Even better than the first set
F. Behrens | Keene, NH USA | 01/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It was cruel of Acorn Media to make us wait so many months between our viewing of episodes 1-8 and the now available middle third of the complete series, episodes 9-17. I resisted the temptation to view the first set again to re-establish in my mind the myriad relationships between the host of characters, but I thought it would all come back again--which it did, especially with the help of the invaluable booklet provided with the first set. If anything, these middle episodes are even more fascinating (though by a slim margin) than the earlier ones. Plantagenet (Philip Latham) is much more serious and his confrontation with his rebellious older son is a telling one. His lady (Susan Hampshire) is more mature, certainly more nearsighted, but still bubbly and fun to watch, especially as she tries to manipulate Phineas Finn (Donal McCann) into a cabinet post and her rustic female relation (Jo Kendall) into a marriage. There is a wealth of comic characters besides the plain-speaking Ms. Kendall. Derek Jacobi is perfect as Lord Fawn with ridiculous side-burns and a total incapacity for winning a wife. Sarah Badell is a knockout as Lizzie Eustace who is determined to keep "The Eustace Diamonds" in her own possession even though it means lying about one burglary only to bring about another. The slimy man of the cloth she marries, the Reverend Emilius (Anthony Ainely), is your typical hypocritical villain of the period; but the delightful Terence Alexander portrays a much more honest villain as Lord George. Even the old and dying Duke of Omnium (Roland Culver) has a little fun with his pretty blonde nurse; and one of his dying wishes is that someone do something about the foxes in the woods, because he knows his heir, Plantagenet, will think only of finances and politics. On the serious side, we have the religious fanatic Robert Kennedy (Derek Godfrey) who believes that happiness is possible only in Heaven and makes a hell on earth for his wife (Anna Massey). And we have the socially unacceptable but politically useful Mr. Bonteen (Peter Sallis) whose hatred of Finn leads to.... Well, never mind. Better see what happens for yourself. Trollope never quite mastered the well-wrought novel, but he did create two entire worlds of very believable people in his Barchester and in the Palliser novels. He had to fill up three volumes (the lending libraries insisted on this to increase their profits) and also had to consider serializing his works first. So there are many plot lines to follow, most of which intermix either dramatically or thematically. And need it be mentioned that the production values, though relatively low budget, and the acting are a joy to behold? Unhappily this set ends with a real cliffhanger and it will be a long wait until "late this year," which is when Acorn Media promises the next and final set."
Cheesy and Irresistable
R. Sparks | 02/13/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ok, ok, I know it's cheesy but it's also irresistable fun. It's Trollope the Victorian as produced by Aaron Spelling (who knew?)starring that incredibly perky Susan Hampshire. Don't be surprised if you find yourself reveling in the shenanigans of the less sympathetic characters, and if it turns out your favorite continuing snide commentator is Dolly Longstreet, just pour yourself a sherry, adjust your monocle and sit back to wait for the third and final series. And thank goodness Penelope Keith lost all that weight."
Worth the price of admission!!
R. Sparks | Norman, Oklahoma United States | 01/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This series, though certainly low budget by today's standards, is absolutely one of the most superbly constructed pieces of classic Brit cinema available on DVD. It will take it's place in my collection along side more contemporary versions of it's cousins "Pride and Prejudice" and "Sense and Sensibility" to be more "savored" than "watched".As far as special features, there are few. . .Okay, there's ONE. You can chapter search - Though the huge guidebook included with the set make up for not having "behind the scenes" and the like. And you can read it WHILE the series is playing! A true boon to those of us that tend to have less short term than long term memories.The series is comprised of all of the things that you want from classic Brit television- Drama, romance, intrigue. . . Well, a little less intrigue than maybe would have been nice, but still the shows will keep you spellbound from the first opening sequence! This in conjunction with it's humor (not quite "To the Manor Born", but still very witty) make this a series you'll keep pulling out on family-movie nights for years to come! Sure, there's less chance of that happening if you are blessed with all boys, but those of you that are bringing up little girls can look forward to many viewings of this classic!!I strongly recommend this series!"