Based on Nancy Mitford?s beloved novels The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate?part thinly-veiled memoir, part biting satire, and part fascinating window on a vanished way of life?this witty drama from the BBC foll... more »ows the romantic adventures of three young aristocrats in the decade between the wars.
Starring British acting legends Alan Bates (Gosford Park), Celia Imrie (Bridget Jones?s Diary), Sheila Gish (Mansfield Park), and Anthony Andrews (Brideshead Revisited), with young stars Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day), Elisabeth Dermot-Walsh (Bertie and Elizabeth), and Megan Dodds (Malice Aforethought). Providing an authentic backdrop are several English castles and country houses, including Batsford Park, home of the Mitford family from 1916 to 1919.« less
"Two episodes and approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours is not enough time to do justice to Nancy Mitford's hilarious and moving novels The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. In this version so much of the humor and far too many of the characters are either eliminated or cut down sharply.
Nevertheless, given the time constraints this is a very fine adaptation. The main story concerns the love interests of three upper class young women in 1930s Britain: Fanny Logan (the narrator), Linda Radlett (the primary heroine who bounces from husband to husband to lover), and Polly Hampton (the enigmatic beauty who temporarily falls for an extremely distasteful older man). At that time girls from aristocratic families were expected to make their Society debuts at age 18 or so and marry by the time they were 21. Fanny, the most sensible of the trio, follows this path without any wrong turns and ends up with a husband she truly loves. Linda and Polly's vicissitudes lead them down many roads to tragedy in one case and final happiness in the other.
The series is beautifully filmed in England and France. Nancy Mitford's ancestral home Batsford Park stands in for the Radlett mansion, Alconleigh; while the magnificent Castle Ashby serves as Polly's enormous residence. In France similarly beautiful chateaus are used for Fabrice Sauveterre's homes. There is a real 1930s/1940s ambience throughout the series, particularly in the second episode set in the early years of World War II.
Although many of Mitford's funniest lines and scenes have not been included, there are some extremely amusing segments, such as a fur-coated Linda urging Londoners to join the Communist Party, or Sheila Gish's indomitable Lady Montdore's statement "hardly any of one's friends had even heard of India before we went there", or Uncle Matthew's emotional outbursts over Romeo and Juliet, or Fanny's aging socialite mother (The Bolter) arrival at Alconleigh with her Spanish lover.
There is also quite a bit of social commentary mixed in with the humor. The old landowning aristocracy is well represented by the Radletts and the Hamptons, and their encounters with nouveau riche types like the Kroesig family are a good depiction of the social changes going on in Britain during the early twentieth century. The Spanish Civil War scenes remind us that World War II's mass horrors are shortly to unfold.
So, even though this mini-series should have been much longer, it is still delightful and moving. If this is your first introduction to Nancy Mitford, by all means buy The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate and read Linda, Polly, and Fanny's stories in their entirety."
Love and snobbery between the wars
Jay Dickson | Portland, OR | 03/18/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Nancy Mitford's connected two novels about Fanny Logan and her relations with two sets of aristocratic relations, the eccentric Radletts and the powerful and domineering Hamptons, are among the funniest works to come out of England in the twentieth century: they portray a beautiful, doomed, and very silly world that has managed to hang on by the skin of its teeth past the onset of the Industrial Revolution when it should have been wiped out completely. Twice these books have been the basis for miniseries from the BBC, and the latest and most expensive version (from 2001) is avilable on DVD. The characters and observations about class and eccentricity are so funny almost no version of these novels can miss, and this adaptation is blessed not only with sumptuous production values but a wonderful gallery of BBC stars, from Alan Bates as the splenetic Lord Alconleigh to the Sheila Gish as the iron-willed gorgon Lady Montdore. Of the three young women cast as the central characters galloping off in pursuit of love, however, only Rosamund Pike fully succeeds as Fanny (paradoxically the least fleshed out of the three characters in Mitfords' books), whom she plays as a dreamy and naive rose; Megan Dodds does not do enough with Polly Hampton, who marries against her mother's wishes, and Elisabeth Dermot-Walsh plays the key role of Linda Radlett as mostly frivolous rather than as the rueful romantic Mitford imagined. It also seems to have been a mistake to tell the stories of both novels concurrently rather than sequentially, since THE PURSUIT OF LOVE becomes darker as it proceeds whereas the original LOVE IN A COLD CLIMATE becomes frothier; the adapter, Deborah Moggach, does not adjust well for these changes in tone when they run against one another."
It should have been longer
Alison Leigh | 06/21/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The BBC's Love in a Cold Climate, based on the Nancy Mitford novels The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate, tell the stories of three young girls from aristocratic backgrounds: Fanny, Linda, and Polly, as they struggle to live life and find love amongst a changing world.
The production values of the series are wonderful, but the script needed to be MUCH longer. Screenwriter Deborah Moggach tried to fit too many events into a two and a half hour timespan. There was obviously a reason Mitford divided the story into two books. One leaves the film feeling quite rushed.
However, wonderful performances from Rosamund Pike as Fanny and Elisabeth Dermot-Walsh as Linda. There are some quite funny moments."
Ileana M. Forzano | Argentina | 03/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having read both of the novels that this mini series is based on (and loving both of them) I was afraid that this adaptation might disappoint me, but even though the pace is pretty fast (I'm not quite sure that someone who is not familiar with the books would be able to follow the many stories, the loads of characters and the various threads) I loved the way they conveyed the spirit of the books and enjoyed this mini-series a lot. The casting was excellent, the period was perfectly represented and the stories were faithful to the books, so, having enjoyed the books immensely I consider this production a real treat. The only drawbacks I can think of are the fast pace and the fact that a lot of the humor of the books didn't make it into the adaptation. "
An engaging adaptation though too brief.
z hayes | TX | 04/27/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I wish I had the opportunity of watching the 1980 British TV version of Love in a Cold Climate [7 hours long]. This 2001 version attempts to condense Nancy Mitford's Love in a Cold Climate and The Pursuit of Love into a 150 minutes production. It doesn't do justice to the books, but it certainly entertains, and the acting is simply marvelous.
The story is told from the point of view of Fanny [Rosamund Pike]who lives on her eccentric Uncle Matthew Radlett's [Alan Bates] estate with her cousin Linda [Elisabeth Dermot-Walsh] and her family. Fanny narrates their exploits as young women coming out into society and their rather unconventional upbringing, with Fanny herself having an infamous eloper for a mother, nicknamed The Bolter. The two young ladies approach love very differently, as does another one of their peer group, the aristocratic beauty, Polly Montdore[ Megan Dodds]. Whilst Fanny ultimately marries for love and settles into domestic bliss, Linda and Fanny go through much mishap in their love lives.
It is the three actors who portray the young women who are at the forefront of the story, and the men in their lives form a backdrop without really being of much substance. The story is part-autobiographical, for it is based on Nancy Mitford's own unconventional life and makes for compelling viewing. The production is of high-quality with the sets and costumes being very authentic to the period portrayed, circa 1929-1940.
This is an enjoyable series with good character development, and will appeal to Anglophiles and fans of period dramas."