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Vanity Fair (amaray repackage)

Natasha Little , Frances Grey    DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 26.99
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Product Description


Becky Sharp is "poor and put-upon." She's also "a sharp little minx," a "treacherous little trollop," and "a heartless mother and faithless wife." Yes, there's something about Becky in this impeccable BBC production based on William Makepeace Thackeray's classic novel. It speaks volumes about Thackeray's indomitable heroine and Natasha Little's seductively ingratiating performance that our hearts go out to her even as we eagerly await her comeuppance.

Becky is scorned for her lack of breeding, but as one admirer notes, "she's got pluck." Poised to begin her new job as a governess, Becky's calculated social climbing begins in the home of her friend, the naive Amelia Sedley (Frances Grey), whose father is a wealthy merchant. She immediately makes a play for Amelia's doofus brother, but their budding romance is sabotaged by Amelia's fiancé George Osborne (Tom Ward), an "interfering, officious snob" who doesn't fancy a governess for a sister-in-law. And so it's out into the world, where Becky works her wiles on a gallery of memorable characters, including her lecherous new employer Sir Pitt; his imperious rich sister Miss Crawley (Miriam Margolyes), who takes Becky under her wing; and Pitt's dashing son Rawdon (Nathanial Perker), the first of Becky's misguided sexual entanglements.

Vanity Fair charts in lavish detail Becky's rise in London society and her scandalous downfall. Her story is counterpoint to that of the fair Amelia, who is clueless that her husband is a rake and that his best friend, the loyal, long-suffering Dobbin (Philip Glenistar), is in love with her and is her secret benefactor when times get bad for her bankrupt father. Adapted for the screen by Andrew Davies, who did the honors for the phenomenally successful Pride and Prejudice, Vanity Fair is another addictive miniseries that is the video equivalent of a compulsive page-turner. As yet another fancier remarks, "Well done, Becky Sharp." --Donald Liebenson

Product Description

A&E and the BBC bring William Thackeray's classic satire to life in this lavish co-production.

In a culture obsessed with status, Becky Sharp---beautiful, clever and poor---is determined to earn her place in society. Her childhood friend, Amelia Sedley, enjoys the privileges Becky lacks, little realizing how fickle these blessings can be.

From posh London ballrooms and country estates to the battlefield at Waterloo, they pursue love and fortune in the self-absorbed world of the British upper crust. While the delightfully amoral Becky manipulates the men around her, Amelia's innocence and the vagaries of fate leave her at the mercy of others.

Brilliantly adapted by Andrew Davies (Pride and Prejudice) from William Makepeace Thackeray's masterpiece, VANITY FAIR faithfully preserves the bon mots and stinging satire that has made the novel one of the enduring classics of English literature.

