Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mapp Lucia Series 1|
Actors: Geraldine McEwen, Prunella Scales
Director: Donald McWhinnie
Genres: Comedy, Television
Miss Mapp dominates the social life of the late 1920s English village of Tilling-on-the-Sea until the arrival of Lucia. Genre: Television Rating: NR Release Date: 25-MAY-2004 Media Type: DVD
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Cattiness was never more genteel
Gwen Kramer | Sunny and not-so-sunny California | 12/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Just a word of warning for new M&L viewers: the comedy from this series depends on the extremely eccentric cast of characters rather than pratfalls and such. As a result, a whole episode can be a set up for one very funny puchline but there are a lot of subtle jabs in between. If this sounds good to you, read on!I have never read the book on which this series is based so I have no comment on how good the adaptation is. All I can say is I know good British humor when I see it.Lucia is an elegant, controlling, eccentric widow who moves into the small town of Tilling. The queen of Tilling is Mapp, a dowdy spinster who keeps control of the populace through manipulation. At first, all is sweetness between the ladies and then more and more venom creeps into their actions. Before long, it is a deliciously civilized social war.Other amusing characters include Georgie, Lucia's effeminate best friend/suitor; Quaint Irene, a zany modern artist who dresses like a boy; Diva, a silly woman who jumps sides depending on who is winning; the Wises, Mrs. Wise wears a fur coat in the middle of summer; and Major Benjy, Mapp's suitor, a military man who shouts in Hindi and is often drunk.I found the first tape in the set to be rather dull but things picked up near the end of the second tape and by the third, I was hooked. I suggest watching the whole set before making a judgement.One last note, I don't know who designed the costumes but they deserve an award of some sort. Each character is dressed perfectly for their personality.Any fans of the comedy/drama (dramedy?) will find these shows to be a delight. (If you can afford it, buy both sets at once, you will be hungry for more after this)"
One of the best British comedies ever
Bill | Seattle, Washington United States | 05/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a fan of the E.F. Benson books that form the basis for this series. The highlight of my trip to England a few years ago was visiting the charming town of Rye (called Tilling in the Lucia books), where Benson lived and this series was filmed. But I must say that I like the TV production, thanks to the inspired comic performances, even more than the books.
In particular, Geraldine McEwan (also in Barchester Chronicles) is exquisite. Her little comic mannerisms are absolutely hilarious, and she makes the character endearing in a way that I never thought possible. Again, "inspired" is the only appropriate word.
The same with the much-missed Nigel Hawthorne's Georgie. Absolutely perfect casting. And Prunella Scales (of Fawlty Towers fame) bites into her less-sympathetic role of Mapp and does not let go until she wrings every last laugh from it. As is particularly true for British series, the supporting cast is also excellent at bringing their own eccentric characters to life in just a few brushstrokes.
I was very much looking forward to the Mapp and Lucia DVD, because I had not seen this series since it was televised in the mid-1980s. I'm happy to say that the DVD quality is excellent, and my opinion of the series has only elevated through time. Many British comedies have come and gone in the years since Mapp and Lucia, but it remains the most delightful, in my book.
As other reviewers have mentioned, the series is highly addictive, so after enjoying this one you'll likely want to immediately buy the second series, also available on DVD."
In the high tradition of British comedy
F. Behrens | Keene, NH USA | 05/11/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"American sit-com actors should be forced to watch this series to see how highly trained actors can be funny without being cardboard and predictable. We all know people like Mapp and Lucia, although people like Georgie are a little harder to come by. Of course social pretensions are meat and potatoes to British satirists: "Keeping Up Appearances" being the best example. But keep your eye on the sheer brilliance of the techniques of this cast, right down to the smallest roles. The little town in which this takes place is inhabited by utterly believable beings and the things they do are equally believable. Well, perhaps floating out to sea on a kitchen table during a flood is an exception, but the reactions of the townsfolk are exactly what flawed mortals would display under similar circumstances. This set is a real right-on winner: what I have to call a Grabbit. (And yet I found some who find such sophisticated comedy not to their taste. Well, I never!) Note: the second series somehow does not quite live up to the standards set by this one but is still lightyears more stylish than anything on commercial primetime."
Some of the best, strangest, most inventive TV of the 1980s.
darragh o'donoghue | 04/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The, er, jewels in the crown of 1980s British costume drama are generally assumed to be 'The Jewel in the Crown' and 'Brideshead Revisited'. To these eyes, at least, the need of those serials to be scrupulously faithful to their highbrow literary sources resulted in programmes that were overlong and dramatically inert. For me, they are superceded by the likes of 'The Irish R.M.' and 'Mapp and Lucia'. Because these are based on so-called 'light' literature, the adapters feel freer to rework the material, to create more narratively coherent plots, to play with characters. 'Mapp and Lucia', from its glorious opening credit sequence, a diarama painting of our heroines and the coastal surroundings of Tilling, and that movingly nostalgic English waltz theme, is a beloved comic gem, an art-deco piece of period stylisation about the civilised 'war' between two dotty dames in the middle-class nouveau-rich society of a provincial backwater. There is no attempt at period realism; rather, director McWhinnie and writer Savory adopt the modes of contemporary musical comedy and comic theatre, emphasising the artificial sets, the insane costumes, the preposterous affectations, gestures and dialogue, with which a series of glorious marionettes go through their demented, hysterically funny motions. Because TV doesn't take the same interest in its past as cinema, the quality of the print is a little faded and grey; otherwise, make sure you watch this box-set early in the morning, because you will not be able to stop - it is more compulsive than the best suspense thrillers."