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Vanity Fair [DVD]

69 customer reviews

Price: £9.86 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Natasha Little, Frances Gray, Tom Ward, Nathaniel Parker, Jeremy Swift
  • Directors: Marc Munden
  • Producers: Gillian McNeill
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 4 July 2005
  • Run Time: 300 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009WL8OG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,445 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Andrew Davies adapts William Thackeray's novel in this 1998 BBC dramatisation. Becky Sharp (Natasha Little) is a scheming governess who tries to seduce her best friend Amelia's (Frances Gray) buffoon of a brother, Jos (Jeremy Swift), in an attempt to climb the social ladder. Becky then turns her attentions to aristocratic bounder Rawdon Crawley, while the mild and meek Amelia marries her childhood sweetheart, George Osborne. However, fate has a few twists in store for both women.

From Amazon.co.uk

Thackeray's Vanity Fair had already been filmed by the BBC in 1987, when in the costume drama boom which followed the success of Andrew Davis' adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (1995), the Corporation commissioned him to write this new version. It is a tale of driving social ambition against a background of the Napoleonic wars, with Natasha Little, also to be seen in The Clandestine Marriage (1999), making a purposeful Becky Sharp. Virtual newcomer Frances Grey is the more appealing Amelia Sedley, while Nathaniel Parker, here Far From The Madding Crowd (1998), is the foolish Rawdon Crawley. The difficulty in adapting Thackeray--he also wrote the novel on which Kubrick's appropriately cold Barry Lyndon (1974) was based --is that he created unsympathetic characters for the purpose of satirising, "greedy, pompous men". Unlikable heroines do not make for popular television, and the danger is that we come close to empathising with arch-manipulator Becky Sharp. Nevertheless, there is still acid in this version, which stays close to the letter, if not always the spirit of the original. Add to that a decidedly sarcastic music score by Murray Gold, and if Vanity Fair isn't the absolute best of BBC drama, it certainly has a nasty bite. --Gary S. Dalkin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on 3 Jun. 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This excellent 6 part miniseries of WM Thackeray's masterpiece really delivers. Natasha Little has the right mixture of beauty and guile to convince as Becky Sharp. Nothing is overplayed in her superb central performance. The rest of the roles are perfectly cast too. Any fan of the book will not be disappointed.

The miniseries is stylishly filmed. Parade-like music captures the mood of the piece wonderfully. Noone quite does period drama like the BBC!
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Bezzer on 19 Aug. 2007
Format: DVD
I can quite understand why some people don't warm to this adaptation of the book - it's very bold and 'in your face'. That, however, is very much in keeping with the style of the novel. I feel sure that Thackeray would have been delighted with the way his characters have been brought to life! In both the novel and this TV series, they are not so much characters as caricatures - they are designed to be 'over the top' and unrealistic. That is how Thackeray gets across his message - the greed, artificiality and hypocrisy of polite society in the 19th century.

This TV adaptation does indeed have a 'cop out' ending but Thackeray's own treatment of this area was not consistent - he shies away from actually confirming Becky as being guilty of this final crime as though that was a bit too much even for him! I don't think this detracts from the quality of the adaptation at all.

This is a richly filmed, brilliantly acted and hysterically funny series that I think is a 'must see'.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Four Violets VINE VOICE on 5 Jan. 2008
Format: DVD
Anyone loving the book and wanting a faithful depiction of its events and characters is well advised to stick to this version rather than the more superficial and trivialised version with a (heavily pregnant) Reese Witherspoon.
Natasha Little is Becky Sharp personified, a beautiful but penniless social climber; and who better suited to be the faithful, plodding Dobbin than adorable Philip Glenister.
Becky Sharp is a complex, never entirely likeable character, always in control, always manipulative, as she schemes her way through life in the setting of England in the throes of the Napoleonic Wars; but Natasha Little and the rest of the cast do splendid justice to this timeless classic of love, friendship - and betrayal.
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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful By pseudopanax VINE VOICE on 4 July 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The long overdue release of the Marc Munden's quirky production of Thackeray's Vanity Fair is something to celebrate. After the unsatisfying big screen adaptation by Mira Nair in 2004, this version with its jarringly beautiful score and precise characterisations from Natasha Little, Frances Grey, David Bradley and Miriam Margolyes, to name but a few, is a welcome antidote to the brighter and more firmly mainstream BBC adaptations of other 19th century novels such as Wives and Daughters and Middlemarch. Munden takes Andrew Davies' script and confidently stamps it with his own vision, which is by turns viciously bitter or brightly comic yet marvellously consistent with the novel. The ending is disappointing, as with so many of Davies' adaptations, he just seems to run out of steam by the end. Nonetheless, this underrated series is one of the best of the BBC's literary adaptations.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Sept. 2005
Format: DVD
Vanity Fair is an excellent BBC adapation, worthy of note. Perhaps even comparable to Pride and Prejudice. The screenplay is quite different, which lends itself more to W.M. Thackery's slighty less glowing vision (than Austen's) of English society. It seems quite surprising that it has not met more popular demand. The acting is quite superb and will keep you riveted to your seat (probably for the full 321 mins!). If the new adaptation with Witherspoon et al is a Morris Minor, then this is a Bentley.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mme Clinchamps Marie-hélène on 31 Aug. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Magnifique adaptation en mini-série de l'aeuvre la plus connue de W.Thackeray. Ce livre-fleuve est parfaitement adapté, l'interprétation est magnifique particulièrement Natacha Little.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By IP TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 28 Nov. 2014
Format: DVD
The perfect gift for all movie enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

There has been a ridiculous number of movies about psychopathic killers - Silence of the Lambs, Se7en, Copycat, The Cell, etc, etc - and yet for a realistic depiction of a psychopath, this mini-series leaves them all far behind. If you want to see what the average psychopath is like (or perhaps I should say above average, because there is nothing average about Becky Sharp), this is far more true to life than all the others. The reality is that for every Hannibal Lecter in the world, there are a thousand Becky Sharps, and together they do far more damage than all the serial killers. I can only think that Thackeray must have known someone like her, because you can't get this close to reality by sheer imagination, and I don't know of any literary examples he could have copied from.

Of course, the novel, and the series, are about far more than one character - they are in fact about Vanity Fair, the world that Thackeray knew and didn't particularly love, the society which was so warped and hypocritical (rather like ours today, in fact) that it allowed characters like Becky Sharp to prosper.

This is not nearly as pleasant as the usual BBC mini-series, but it is compulsively watchable; the depiction is almost flawless and Natasha Little does a brilliant job portraying the woman we love to hate. The rest of the cast is also excellent, including Nathaniel Parker as Rawdon, the principal victim of his wife's intrigues, Philip Glenister as the lovable but awfully clumsy Dobbin and David Bradley as the appalling baronet Sir Pitt Crawley.
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