Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Special Interests, Television
This HBO Films drama tells the true story of the British Lord Frank Aungier Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford, and his controversial, colorful, headline-making friendship with one of Britain's most notorious criminals, child ... more »
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Steven H. (sehamilton) from BIRMINGHAM, AL
Reviewed on 7/11/2009...
I was genuinely surprised at how excellent this film is. Broadbent and Morton are superb in their performances. For people of faith, the underlying text of forgiveness and acceptance is both challenging and uplifting. Real-life murderer Hindley is not a likable character, but that only makes Longford's commitment to assist her all the more breathtaking. I highly recommend this film. Along with this one, you'll want to watch See No Evil: The Story of the Moors Murders. Although not nearly as good as Longford, it nevertheless tells the story preceding the latter.
A Bravura Broadbent Portrayal
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 03/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Myra Hindley/Ian Brady `Saddleworth Moors murders' of 1963 to 1965, one of the most heinous crime series in England since Jack the Ripper, has been beautifully transcribed to the screen by writer Peter Morgan and Director Tom Hooper. And though the story is basically about Longford's relationship with the incarcerated Myra Hindley, the film paints a rather complete portrait of a strange man who vacillated during his lifetime among religious beliefs and spoke out strongly for the rights of prisoners and 'unfortunates' who fall out of line with the law all the while riling against pornography and other vices.
Jim Broadbent creates a wholly credible Lord Longford in this amazing performance. Transformed physically to resemble Longford's bizarre appearance, Broadbent manages to convey the spectrum of trust, self-doubt, pity, outrage, compassion and blind religious belief in a manner few actors could match. The remainder of the cast is equally excellent: Samantha Morton finds every nook and cranny of the enigmatic murderess Myra while Andy Serkis gives a chilling depiction of Ian Brady, her accomplice who knew how to manipulate the government and people as well as the infamously wily Myra.
The story is in many ways grounded by the strong forces of Lady Longford (beautifully realized by Lindsay Duncan) and the Lady Tree of Sarah Crowden and Harold Wilson of Robert Pugh. Hooper knows how to magnify the class differences between the gentry and the working class and his choices of locations and pacing of confrontations both in the prison and in the home and in the court are spot on.
This is one of those films for television that teaches us what really fine films can still be. It is a tremendously moving piece of work and Jim Broadbent will long be remember for this classic role. Highly recommended for repeated viewing. Grady Harp, March 07
The Aristocrat And The Child Killer--"Longford" Showcases A
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 03/11/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, writer Peter Morgan is certainly having a banner year. Having written screenplays that helped win Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker Oscars (for "The Queen" and "The Last King of Scotland" respectively), he has also penned "Longford." "Longford," first broadcast in the US on HBO, will almost certainly create Emmy buzz for its star, Jim Broadbent, come the end of the TV season. So as you might expect from his previous works, then, Morgan's "Longford" is a literate character study based on real events. The infamous "Moors Murders," a series of child killings that plagued England in the mid-sixties, was the basis for sending Myra Hindley and her paramour to prison. Hindley, played by Samantha Morton, was reviled by the populace--but when she contacted an elderly aristocrat named Lord Longford to visit her, he did. Longford (Broadbent) was an activist for prisoner's rights and sought to reform and redeem the less fortunate. Forming an unlikely, and unpopular, friendship with Hindley--Longford soon becomes a chief advocate in helping her seek parole. The film creates a noteworthy psychological interplay between the two, and demonstrates Longford's commitments to his ideals--even in challenging ethical situations.
I felt, throughout the production, that I was supposed to be drawing relevant parallels to the modern world. But I was never able to take "Longford" at anything other than face value. It's an interesting portrait of a man who championed unlikely causes. It's a look at a bit of British history that is distinguished by one notable individual who stood up for his principles when it was not in fashion to do so. Ultimately, Longford's naivete and guilelessness coexist with his well-meaning nature--and that is his undoing. The film paints a vivd portrait as Longford's credibility suffers through the years and a respected advocate turns into a relic of days gone by. Certainly the film comments on reform and conversion, on the penal system, on sexism, on the nature of criminality, on the corruption of innocence--but these observations aren't particularly revelatory. But, even at face value, this bittersweet character study is worth a look--if for no other reason then for the performances of everyone involved.
Broadbent, as always, delivers. Those who had the pleasure of viewing BBC's "The Street" will note a few similarities between the two Broadbent roles. He seems, late in life, to be embracing idealistic characters that must confront the realities of a modern world. Morton is fascinating as the enigmatic Myra Hindley. Intelligent and well-spoken, she is believable both as a victim and as a murderer. Andy Serkis, as her partner in crime, is just convincing enough to undermine Hindley's claims of redemption--which adds a level of complexity to the proceedings. And Lindsay Duncan is understated and compelling as Longford's saintly wife. All in all, the performances bring this small character piece to life.
As I've said, I appreciated "Longford" for its depiction of an interesting case in British criminality. The larger issue of forgiveness, and who is worthy of it, is a central theme within the film. But while Longford is an admirable character, his notion of forgiveness and his portrait, in general, are of an antiquated naivete that just don't translate to how I view modern circumstances. So while I enjoyed the story of "Longford," it didn't leave me with a "meaningfulness" that I believe was intended. But perhaps I'm just jaded. Still, check it out for nice performances and interesting characters. KGHarris, 03/07."
Darkness and Light
George H. Watson | Sokane, WA United States | 03/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At the beginning of the 20th Century, Progress was the idea that could
not be denied. The material and psychological troubles that had plagued
humankind since the dawn of time were now to be vanquished for good
and those odd medieval ideas about good/evil and the immortality of the
soul were soon to be tossed upon the dustbin of history like so many other
artifacts of the past.
Lord Longford was a man of old fashioned ideas and beliefs.
His conversion to Catholicism lead him to take the teachings of
Christ with absolute sincerity. One of his religious duties, he felt,
was to visit prisoners. This is how he came to meet Myra Hindley.
Ian Brady and Myra Hindley should have been hung for the crimes
they committed between 1962 and 1965. Fortunately or unfortunately
for them - Capital Punishment had been brought to and end shortly
after had been arrested for the Moor Murders. Ian and Myra had
enticed/forced at least 5 children from the Manchester area into their rented car and either taken them back to their apartment or directly
to the Moors - where they tortured the children and killed them -
either way burying their bodies in the Moors.
At their Trial, Ian claimed that he was the actual murderer and that
Myra had ony helped him entice the children into his hands.
Lord Longford meets Myra and comes to believe that she does not deserve
to spend the rest of her life in prison. Myra, evidently, accepts Christ
into her life and Longford is lead to believe that she has truly
repented of all her crimes and should be given a parole date.
As later events unfold, Longford comes to realise that he, for all his
good heartedness, is only human and even his best intentions can deeply
hurt those who have already suffered enough through the loss of their
children. We are left wondering why abject evil flows through the veins
of some to the degree that they do terrible things and why others seek
only to help in the redemption of such apparently lost souls.
More background on Ian and Myra would have helped the film.
Beautifully written, filmed and acted."