BONUS FEATURE: English Subtitles

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Becky, Andrew and William Jan. 7 2004
Andrew Davies is a very clever man with, I suspect, quite a tender heart. I don't know how he draws out these old novels for us the way he does, but he's done it again here. I have to admit, the first time I saw this production, I liked it, but was left a little cold. The second time I saw it, I knew it was just me, and that it takes a viewer accustomed to mediocrity some time to readjust to this kind of brilliance. The costumes and sets, in the hot Oriental colours of the real Regency instead of the too often misrendered pastels of the earlier Georgians, are well done and the acting and casting are great. Davies, cleverly, put some of the wry observations of the narrative passages into the mouths of the characters. "I must say, Dr. Hume, if a man's character is to be abused, there's nobody like a relation to do the business." David Bradley is old Sir Pitt is himself, in fact, the whole Queen's Crawley contingent will make you both laugh and squirm, just like they're supposed to. Janine Duvitski as marvelous as the ghastly, grasping Mrs. Bute Crawley. Natasha Little is luminously beautiful as Becky Sharp, her careless curls at unsettling contrast with her little smirk. Amelia Sedley is so wet you could ring her out (Thackeray predicted my criticism of her character, by the way) but Frances Grey plays her so well you admire her, as you do all of them, for just being the flawed creatures they are.
You will find the inhabitants of this fair very much alive and not at all like puppets, as Thackeray disingenuously tells you they are all through his book. The visuals well support the spirit of the production.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thackeray's masterpiece brought to life! March 8 2004
It begins on an innocuous afternoon at the Pinkerton school for young ladies, where Miss Becky Sharp (played by Natasha Little, whose father was a drunken drawing master) is finishing up her last day as French tutor to the girls. She is going to stay with her friend, Amelia Sedley (a stock-broker's daughter, played by Frances Grey) for a short time, until she must leave to take up a post as a governess. Becky carelessly proclaims her goodbye to her students and "waltzes" out of the classroom, shortly to join Amelia in Miss Barbara Pinkerton's office. Miss Pinkerton reads aloud a glowing letter of praise about Amelia to her sister Jemima, just before they are joined by Amelia and Becky; she then presents "my dear Amelia" with Johnson's dictionary to "remind her of her time there." Miss Pinkerton (who has never liked Becky) then continues severely, "Miss Sharp, I bid you good day. I make no presentation; you've shown yourself incapable of gratitude," to which Becky replies tartly, "I beg your pardon. I taught a little French here and you paid me a pittance for it. No occasion for gratitude on either side, I should say." She flounces outside and into the waiting carriage, where she and Amelia journey to the Sedley home in London.
Amelia Sedley (Emmy to friends), a sweet and innocent young lady, trusts that her friend Becky is as honest and true as she herself is; but it is just not so. Becky is envious of her friend Amelia's good fortune and privileges, and does everything she can to attain those things for herself.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable -- but I miss Eve Matheson!! Sept. 16 2003
Format:VHS Tape
This is a very enjoyable production, but it just makes me yearn all the more for the 1987 BBC Vanity Fair, starring Eve Matheson as Becky Sharp. Why oh why won't SOMEONE SOMEWHERE release the 1987 BBC Vanity Fair on video or dvd? I own the Natasha Little Vanity Fair on dvd, and it is a wonderful adaptation, but nothing can touch the 1987 Eve Matheson version.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fell short of expectations May 9 2004
This was a much touted mini-series which I missed on TV and have now watched on DVD. I had high expectations. They were not realized, but by no means can one say that the show is a failure or even a waste of time. No urge to fast-forward here....
Yet..... there is a flatness about the whole production that keeps the emotions, the humor, at arms length. Becky Sharp remains the same, looks the same, inflects the same from beginning to end. The direction reveals no development, no nuance..... certainly charming rapaciousness is more varied than we are shown here. The script is not particularly memorable.
BBC production values are top-notch except in the repeated use of extreme closeups to mask a penny-pinching budget..... the Belgium battle segments are particularly cheesy...... but overall, things are shot handsomely, and some visual commentary is downright witty e.g., pigs crossing the frame as we approach the Crawley manor. The music score, hilarious and anachronistic, is rather refreshing.
This is nowhere as exhilarating a show as the BBC's Pride and Prejudice. Which leads me to the odd realization that perhaps the better writer for Vanity Fair would have been Balzac. Now.... why doesn't somebody do something with his stuff..... Lost Illusions, for example. There we have meatier stuff.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable Production of a Literary Classic
I have read "Vanity Fair" twice and intend to re-read this coming year. I remember seeing a BBC version with Susan Hampshire in the role of Becky Sharp back in the 1970s,... Read more
Published on Dec 28 2003 by Ms Winston
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible version
What can I say? Being a great fan of BBC and A&E period dramas, after buying Vanity Fair, I was truly dissapointed. Read more
Published on Dec 27 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother with it
I'm so dissapointed at this period movie, it was badly cast, terrible music choice, and boring. Also it felt so disjointed from start to end. Read more
Published on Dec 26 2003 by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Vulgar!!
Vulgar is the only word that completely describes this film. I have never been so sickend by a period movie. The first shot of the movie shows a woman picking her nose. Read more
Published on Dec 19 2003 by M. Moreland
1.0 out of 5 stars Depressing to no end
I have never read this book, but bought it based on other movies I enjoyed that BBC has done. If you like Charles Dickens, you might enjoy this, but if you are looking for... Read more
Published on Dec 18 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent adaptation
I truly enjoyed watching all 5 hours of this BBC adaptation of Vanity Fair. I found it as humorous as the original novel was intended to be. Read more
Published on Dec 16 2003 by Alison
1.0 out of 5 stars Hideous!
Vanity Fair is one of my all-time favorite novels, but while the book's wry social satire is perfectly crafted and executed, the translation to film was difficult to watch. Read more
Published on Dec 11 2003 by Little ol' me
5.0 out of 5 stars The best television has to offer
I read William Makepeace Thackeray's novel "Vanity Fair," the only novel of his I have read, back in February of this year. Read more
Published on Nov. 30 2003 by Jeffrey Leach
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a great English Movie
I thought Vanity Fair was a baudry and cheap movie that lasted to long. I feel I wasted my money on buying it.
Published on Nov. 8 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable...
I have never read the novel of "Vanity Fair," however, I LOVED the DVD. Natasha Little stars as Becky Sharp a scheming (but oh so wickedly beautiful), governess. Read more
Published on Oct. 8 2003 by Serene Night
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