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North & South
North South
Actors: Daniela Denby-Ashe, Richard Armitage, Tim Pigott-Smith, Sinéad Cusack, Brendan Coyle
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
NR     2005     3hr 53min

Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 05/16/2006 Run time: 233 minutes Rating: Nr


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Movie Details

Actors: Daniela Denby-Ashe, Richard Armitage, Tim Pigott-Smith, Sinéad Cusack, Brendan Coyle
Creator: Kristina Hetherington
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Miniseries
Studio: BBC Warner
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 11/15/2005
Original Release Date: 07/02/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 07/02/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 3hr 53min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 21
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Sasha M. from HIALEAH, FL
Reviewed on 1/14/2009...
I absolutely adore this movie! Good goodness. I seriously believe that between the superb acting, incredible setups, and brilliant screenplay adaption of the novel, this is the next best book adaption following the 1995 verison of "Pride & Prejudice" (Colin Firth version). Which brings me to the actor Richard Armitage who plays John Thornton. He is absolutely exquisite. I am inclined to believe that had there been no Colin-Firth-as-Mr.-Darcy, Richard-Armitage-as-Mr.-Thornton would be the top standard for all women everywhere.
It's a gorgeous, timeless love story that is rich with story, humility and lush scenery.
You must see it!
5 of 5 stars, no doubts.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

The best British period drama ever made!!!
Marcy Gomez | Kansas City, USA | 08/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

""North & South" was released in the UK in November 2004 and in the US in July 2005. Since its first broadcast, viewers across the globe have hailed it as one of the best - if not the best - British period miniseries ever produced. It was voted BBC's "Best of 2004" in drama, actor and actress categories, among others.

Many in the US will probably confuse Elizabeth Gaskell's "North & South" to John Jake's civil war drama of the same name. While Jake's tells the story of America's north and south, Gaskell's story is rooted in Victorian England. John Thornton, a handsome, stern, passionate manufacturer from Milton represents the north. Margaret Hale, an outspoken, beautiful and spirited young woman from Helstone represents the south. When the Hales move from the idyllic village of Helstone to the bustling, industrial city of Milton, Margaret and Thornton's lives collide.

John Thornton is instantly attracted to Margaret while she is repulsed by his haughty demeanor and the way he treats his employees. She develops a disdain for the wealthy 'masters' (manufacturers) and strikes a friendship with the daughter of the local union leader, much to Thornton's dismay. As Margaret becomes better acquainted with Mr. Thornton, she gradually comes to admire him. She discovers that he is hardworking, a devoted brother and son, generous and kind to Margaret's parents, and is loyal and honorable. However, when the workers in Milton strike, the turn of events that follow drive a wedge between Margaret and Thornton and eventually threaten to pull them apart.

"North & South" is produced by the excellent BBC and the screenplay was written by Sandy Welch, who also penned the outstanding "Our Mutual Friend." Everything you would expect from a topnotch BBC production is here - locations, sets, costumes, casting, direction, cinematography. The story is an adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's little known but well loved 19th century novel. Mrs. Gaskell also wrote "Wives & Daughters" which was turned to another superb miniseries starring Justine Waddell, Keeley Hawes and Francesca Annis in 1999.

I would be very remiss in writing a review for this miniseries without applauding the exemplary cast. The little known Richard Armitage has earned a throng of fans overnight because of his unforgettable portrayal of John Thornton. He has since replaced Pride & Prejudice's Colin Firth as my favorite brooding hero and infuses so much passion and charisma into his role. Daniela Denby-Ashe is wonderful and charming as Margaret Hale. Also excellent are Brendan Coyle as the gruff but good-hearted Nicholas Higgins, Sinead Cusack as John Thornton's haughty but devoted mother, Joy Joyner as the funny and superficial Fanny Thornton, Lesley Manville as Mrs. Hale and Tim Piggot-Smith as Mr. Hale.

"North & South" has since replaced 1995's "Pride & Prejudice" as my favorite miniseries. It tugs at the heart and sweeps the viewer off their feet. The relationships that develop between its main characters (notably, Thornton and Margaret; Thornton and Higgins; Margaret and Bessy Higgins) and the journey that Margaret and Thornton go through are truly unforgettable. In fact, you will wish that the ending didn't come so soon!

"North and South" went through a sad process of editing when BBC America aired it in July 2005. A full hour was cut from the miniseries to make room for commercials. Finally, with this dvd release US viewers now have a chance to see this instant classic as it was meant to be seen - with a 233 minute running time and with all the scenes intact. The dvd also includes a delightful interview with Richard Armitage, a handful of deleted scenes (including an extended 'proposal' scene), commentaries and cast biographies.

If you are an anglophile or a fan of high-quality period drama, you owe it to yourself to see "North & South." Fans of "Pride & Prejudice," "Wives & Daughters," "Middlemarch," Dickens / Austen adaptations and the like should not miss this. I have no doubt that most of you will fall in love with this miniseries as many of us have. Everyone whom I have recommended this miniseries to have at least liked it (and at most, are completely obsessed with it). This dvd is a keeper and deserves a place in any period drama fan's dvd collection.

