6.8/10
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9 user 1 critic

The Portrait of a Lady 

A young American woman contracts a disastrous marriage in 19th century Italy.
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1  
1968  
1 win. See more awards »

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Independent New Yorker, Isabel Archer, travels to London in the late 19th century. She inherits an unexpected fortune and becomes prey to a pair of scheming American ex-pats. Based on the novel by Henry James.

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Richard Chamberlain ...  Ralph Touchett 6 episodes, 1968
Suzanne Neve ...  Isabel Archer / ... 6 episodes, 1968
Sarah Brackett ...  Henrietta Stackpole 6 episodes, 1968
Beatrix Lehmann ...  Mrs. Lydia Touchett 5 episodes, 1968
Rachel Gurney ...  Madame Merle 4 episodes, 1968
James Maxwell ...  Gilbert Osmond 4 episodes, 1968
Kathleen Byron ...  Countess Gemini 4 episodes, 1968
Ed Bishop ...  Caspar Goodwood 4 episodes, 1968
Edward Fox ...  Lord Warburton 4 episodes, 1968
Sharon Gurney ...  Pansy 4 episodes, 1968
Angus MacKay Angus MacKay ...  Mr. Bantling 3 episodes, 1968
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Storyline

A young American woman contracts a disastrous marriage in 19th century Italy.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 January 1968 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Egy hölgy arcképe See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(6 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Madame Merle and Pansy are played by real-life mother and daughter, Rachel Gurney and Sharon Gurney. See more »

Connections

Version of The Portrait of a Lady (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A hard grind
20 July 2000 | by RosabelSee all my reviews

It is interesting to watch this series, one of the first British dramatizations of a classic novel, to see how far and how fast the method of filmmaking developed in subsequent years. In comparison with the great work the BBC was doing 10 or even 5 years later, "Portrait of a Lady" definitely seems like it comes out of the stone age of TV drama. There is something very stiff and stilted about this dramatization, though I suspect it is reasonably faithful to the book. First of all, the length is very gruelling; it's been some years since I watched it, but I seem to recall it being about 4 or 5 hours long. In a piece of such length, one suddenly notices the lack of artistry in the film work - most of the scenes are shot with a stationary camera, sort of middle distance, with very little in the way of closeups or angle changes. It is, for all the world, just like watching a stage play on TV, and I suspect that at this early stage, that is precisely how British television approached classic literature. Most of the story takes place indoors, which is rather a relief, as the occasional exterior scene tossed in looks embarrassingly fake.

The acting is good, and it's delightful to see Edward Fox in this series, so young and handsome, but the pacing is glacial. By the time I'd gotten about two-thirds of the way through this series, I realized that the characters were just going to talk and talk, and were never going to DO anything at all. Friends of mine who have read a lot of Henry James assure me that that is exactly what his novels are like, so perhaps the series gets points for fidelity to its origin, but it just doesn't make for very interesting TV.


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