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A Voyage Round My Father


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Amazon.com: 9 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
MEMORABLE PERFORMANCES BY OLIVIER & BATES Feb. 27 2010
By Harold Wolf - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
A very touching drama of a father/son relationship, both being lawyers, with both portraying actors no longer living. The father, Clifford Mortimer (Laurence Olivier) lost his sight while his son, John (Alan Bates-'Gosford Park'), was a youth. The story is a period tale, beginning about the time of WWII, but the son grows up, engages in following his father's law career, but preferring writing. The family, at the desire of the father, pretends there is no sight handicap. It is never even mentioned. The man goes about his gardens, fighting the bugs, and having others describe the beauty. He seems to refrain from facing reality, or has he become so perfectly adapted to his handicap? Should the viewer be inspired or feel pity for the man?
John ages, marries Elizabeth (Jane Asher-'Brideshead Revisited'), and the father/son relationship continues sometimes in conflict, sometimes humorous, sometimes surprising. This, as often in stories with these 2 actors, makes the viewer think and become engaged in the intellect of the characters. Elizabeth Sellars ('Shiralee') plays Clifford's wife, John's mother.

The DVD reminds you sometimes of a play format (this was adapted from the original stage play), except the sets are much more elaborate and much of the footage was actually done on the English estate of the writer, in Oxfordshire. The countryside is beautiful, as rewarding as the performances. _________SUBTITLES are available.

The writer, John Clifford Mortimer, the man who created "Rumpole of the Bailey", obviously used his own real life as a divorce lawyer like his father's divorce law practice, John's sight problems, and even his statement about being raised "entirely on the profits of adultery" a dialogue line used in the performance. Like the son in the story, Mortimer wrote and practiced law at the same time, successful in both. Mortimer died in January, 2009, so there will be no new legal drama stories coming from this great British writer. Both of the 2 leading men have also died, Olivier in 1989 and Bates in 2003. This DVD is a testimony to the skills of all 3 men.

Additional Lawrence Olivier presentations can be seen in a good DVD set titled "Laurence Olivier Presents" for those who enjoy this performance. Olivier and Bates acted together in "The Entertainer" in 1960.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Good Drama! Feb. 28 2012
By C. Alford - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This story is baesd on the biography of the writer John Mortimer. A difficult but loving relationship between father and son. The father who is a lawyer that refuses to admit he is blind and the son who wants to always please him by following in his footsteps all the while longing for his own path. The acting is superb. I liked it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great Story July 6 2013
By Tom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
After watching Rumpole of the Bailey for several years I was intrigued by John Mortimer's writing and story lines. So, when I discovered that there was a DVD about him and his father I had to get it. Not quite what I expected but an interesting tale. No question his father was a real character and a major force in his life.

Well worth watching at least once.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Enjoyed. April 7 2013
By Nancy Hall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I like John Mortimer. I read somewhere that this British TV movie was shot where John Mortimer grew up with his parents, where the events of the movie really took place at least in terms of the family home, and where the author lived with his family. The death scene with Lawrence Olivier (as the father) was shot in the room and bed where Mortimer's father did die. I was interested to see the real home and real garden where all of this really happened. Lawrence Olivier played the father and Alan Bates played the son and, of course, the author. That is wonderful casting. The other actors were good.
Mortimer's portrayal of cranky yet endearing father March 5 2013
By Bert vanC Bailey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
A fine made-for-TV film about John Mortimer's fictionalized recollections of his father. And Mortimer's really the shining star in this - which you'll like if you know the Rumpole series and incline towards the testy but amusing, sometimes whacky take on things conjured there, or in 'Paradise Postponed' or his other work, written or playacted.

Lawrence Olivier makes the most of his advanced age to turn out a delightfully cranky Dad. (If I read any more about Dustin Hoffman's Methodist misgivings about Sir Larry, this'll be recalled as counterevidence: he gets things across without all the self-torture.) Alan Bates is a bit old for his part here, but does well in a few key scenes in this secondary, not terrifically fulsome role. And Jane Asher - who once taught Liverpudlian Macca about art and theatre and modern classical music - is unusually convincing in her role as a challenging, almost-likeable worthy opponent to the opinionated Dad-in-law (her role, incidentally, became merely Mortimer's first wife).

This should especially appeal to anyone who's spent time with relatives who are or, with age, have turned self-centred, pernickety, and a bit too assured about every last thing they say. What's refreshing is Mortimer's talent to remind us that we do retain affection, despite all.

(It's close captioned, too!)

At under an hour-and-a-half long, it was time very well spent.


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