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Love for Lydia
Love for Lydia
Actors: Mel Martin, Christopher Blake, Beatrix Lehmann, Ralph Arliss, Peter Davison
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
NR     2003     10hr 50min

Love for Lydia is almost inexplicably engrossing. The central character, Edward Richardson (Christopher Blake), is a young, would-be writer whose emotional immaturity and lack of worldly experience in the Roaring Twenties ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Mel Martin, Christopher Blake, Beatrix Lehmann, Ralph Arliss, Peter Davison
Creators: Jeff Shepherd, Tony Maynard
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Period Piece, Drama, All Made-for-TV Movies
Studio: Acorn Media
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 09/09/2003
Original Release Date: 09/23/1979
Theatrical Release Date: 09/23/1979
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 10hr 50min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaDVD Credits: 4
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Slowly developing but worth the watching
F. Behrens | Keene, NH USA | 09/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"From September 23 to December 9 in 1979, watchers of Masterpiece Theatre were all excited over a dramatization of H.E. Bates' jazz-age novel, "Love for Lydia." The title character, played flawlessly by Mel Martin, was an utterly self-centered young girl, who was brought to live with two aged aunts (Rachel Kempson and Beatrix Lehmann) and their parasitic brother (a great characterization by Michael Aldridge). She wanted only to have men cater to her every whim ("I will hate you if you don't") and enjoy herself to the fullest. For several evenings, I have been watching the DVD release of this 13-part series, now available from Acorn Media in a boxed set of 4 discs (AMP-8648) with a running time of 650 minutes. So vivid were the characters that my wife and I fell into a disagreement as to how likable several of them were. (I voted that some man would have done her a favor by telling her to get stuffed--as one of them finally does but too politely; my spouse thought she was a very sad character who deserved pity.) Such was the quality of the acting. There is little plot but a good deal of character interaction. A would-be writer Edward Richardson (played by Christopher Blake) is a sullen creature, always misunderstanding motives, is jealously in love with Lydia and cannot see how much he is loved by the farm girl Nancy (Sherrie Hewson, looking very much like Shelley Winters in "A Place in the Sun"). Her brother Tom (Peter Davison) and Richardson's best friend Alex (Jeremy Irons) are drawn to Lydia, as is the seemingly anti-social but actually terribly shy taxi-driver Blackie (Ralph Arliss). Her enjoyment of being vied for leads to the death of one of them, possibly another by indirection, and her own bout with near death towards the end. Mel Martin was quoted as saying, "She was an innocent, untutored in the ways of the world [and] behaved instinctively." I have yet to read the book to see how closely it follows the novel, but the scriptwriter, Julian Bond, pointed out that given 13 episodes, he had 50 minutes to devote to every 17 pages of the original. (In the Penguin paperback, the novel runs 301 pages, making that 23 pages per episode.) So there is lots of time for lingering on the English countryside, the 1920s dresses, the dances and music, and most of all the complex characters. Grab this one as soon as you can and hold "Lydia" parties to see and discuss it all with your friends."
WIll You Hate Her?
Dianne Foster | 01/28/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Well I have mixed feelings about this Masterpiece Theater Production. I'm not sure I would want own it to watch over and over, once may be enough, but it was thoroughly well made, it never occured to me this was a 1970ish film. The acting was top of the line, costumes and sets were certainly well done and not cheap. But as to the story, I am a person who likes to like the people in the movie. Like would be way too strong a word for these charcters, there were only redeeming moments, in fact the characters are so human they are downright disgusting at times. Lydia whom everyone loves, you find is selfish unkind, manipulative, but beautiful and rich so why does everyone love her anyway? Your typical mean girl who's so pretty she can get away with it. But I won't give the story away, it exlores this wickedly selfish manipulator of men in the 1920's and how it eventually ruins not only them but her. It is sad, not your feel good story, but it is about love true and painful and about character more then plot although there is some huge tense explosions of that here and there in the end that shock and sadden. So I have mixed feelings, you don't like the main people too awfully much but they are interesting to watch just when you hope they'll be nice. There are a few genuinely kind few like Tom and Nancy, not main characters but they balence it out. And Alex played by Jeremy Irons is intrigueing and not so bad as a faithful friend.We watched these Lydia epiosodes every night until the end, you want to know what will happen, it does hook you, and you invest yourself in the characters, wondering where their lives will take them. But it is a tragedy of sorts. I will say the acting in this film was superb and outstanding by all, not one left you wanting.Recommended: The House of Elliot a feel good series set in 1920's starring two strong female leads, and Poldark more tragic if you like that. Both are period pieces."
True love....
Dianne Foster | USA | 01/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"LOVE FOR LYDIA, written by H.E. Bates (Darling Buds of May, My Uncle Silas) is 650 minutes of one of the best BBC/Masterpiece Theater presentations I've seen. The quality of the DVD transfer is B- but the story is so compelling, the photography so beautiful, and life in rural England in the late 1920's and early 1930's is so lovingly depicted that you will probably not care.LYDIA is a love story, but it is also a complex psychological drama with fabulous character development. The six main characters and several secondary characters (played by stellar actors) exhibit all the strengths and weaknesses known to humans-especially envy and jealousy and undying friendship. The plot is deceptively simple - boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl. However, you won't know the outcome until the last five minutes of the DVD as several boys meet several girls and everything is in a muddle most of the time. "You will be difficult" Lydia says to Richardson on more than one occasion-an understatement of the facts.The protagonist Edward Richardson (Christopher Blake), called Richardson by his friend Tom (Peter Davidson) and best pal Alex Sanderson (Jeremy Irons) becomes a mature man and a published writer by the end of the tale. Lydia Aspen (Mel Martin)-the object of Richardson's affection-has been characterized as a "charming young girl" and a "self-centered flapper" in some of the `blurbs' advertising the DVD, but Lydia is far more complex than either of these labels indicates. Lydia is a privileged young woman to be sure (heiress to the manor born) but she exhibits concern and caring for others on many occasions. During the course of the tale she changes from a shy teenager into a mature young woman. At one point following a devastating death she "parties" far too much for her own good, but this period receives very little screen time (the repercussions of her drinking receive more time). Let me put it this way, if you are a Jane Austin fan and love all the twists and turns and near misses of Austin's lovers and think premarital sex is okay (tastefully done by the BBC of course) you will probably be a fan of LYDIA."
Love for Lydia
Roger G. Perkins | 12/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"We have not purchased the DVD yet, but have been looking for it for several years. We saw the original mini-series in England and it seems to have left a lasting impression on all five of our now grown children. It is something that they all talk about when we gather as a family. We hope to surprise all of them this Chrismas with this wonderful DVD. We know it is good and can't wait to watch it again."