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A Dance to the Music of Time [DVD] [1997]

52 customer reviews

Price: £8.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Only 14 left in stock (more on the way).
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£8.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 14 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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A Dance to the Music of Time [DVD] [1997] + Fortunes Of War (Three Discs) [DVD] [1987] + Love in a Cold Climate - The Complete Series [DVD] [1980]
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Product details

  • Actors: Simon Russell Beale, James Purefoy, Miranda Richardson, Zoe Wanamaker, Eileen Atkins
  • Format: PAL, Colour, Anamorphic, Widescreen, HiFi Sound
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: None
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Acorn Media UK Ltd
  • DVD Release Date: 19 July 2010
  • Run Time: 413 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003EQ4YEK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,091 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

This is the epic four part series based on the bestselling novels of Anthony Powell adapted by Hugh Whitemore, featuring a BAFTA winning performance by Simon Russell Beale, alongside James Purefoy, Miranda Richardson, Zoe Wanamaker, John Standing, Alan Bennett. Eileen Atkins and Sir John Gielgud. Nick Jenkins is one of a group of young men who have been raised to think they are destined to rule the world, when in fact the world may turn out to belong to someone called Widmerpool. A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME is a wryly comic portrait of upper-class and bohemian England spanning almost a century, from the early 20s to modern times. Friendship, adultery, ambition and failure are set against the backdrop of London's social, political and artistic life. Foolish love, broken dreams, marriages of convenience, affairs of the heart, knives in the back. This drama of life, like life itself, is rich in unexpected twists and turns.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Marcus Manilius on 14 Jan. 2008
Format: DVD
Having read the books, I wondered how on earth they would manage to do them justice on the television. I have to say, I thought the acting was absolutely first-rate, without a shadow of a doubt: I can't think of any weak characters, and some of them were simply outstanding: Charles Stringham descending into alcoholism and reborn, but completely destroyed in the process; Widmerpool, played, I think, by the same actor all the way through the series, and always more or less ridiculous; Pamela Widmerpool, played by Miranda Richardson, having some marvelous lines as she turns one male head after another; and then gentle Nick Jenkins, who appears to be the only sane person in the whole mad world.
There's lots in the books that couldn't possibly find their way onto the TV, but it was splendid to see so much of it brought to life. I found it a very enjoyable 6 or 7 hours viewing. Highly recommended for any Powell aficionado, or anyone looking for something a bit out of the way.
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88 of 90 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Feb. 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This is Powell made wonderful on screen!
"A Dance to the Music of Time" is widely regarded as a well-crafted sequence of 12 novels. On this video there is Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter: the journey of colleagues, friends and acquaintances through the rapidly changing 20th Century. This is no quaint, shallow portrayal of 'four friends have mixed lives and then get back together and reminisce' or any such formulaic narrative.
Like Poussin's painting, the story follows figures which entwine, cut loose, and meet again. The characters are all very well-drawn and excellently portrayed in this wonderful Channel 4 production. Mostly, the same actors play their characters from the beginning of the 20th Century to 1960s. However, a couple do not, and although this may seem strange at first, the characterisation shines through. Simon Russell Beale plays the incomparable Widmerpool throughout the production: he is utterly amazing.
In short, this video shows a highly enjoyable, amusing, wry and touching story whether or not you have read (some or all of) the novels. Powell's prose can be delicious and detailed and very little of that quality is lost in the lavish, but not too polished, production. A great cast (including James Purefoy, Jonathan Cake, Paul Rhys, James Fox and Zoe Wanamaker) [apologies for any spelling mistakes] involved with a largely engaging story. Powell's grasp of the 1950s/60s might be less than usual, but nevertheless one cannot help but be drawn into the entire story.
If you've read the novels - you won't be disappointed!
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By "kalekas" on 30 Jan. 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Any attempt to do more than summarise the characters and multi-layered plots in the twelve books that make up A Dance to the Music of Time is bound to fail, but this Channel 4 production is an extremely honourable failure. The four films are glued together by the performance of Simon Russell Beale playing the monstrous Widmerpool, and the atmosphere shifts successfully from the stifling atmosphere of Eton, through the gaity of the twenties, the austerities of the wartime years, and the bleakness and exhaustion of the post-war years.
If you know and love the novel sequence there are times at which you feel the film makers have taken some liberties, sliding over too quickly, or even omitting favourite passages, but this is a necessity to keep the running time to an acceptable 415 minutes.
Apart from Beale's magnificent portrayal of Kenneth Widmerpool, enjoy Edward Fox's wonderfully seedy portrayal of Uncle Giles, and Alan Bennett's Sillery. I'm afraid I've forgotten the name of the actor who plays the tragic Charles Stringham, but he nails the character to a perfection.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kasablanka on 24 July 2007
Format: DVD
I have watched this several times and it always puts me in a good mood. It is like a classy 'soap' about friends, enemies, lovers and acquaintances who keep meeting over the years, their lives affecting each other in romantic, comic or deadly ways. To me it is mainly about friendship and loyalty. There are two central characters, Nicholas Jenkins, who is decent and everyone's friend. Then there is Kenneth Widmerpool, the figure of fun who rises to power to the surprise of everyone around him.

There are some of our very best actors in this : Sir John Gielgud, Alan Bennett and Edward Fox, and some who are seen more on our screens today such as James Purefoy (Mark Anthony in 'Rome'). Claire Skinners looks wonderful. Miranda Richardson plays a black widow type who causes more than one death. She plays it very much like one of her characters out of Blackadder

One thing which I did find disappointing, was that for the second half of the story, another much older actor was used to play Nicholas Jenkins and his wife, and yet, the same actors play the other characters, and are just aged a bit. Very odd.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ian Marchant on 27 Feb. 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am a Powell nut; I re-read the books every couple of years, because I am a writer, and Powell my master. I re-read the sequence everytime I am embarking on a new book, or if, as at present, I get stuck. Having just finished the books (again), I thought I'd try this DVD. I remember watching the series when it was broadcast, and on watching it again, my opinion is unchanged; it doesn't make much sense if you haven't read the books. But if you have, there are real treats; Geilgiud as St John Clarke, Alan Bennett as Sillery, Michael Williams playing Ted Jeavons to a T, Miranda Richardson as a rather brilliant Pamela; and of course, Simon Russel Beale's monstrous Widmerpool. Most of the dialogue is lifted from the books, so it can be laugh aloud funny. But there is no time for characterisation, many of the characters have been cut (Barnby, Frederica and Dicky Umfraville etc), and some characters appear on screen for such a short period of time that it is impossible to care; Robert Tolland's death, for example, or Maclintick's suicide, both would have made me shrug my shoulders if I hadn't known who the characters were. But I must say my eyes moistened at the deaths of Lady Molly and Moreland. But that was because I cared for them as characters in the book. So, read the books, and then watch this in the realisation that they are really unfilmable, and that this is the closest anyone will get.
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