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Dolores Claiborne (1995)
I was sucked in within minutes
One evening, I flipped the TV on just to watch a few minutes before falling to sleep. It was nearly midnight and a week night. I had to get up in the morning. I flipped through the channels and found myself near the beginning of movie, which one I didn't know.
Kathy Bates was in it. I like her work, so I watched a few minutes. Next I saw Judy Parfitt who was FANTASTIC in The Jewel in the Crown. The dialog was fantastic. The scenery fantastic. And it is a movie that is just plain wonderful. The always delightful David Straithairn appears as Dolores' no good husband.
Two thumbs up in my book. The movie was over quite late and I only got 4 hours of sleep! But it was worth it. The entire cast was fantastic. A lot of movies disappoint me, but not this one. It delivers suspense, drama, interesting characters, and fascinating relationships (albeit not always good relationships).
The Jewel in the Crown (1984)
I first saw The Jewel in the Crown while I was in college on video. I was quite drawn in by it. There are many fine performances in this piece including Susan Wooldridge (Daphne Manners), Art Malik (Hari Kumar), Tim Pigott-Smith (Merrick), Geraldine James (Sarah Layton), Judy Parfitt (Mildred Layton), Dame Peggy Ashcroft (Barbie Bachelor), and Charles Dance (Guy Peron). It is these performances which keep the piece moving in the "less interesting" parts.
In fact, I think it is the persona of Sarah Layton played by Geraldine James that makes the middle part of the series really go. She comes across as being quite likeable and reasonable living in a situation and time that is full of discord and chaos. Judy Parfitt is wonderful as her mother. And when Charles Dance enters the picture as Guy Peron..... well I had hoped that Sarah Layton would really just settle with Guy. The chemistry they have on screen was quite palpable.
The series can be a bit stiff and starchy which is fitting considering the subject matter and the characters. I really enjoyed the Daphne-Hari romance. More wonderful chemistry between the characters. The world was well painted as full of turmoil for the British Raj whose rule in India was ending during the chaos of WWII.
Definitely worth watching. I recommend this work highly.