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Fortunes of War 

Guy Pringle and his new wife, Harriet, are members of the English community in Bucharest, Rumania on the eve of World War II. After the war begins, they cross paths with diplomats, literary... See full summary »
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1  
1987  
3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Emma Thompson ...  Harriet Pringle 7 episodes, 1987
Kenneth Branagh ...  Guy Pringle 7 episodes, 1987
Charles Kay ...  Dobson 7 episodes, 1987
Mark Drewry Mark Drewry ...  Dubedat 5 episodes, 1987
Ronald Pickup ...  Prince Yakimov 4 episodes, 1987
Alan Bennett ...  Lord Pinkrose 4 episodes, 1987
Harry Burton Harry Burton ...  Sasha Drucker 4 episodes, 1987
Rupert Graves ...  Simon Boulderstone 3 episodes, 1987
James Villiers James Villiers ...  Inchcape 3 episodes, 1987
Robert Stephens ...  Castlebar 3 episodes, 1987
Ciaran Madden ...  Angela Hooper 3 episodes, 1987
Desmond McNamara Desmond McNamara ...  Galpin 3 episodes, 1987
Richard Clifford ...  Lawson / ... 3 episodes, 1987
Diana Hardcastle ...  Edwina Little 3 episodes, 1987
Christopher Strauli ...  Toby Lush 3 episodes, 1987
Greg Hicks ...  Aidan Pratt 3 episodes, 1987
Elena Secota ...  Sophie Oresanu 3 episodes, 1987
Magdalena Buznea Magdalena Buznea ...  Despina 3 episodes, 1987
Caroline Langrishe ...  Bella Niculesco 3 episodes, 1987
Vernon Dobtcheff ...  Hadjimoscos / ... 3 episodes, 1987
Mischa De La Motte Mischa De La Motte ...  Horvath 3 episodes, 1987
Nicholas Amer ...  Palu 3 episodes, 1987
Sam Dastor Sam Dastor ...  Dr. Shafik 2 episodes, 1987
Clifford Rose ...  Professor Gracey 2 episodes, 1987
Patricia Quinn ...  Mona Castlebar 2 episodes, 1987
Glyn Grain Glyn Grain ...  Foxy Leverett 2 episodes, 1987
Claire Oberman Claire Oberman ...  Mortimer 2 episodes, 1987
Anthony Calf ...  Corporal Arnold 2 episodes, 1987
Esmond Knight ...  Liversage 2 episodes, 1987
Erin Donovan ...  Phil 2 episodes, 1987
Vladimir Mirodan Vladimir Mirodan ...  Nikko Niculesco 2 episodes, 1987
Jeremy Sinden Jeremy Sinden ...  Lord Lisdoonvarna 2 episodes, 1987
Relja Basic Relja Basic ...  Emmanuel Drucker 2 episodes, 1987
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Storyline

Guy Pringle and his new wife, Harriet, are members of the English community in Bucharest, Rumania on the eve of World War II. After the war begins, they cross paths with diplomats, literary types, spies, penniless royals, gays and lesbians as they flee before the advancing Germany armies to Athens and then to Cairo. Written by Noble Bell <nbell@cc.memphis.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 October 1987 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Koleje wojny See more »

Filming Locations:

Alexandria, Egypt See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(7 parts)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Emma Thompson had to wear several wigs throughout filming because her hair just wasn't right for the role of Harriet Pringle. Director James Cellan Jones described her hairstyle at the time as "monstrous." See more »

Quotes

Toby Lush: Guy, you know what Harriet reminds me of? Those lines of Tennyson; "She walks in beauty like the night, Of cloudless climes and starry skies."
Guy Pringle: Byron.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Timeshift: Alan Plater: Hearing the Music (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Bit of a Disappointment
16 October 2005 | by citizenbetaSee all my reviews

A big novel's length is always a challenge to a film adaptation of the work. When six novels are involved, as is the case here (from Olivia Manning's The Balkan Trilogy and The Levant Trilogy), the task of adapting the work means most of it gets left behind. How to produce a script that retains some of the novel's uniqueness and flavor but is still coherent to viewers unfamiliar with the novel? Various solutions come to mind. For example, Volker Schlöndorff wisely bit off only the first third of Günter Grass's masterpiece, The Tin Drum, and created a film that at times exceeds its source material in power and impact. And against all odds, the young Ray Bradbury managed to extract key scenes and language from Moby Dick to come up with a script which, when coupled with a decent director (John Huston) and good casting choices (I'm thinking here of Orson Welles as Father Mapple), made a pretty decent movie.

Sadly, with Fortunes of War, casting works against the film. Where Guy Pringle is a big bear of a man in the novels, Branagh's sensitive Guy just isn't the same character. And where Harriet Pringle is a small and at times frail woman in the novels, Thompson's Harriet is, well, Emma Thompson. This is not a small matter. The novels' point of view is that of Harriet and what we get there is a detailed, personal, even intimate view of the Pringles' marriage. If you read these novels all in a rush, you almost become Harriet Pringle for a time, immersed in the details of her marriage, seeing the world through her eyes. There's a toughness to Harriet, but also vulnerability, something that Guy often misses as he plunges into one project after another. Little of this comes through in the film.

Of course something will get lost in the translation from the literary to the filmic – this is a challenge all film adaptations have to face. But in this film, the mismatch of the lead actors and the characters they play is simply too much to overcome.


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