Lord Crawley sees his family heritage, especially the grand country home Downton Abbey, as his mission in life. The death of his heir aboard the Titanic means distant cousin Matthew Crawley, a Manchester lawyer, suddenly is next in line and accepts moving onto the vast estate with his even more modernist, socially engaged mother, who clashes with his lordship's domineering, conservative mother, the dowager. Marrying off the daughters is another concern. Meanwhile, the butler presides over a staff which serves the family, but also lead most of their entire lives in the servants' quarters, intriguing amongst themselves. Written by
In the 2012 book "The Chronicles of Downton Abbey: A New Era," authors Jessica Fellowes and Matthew Sturgis clarify that although Cora's late father (who has been identified on the show as Isidore Levinson, a dry-goods magnate from Cincinnati, Ohio) was Jewish, her mother, Martha, was Episcopalian and raised Cora likewise. See more »
Although Robert and Cora Crawley both have blue eyes, their daughter, Mary, has brown eyes. This was thought biologically impossible in the Davenport Model (1907), although not very common, two blue-eyed parents can produce children with brown eyes. Eye color is a complex trait that depends on the state of several interacting genes. The gene that usually decides the issue (blue eyes or brown eyes) is the OCA2 gene on chromosome 15. But it comes in different strengths. A person with a weak form of the OCA2 gene will have blue eyes. Likewise a person with a strong form will have brown eyes, but individuals also have other eye-color genes that each has a say in the final eye-color outcome. For example, if one of these lesser genes is strong, it can make the weak form (blue) of OCA2 work much more effectively - almost like the strong form (brown). Then the eye color may be brown. In fact, the resulting color can be any shade of brown, hazel, green or blue depending on the interactions. See more »
This is beautifully filmed, with authenticity and societal values inherent in both script and acting. The story weaves in and out of two layers of society -- the masters and the servants -- giving us glimpses into the power struggles occurring on each level, and the colourful characters who inhabit both. I particularly enjoy seeing the large-scale production involved in taking care of a household of this magnitude, and the care taken with all the details. Given today's rapid pace, it's almost peaceful to watch this deliberately slowed pace, and to get a genuine sense of what it was like to be an estate-owner in this period. Housemaids who gossip, independent young men who don't appreciate the butler's code of honour, catty women and genteel sophisticates all combine to make this a very enjoyable romp among the rich of yesteryear!
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