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The Mill on the Floss
The Mill on the Floss
Actors: Philip Locke, Judy Cornwell, Barbara Hicks, Peter Howell, John Stratton
Genres: Drama, Television
NR     2006     3hr 32min

The tragic tale of Maggie Tulliver, the miller's daughter, who defies her embittered brother in standing by the man she loves - shocking the stifling society in which she lives - in an attempt to pursue her blighted dreams...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Philip Locke, Judy Cornwell, Barbara Hicks, Peter Howell, John Stratton
Genres: Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Love & Romance, Television
Studio: BBC Warner
Format: DVD - Miniseries
DVD Release Date: 04/18/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/1978
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1978
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 3hr 32min
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Dry and Blunt
Luca Graziuso | NYC | 03/11/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"It would be unreasonable to review the BBC miniseries without having a sound relationship with the novel or the author of the novel, for the entire premise of the production rests on it being faithful to the novel. In fact it is masterfully adapted by James Andrew Hall, who is a purist in the full sense of the term, and directed deftly by Ronald Wilson.
The dry nature of the tale is bewildering and draining of the influx of tenderness that George Eliot infuses her writings with. If this was by design it is reprehensible; if by accident unfortunate. The 8 episodes are a quick watch and dramatized expertly, but for a few liberties which are inevitable and must be forgiven. If we are to judge the work independent of the novel it ought to receive one star. It lacks a sense of momentum and remains indifferent to the flow of the narrative which it chooses to highlight and substantiate through an episodic definition and by strength of allusions strewn strategically throughout the period drama. I fear the accuracy and representational realism stops at the recreation of a style, but cannot claim likewise when it comes to the mood of the era, which is all-too-often dramatized as dry and restrained, empty and distant, privileged and scarcely populated. I beg to reason that it is an imagery that has now become branded as accurate, but caters only to the prejudiced imagination we give sway to.
If the production attempted to stay faithful to George Eliot and the novel then it baffles one completely. Why was the end so shoddily patched? Why have so many (actually all) of the events and vignettes of an ostracized Maggie find no place. You watch the previous 7 episodes and appreciate much of the recreation, then you watch the last episode and wonder what happened to the preceding (read: missing) one. It is as if all that follows after Maggie's return from her "eloping" (here treated as Stephen's doing outright and exculpating nature completely) has no bearing on the narrative. And religion is relegated to the vague presence of a Bible when in Eliot's masterpiece it spills into the very fiber of everyday life in ways that are comical, tragic and overtly critical of the church's relationship with the townspeople.
This miniseries is an undeniably appreciated effort which inexplicably falls short of its intention. The casting is practically perfect. Indeed it is. Even Mr. Wakem, here much more loving towards his son than we may like to interpret (but happy to become engaged into the critical dialogue). Stephen, Lucy, the adult Tom and the aunts and uncles are extraordinarily portrayed and the three stars are a testament to the excellence of the cast and the skill they display.
One more episode and it would be a huge success.
Doesn't live up to the later version...
Viewer | USA | 05/26/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)

"I was disappointed with this longer version of The Mill on the Floss. I thought, being BBC and a long version it would be a definitive one, but I have to agree with the other reviewer. This version left out some very important events, and emotions seemed washed out rather than passionate and moving. I like long movies, but this dragged because it just doesn't hold your attention. The 1997 Masterpiece Theatre version is so much more powerful, and keeps all important events intact, spending less time on Maggie's mother worrying about the fate of her china, and more on character and plot development, with a very haunting score. I really hope the other version is released on DVD-if so, I will probably donate this one to the library, because I can't quite see myself rewatching it. I would rather read the book, instead."
Drags a bit, but has the slow flowing feeling of the book.
J. Kara Russell | Hollywood - the cinderblock Industrial cubicle | 07/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"When I finished reading this book, I felt it is one of the most perfect things I have ever read, and also the most deeply depressing book I have ever read. The bleakness and struggle of this world is relentless. The more recent version of this story with Tara Fitzgerald is glossier than this version, and much shorter. It is because this is a miniseries; this length makes it more like the book. Like the strong, steady, slow plodding of the mill wheel, the river runs through this story and makes everything musty and dank. (4 stars because, like many of the 70s miniseries, it does drag a bit at times)

I think this version suffers from the casting of young Maggie Tulliver and the horrible wig that she wears. This child is more willfully dislikable than the girl of the story who is always caught in the wrong by trying to do what is right; and when she transitions to a young lady the change is unbelievable, because the basic character changes so much with the change of the actress. This leaden little girl becomes a sprightly, delicate young woman. (Ironically, Tara Fitzgerald's Maggie would be a very good match for this girl - her portrayal of Maggie was very bull-headed.) But this type of casting match - child to adult of the same role - is always difficult and can be forgiven. Taken individually, each actress does a wonderful job, and Pippa Guard is nice to end up with; her lightness gives the character a new dimension.

George Eliot presents us with characters who have great internal dissonance with their exterior (appropriate for a woman writing under a man's name). ANTON LESSOR, who plays the "hunchback" friend is creepily odd in the early scenes (because he is simply too old to be playing that age) - but that weirdness is just the right way to introduce this character. He has a wonderful extreme contrast about his person and his presentation that create a real discrepancy, and this is precisely what this character needs to have, and it is marvelous casting. We need to feel sorry for him, like who he is, but feel revolted by him as well, and between his performance and the Direction, this is easy task! Christopher Blake, as the infuriatingly arrogant brother also hits all the right notes, and in this case the young actor playing the younger version of him matches him tone for tone.

The book has a very problematic section of an elopement (of sorts), problematic, because in the book we spend that time in Maggie's internal emotions and thoughts, and the turmoil of her inner conflict is impossible to flesh out in film. Thankfully, this version does a very good job of establishing her conflicting motivations, without becoming too talky or expository.

Dark and murky, this is an interesting story of complex lives in difficult times, beautifully directed by Ronald Wilson.
Better than I expected, actually, though not great
Gwinna | Virginia, U.S.A. | 03/10/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I have never seen the other movie version of "The Mill on the Floss" which other reviewers have mentioned, so I can't compare the two, and honestly it's been a few years since I read the book so my memory of it is not entirely clear. That being said, here are my thoughts on this miniseries.

To start with the criticism, it was made for TV in the 1978 (I think) - that in itself should tell you something about the quality. At four hours, it was slow, and dragged a bit at times. However, despite this, it still felt rushed, as though a lot of things were cut from the book. One scene I particularly missed was the very moving one (in the book) where Lucy visits Maggie after Maggie's aborted elopement.

However, I still enjoyed it and found it to be very touching and emotional, in the same way the book is, especially at the end. I loved the scenes in the last episode between Maggie and her mother, Maggie and Philip, and Maggie and Tom at the very end. I thought the acting was very good overall - older Maggie, Lucy, Philip, Tom, and Maggie's mother in particular spring to mind. Oh, and Maggie's aunts were hilarious. The only actor I thought could have been much better was Stephen Guest; he was so annoying that I found it very difficult to believe that Maggie or anyone else could stand being in the same room with him, much less love him. I didn't like him much in the book, but this adaptation magnified his conceit and shallowness. Other than that, however, and the understandable condensing, I think it was pretty faithful to the book.

In conclusion then, I think this miniseries is worth watching for those who love the book; but since it has nothing in particular to recommend it as a movie in its own right, I doubt anyone else would enjoy it.

Edited to add: The DVD has no special features."