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Regency House Party
Regency House Party
Actors: Richard E. Grant, Chris Gorell Barnes, Lisa Braund, Hayley Conick, Elizabeth Devonport
Director: Tim Carter
Genres: Comedy, Television, Documentary
NR     2004     6hr 0min

Does the rigid and confined world of the early nineteenth century have something to teach the young of today who are looking for love? Following the success of Manor House and Colonial House, Regency House Party gives 10 m...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Richard E. Grant, Chris Gorell Barnes, Lisa Braund, Hayley Conick, Elizabeth Devonport
Director: Tim Carter
Creators: Caroline Ross-Pirie, Emma Willis, Helen Hawken
Genres: Comedy, Television, Documentary
Sub-Genres: House Party, Television, Documentary
Studio: Pbs (Direct)
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 11/23/2004
Original Release Date: 11/04/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 11/04/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 6hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 18
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

C. Reaves | South-Eastern USA | 04/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I caught about 15 minutes of the second or third episode a few months ago and just knew I'd never keep up with viewing the show (and I really wanted to watch it from its begining) so I've been planning on buying the DVD ever since. I'm so glad I finally did!

The 'players' in this history re-inacting "reality dating show" drama are people from modern England who agreed to play 'themselves as they might have been during the Regency'. They were given a summary of 'themselves' to go by. For example, in reality, the Countess is an actual countess who works in a coffee shop - at the House Party, she is a countess who is trying to cover up the fact that she has no money. The 'players' (I can't think of them as "contestants") play this 'game' in a sort of blurring of fantasy and reality - to the point, I believe, where they were reacting quite naturally as a Regency-era person and less like a modern-minded person.

The transition from modern-England to Regency-England was rough for many of the 'players' and they supported each other through the trials. Many hearts were touched and broken or bruised throughout the process and it was quite facinating to watch, even without the added bonus of doing so in Regency costume.

Fans of Regency (or Edwardian or Victorian) England or just history buffs should enjoy this show for what it is. I, being a huge fan of Jane Austen (particularly "Pride and Prejudice"), was used to the methods of speech and manner and had a grand ol' time.

My mother, who is more of a reality show fan than a history or lit enthusiast, lost interest not even halfway through the first episode. If you have no interest or even basic knowledge of the time period, I'm not sure you'd enjoy it, even if you love reality/reality dating shows. Fights between 'players' are not shown on camera (though they are discussed in some depth) and the romantic... liasons... between the 'players' are merely implied, which would also account for disinterest from those accustomed to American reality tv.

The only thing I could have asked from PBS was an update on the 'players', particularly those who made 'matches' toward the end of the show. Did the couples stay together? Do any of them keep in touch? A reunion show would be a bonus. Heck, if a "Regency Party 2" were produced, I'd buy it immediately!

