Sarah F. (keanupattinson) from INDIANAPOLIS, IN Reviewed on 7/30/2009...
It was alright.
Kathleen O. (Kathleen) from WALDPORT, OR Reviewed on 10/20/2008...
While this miniseries is very well acted, and although I love period films, I found this to be extremely depressing and know that I will never be able to sit down and watch it again.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Worthy adaptation of glorious book
J. C Clark | Overland Park, KS United States | 01/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For an author as majestic and as prolific as Trollope, locating his "best" book is a challenge. But He Knew He Was Right would certainly be at the top of my list. The novel has several of his most lovingly drawn main characters, two beautifully intersecting plot lines, numerous minor characters that refuse to remain minor, and a story that makes the reader scream "No, no! Don't do it!"
It is also a typically mammoth book, where conversations go on for pages, descriptions are elaborate and detailed, and numerous authorial asides punctuate gloriously. So, how to compress this sprawling monstrosity into three hours? Well, I wouldn't have thought it possible, but Andrew Davies pulls it off. As exquisite as the novel? Not possible! No snack, no matter how tasty, can replace a multi-course meal elegantly served. But it ain't bad, ain't bad at all....
The cast is almost flawless. Laura Fraser, nearly perfect in the unseen Whatever Happened to Harold Smith? shines again as Emily, a headstrong girl whose inner conflict between submissive love and stubborn pride is beautifully rendered. Though the title is He, the story is about She, and we never lose sight of how much she suffers. Her family is wonderfully done, other than her sister Nora, who is hard to see as a worthy catch in any way. But the smaller characters, all deftly drawn by Trollope, shine wonderfully here. Colonel Osborne, the slightly creepy but pompously self-justifying blowhard, slinks across every scene he's in. Mr. Outhouse, seen for a few minutes only, inhabits his poor, honest and overwhelmed clergyman perfectly. The French sisters, and Mr. Gibson, three of the most odious scraps of humanity ever created by Trollope, are delectably portrayed. But no one drags this down.
The photography is excellent, the huge cast of characters is handled admirably, the sets and clothes all reek of authenticity. A very good condensation of a great novel, this provides many pleasures to the fan of Trollope and a worthy introduction to the novice."
Fine adaptation of Trollope's facsinating & ironic story!!
randomartco | Greater Washington D.C. area | 03/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Once again BBC & screen writer Andrew Davies get it right with a classic adaptation, this time from Anthony Trollope's Victorian novel, "He Knew He Was Right." An innocent wife, a jealous husband, a notorious ladies man, an indecisive vicar, a pair of "French" sisters, a lowly born but lovely girl, an elderly aunt, a consummate gentleman, a poor journalist, a private detective, an American lady, and a woman in love. These are the main characters that make up one of Anthony Trollope's greatest novels, aptly named "He Knew He Was Right."
When Louis Trevelyan (Oliver Dimsdale) meets Emily Rowley (Laura Fraser), daughter of Sir Marmaduke Rowley (the island's governor), on a trip to the Mandarin Islands, he falls madly in love: Emily and her parents consent to a marriage (she has some say: after all, she has been raised in the free ways of the tropics). They marry, honeymoon, and even have a child in a first few years of complete and utter bliss in London, with Emily's sister Nora in accompaniment. All is fine until insecure Louis begins to suspect that Emily is having an affair with old family friend and her godfather, Colonel Osborne (Bill Nighy), a notorious ladies man who has a penchant for married women. Emily has received him alone in her London home (she is unaware of the dangers of London society, being both beautiful and independent), and gossip begins to circulate that something is going on there. When Louis confronts Emily she denies that anything is going on or has ever happened. He forbids her to ever see Osborne again and she refuses: she professes her complete innocence and her complete love of Louis, but does not see why she should promise not to see Osborne and in so doing admit wrong. Louis is angry and doesn't believe her: he thinks she's lying, covering up, shameful and deceitful...he would forgive her, but only if she admitted she had done him wrong. Emily refuses.
Other characters are introduced, as Emily and Nora are sent by Louis to live with his best friend Hugh's mother Mrs. Stanbury and his sister Priscilla. Mrs. Stanbury is widow of the late vicar, with daughters Priscilla and Martha (who is later sent to live with her elderly rich Aunt Stanbury), and son Hugh. Others include: Camilla and Arabella French, who both wish to marry the local minister, Reverend Gibson; Hugh Stanmore, a poor journalist and Louis' best friend; Charles Glascock, a soon-to-be titled gentleman who has fallen for a certain lady; Brooke Burgess, Aunt Stanbury's heir who falls for a woman himself; Caroline and Olivia Spalding, adventuresome sisters from America; and last but not least, a sleazy private detective named Bozzle. All these and more create a volatile setting for a few different love triangles of ultimate rejection, supposed "betrayal," and true love.
Content: There is much spoken of in the way of a supposed affair between a married woman and an unmarried man: there is never anything shown. There is no objectionable language that I can recall. There is some vacillating of people between who they will marry, and a not-quite flattering portrayal of a local minister. A little boy is kidnapped, a young lady defies her parents to marry, a woman threatens violence to others when she doesn't get her way (she will stab them all; a slight tussle occurs at one point), engagement made and broken are tossed left and right. A man is driven to madness and despair by his own imagination.
Louis spends the entire time, obsessed with the idea that Emily has committed adultery with Colonel Osborne: he lets it take over his thoughts, his actions, his health and his life in general. But when all is said and done and the dust finally settles on this play of life, will Louis finally believe his lovely wife Emily is as innocent as she claims? You may wonder what ultimately happens...after all, HE knew HE was right...
