Friday, April 8, 2011

British and Other Period Movies and TV Series, Part Two

A while ago, I posted about a few period flicks and TV series and found that my blog has received a large number of hits for that to this day. I'm thinking that I may not be the only one who likes the Regency and Victorian stuff! Love stories, mystery, drama, true life movies, which can be stranger than fiction... I must confess to watching about a million of them in the olden days, when I was making jewelry, before the economy hit a glitch. Now I just sit around writing things. And enjoying it.

Part One, and that is clickable for more information, discusses the following shows, all of which I was, at least at one time, able to obtain from Netflix.
1) The House of Eliot~ Two sisters became a 1920s Fashion Design team. Wonderful!
2) Aristocrats~ The story of the Lennox sisters, descendants of George II. Great!
3) Edward the King~ A playboy king, son of Victoria. Again, great stuff.
4) Victoria and Albert, The Young Victoria and Mrs. Brown; all about Queen Victoria.
5) Nicholas and Alexandra~ Long and amazing: the Russian Czar and Czarina with Rasputin. Heartbreaking.

And now, for Part Two. Sorry, I don't have the time to discuss actors, but you can in the comments section!

1) The Importance of Being Ernest~ Truly one of the greatest period comedies. And I adore the song, Lady Come Down. Two men learn that lying weaves a tangled web and that it can cause problems in love and romance! Five stars!

2) The Ideal Husband~ Another great comedy, and I have to mention the adorable Minnie Driver because I love her faces! Do not miss this one.

3) The Sissi movies~ old films and subtitled, but it is another real Queen and her difficult life. It is one way to learn history.... I enjoyed them.

4) Fall of Eagles~ Shows the demise of the Hapsburgs of Austria-Hungary, the Romanovs of Russia and the Hohenzollerns of Germany, and how they were involved in the outbreak of World War I. Amazing miniseries! Sissi is in there again.

5) The Crown Prince~ Another royal tragedy. Rudolph, the Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary. I would call it depressing, but based on true history. Poor Sissi... again. Subtitled

6) Howard's End~ An Edwardian period movie which shows some struggle between the classes, but also the lovely politeness of society. Some favorite actors and actresses.

7) Downton Abbey~ The first seven episodes: A fictional story which shows how the hereditary system worked in period Britain, with everything being entailed to the closest male heir. Women got nothing, and at times had to leave their homes when their husbands died, kids included. I am looking forward to the next season, which starts in December.

8) I have to mention Fawlty Towers, even though it is only from about the 1960s. It is about a prudish hotel owner, his irritated wife and bumbling staff. It is hysterical! I don't generally like slapstick, but this one had just the right balance, and I've watched it repeatedly. Wonderful!

9) Of course, there are the Jane Austen movies, some of which have been made over more than once! You can type Jane Austen into the Netflix search box and get a drop down menu. Wonderful!

10) Sherlock Holmes~ There are a lot of episodes as well as movie length shows about this interesting Victorian London based detective. Also, watch for Hound of the Baskervilles, which is Holmes, but it seems to go by the Hound name. (I had to make up a name for an Earldom for my book. What's a good British name? Holmes! Thus, the Companion of Lady Holmeshire.)

11) Poirot~ Many movies and episodes of the Agatha Christy detective from Belgium. He is a quirky guy, and the mysteries he solves are interesting.

12) Miss Marple~ More Agatha Christie mystery. Along with the great stories, you get to putz around in little old English villages and gardens a bit.

13) Stone of Destiny is really great. A true 1950s story; some Scottish students take on a centuries old problem. Their country's ancient coronation stone was taken by the British in a war, and British monarchs to this day are crowned sitting over it. These students were determined to get it back to Scotland.

14) Type Charles Dickens into the Netflix search box. Though only a few of his stories show up on the drop down menu, go ahead to the page and there are more. Some of the ones I really like include Bleak House and Little Dorrit. Bleak House shows much about Chancery (the system for orphan care) and Little Dorrit shows how a man in debtor's prison would take his family along, although the family could go out and work. There is also a pathetic twist that shows the viewpoint of (some of) the aristocrats toward lower class persons. All the Dickens movies are great.

15) That Hamilton Woman~ More magnificent palatial homes. Watch a real life story.

