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Madame Bovary - The Complete Miniseries
Madame Bovary - The Complete Miniseries
Actors: Francesca Annis, Tom Conti, Gabrielle Lloyd, Ray Smith, Brian Stirner
Genres: Drama, Television
NR     2003     3hr 20min

Would you risk everything to achieve your dreams? For beautiful young Emma Bovary, a life of passion and excitement is worth any price. Like a moth drawn to flame, she is entranced by the exotic worlds of romance and adven...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Francesca Annis, Tom Conti, Gabrielle Lloyd, Ray Smith, Brian Stirner
Genres: Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Love & Romance, Miniseries
Studio: wea
Format: DVD - Color - Miniseries
DVD Release Date: 09/30/2003
Original Release Date: 10/10/1976
Theatrical Release Date: 10/10/1976
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 3hr 20min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Definitive Bovary
LUC | UK | 02/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This adaptation of Gustave Flaubert's sublime masterpiece 'Madame Bovary' is excellent. Presented as four fifty-minute episodes by BBC TV in 1975, it explores the entire novel in huge detail and is much better than the recent adaptation starring Frances O'Conor (although that was still good).

The exquisite Francesca Annis is perfectly cast as Emma, Flaubert's heroine/anti-herione. If, like me, you admire her in this, I would highly reccommend 'Lillie', an outstanding dramatisation of the life of Lillie Langtry with Annis in the title role - in my opinion, she is even better in that.

Despite Annis' great performance, I have to say it is Tom Conti who steals the show as Emma's long-suffering husband Charles. The rest of the cast is very good too, particularly Denis Lill, John Cater and David Waller.

A truly wonderful, flawless production - one to keep beside 'Anna Karenina' (BBC TV 1977), 'The First Churchills' (BBC TV 1969) and 'Pennies From Heaven' (BBC TV 1978).

P.S. I would very much like to see the earlier sixties' adaptation by BBC TV, starring Nyree Dawn Porter - hopefully that will soon become available, but I doubt it could possibly be as good as this one."
Good performance by Francesca Annis
z hayes | TX | 06/25/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This dvd does seem quite outdated, but then again, it is an old mini series. However, the excellent performance by the cast makes it worth watching. Francesca Annis does a great job of portraying the tormented Madame Bovary, who despite her humble beginnings, constantly craves for more passion, and the finer things in life, which her husband is unable to provide. The dramatisation is well-done, and the series on the whole is watchable."
Not exactly likable, but SO well done!
J. Kara Russell | Hollywood - the cinderblock Industrial cubicle | 12/11/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is one of the better historical dramas from the 1970s. Many are stagey and slow, and while this production of MADAME BOVARY is very much constrained to stay indoors, this works to advantage for this story of a woman who feels so trapped by her life and her world.

Emma Bovary is not a very sympathetic creature. She is married to a man who loves her with all his heart, who tries to give her everything she wants, is willing to ruin himself to make her happy, and she still cheats on him and remains miserable. In short, she is selfish and inconsiderate, as ugly inside as she is pretty on the outside.

Francesca Annis plays Emma. She is indeed very beautiful. As an actress she often comes across as bright and hard, flirty and flighty, but cold and self satisfied. These qualities, of course, are perfect for this character. Here she seems to be more in love with the idea of being in love than actually loving. Almost anything to break up the dismal tedium of her life and her disgust with everyone and everything in it.

It is very hard for a modern audience to feel sorry for her. Her daily trial does not include housework or drudgery, she has maids for that. She is bored because she is useless, she is useless because she is too lazy to seek something meaningful to do; she wants life to be a party, and resents it when it is not.

Tom Conti plays her devoted husband, who is completely devoid of ambition, in work or society. As an actor, Conti often seems to have just woken from a nap, and this dampness is just right for Dr. Bovary. He too is very lazy in his way, but his seems to stem from ignorance. When contrasted with Emma's willfulness, her husband seems the infinitely better of the two. Conti is really fine here as a man completely out of his depth with this racehorse of a wife.

In much the same way, while Annis is briskly carrying every scene, Conti just quietly steals every one of them. A perfect pairing for these roles.

All the actors here are top notch, and the casting a bit off beat, which adds to the interest. The costumes, especially Emmas, are a luxurious parade of overindulgence. Absolutely beautiful. While we as an audience enjoy the parade of finery, we can also see how this wardrobe would drive even the richest man into the poorhouse. The production is topped off with a novel and lovely score of predominantly piano compositions; pretty and liltling, but melancholy and dissonant.

Don't let this one get lost in the shuffle, it is worth seeing.

Another in a series of lovely BBC productions
J. C Clark | Overland Park, KS United States | 05/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As I have written elsewhere, back in the early 70s the BBC made a number of adaptations that were truly masterpieces in the own right. Well written, languid, with brilliant acting, these small budget productions did everything right without any of the splash and grandeur that later, and often lesser, BBC films have had.

I read the book but a couple of years before this film was released, and I remember watching in amazement as my view of the novel was realized perfectly. Seeing it again after 30+ years only affirms my memories. This is an excellent adaptation of a brilliant novel, the train wreck of Emma's life slowly but inexorably building. And with the wonderful, and important, sub-plot of science vs religion beautifully explored, this does it all.

Nearly every character is exquisite, with lovely small players who are vivid and intriguing, and Tom Conti utterly mesmerizing as the simple, kind doctor. The stutters, the hesitations, the self-deprecations, the pain and confusion of one of literature's most compelling mediocre men were vivid and touching. And Francesca Annis captures the foolish flightiness of Emma without making her an utter numbskull (though she is very close to one!) You could not ask for more. No feminist propaganda piece, which I think many readers see it as, poor silly Emma repeatedly acts without thinking until her world collapses, and even then cannot act intelligently.

Here again, the stuff that costs money, such as sets and costumes and exterior shots, are skimpy. And shown to be superfluous. The things that matter, good acting, fine writing, and a compelling tale, are executed perfectly. An absolute keeper."