This energetic, sardonic, and richly funny adaptation of Daniel Defoe's classic novel is completely unlike what you might expect from genteel Masterpiece Theatre. The heroine, Moll Flanders (Alex Kingston), after being bor... more »n in prison, wends her way through the top and bottom of 18th-century English society, has five husbands (including a roguish highwayman who becomes the love of her life), many lovers (male and female), travels to America and back again, and in general discovers all that is cruel and sweet in life. Kingston tears into her role with gleeful amorality and delicious charm, often turning to the camera with a seductive smile to ask, "What would you do?" This British miniseries is brilliantly written, skillfully directed, and superbly acted all around (with particularly delightful performances by Diana Rigg and Daniel Craig)--in short, among the best of its kind; both a cunning examination of social morés and a hugely entertaining story. Not to be missed. --Bret Fetzer« less
"This is the BBC/Masterpiece version of MOLL FLANDERS (most recent version) and definitely a film to buy if you are fond of English literature adapted for film. This is a long film 3 hours and 40 minutes, and was shown over several nights on our local PBS station. I own the DVD and it is excellent. The costumes, settings, etc. are fabulous and accurate and comparable to other Masterpiece dramas on DVD such as the recently released WIVES AND DAUGHTERS. Moll Flanders (played by Alex Kingston) was an incredibly resourceful woman. Daniel Defoe (author of ROBINSON CRUSOE, 1719) wrote Moll Flanders and in some respects Moll is a mirror-twin to Robinson. While Robinson battled nature Moll battled civilization. Civilization in late 16th-early 17th Century England was ragged around the edges. We hear much about slavery during this period, but life for the ordinary working-class male and female was just as ugly. Through Moll we learn just how ugly life could be and what it meant to survive, especially for those not "To the Manor Born" and in some cases those who were. Poverty, illness, sexism, seduction, rape, murder--Moll sees it all. In spite of all this, Moll has her moments of gracious living, so you won't be watching a poor tattered Moll during the whole film. Moll is elegantly dressed most of the time, and the settings for the action in this film include everything from the finest drawing rooms in Tudor style manors to a plantation house in the English colony of Virginia. Moll marries five times, and each marriage is perfectly logical, pragmatic, and a choice she makes to survive. Moll turns to the camera in each instance and asks, "What would you do" much as Defoe asked the reader the same question. Her marriages face incredible odds. Her favorite beau Jemmy, played by Daniel Craig (The Ice House), surfaces over and over. Are these two star-crossed lovers or destined to be together? The end will tell.I like Moll, and though she's been characterized as a "bad girl" I don't think she was at all. Moll took what she was handed and made the best of it. Moll was street smart before the term was invented. More than one of us is descended from someone who faced these incredible odds of survival. Does Moll beat the odds, you'll have to see the film to find out. A special treat--the wonderful Diana Rigg as Mrs. Golightly."
Missing scenes, Added graphic sex scenes-same production, di
medorarose | SC | 02/26/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD (The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders) is renamed for a purpose: it is a different edit of the "Moll Flanders" that PBS put on a few years ago. This edit loses at least one scene (the garden scene with Moll and Roland in the strange, circular shrubbery) and some of the narration is either missing or moved. The result is a different product. The time gained by losing a scene (or more) and narration is spent in adding graphic sex scenes for nearly EVERYONE Moll sleeps with (yes, even the disgusting, drunken baronet, but thankfully, his pasty bottom is one of the few that isn't shown in the act). Why this edit adds so many more sex scenes and then does not add any new scenes or retain the old scenes is beyond my understanding. This edit results in a less satisfying story. If that were not enough, the music is changed for this version. After a while, you can get used to it, but it is a much sweeter soundtrack and often doesn't seem to go that well with the scene as a result. Don't buy this version if you watched it on TV and loved it."
Eric Pregosin | New Carrollton, Maryland United States | 07/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This performance of Moll Flanders is an excellent show. When this was released there was a theatrical release with Robin Wright playing simultaneously. This one is by far the superior. It tells the whole story. Diana Rigg is excellent as her long lost mother in later years. The DVD includes Russell Baker's commentary from the telecast which is unusual for a pre-recorded Masterpiece Theatre, but far be it from me to complain. Grab it while you can. UPDATE: 8/4/2007: The 2 disc copy (not THIS one) has been edited, see my separate review on that one. Also, this program is what TV rates as TV MA (Mature Audience, small screen equivalent of NC 17) do NOT let anyone under 17 watch it."
sflawton | San Francisco, CA | 12/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this version of Moll Flanders for the first time this past spring on PBS. I assumed it was going to be some sort of stuffy Masterpiece Theatre-type production, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was anything but. This saucy, fun film had me riveted to the tv screen the entire time-I don't think there was a single boring moment throughout."
Not a good version
sflawton | 05/07/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I watched the miniseries when it came on PBS and I was excited when it came on DVD but have been disappointed. Several scenes have been omitted from the DVD version including Roland's first romantic overture to Moll in a beautiful circlular garden, and when she finds herself spiraling into wickedness she prays to God for help and then turns to the camera and says "do you think He helped me, has He ever helped you?" They're small omissions but I considered them important and with no subtitles of any kind, I can't recommend this edition and regret buying it myself instead of seeking out the PBS version."