16) This weekend I tried to watch War and Peace for the second time. The first time I got bored, but I don't remember what was going on with me that time. This time, I'm afraid, I got bored again. I know that this time I had other things on my mind. It has the adorable Audrey Hepburn in it, but they dressed her up like a 1950s Barbie doll, complete with pony tail, short cut bangs and a dress with a waistline during the Empire period! I watch these things for the period effects, largely. Modern movies can have great stories, too, but I don't watch 'em! I am going to try this one again, one more time. The soldiers had great costumes. Maybe farther along, the rest of the people will. And please, if you have watched it, leave a comment and let me know if it gets better after the first 20 minutes or so. Thanks!

17) So what did I watch then? I put Monarch on. It is an incredible series about the monarchs of Britain, starting waaaaaay back. It has a lot of episodes and it will take me several more sessions to see it all. I am only up to the 14th century after probably 4 hours of watching. There are great shots of the castles they built, many now in ruins, and various effects left over from history. There are a lot of war scenes, but they are blurred, so no gore there, but the narrator does not mind spelling out the details of how this or that person was put to death. I would, therefore, not recommend it for sensitive viewers or kiddos, although you can probably tell that it is coming and fast forward. It is worth the time spent, for sure.

18) I am alternating streaming Monarch with Bramwell on disc. Dr. Bramwell is a woman in Victorian England. The first episode really shows the way women were undervalued, to put it mildly. I like the series well enough, except that I am shocked at how they show all the medical procedures. I can't handle it, myself, although I have attended real life surgeries professionally and did fine. They show the doctors slicing right through apparent persons and blood shooting out. Not at all necessary, in my opinion, and it certainly takes away from the "sit down and relax with a movie" scenario. I'm not kidding; it is worse than real life. I turned away, so as not to watch a caesarean on a deceased woman, but then they had to throw in the horrid sound of them ripping her open. Good heavens. Not pleasant. I may watch it for the rest of the show, which is good and gives a good view of life at that point in time, but I will take care to close my eyes and cover my ears a time or two per episode.

19) Here is a good run down on Bride and Prejudice, the Bollywood version of Pride and Prejudice.

20) In the comments section, Cindy mentions North and South. I wanted to point out that there are two of them available through Netflix. One is British and is a good story. A rural family has to leave their nice home and move to a polluted industrial town. Ugh. It is a good movie. The other is an American Civil War series. That I have not seen. Anyone who has, please comment on it!

21) Lark Rise to Candleford has been recommended to me by the administrator of the Jane Austen Community on Facebook. She says it is a great series, so I've put it on my queue (at the top, actually) and look forward to watching it.

22) London Hospital, again recommended by Julia Salsbury (above) is not available on Netflix, but she says it is on Amazon. In her words, "This stars Charity Wakefield (Marianne Dashwood from Masterpiece Classic's Sense and Sensibility) "This series was created from actual case notes, manuscripts, diaries, papers and other ephemera done by and for the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. As a result it is a clear window into the history of the London and into the history of medicine. Heartwarming AND heartbreaking. Frequently disturbing and difficult to watch. Not softened by Hollywood but done in acid by British writers Colin Heber-Percy and Lyall B. Watson. The whole thing is brilliant - the acting, the sets, the costumes, the actors, the scripts... wonderful series!" Available to buy on Amazon for Digital Download only."

23) Little Lord Fauntleroy- a name I had heard all my life but never knew why. An adorable movie about a boy who was taken away from his mother (Netflix says it as "rescued from poverty") by his aristocrat grandfather. I enjoyed it.

24) I have added three movies that I have not yet seen to my queue. I will write on them here after I see them. They are The Old Curiosity Shop (Dickens), Dombey and Son and The Pickwick Papers (Dickens).

25) If you like something from older times, Lorna Doone is set in the 17th century.

26) The Barchester Chronicles is in my list of watched movies, but I don't remember it! Anyone care to comment on it?

27) There are ever so many movies about Elizabeth 1. Some of them include some torture scenes, so be aware. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the others and learned quite a bit about that era. It seems that eras are mostly about the queens and kings....

28) Added 11/14-- My new favorite all time series is Grand Hotel (Gran Hotel) which is subtitled on Netflix from Spanish. There are currently 42 episodes available there, and they are THE BEST. Another season is being shown in Spanish, and I hope it will soon be subtitled.

I will be adding to this list as I have the time. I intend to make it long.... you may want to bookmark this page if you are a lover of period movies, sometimes wondering what to watch next. Please mentions your favorites in the comments section. I may have missed one! See you soon! ---> Netflix <--- (No affiliation)

1 comment:

ivorybigsis said...

The absolute best film adaptation of Thackeray's "Vanity Fair" is the late 1980s CBC or BBC version starring EVE MATHESON as Becky. It is unavailable for viewing which is a real shame as it is a must see!