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The Way We Live Now 

At the center of the story is Augustus Melmotte, a European-born city financier, whose origins are as mysterious as his business dealings. Trollope describes him as 'something in the city',... See full summary »
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Cast

Series cast summary:
David Suchet ...  Augustus Melmotte 4 episodes, 2001
Matthew Macfadyen ...  Sir Felix Carbury 4 episodes, 2001
Cillian Murphy ...  Paul Montague 4 episodes, 2001
Paloma Baeza ...  Hetta Carbury 4 episodes, 2001
Cheryl Campbell ...  Lady Carbury 4 episodes, 2001
Richard Cant ...  Dolly Longestaffe 4 episodes, 2001
Shirley Henderson ...  Marie Melmotte 4 episodes, 2001
Tom Fahy Tom Fahy ...  Butler - Grosvenor Square 4 episodes, 2001
Allan Corduner ...  Croll 4 episodes, 2001
Angus Wright ...  Miles Grendall 4 episodes, 2001
Miranda Otto ...  Mrs. Hurtle 4 episodes, 2001
Stuart McQuarrie ...  Lord Nidderdale 4 episodes, 2001
Tony Britton Tony Britton ...  Lord Alfred Grendall 4 episodes, 2001
Oliver Ford Davies ...  Mr. Longestaffe 4 episodes, 2001
Helen Schlesinger Helen Schlesinger ...  Madame Melmotte 4 episodes, 2001
Douglas Hodge ...  Roger Carbury 4 episodes, 2001
Maxine Peake ...  Ruby Ruggles 4 episodes, 2001
Graham Crowden ...  Marquis of Auld Reekie 4 episodes, 2001
Anne-Marie Duff ...  Georgiana Longestaffe 4 episodes, 2001
David Bradley ...  Mr. Broune 4 episodes, 2001
Sarah Niven Sarah Niven ...  Simpson 3 episodes, 2001
Rob Brydon ...  Mr. Alf 3 episodes, 2001
Jon Rumney ...  Herr Vossner 3 episodes, 2001
Nicholas McGaughey Nicholas McGaughey ...  John Crumb 3 episodes, 2001
Michele Dotrice ...  Mrs. Pipkin 3 episodes, 2001
Jim Carter ...  Mr. Brehgert 3 episodes, 2001
Michael Riley ...  Hamilton K. Fisker 3 episodes, 2001
Lilo Baur Lilo Baur ...  Didon 2 episodes, 2001
Tony Pritchard Tony Pritchard ...  Mr. Wakeham 2 episodes, 2001
Joanna David ...  Lady Pomona Longestaffe 2 episodes, 2001
Fenella Woolgar ...  Lady Julia Monogram 2 episodes, 2001
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Storyline

At the center of the story is Augustus Melmotte, a European-born city financier, whose origins are as mysterious as his business dealings. Trollope describes him as 'something in the city', but the "something" part is not always clear. Within weeks of arriving in London, he announces a new company and promises instant fortune to those who join him in this scheme. Melmotte is surrounded by a circle of decadent aristos, scheming widows and nouveau riche businessmen, all trying to get a piece of the financial pie. His disobedient daughter, Marie, is played by Shirley Henderson, while Cheryl Campbell, Matthew Macfadyen and Paloma Baeza bring to life the aristocratic but impoverished Carbury family. Written by <l_wuisan@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

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Details

Official Sites:

PBS [United States]

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 November 2001 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Way We Live Now See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Mrs. Hurtle tells us the action takes place in 1870. In that year Salt Lake City was a closed community of about 12,000, unlikely to be the terminus of an international railway. Likewise, Paul lists Los Angeles as one of the places where the railroad company is being capitalized. Los Angeles then was a lawless town of about 4500, not the sort of place where a major investment project is likely to be underwritten. See more »

Quotes

Sir Felix Carbury: I may not be possessed of great wealth or property, but I am a baronet and a gentleman.
Augustus Melmotte: And I'm not, you imply.
Sir Felix Carbury: No! No, that's not what I meant at all!
Augustus Melmotte: I think we understand each other very well. You're to provide the rank and position and I am to provide the money. That's the bargain. I buy my daughter a place in society by paying you to marry her.
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Connections

Featured in The Two Loves of Anthony Trollope (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

An engrossing adaption from the Eng Lit specialists
13 August 2002 | by Philby-3See all my reviews

Another fine Sunday night filler from Andrew Davies and the BBC. Based on one of Anthony Trollope's later and less well known novels, this six -part story (300 minutes) covers the short but spectacular career in London of Augustus Melmott, financial fraudster extraordinaire. Melmott is a Victorian Robert Maxwell (the bouncing Czech), a promoter of huge ambitious business ventures with a flamboyant style that proves irresisitable even to the hard-nosed. Like Maxwell, he has a seat in the House of Commons. Some of the hard-nosed have their suspicions but go along for the ride anyway no doubt hoping to get something for themselves along the way.

Trollope weaves the strands of the plot adroitly using the Carbury family as the central characters. Lady Carbury (Cheryl Campbell) is the widow of a baronet (minor aristocracy) and without the means to live in the appropriate style. Her son Felix (Matthew McFadyen) is a total waster, putting any money he gets on the card table, and losing it. Lady C is trying to palm her rather priggish daughter Hetta (Paloma Baeza) off onto her nephew Roger (Douglas Hogg), also a prig, who has inherited the family estates. Roger is interested but Hetta is not, as she fancies Paul Montague (Cillian Murphy), a railway engineer and friend of Roger's. Murphy works for Melmott's company (the board is stacked with peers and baronets, including Felix). The Central American railway is supposed to be building a railroad from the central west of the US to Mexico. The railroad route has been surveyed, but funnily enough construction keeps on being delayed even though enough money has been raised to at least start it. Where's the money Melmott? Some is syphoned into his daughter Marie's trust fund. Marie (Shirley Henderson) is courted by Felix, who is very interested in the money, though not so interested in Marie.

To say more would spoil the story. The casting is splendid, except for Cillian Murphy as Paul whose pretty-boy looks are more appropriate for a Romeo than some who has been a civil engineer for some years and spent a lot of that time in the merciless Mexican sun. As his American mistress Mrs Hurtle, Miranda Otto, otherwise a capable actress, can't do the Deep South accent. It would have been better to re-write the part for an Australian. If it's any consolation, Meryl Streep can't do an Australian accent either – it comes out as cockney, as we saw in 'Evil Angels'.

The star performance is without a doubt David Suchet's as Melmott. Though a small man, he dominates every scene he is in, with his deep loud voice and grand manner. Critics are silenced by a mixture of flattery, bluff and sometimes threat. In the finish we almost like him, despite the chaos he causes. It is truly the role David Suchet was born to play, one utterly different from his small fussy Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. Shirley Henderson as Marie also stands out in this company of very accomplished acting.

I haven't checked the novel, but there are one or two quite modern touches for which Trollope may have been responsible, such as Marie's (or was it Hetta's?) feminist speech towards the end. He may have got that from his mum, who had to support her family by novel-writing after her husband died, and did so quite successfully.

In the 1870s we had railways, in the 2000s we had dot coms. The vehicles change but we still have fear and greed as dominant players in the markets. The title 'The Way We Live Now' is just as apt today, as we see the Enron, Arthur Andersen, Worldcom crashes in the US, and HIH, FAI and One-tel in Australia. It is interesting that this 1875 novel, with no high literary pretensions, pulp fiction in fact, should be so relevant today. A engrossing film adaption from the Eng Lit specialists.


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