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Masterpiece Theatre: Frenchman's Creek
Masterpiece Theatre Frenchman's Creek
Actor: Tara Fitzgerald; Anthony Delon; Tim Dutton; James Fleet; Rupert Vansittart; Danny Webb; Richard Bonehill; Jeremy Child; Christian Cloarec; Constantine Gregory; Thierry Harcourt; Michael Jenn; Emma Niven; Patrick Romer; Anna Popplewell; Mika Simmons; Jack
Director: Ferdinand Fairfax
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
NR     2006     2hr 0min

In search of peace and solitude, wealthy Dona St. Columb retreats to her country estate in Cornwall and discovers the exact opposite. Tara Fitzgerald (The Woman in White) and Anthony Delon recreate classic romance in Daphn...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Tara Fitzgerald; Anthony Delon; Tim Dutton; James Fleet; Rupert Vansittart; Danny Webb; Richard Bonehill; Jeremy Child; Christian Cloarec; Constantine Gregory; Thierry Harcourt; Michael Jenn; Emma Niven; Patrick Romer; Anna Popplewell; Mika Simmons; Jack
Director: Ferdinand Fairfax
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Period Piece, Drama
Studio: WGBH Boston
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 06/27/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 2hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 15
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: Dutch, English, French

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Movie Reviews

Du Maurier's Characters, But Plot Driven by Religion
Diana F. Von Behren | Kenner, LA USA | 02/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Tara Fitzgerald makes a lovely Dona and Anthony Delon portrays the Frenchman pirate of the title, Jean Aubery, to perfection. In fact all the players were selected admirably: Rockingham is disturbingly sly and manipulative, William combines the right combination of sex appeal with devoted servitude and Harry exudes vulnerability and inner strength as Dona's husband. Just like Du Maurier intended them to be, fleshed out from the pages of her novel and set on the lonely wild coast of Cornwall.
My main objection to this film, if it can be called an objection, is that it fails to tell the story of the novel. Yes, the characters are not changed and the local is the same. What differs is the setting--this story is driven by the religious revolution of 1688--Catholic King James has fled to France as Protestant William of Orange marches in from the Netherlands. Lady Dona is a Catholic fleeing the eventual destruction of the court of which she is alligned. France has declared war on England at this crucial time and so the pirate is, in a sense doing his duty, rather than ravaging the English coast simply for his own amusement as he does in the novel. Navaronne, Lady Dona's estate is not the idyllic refuge of the book, it too has transformed into a battle ground where corpses litter the roads patrolled by befeathered Orangeman troops.
There are far too many differences in this film version to comment on individually, so instead I will say that it simply does not faithfully adhere to the story told in the novel. The adventure and romance remains, but even this is twisted to appeal to a more modern day audience. Most disturbing was the addition of tension between Dona and her young daughter which unfortunately weaves its way into the dinner scene at the film's climax. The producers most likely and sadly felt that the notion of a woman wanting to escape the life she thought at one time satisfying not meaningful enough for audiences who expect the Lifetime Channel's grander causes. There is none of the frivolity that makes Du Maurier's work a delightful escape albeit with a philosophical tone.
Despite its plot differences, the film still entertains. Lady Dona remains a free spirit encumbered by her station in life. As much as I enjoyed Anthony Devon's Jean,I would have liked to have seen what he would have brought to the man-without-a-cause depicted in the book. Whether this is how Du Maurier intended Frenchman's Creek to flow, the film provides an enjoyable two hours of entertainment."
Excellent pirate & romance swashbuckler!
randomartco | Greater Washington D.C. area | 05/08/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This movie is excellent: I bought the Masterpiece Theatre VHS version a few years ago: it is a very entertaining re-make of the Joan Fontaine "Frenchman's Creek," of 1944 based on Daphne DuMaurier's book of the same name.

When Lady Dona St Columb tires of her "scandalous" & somewhat debauchered lifestyle in London, she decides to retreate to the sanctity of her country estate in Cornwall. Here she encounters a mysterious & dashing French pirate. Now she must decide whether to follow her heart that yearns for adventure & the love of a dashing pirate or her head, which is telling her to follow her Catholic morals & stay with her (foolish) husband. This story briefly touches on the struggle of the time between Catholics & Protestants in England. Be ready to encounter adventure, love, drama, ships, pirates, etc.!!!

For those of you worried about content, be aware that there is a violent scene of fighting & an attempted rape towards the end: there is also a love scene that lasts a few seconds or so, earlier in the film. The lead character is struggling with morality & her faith (Catholic), versus the excitement of adventure & forbidden love, so her choices are not always moral, although there does seem to be somewhat of a balance in the end. This is set during a tumultous period in England where the Catholic & Protestant factions are in turmoil, mostly due to the changes in the royal ruler (from Catholic to Protestant & back again)...

All in all, this movie is a well-done, entertaining & romantic swashbuckler of a film! If you can get past the content, I would recommend this: if you are looking for a cleaner version of the same great story, check out the 1944 VHS version with Joan Fontaine!!"
A Pirated Version
randomartco | 03/20/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It would be wise of those who decide to adapt a novel into film to pay closer attention to the words "adapted" when they embark upon a screen version. Any similarities between this movie and DuMaurier's novel are purely coincidental. I gave this film version four stars because unlike its Joan Fontaine predecessor, it is at least more realistic and Hollywood does not intrude upon it. Other than that, the film is far removed from the novel. To begin with, the historical setting is not the Restoration, but the court of King James. There was a reason why DuMaurier set her story during the Restoration - London at that time was rich in atmosphere-it was the court of Charles II. There were excesses of appetite. Charles had a mistress for every day of the week, and the city reeked, literally, of humanity caught up in decadence beyond imagination. The two Dona's are similar in that they want to escape, but for different reasons. DuMaurier's Dona is about to turn 30. Her escape from London comes from a disgust of what she has become under the city's atmosphere. Dona needs to stop and find out who she really is. So she goes to Cornwall. In the film version, Dona escapes a London that is caught up in political turmoil. King James has left London; Catholics and Protestants are again close to Civil War. She wants to escape this and she's "sick of London". This Dona wants some peace and quiet. Tara Fitzgerald makes a good heroine, but at times she is too brooding, too serious, too irritating. Her counterpart at least had a sense of humour and took pleasure in rebelling against the established gentry in Cornwall. Fleet and Dutton who play Harry St. Columb and Rockingham, respectively, are wonderful. They have researched DuMaurier's novel and bring her characters to life. Tim Dutton is wonderful as the villainously repulsive Rockingham. Fleet knows his character and plays his strengths and weaknesses well. Anthony Delon as the French pirate Jean Aubrey, is quite good. He has the easy, matter of fact, mysterious charm of DuMaurier's pirate. If you have not read Frenchman's Creek, this movie does stand on its own. The characters are well developed, the pace of the movie is good and the music compliments the scenery and characters. There is adventure, romance, villians and a damsel who can handle herself in distress. However, if you are a purist when it comes to watching a movie based upon a novel, you may be less satisfied with this version."
When will they learn to film a Du Maurier Novel Properly?
Emily McB | Vancouver, Canada | 04/09/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

"It's not bad, exactly. Despite occasional departures from the story it follows most of the essential points. But, like so many other adaptations of Du Maurier novels, it fails to realize that while her atmospheres are gothic, they are not depressing. Much of Frenchman's Creek on paper is sunny and joyous, not bleak. The conematography here makes it look like it is perpetually overcast, and it shouldn't. The same applies to the characterizations. Anthony Delon is mysterious, but not warm and normal and human as he should be, Dona is missing her sense of fun. It's all a little dreary after a while."