Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Tom Brown's Schooldays|
Actors: Iain Cuthbertson, Simon Fisher-Turner, Richard Morant, Anthony Murphy, Richard Gibson
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
In an upper-class Victorian boarding school, a loveable schoolboy suffers at the hands of a vicious bully and is inspired by a forward-thinking headmaster. This Masterpiece Theatre classic is a fascinating portrait of the ... more »
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Engaging Victorian melodrama
DS from LA | Los Angeles, CA | 03/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was excited to see this title being released on DVD, as I have fond memories of watching it as an 11-year-old with my father when it first aired on "Masterpiece Theatre" in 1973. I was also concerned about how well it would hold up, having been frequently disappointed upon revisiting some of my favorite childhood films as an adult. Well, this one held up just fine, not only for me but for my own 11- and 9-year-old children.
The story is your average Victorian potboiler: young Tom foils the nefarious doings of a wealthy landowner, who tasks his son Gerald Flashman (a schoolmate of Tom's) with obtaining revenge by any means necessary. A parallel and related plot thread deals with the reform efforts of new school headmaster Dr. Arnold, who earns Tom's trust. My kids enjoyed, as I did on that long-ago first viewing, finding out whether Tom would triumph over the bully Flashman, and insisted on watching all five episodes in one day. (As avid "Harry Potter" fans, they found parallels between the characters and relationships of Tom/Flashman/Dr. Arnold and Harry/Draco/Professor Dumbledore. I have to agree that J.K. Rowling might have read Tom Brown once or twice.) I focused more this time on the production values, the performances (young Anthony Murphy won a deserved Emmy as Tom), and of course the memories that were brought back to me.
On the downside, some of the other child performances are pretty awful, and the back-and-forth jumps between film (for exterior scenes) and videotape (for interiors), which was common to "Masterpiece Theatre," are irritating. Still, this miniseries is highly recommended, particularly if you're a sucker for British period pieces (as I am).
Good, but not quite as great as I remembered all these years
Thomas B. Gross | Winchester, MA USA | 03/13/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I loved this series when it was shown in the U.S. on Masterpiece Theater in 1973 and have looked for it on home video ever since. I was thrilled to see it released on DVD and ordered it immediately. Having seen it again I have to admit I can see why it was not released earlier to home video: it's not really as good as the best Masterpiece Theater series.
This may have been the first British mini-series I was ever hooked on. As I watched it again on DVD I recalled all the great series I watched subsequent to this production of "Tom Brown's School Days" including the 1969 version of the Forsyte Saga (which is older than this series but I did not see until 1975), "Upstairs/Downstairs", or "I, Claudius". All of those series, particularly the Eric Porter/Nyree Dawn Porter version of the Forsyte Saga (which I consider to be the best television series of all time) have aged better than this series.
Much of the acting seems appropriate to a High School play. As far as I know, none of the teenaged actors in this production went on to have adult careers as actors.
I was somewhat surprised to see that it is only 5 episodes. The experience of watching it over five weeks every Sunday night must have made quite an impression on me.
The DVD has nearly no additional material. Those of us who originally saw this series on Masterpiece Theater will miss the introductions and postscripts by Alistair Cooke.
I don't regret spending $30 for the nostalgic value of these DVDs, for me personally. If you loved it in 1973, you'll probably enjoy seeing it again at least once."
A wonderful series returns.
Harold | portland, oregon United States | 03/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember this series from over 30 ago and have been looking for it. It is a wonderful coming-of-age story for those who love the genre. The acting is not as well as I remember and neither is the photography. But Richard Morant as the villain Flashman does a superb acting job and it is he who I remembered the most. Perhaps it should have been he who won the Emmy, although Anthony Murphy was outstanding also. It is amazing the young actors did not continue with distinguished acting careers, but young actors are all too often quickly washed up."
Great for young boys
Anne | WI | 09/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Our grandsons just loved the account - as did we - of this valient, principled boy. He survives and overcomes the hardships of a boarding school riddled with bullies and rather careless supervision. I suspect the good lessons here will benefit them for a long time. Content wise - great. All around, far superior to the other movie versions."