Enoch Soames | 03/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The BBC have done it yet again; they have taken us back in time in a marvellously convincing manner. It is difficult to find fault with any aspect of this production. Settings, locations, constumes and casting are all near perfect and the acting throughout is admirable. From the beginning to the end my attention never flagged for a moment; it was so jam-packed with human interest that I couldn't have enough of it. This is not a melodrama as some have said; taking into account the mores of the time it is totally realistic with nothing over-played. Yes, it was annoying that the central character should allow his happy marriage to be destroyed by unfounded jealousy and a bit difficult to accept until you remember that this wasn't his only source of complaint; he was also annoyed that his spirited wife should refuse to submit to his unreasonable demands, something which as a Victorian husband he felt he had a right to expect. And she was not altogether blameless; she didn't have to behave in such a flirtatious way as to excite her husands jealousy. Or to seem to enjoy so much the frequent visits of her philandering God-father. However, the film was not all focused on the anger and strife of the two central characters; it was enlivened by two other love stories that end happily. With so many characters so well realized, well acted and convincing, I was left wanting more - much more."
He Knew He Was Right is an Excellent BBC mini-series well wo
C. M Mills | Knoxville Tennessee | 07/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anthony Trollope is famed for his Barchester and Palliser novels but wrote many more excellent pieces of ficton. He Knew He Was Right is a huge three-decker which was recently dramatized in the lush,leisurely told and faithful to the text the way we expect from the BBC! Excellent actors; exquiste costuming and beautiful scenery add to the joys of watching classic works come alive on the screen. The novel tells the tragic tale of the wealthy Louis Trevelyan who weds the beautiful Emily . She is the daughter of a British diplomat posted in the Mandarin Islands. The novel has several plot strands. 1. Louis wrongly thinking he was right accuses Emily of adultery with the odious old flirt Colonel Osborne. He take their child little Louis and flees to Italy. As a result of his fatuous mono- mania a tragedy transpires. 2. The charming tale of the love of Dorothy and Brook Burke in the city of Wells. Anna Massey plays the fussy but lovable old aunt opposing their union. 3. The story of Nora the sister of Emily and her love for an impecunious newspaper paper man following her rejection of the wealthy Lord Glasscock (he in turns falls in love with of all people-an American) 4. The hilarious tale of poor Rev. Gibson caught between two frightful French sisters who quarrel and battle over the right to be Mrs. Gibson!!!!!!! The Victorian time was the great age of the English novel. Trollope could tell a complicated story; knew human nature and keeps us laughing,crying and guessing throughout each of the four episodes in the series! An excellent dramatization of the life of Trollope is an added bonus. Excellent for all of us Anglophiles!"
*I* knew I was right!
CoffeeGurl | MA | 10/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have to say that I had mixed feelings about this miniseries when I first started watching it. First of all, I never read the Anthony Trollope novel this program is based on and I was at a loss of what to expect. Second, I didn't like the fact that the characters spoke to the viewer. Those monologues seemed awkward and just silly to me at first. But then I realized that the monologues were important for the viewer to understand the characters' inner conflicts and feelings. He Knew He Was Right is yet another wonderful BBC masterpiece that tells a story that is ironic, tragic, poignant, but also funny. Louis Trevelyan (Oliver Dimsdale) thought he'd married the perfect woman. But when his wife Emily (Laura Fraser) begins to have daily visits from her godfather, the Colonel Osborne (Bill Nighy), Trevelyan is convinced that the two of them are having an affair. And the gossip from third parties doesn't help matters. Louis wants Emily to sever contact with her godfather and to promise to be faithful, but Emily, a spirited young woman with an independent streak, refuses to make such promises. After all, she isn't guilty of his accusations. In this compelling story, we also meet some colorful characters -- a flirtatious clergyman, two rivaling sisters, an old and mischievous scoundrel (Colonel Osborne), an overbearing old woman and her favorite niece -- all of their stories are wonderful to watch.
At first, I thought Louis's jealousy was illogical and he seemed paranoid more than anything to me. And it turns out that, well, I was right. I cannot discuss this storyline further without giving away the plot and the things that occur in the story, but the irony in how things unfold was not lost on me. I wish I had read Trollope's novel before watching this so that I could make a fair comparison. The miniseries in itself though is wonderful. I was almost in tears at the end and I enjoyed Dimsdale's performance. He gave his character plenty of depth and showcased Louis's conflicting emotions and changes in a subtle, yet palatable way. I wish I could say the same thing for Emily Trevelyan though. Though I have no idea how talented Ms. Fraser may be, I thought that her portrayal of Emily Trevelyan was quite one-dimensional. We were told that she was an independent woman (for Victorian standards), but, other than her unwillingness to yield to Louis's illogical demands, this is seldom showcased in the series. The other actors are great. Even though I think I've seen some of those faces before but cannot remember (except for Nighy, for he played the aging rock star in Love, Actually), I loved their performances. As for the production itself, the wardrobe, sets, scenery and production quality are top notch. But I have yet seen a BBC period piece that isn't beautiful and well-detailed. He Knew He Was Right is a pleasant surprise. Screenwriter Andrew Davies has once again showcased his talent for adaptations. I'm glad I've added this to my ever-growing BBC library and I strongly suggest all period drama enthusiasts to give this series a whirl."