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North & South [DVD]
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North and South is a powerful adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's feisty and passionate novel, set across the social divides in the changing world of Victorian industrial society. Margaret Hale is one of literature's most original heroines: a southerner from a country vicarage newly settled in the industrial northern town of Milton. In the shock of her move, she misjudges charismatic cotton mill-owner John Thornton, whose strength of purpose and passion are a match for her own pride and wilfulness. When the workers of Milton call a strike, Margaret takes their side, and the two are brought into deeper conflict. As events spiral out of control, Margaret - to her surprise - begins to fall in love with Thornton...
DVD Extras: Specially recorded interview with Richard Armitage, Commentary on Episodes 1 & 4 with Kate Bartlett, Brian Percival and Sandy Welch, Deleted Scenes & Production Notes
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 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, Amazon.com
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Top Customer Reviews
So I was looking forward to receiving the dvd- I had plans to maybe ration out my viewing; watch half an episode here and there. But, of course, that all went out the window when my dvd arrived. I got home late last night and decided I'd just have a peek at the first episode before I went to bed. So, at 1am, I snuggled up with my electric blanket, a mug of tea and a large box of maltesers, and then promptly fell back in love with this wonderful adaptation. I watched all 4 episodes again. Then I watched the special features- the deleted scenes (nothing that scintillating, but there is a slightly extended proposal scene, and a few others from the first episode); the interview with Richard Armitage (charming fellow... I'd say more, but I think you're all familiar with the Armitage appeal *loosens collar*), and then I read through the extra production notes and even watched a bit of the commentary episodes (1 and 4).
So I ended up getting to sleep at 6am. But it was worth it. This dvd transfer looks wonderful, and fortunately, unlike many money-spinners, it hasn't been assembled hastily or sloppily. There are optional subtitles, the sound and picture quality are first rate, and the extras really are worth taking a look at. And, of course, you get all four episodes of a 5 star production to treasure time and again.
As for the production itself- it's a gem. The real strengths lie in the excellent camerawork and attention to historical detail in costume and set design. The direction has a light touch, and the screenplay is, for the most part, subtle and well-paced.Read more ›
We can thank Elizabeth Gaskell for creating such wonderful characters, yet they wouldn't make such an impression in the film if the actors weren't so great. They really got into their parts.Read more ›
Enough people have given an indication of the plot so I don't want to go over old ground in that regard. North & South is a very interesting social commentary as well as a love story. It very subtly illustrates the hypocracy of the workers who feel demeaned and shunned by the 'masters', whereas they treat one of their own in a very similar fashion. They complain about the social heirarchy that exists when they are oblivious that they themselves have their own social heirarchy and have ways of dealing with those who don't adhere to the expected behaviour.
Margaret Hale is deemed to be haughty, rude, snobbish and patronising towards the northeners, when the northerners demonstrate those same features to her. Margaret may not fit in with the social convention of an industrial town, but she can shift between a natural friendship with the workers and a marginally tolerant, if nothing else initially, relationship with Thornton and his mother.
There are no clear good or bad characters in this production, contrary to how they first appear and it's refreshing to see that almost every character has their good and bad side, Margaret also shows she's not entirely clean cut mid way thourgh the series, albeit with good intentions. It's also interesting to see how the concept of the strike was dealt with. Much of this plot centres on the character of John Thornton.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Totally lush - as pretty much expected! Richard Armitage's breakthrough role at the time and his best. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Chibbchi
This is just excellent, watch it every year and never tire of it.Published 25 days ago by Mel Byrne
Great period drama. Superb cast and crew and fine acting throughout.Published 25 days ago by Amazon Customer
I just love this DVD. The book it quite good, but in my opinion the DVD brings the characters to like and improves the original storyline. Read morePublished 1 month ago by TonkLover