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North & South
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North and South (Dbl DVD) (BBC)
North & South is a splendid, four-hour adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's 19th century novel about an unlikely, and somewhat star-crossed, love between a middle-class young woman from England's cultivated south and an intemperate if misunderstood industrialist in a hardscrabble, northern city. Daniela Denby-Ashe plays Margaret Hale, forthright and strong-willed daughter of a former vicar (Tim Pigott-Smith) who relocates his family from a pastoral village outside London to unforgiving, largely illiterate Milton, a factory town where John Thornton (Richard Armitage) and his mother (Sinead Cusack), survivors of poverty, rule their cotton mill with an iron hand. Thornton befriends Margaret's father but incurs her wrath for his severity with his workers. What she doesn't notice is Thornton's core sense of responsibility for his employees' welfare. On the other hand, he misinterprets some of Margaret's own actions and intentions. Equally stubborn, the two drag out their obvious attraction over many painful months and events.
North & South's two leads are both very good, though Armitage's brooding, penetrating performance may very well be considered a classic one day. There are other wonders in the cast: Cusack and Pigott-Smith are superb, and Brendan Coyle is memorable as a firebrand union organizer who ultimately becomes an ally to a softening Thornton. The miniseries script by Sandy Welch is a persuasive mix of historical context and character study. Brian Percival's direction is full of moments that linger in the imagination, such as the winter-dream look of a busy cotton mill, with thousands of snowy fibers floating in the air. --Tom Keogh
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Top Customer Reviews
But I sure did once I got up four hours later!
I knew that I'd discovered one of the best working actors I'd ever seen.
The other reviewers will undoubtedly cover the overall excellence of the production itself, the other actors, the music, etc. I just want to wax on about this amazing man who so totally infused John Thornton with his energy and talent.
Aside from his general "swoon-ability," he never hit a misstep. Every look, line delivery, and body movement was spot on! From the first time he opened his mouth to scream, "STEPHENS!" at the top of his lungs to his soft, boyishly joyful "Coming home with me?" at the end, I simply couldn't take my eyes of him.
He's not handsome in a traditional way. At first glance, I was rather dismissive of the much-heralded "Darcy" factor. He looked autocratic, harsh featured, and snarly as he was seen through a cloud of cotton fluff surveying the workers in his cotton mill. Two or three scenes later, when he smiled, I nearly fell onto my floor in a swoon. And I am not particularly given to giddy swooning as a general rule.
Unfortunately, the BBCA cut out nearly 14 minutes from each episode, so it wasn't until I watched the region 2 DVD that I bought from amazon.co.uk, that I saw some key missing scenes which explained the story development better. And of course, included with the "goodies" is a post-production interview with RA himself. I am looking forward to the release of the region 1 DVD next week.
I think that one of the main reasons that I enjoyed RA's portrayal so much was because he really brought a fully-developed male character to life in a Victorian drama.Read more ›
For me, the gold standard was Pride and Prejudice (Firth as Darcy) and it has remained there for the better part of a decade. Just finishing the movie last night (I had to watch the movie one episode each night even though, like others, I *did* want to watch it all straight through), P&P has been soundly displaced by N&S. N&S is superior to P&P (comparing these as stand-alone movies, not novels or adaptations therefrom) in almost every respect.
The story, the drama, the cinematography, and the acting were excellent. My only complaint, if I had to provide one, was that the chemistry between the protagonists Margaret Hale and Thornton was a bit lacking (mind you, I didn't think that there was much chemistry between Darcy and Liz in P&P either).
What is odd and I think doesn't really get explained in the movie is why Thornton loves Margaret so much, given her constant rebukes on every attempt he makes to befriend her. It may be sheer beauty, but loving someone for their natural beauty can only take that person so far - it is rather hard to love a cold beauty for any appreciable length of time (I know I would tire of arrogant beauty very quickly).
It may be that it is initially beauty that he admires and that it evolves to also include her obstinancy in keeping to her principles. This pride is similar to that displayed his mother, so there may be Freudian tendencies at work.Read more ›
The actors are a fantastic ensemble, including the superb Sinead Cusack as Mrs Thornton the matriach, Daniela Denby-Ashe is the spirited and lovely heroine Margaret, and Richard Armitage who plays Mr Thornton is the most talented, brooding, smouldering, intelligent, moving and compelling leading man it has been my pleasure ever to witness.....this man was robbed of a BAFTA - he is nothing short of magnificent... ,
Most recent customer reviews
2 dvd pkg, Anyone that loves time period love stories must put this on your list. Beautiful music. Wish it had been longer. MelaniePublished 7 months ago by Dale Cober
Important note to buyers: This product is a Region 2 DVD. Which means that to view it properly, the best solution would be to either buy a Region free DVD player or to download a... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Omnes
though nothing mentioned in the advert, i was PAL2 useless for CanadaPublished 12 months ago by ever hopeful
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