The BBC jewel that became a PBS classic! "Wonderfully detailed etchings of manners, fashion and Parliamentary maneuvering" ?The New York Times Set in the palatial country houses and grand Mayfair salons of mid-Victorian En... more »gland, The Pallisers is a sprawling BBC saga of wealth, passion, and power. Based on Anthony Trollope?s six "political" novels?called the finest sequence of fiction ever written about British Parliamentary life?and adapted by contemporary British novelist Simon Raven, the series proved powerfully addictive to television audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. Starring Emmy®-winner Susan Hampshire as the beautiful and passionate Lady Glencora, whose arranged marriage to rising politician Plantagenet Palliser (Philip Latham) touchingly endures despite being tested by public and private crises. Also starring Derek Jacobi (Cadfael), Penelope Keith (To the Manor Born), Anthony Andrews (Brideshead Revisited), Kate Nichols (Nicholas Nickleby), and Jeremy Irons (Damage). DVD SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE exclusive Susan Hampshire interview, 36-page viewer?s guide, Trollope materials, cast filmographies and Victoriana.« less
"The Pallisers is a 1974 BBC production based on Anthony Trollope's six-volume series of novels which takes place in the mid to late 1800s and covers more than 20 years. Where Trollope's Barchester series revolves around the church, his Palliser series revolves around the world of politics. Throughout the course of the series, one gains some familiarity with the political issues of the time--issues such as Irish tenant rights, the implementation of secret ballots, the abolition of rotten boroughs, the decimalization of the currency, and so on. If you're not particularly interested in politics or political history, you needn't worry, for the issues are not the focal point of the series. The show is primarily about individuals, their relationships with one another, and the scandals and intrigues that arise--we're even treated along the way to a murder and the ensuing court case.
The series primarily follows the lives of wealthy Plantagenet Palliser (Philip Latham), a Member of Parliament for the Liberal Party, the heir to a dukedom, and a very serious, conscientious, and morally upright gentleman; and the beautiful, spirited, and wealthy Lady Glencora (Susan Hampshire (The Barchester Chronicles, The Forsyte Saga, The First Churchills, The Grand, The Monarch of the Glen))--a young woman who, as the story opens, is head over heels in love with an avaricious but charismatic gambler, but whose hand is destined (if her guardian has her way) for Plantagenet.
I might just mention that each novel is an independent entity, and one can usually tell when one has reached the end of the dramatisation of each one, for there is a sense of closure to that particular story and we often see no more of individuals who were introduced for that story. Having said that, a couple of characters worth mentioning are the new, cash-strapped Irish MP Phineas Finn (Donal McCann), and Madame Max (Barbara Murray), a shrewd, resourceful and wealthy Austrian, both of whom feature prominently throughout much of the series.
The series consists of twenty-six 50-minute episodes, and one ought not to expect a slick production like those one has come to expect of 90's efforts. The production is very well done, but it is done according to 1970's standards. In other words, if you're familiar with Upstairs Downstairs, The Duchess of Duke Street, Lillie, and other 70's productions, you can expect the same sort of look and feel here. The only complaint I have (and it's a minor one) concerns the first episode or two which, unfortunately, appear to have been either overexposed or overdeveloped.
In short, this is a splendid period drama punctuated with plenty of comic relief, seasoned with a memorable cast of characters, and consummately acted by an all-star British cast. To name but a few: a bewhiskered Derek Jacobi (I Claudius, Cadfael) plays Lord Fawn, a cash-strapped man who has no luck with women. Penelope Keith (To the Manor Born, Good Neighbours) briefly appears in a few episodes as Fawn's domineering sister (just the type of character at which she excels!). Peter Sallis (Last of the Summer Wine's Norman Clegg) portrays the surly, unpleasant Mr. Bonteen. Anthony Andrews (Brideshead Revisited) appears in the later episodes as a grown-up Silverbridge, the Duke's eldest son, with Jeremy Irons (also Brideshead Revisited) as Frank Tregear, Silverbridge's best friend.
I highly recommend this captivating, intelligent, and all around enjoyable series (which I for one had never seen before). If you enjoy period drama, it's a safe bet that you'll soon find yourself hooked on this one--our family certainly was! "
Book Freak | United States | 12/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This set of DVDs encompasses six of Anthony Trollope's books. However, it is very much a television phenomenon - lavish costumes, beautiful sets, and superb acting. Several disparate stories are held together by the lives of Glencora Palliser and her husband Plantagenet. Although 30 years old, the film has held up extremely well, it looks marvellous. The dialog has not dated at all, the acting is fresh and the directing seamless. I noticed a couple of rather poor backdrops purporting to be out of doors, and merely two wobbles of scenery in the nearly twenty hours of viewing. However, you watch this for the stories, which are entrancing, and which are ably supported by a matchless cast of characters. The acting is flawless - I cannot praise it too highly, and the costumes are a delight. The DVD contains an interesting interview with the lovely Susan Hampshire, from 2000, with many insights into the making of the series. They don't make them like this any more."
Robin Goldberg | NYC,USA | 06/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The entire collection is marvelous viewing, the actors are superb, the period costumes and sets are beautiful to look at. Most of all Susuan Hampshire is amazing and classy as Lady Glencora (the Duchess of Omnium & Gatherum),she brings such life to any character she portrays. Barbara Murray (Mrs. Finn)is beautiful and very classy too. You grow to love Philip Latham (the Duke of Omnium & Gatherum)too, The entire cast are really excellent. I enjoyed watching several times over the years and still do watch it occasionally."
Paul Magnussen | Campbell, CA USA | 03/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with everything the five-star reviewers say, but I should like to mention something that American viewers may not be in a position to know: this version has been abridged from the original BBC production, which I remember very clearly; and this is nowhere stated!
For instance, to take just the trial of Phineas Finn, the introduction of the Archbishop of Canterbury as a character-witness has been cut, and so has the rôle of Mr Chaffanbrass (Peter Vaughan).
I'm used to this butchery on the part of PBS, but I had hoped that the DVDs at least would give me the whole thing.
The UK edition comes in four volumes, totalling 1260 minutes. The US edition lists 1335 minutes, but this presumably includes the three-part interview with Susan Hampshire.
I don't yet know whether the UK edition includes the missing footage; but if so, those in the US with an international DVD player may care to have the whole thing and sacrifice the interview, interesting though it is."
Greta G. | Los Angeles, CA | 03/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I liked this set so much, I bought it twice -- once for me and once for a friend!!! The actors are all very engaging. I would say that the costumes had a staring role -- absolutely beautiful. Susan Hampshire is very lovely and carries the piece. Also you get a very early performance from Jeremy Irons. It is everything a period drama should be. I haven't read the books yet, but I've certainly put them on my list."