The BEST BBC mini-series in a DECADE!!
randomartco | Greater Washington D.C. area | 08/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When I stumbled across an upcoming DVD entitled "North & South" on Amazon UK's website earlier this year, I had no idea what was in store...I bought the DVD sight unseen, taking a chance that the BBC would do a good job as always: man, was I surprised! This BBC series is absolutely fantastic!! I have always been a huge fan of 1995's "Pride & Prejudice", as well as other BBC (and other companies') period movies: "North & South" has endeared itself to my heart, and is quickly becoming my favorite period film in at least a decade!

Margaret Hale's world is turned upside-down when her minister father gives up his Southern "Helstone" parish and moves her and her mother to the Northern industrial town, "Milton." Her first encounter with mill owner Mr. Thornton leaves much to be desired and leaves her feeling that "the North" is an untenable place to live. After spending time getting to know the plight of the various poor mill workers and taking care of her beloved and now-ailing mother, Margaret begins to warm to her new town: but can a "Southern" gal as she ever truly feel at home in such an alien "Northern" place? And will she ever be able to get past her initial dislike of Mr. Thornton?

This is a fantastic, beautifully-filmed and well-done series (aired on BBC USA in July)! The cinematography is so excellent and compelling, and the scenes wonderfully acted: Daniela Denby Ashe as Margaret Hale and Richard Armitage as Mr. Thornton are completely wonderful. If you have seen this series, let me just say the train scene is one of my favorites of all time! The content is kept to mild violence (of angry mill workers) and little else: clean and family-friendly, this great TV series will endear itself to your heart as much as mine, just give it a chance...

If you can find the time, read the book by Elizabeth Gaskell: I just finished it, and let me tell you, it is absolutely amazing! BBC did a good job of adapting it (although some storyline and characters have been altered for the sake of time).

Again, this is a wonderful series and well worth the time, effort and money you will spend!"
One of THE Best British Miniseries Ever Produced!
Tiggah | Calgary, Alberta Canada | 01/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"With his sharp, hawklike features and piercing eyes, Richard Armitage (Cold Feet ser. 5), gives a breathtaking perfomance in what is doubtless to become his signature role as the stern, powerful, proud cotton-mill owner, John Thornton, in this splendid four-part 2004 adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's turbulent 1855 novel, North & South.

Margaret Hale is a beautiful young woman who has been a part of London society and who "hales" from an Edenic village in the South of England--a part of the world where life moves at a slower pace, untainted by the filth, over-crowding, anonymity, and abject poverty which was a by-product of the industrial revolution in the North. Her life is turned upside down, however, when her father, a local vicar, suffers a crisis of faith which results in him leaving the church and uprooting his family to the dreary, smoky, northern industrial town of Milton where he hopes to eke out a living as a tutor.

Margaret is disgusted by all she sees in this new, foreign place which is unlike anything she has ever known. She lays the fault for the appalling social conditions at the feet of the industrialists--the "masters"--towards whom she betrays an almost instant prejudice. The industrialist who bears the brunt of Margaret's antagonism and criticism is John Thornton, a pupil and friend of her father's.

The central story revolves around the antagonistic relationship between these two characters, and it is hard not to make comparisons with Austen's Pride & Prejudice. Though he's a hard-working industrialist rather than an idle, landed gentleman, Thornton is very similar to Darcy, as much for his serious, stern, brooding nature as for his integrity and strength of character. Also like Darcy, he falls desperately in love--despite himself--with a strong-willed, proud, outspoken, intelligent young woman who spurns his love and sends him off with his tail between his legs. Like the aloof, prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet, it is only after spurning her would-be lover that Margaret Hale comes to realize just what sort of man she has rejected. That said, I will say no more regarding their relationship, as I don't wish to spoil the story for those unfamiliar.

North & South also deals with the working and living conditions of the mill workers and with the labour unions of the time. We see the union from the perspective of both the masters and the workers, but we also see tension within the ranks of the workers. Solidarity is the foundation upon which the union gets its strength, but we are forced to question the justification of the union's tyrannical enforcement of it when we see cruel harships befall certain individuals as a result.

Dvd extras include deleted scenes and an interesting 15-minute interview with Richard Armitage. Text-based extras include interesting production notes and "bios" of 5 of the main actors, which consist of little in the way of biography and are mostly comments about themselves and their roles! There is also a commentary on episodes 1 & 4.

North & South is a powerful, passionate, beautiful story (not to mention rivetting--I initially watched it on television, and rarely have I seen a show in which it was SO hard to wait for the next episode). The acting is flawless and the production values unsurpassed, which result in a visually stunning, rich, dynamic presentation. I have no hesitation in saying that this is one of the best dramas (period or otherwise) produced by the BBC in a very long time. It will be a special treat for anyone with a penchant for period productions; as for those who enjoyed 1995's Pride & Prejudice, it is absolutely a must see! In short, this is one mini-series which I cannot praise highly enough, and I recommend it unreservedly to anyone looking for top quality dramatic entertainment.