it began so it ends. Yet, music and the charm of the evening does not ease it totally. Some will stay, some will have to retire...

What remains, as in MODERN COMEDY, is a healthy distance to the new reality expressed in the character who hopes for electrification, who sells no blessings, who wants no scandal. Terrific Marguess of Shropshire played with humour by George Benson. Magnetizing moments!

And Fleur? Incredible enigma - happy or merely content with victory? 'Tomorrow' for her is quite different than for her husband. 9/10, one of the very best episodes!


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