Terry | B.C. Canada | 04/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For anyone who has enjoyed Brideshead Revisited or Lost Empires this is another example of superb drama not to be missed. Frederick Raphael and Granada TV have created a modern television masterpiece. The story is sophisticated and intelligent and the dialogue leaves one gasping at its astonishing wit.
I first saw AFTER the WAR some 18 years ago, it resonated with me then. After recently viewing it for the second time I can say that it lost has lost none of that original impression. I am delighted to own it so I can now watch it again whenever I like, and explore it further.
The acting is superb throughout and brilliantly cast, so it would be impossible to single out any names for mention. One last thing, the haunting theme music by Stephen Oliver is beautiful and a perfect match."
Drama of mystique ...
Mary Jo Magar | Las Vegas, Nevada, USA | 07/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This series offers highly intelligent drama with all the characteristic subtleties of character and human foibles that British filmmaking captures so well. But the main point of my writing this review is to tell how unique this series is on two accounts.
First, the series intricately depicts a subtle ostracism of Jews, those who were not quite of age and not in Europe during World War II, by Jews who were of age and/or were in Europe.
Also well depicted, somewhat allegorically, are the subtle (and not so subtle) prejudices and manipulations exercised against upper middle-class British Jews by British rank and society and the Allied forces.
Second, the series very well illustrates the mystique possessed by those who directly suffered the Second World War and the effect of that mystique upon those who were sheltered from the war's harshest realities by age (if only a crucial few years), location, or social status.
This series would be heartfelt to anyone who has had (or still has) the good fortune to know someone who embodied the aforementioned mystique. It is true that those whose early lives were most defined by the war became possessed of a "brand" upon the personality that inspired instant curiosity and a certain reverence.
This series dramatizes this mystique through the relationship between the two main characters, the two Jewish boys, who grow to manhood, and who have little in common other than their heritage; however, it is their shared heritage that gives them parallel experiences of completely opposite details, including the details of their own dubious friendship, which spans close to thirty years.
Within the complex relationship between the two main characters is a further dramatization of this wartime mystique that involves a free-thinking young woman, a French Jew, Pierrette Levi, who, under Nazi occupation of France, witnessed not only the murder of her grandfather, her only relative, but suffered betrayal and yet had willing sexual involvement with her betrayer. For the one character, the rough Joe Hirsch, Pierrette represents his connection to all that he was forced to leave as a child refugee of Nazi-occupied Europe, and for the other character, the refined Michael Jordan, Pierrette represents the worldly, gritty attraction of events and experiences from which he was completely sheltered, in general, and throughout the war.
Both characters fall in love with Pierrette, though it is actually her mystique with which they fall in love, and through this mystique, it is actually the war - the war they never saw - with which they fall in love in the sense of romanticizing, though in opposite ways, even the war's ugliest realities.
The dialogue throughout this series carries weight and truth, much of it timeless and much historical, in every word - and in-between every word - listen closely!
After the War
John H. Hancock | Silver City, NM USA | 11/25/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Totally ruined by the lack of Close Captioning. When will the Brititish learn?"
Post-War Britain As Experienced By Two Young Men
Goodbye Cruel World | Under Your Skin | 12/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After the War is yet another in the long line of excellent dramas produced for broadcast within the United Kingdom: the western world's great contributor of quality television. With locations on three continents and with a plethora of talented British actors in its cast, this far reaching piece lingers in one's thoughts long after first viewing.
This is the story of the lives of two British Jewish families "after the war" meaning the Second World War, a time these families once joined their fellow citizens in hailing as a coming paradise, only in their case, due to their ethnicity, one that might also bring them prosperity, common respect, and inclusion into greater British society. After the War tells how Michael Jordan and Joe Hirsch, the sons of each family, achieve all this, or perhaps fail to. While by the 1940's the modestly affluent Jordan family is all but assimilated into British culture, Joe Hirsch and his mother, as recent immigrants from Nazi dominated Europe, represent another sphere altogether. While each boy might correctly be labeled ambitious, Joe's drive comes from a different source than his schoolmate and friend Michael's.
Michael matures and finds success as a writer in the film industry; the obsessively motivated Joe rises above all expectations as a media power broker. One man is a playboy, the other more grounded, neither could be called "at peace" with himself. Each man attempts to separate his present from his past and each pays some personal price for trying. While friends, these two one-time schoolmates are also rivals in several competitive arenas, but nowhere else is their rivalry more ardently expressed than in their competition for a woman they both come to desire. The decades pass and the endpoint of the film is reached a generation after the war's end, and at that time one questions whether either Joe or Michael ultimately got the things he wanted in life, and if so, whether all the dreams of glory "after the war" were fulfilled.
One thing to watch for here is the show stealing "confession" scene with Mrs. Jordan which comes along at the film's end and raises her from the minor figure she'd been until then to someone suddenly of importance and depth. Such a rare happening in any novel, play, or motion picture, and one of the many surprises here.
I was overjoyed to find this production on DVD, having first acquired it off VHS from where my father had taped it off of a Masterpiece Theater broadcast in the 1980's. (Er, you want your old tapes back now, Dad?) I'd say the film has aged well and lost little in the transfer process, and would direct anyone who appreciates a quality tale to take a look.