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Maria Wern (2008)
I like this show...spoilers
Even though it is not as "dark" as other Scandinavian dramas, it is well-made and acted and the stories, while probably not likely, are much like "Midsomer Murders" in that there as multiple murders and you do wonder how a small area can be so chock full of killers. But I am on episode three and already, her young child has seen a murder victim twice, as Maria happened to be on the spot, off-duty, at discovery of two bodies, which is kind of unreal.
Still, I am absorbed in dramas from this region, both in books and on film and appreciate any subtitled series or films. Whatever they produce is almost always better than American TV, so I am not complaining. Also, I love the settings and even more, the homes and apartments...makes me want to de-clutter desperately every time I see those sleek, junk- free interiors...
Am hoping there is not much focus on romance...I don't need that in my murder mysteries. I do like the cop who tried online dating though.
The Duchess (2008)
A not exactly accurate story for the Duchess's life...
But a lovely movie. I have read biographies on both Georgiana and her sister Henrietta, and the sisters were practically joined at the hip throughout their lives, obviously this is not the real story of her life, since a sister or brother is never even mentioned. And the Duke did not need to threaten her...both she and Harriet were aware of the disgrace of being divorced and did everything to prevent it, as both carried on affairs until their health failed. And both wound up hugely in debt from gambling and excess, what would be tens of millions today. Yes, she went off to have a baby in secret but her husband did not know, much less command it. Henrietta did the same. Both knew they would,lose their status and children if they were divorced. The relationship with Bess and the Duke was true. She lived with them forever, later marrying the Duke must to the distress of some family members and grumbled for more money when died.
The acting is good...one of my favorite KK performances (unlike Anna Karenina, yikes)
War & Peace (1972)
Excellent version, much better than the 2007 one
Still, the casting of Natasha is doubtful for me, as the actress in this version looked far too old to be playing a teenager for much of the series. She acted very silly and young, as per the role, but did not suit completely. But not enough to take away from the overall production.
The hairstyles of the men are jarring at times, rather bad wigs, lol.
Anthony Hopkins is amazing, It is startling to see certain gestures and motions that he retains forty years later.
Overall the acting, settings and costumes are realistic and well-done. I love the role of Count Rostov in this version, he was a charming actor.
As always, it is difficult to hear of the suffering of the Russian soldiers. The contrast between the immaculate uniforms and lack of food and supplies was ludicrous, if represented at all accurately.
All Passion Spent (1986)
Loved this series...
I was so invested in the old lady's happiness in her new home and so hoped some of her horrible children would not ruin it for her. They sure tried hard enough. Some of them acted as though she was not even a person. How horrid they were and how greedy. Only the single daughter Edith and Kane(?) were not greedy.
I was relieved that she had some happiness in her new house and made the friends she did.
Bless her heart. I loved seeing Edith's little smile when the family learned she was giving the money away. Oh how greedy those others were.
I found the series on Youtube and throughly enjoyed it.
Anna Karenina (2000)
I love this version...the best of them all
I loved the casting from the roles of Anna, Vronsky, Karenin (Stephen Dillane who was so good in the Cazalets) Dolly (loved her in the Forsyte Saga) Levin who was charming, Kitty was just right, even Stivo. Anna actually looked like she could be the mother of an eight- year old, unlike Kiera Knightley in the (my opinion) terribly miscast version last year. This version runs very close to the book and is filmed in a very realistic manner, not so glossy and perfect-looking, again like last year's version. I think it is a gem and only came across it by chance, as I was re-reading the book this weekend and browsed Youtube to take a break and came across it.
I am just so pleased that I discovered it and watched it all in one sitting. When Masterpiece gets it right, they really do a great job.
Edward the Seventh (1975)
I love this series
But I am obsessed with the Victorian and Edwardian monarchies. Most of the acting was excellent, although I have to say, most of the portrayals of Victoria's daughters were extra flattering, physically. They even had Vicki as slim as a girl with Willie full-grown, when in fact she had assumed a rather massive size at a rather young age, just like her mother. Victoria too appeared far slimmer than she actually became at a much younger age.
I thought the actor playing Bertie was especially good. As well of course the role of the Queen. I think Willie was portrayed as a little more lucid than he actually was. Alex was well portrayed and was indeed fierce and fiery on the subject of Prussia, nearly causing international crises more than once.
Such a shame how Victoria put Bertie in such an untenable position for decades. What a crazy old bat she turned out to be, no matter if she retained some wisdom.
It is so sad in retrospect to see now blind they all were to the dangers of Germany for so long. Sometimes, when I am feeling especially cruel, I almost wish Victoria had lived to see what horrors her beloved Willie wrought.
Overall from everything I have read, this series is very true to actual events and attitudes.
Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)
I found this a delightful film in many ways...
Kind of surprised at the low overall rating by reviewers. I am pretty attuned to the FDR story and the visit by the King and Queen. I know they were well-received by the US, despite some of the connotations shown here. The acting by Bill M. as well as some of the others were fantastic. Not crazy about Laura L . In this role. She generally plays such strong women and would have made a wonderful Eleanor. But maybe she wanted the challenge. But Daisy was way too passive.
King George was a kind man, far kinder than his father George V. And not as narrow- minded. Queen Elizabeth was extremely popular, even if she became something of a hanger later, living to over 100 and just never wanting to give up her spotlight. But they were the first royals to love and enjoy their children in a somewhat normal fashion. They certainly had a more "normal" marriage and family life than did FDR and Eleanor.
Overall I really enjoyed this film, it was beautifully filmed, well-acted and only suffered in spots from the script.
The Cazalets (2001)
Enjoyable adaptation of the books
I love the books and this adaptation is fairly accurate although it ends way too soon. Some of the characters are just as I pictured them. A few annoyed me, especially the characters of Sybil and Rachel, both such martyrs. Also, the role of Diana, as in the book she seemed much softer and kind of helpless, not the way she was presented here. But that is mostly a quibble against the book. Mostly it is an engaging story of an upper class family before and during WWII. (Rupert is a bit wimpy too.)
I wish they had not ended it the way they did, as the final book tied up many loose ends.
That Forsyte Woman (1949)
Horrible casting, poor adaptation
I never liked it when Hollywood tried to adapt huge novels in little films. It does not work here. And the casting is atrocious. Greer Garsom already seems matronly, and does not work as Irini. Errol Flynn as Soames is all wrong. He is too charming a character to pull off the necessary awfulness of Soames. None of the main characters worked for me and the plot was shoved into a two hour film, leaving out too much. The worst casting of all was Robert Young as Bossiny. Impossible to imagine anyone throwing away their life and world for him, no matter how dreadful their husband may be.
Of course this was made during the dreadful,days of the infamous code, so it captured almost none of the true relationships between various characters as outlined in the book.
The two later adaptations, made correctly as miniseries, are so much better, this film fails entirely in comparison.
Pride and Prejudice (1940)
Okay if you do not expect a faithful adaptation
The costumes are so ridiculous, compared to the pretty, simples dresses and jackets generally worn in the country in the early 19th century. Not an empire waist or low bodice in sight.
Greer Garson looks far too old for the role of Lizzie Bennett. MGM was never big on realism, and they do not bother with it here, veering from a classic novel and using their stars, whether they suit the roles or not. GG looks like she could be the mother of some of the younger sisters. . This film was made during the infamous production code, so any remotely interesting remark or scenario from the book have, of course, been left out.
You really have to toss the book out of,your mind and pretend you are watching a historical romance rather than a Jane Austen novel come to life.