The only problem I think anyone could have is a sometimes-poor audio, caused by the difficulties of shooting in a historic house rather than a studio. A remote to adjust the volume should probably be in-hand at all times, along with the 'rewind' button on your DVD player remote. Anyone who has watched period movies (such as Jane Austen adaptations) is probably familiar with this and should have no problems with knowing how to follow the dialogue."
Save yourself, do not watch this unless you want to lose 6 h
Sushi Girl -Laura | Gainesville, Florida | 02/12/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I have watched all of the PBS "house" series. The 1900 house, colonial house, frontier house, 1940's house, and Manor House, For some reason i am a sucker for ripping away modern Convieniances from poor helpless people and plunking them smack dab in the middle of chamberpots and candles. This installment in the series, Regency House Party, is a 6 hour frustrating repetitive anti climatic mess. Five men and Five women are given status in the house based on thier real life families and jobs, we are supposed to see them form relationships and than agree or disagree to a "fake" marriage, The goal of the women is to marry rich, and marry up, the goal of the men is to bag a good breeder, preferably marry for money and stuff thier trousers. I suppose we are meant to observe how frustrating it was for women back then, stuck with strict chaperones confined to the house, never to jump and run about with the men, oh its so unfair that they are to have "lots of babies" and "one in three" will die in childbirth. One of them decides that instead of being a "baby machine" she will become a "courtesan"...a prostitute, because thats so much better and its "her" choice. yep Syph, starvation, and millions of abortions is my kind of life. I would have taken the 1 in 3 bet.
None of these people, not one really got what it was all about. The men were too busy trying to seduce chaperones, out drink eachother, and oggle all the pushed up busoms they seriously didnt care about marrying these women, even if it was fake. The women were too busy complaining about the lack of feminine hygiene, and how they had to be chaste, and how it was ultimately boring being them. One of them, the "industrial hieress" Victoria Hopkins see sawed between "snogging" mr Everett and slobbering all over mr carrington, I swear 5 hours of this series was devoted to her "dilemma" and how she should think with her head not her heart, she goes back and forth so much that by the end when she goes for the money, you wish she had choked on all the rose petals these men threw at her.
The Chaperones were pitiful as well, grown women throwing slaps and demanding apologies left and right, fans and plates across rooms, meeting men in the barn for a "ghost watch" (presumably the ghost of supple past)
I read an interview with Chris Gorell Barnes who was the "top" man, that he didnt learn a thing and that he was getting it on with the chambermaid who was actually his valets girlfriend.
I suppose i really wanted these men and women to seriously act thier parts, follow through, leave the 21st century BS behind. Embrace the lifestyle and in turn learn something about modern romance through regency relationships, but NONE of them came out of this with an Iota of clarity.
So I lost 6 hours, these people lost two months and not the better for it."
History lesson...sort of
Jeanette C. | Utah, United States | 08/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Regency House Party is another entry in the PBS "House" series canon. The project takes ten young, single people (five men and five women), four chaperones, dozens of servants, and various other characters of the day, and transplants them from modern life into an early 1800-era English estate. They are there for one reason - to play the dating game as it was played in 1811. What follows is nine weeks of flirtations and frustrations, hookups and breakups, and even a few cat-fights and illicit affairs.

It's a wonderful spin on the reality TV genre and, for the most part, gives the viewer a pretty good idea of what life must have been like in that age. The men spend their time drinking and playing war games while the women are condemned to a tedious monotony of embroidery and gossip. The couples are allowed to socialize for only a few hours a day - always under the watchful eyes of the chaperones. The setting and the costumes are fantastic and everyone looks like they've stepped straight out of a Jane Austen movie - although they are a great deal plainer and dirtier than Hollywood would ever portray.

I really enjoyed the series; however, I do wish the rules had been better explained. Several couples formed partnerships while at the house - were they under any real obligation to one another after filming was over? Also, I got a bit bored with the boxing, exercise, and military drills the men engaged in, and some of the scenes featuring period experts seemed to drag.

A few of the players were duds, but most took to their roles with gusto and stayed true to their 17th Century persona (at least on camera). However, almost all showed their 21st Century roots by listening to their hearts when it came to finding a match, contrary to the stated goal of the project - which was to find the best possible match in social and financial terms. Not that I would have done any differently, but it did sort of muddle the point of the experiment.

Overall, it's very entertaining and a lot of fun. I highly recommend."
Manor House it's not.
S. Bu | Redwood City | 09/19/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Let me start off by saying I really enjoyed "Manor House" and felt it gave me a good feel for what Edwardian country house life was like, so that is the bar I am comparing "Regency House Party" too.

I did not feel like I learned nearly as much from "Regency House Party": There was a lot of focus on interpersonal relations, but it was more from the "problems a modern woman has fitting into the regency role" rather then the problems the participants are experiencing that reflect problems a regency woman experienced. There were multiple times where the viewer is told "and now the host is doing something that no regency man would ever do" which I felt was a cop-out. Yes, his reactions in trying to ease tensions among the women were absolutely what a modern manager would try to do. However, I would've preferred the modern anachronistic behaviors to have far less prominence in the show.

"Regency House Party" is, too some extant a dating show, but I felt that the editing of the show made if very hard to track who was who and who's interested in who and why. I kept referring back to the character summary provided in the associated book (which does not come as part of the DVD) to try to sort the characters out. I'm not sure if the problem was that there were too many people to follow or if the problem was the show trying to be both a dating show and a "slice of life in the Regency".

The show did point out some features of Regency life that were very interesting/novel to me (especially as a fan of Regency romance novels): How sharply divided men's and women's activities were, how central the evening meal was to social life, and to some extent how hobbies and activities fit into the "courtship process"."