Search - Portrait of a Marriage on DVD

Portrait of a Marriage
Portrait of a Marriage
Actors: Janet McTeer, David Haig, Cathryn Harrison, Diana Fairfax, Peter Birch
Director: Stephen Whittaker
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
NR     2006     3hr 39min

From the BBC, Janet McTeer stars as Vita Sackville-West in the classic Masterpiece Theatre drama British aristocrat and writer Vita Sackville-West and diplomat Harold Nicolson married in 1913, and their love endured and de...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Janet McTeer, David Haig, Cathryn Harrison, Diana Fairfax, Peter Birch
Director: Stephen Whittaker
Creators: Anna Kalnars, Colin Rogers, Colin Tucker, Rebecca Eaton, Nigel Nicolson, Penelope Mortimer, Victoria Glendinning
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Period Piece, Drama
Studio: Acorn Media
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 05/30/2006
Original Release Date: 07/19/1992
Theatrical Release Date: 07/19/1992
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 3hr 39min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

J. H. Stewart | New England | 06/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I watched this in 1992 when it was shown on PBS's "Masterpiece Theatre", introduced each Sunday night by the late, great Alistair Cooke. The very tall Janet McTeer (all 6' of her!) and Cathryn Harrison are superb in their roles. Other stand-outs are David Haig and Diana Fairfax. At the time it was shown on American TV, there were at least 30 minutes cut from what the Brits saw in the BBC version. I am delighted to finally get my hands on the unedited version of this extremely well-done slice of obscure history."
At Last!
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 05/18/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Luckily, I was there to tape it, but if you didn't see this when it came on PBS in 1992, you missed it for 14 years. I've been letting many a bisexual female friend borrow my copy, so I'm glad this is finally on DVD. As popular as the topic of female bisexuality is now, I'm really surprised the producers didn't make this decision sooner.
There have been many films where one spouse comes out as gay ("Brokeback Mountain," "Making Love," and "Lianna" are examples). However, this was a rare description of a "lavender marriage" where both spouses are gay. This film may be revolutionary to see for couples that fit that description.
This work was quite pioneering for its time. Cinema fans who love seeing women's narratives in Europe during the first half of the 20th Century will love this. Works such as "Tipping the Velvet", "Henry and June", and "Paris Was a Woman" came after this movie and may have copied elements of it.
Just like "Brokeback Mountain," this film has a tragic conclusion (I haven't given up the plot, you'll have to see it to know what I mean). Since it portrays facts that really happened, I can't fault it much for the ending. Still, be prepared for a downer!
Though Sackville-West had a romantic relationship with Virginia Woolf, it does not come up in this work."
The agony of longing
Roger W. Davenport | Brooklyn, New York United States | 08/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I first watched this series when it came out in much anticipated weekly installments on Masterpiece Theater in 1992. My rapture lasted from Sunday to Sunday and having now the full serving at one sitting allows me to recapture small nuances that had fallen into the abyss of forgetfulness (it was fourteen years ago!) The story of the Nicolsons and of Vita and Violet is the story of a longing that exhilarates and crushes, as Janet McTeer's face and actions vividly capture. Her longing for Violet, as compared to her true longing for her husband, makes one believe that loving only one person is perhaps unnatural and unhealthy. Harold comes across as truly "male" in that he expects Vita to return to him even though he continues to pursue his same-sex relationships. One sometimes wonders if his love for her is truly deep or whether his awareness of social convention is stronger than Vita's, as she continuously lives on the edges of her passions. Vita is striking as portrayed by Ms McTeer, both as a woman and disguised as a man. Violet is a striking beauty but comes off as more needy and less insightful. Mr. Trefusis is portrayed as a prig, lost in a vortex of passion that he cannot feel, much less comprehend. This is a most thoughtful and detailed "portrait" of relationships--male/female and female/female--without condescension or judgment. Watch it carefully and come to your own conclusion to be sure: I suspect your thoughts about sexual relations will be profoundly shaken."
Tugs at your heart strings
Harukanoten | 06/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I've only seen the edited version on the US LOGO network and I'm in the process of reading the book right now, but let me tell you, this story is gripping and really pulls you in emotionally. The adaptation from book, which is part autobiographical by Vita Sackville-West (written only days after the climax of her relationship with Violet Trefusis) and part biographical by Vita and Harold's son Nigel, is simply wonderful. Janet McTeer who captivated me in films like "Songcatcher" and "Tumbleweeds" is stunning as Vita. Her ability to shift from Vita's fierce desire for Violet to Harold's gentle wife is amazing. I know I'm ignoring the other actors in the film, not to say that they weren't wonderful as well(particulary David Haig as Harold) but the reason watch this film really is Janet McTeer.

Very seldom do I see films that grip me emotionally as much as this one has. The fact that this film as well as the book were ever made fulfills a prophecy of Vita's which she expresses so heartfeltly in the book. Which (to summerize)is that society will one day progress enough that stories like her's, Harold's and Violet's can be told and not looked upon with disgust and shame but rather by that of an open mind and perhaps educate others."