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"Love in a Cold Climate," is a 2001 British television miniseries, the second adaptation from popular British author Nancy Mitford's comic novels, The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. This period romantic drama/comedy was a co-production of WGBH Boston, American public television, and the BBC. It is, of course, in full color, and is considerably tighter and shorter than the earlier, 1980 television adaptation. The BBC, to a degree, did throw money at the screen, in ballroom scenes, cars, clothes, and interiors; however, some corners were cut from the first adaptation: the ballroom scenes do not show the orchestras at play; and the production does not show Lady Montdore's big costume ball, nor follow her daughter Polly to Italy. The newer adaptation reflects the shorter attention spans of current day audiences in that it consists of only two parts, rather than six. It resembles the first, however, in the presence of a great deal of talent before and behind the camera. This adaptation was first broadcast on the BBC in 2001, and in America, on Public Television's "Masterpiece Theatre" in 2002. But there's another major difference from the first adaptation: this version comes without subtitles; too bad, Acorn, as these well-bred British persons still don't speak above a whisper. In this house, we were able to follow the production in its larger lines, but missed a lot of the hopefully, presumably witty dialog from Mitford's novel.

The series, to be sure, follows the eccentric, aristocratic Radlett family from the 1920s through World War II; knowledgeable sources state that it is fact, about the author's eccentric, literary family, the Mitfords, of beauties, lightly disguised as fiction. It centers on three young related women as they search for love: wealthy young beauties Polly Montdore and Linda Radlett, and their poorer, plainer cousin Fanny, who narrates, while just trying not to behave like her mother, who has earned the nickname of The Bolter, as she flits from man to man. The entertainment boasts quite a few stars, and important supporting players.

Celia Imre (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel [DVD]) plays Sadie Radlett, matriarch of the clan, though she's still given as little to do as was Oscar-winner Judi Dench in the first version. Alan Bates, (King of Hearts ), plays Matt, Lord Alconleigh, an eccentric, kind-hearted terror, with the habit of loosing his bloodhounds to chase his daughters. Sheila Gish plays the holy terror Lady Montdore. Her daughter Polly is played by Megan Dodds, Linda, by Elizabeth Dermot Walsh; the careers of both these young actresses have rather stuttered out, leading me to believe that they too, as the actresses who played these parts in the first version, were best at playing young beauties. Rosamund Pike, who plays Fanny, has had much more of a career: as she's starred in Pride & Prejudice,Johnny English Reborn [DVD], Die Another Day , and the just-opened JACK REACHER. But, of course, she's an unusually beautiful young woman, and Fanny's supposed to be rather plain, so that leaves the production a bit unbalanced. Many more stars show up: John Wood as Lord Merlin; Anthony Andrews (Brideshead Revisited ) as Boy; Rupert Frazer as Lord Paddington, Jemima Rooper (Lost in Austen) as Jassy; John Standing as Lord Montdore; Jeremy Child as Sir Leicester Kroesig. And quite a few other familiar faces.

This production manages the unusual trick of being funny, moving, and accurate as to its time and place, attributable, I expect, to the original material, and the talent before and behind the camera. It is overwhelmingly a production of, by, and for women: the adaptation was by Deborah Moggach, who wrote the novel THESE FOOLISH THINGS, on which THE BEST EXOTIC HOTEL MARIGOLD was based, as well as TV treatments of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. The producers were exclusively female. However, Tom Hooper, who won the 2011 Best Movie Oscar for THE KING'S SPEECH, and has directed the just opening mega-musical LES MISERABLES, helmed here.

I found the production's greatest strength, and greatest difference from the adaptation, in that it showed more of the feminism implicit in the Mitford novels. For example, the very title, "Love in a Cold Climate" is uttered by Polly, who's just back from a family stint in India. She remarks that English girls in India are totally wrapped up in love, and the clothes to get them some, and that she hopes love in a cold climate will be less of an overheated obsession. Fanny tells her that English girls at home are every bit as obsessed with finding love, and the clothing to help them in their quests. Then, Fanny remarks that she and Linda are just waiting to begin their lives, which they define as finding love. And we see Linda wasting a lot of time, trying to tell her fortunes in love with decks of cards. Later, during World War II, we see Linda home alone, playing this same game, when many Englishwomen were making themselves useful during the war. Working class women went to the farms and factories. Even Linda's well-born friends are nurses, drivers, whatever jobs they could get to help the war effort. Later, both productions give Fanny's mother, the Bolter, the last word, as she remarks that aging is particularly hard for women like her - and Linda - who have invested their entire lives in love. And girls, that is certainly a feeling at the heart of feminism.

The twentieth century "Mitford sisters" -- six daughters of David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale and Sydney Bowles -- became famous for their many love affairs and marriages, were celebrated, and at times scandalous, figures caricatured, according to The Times of London journalist Ben Macintyre, as "Diana the Fascist, Jessica the Communist, Unity the Hitler-lover; Nancy the Novelist; Deborah the Duchess and Pamela the unobtrusive poultry connoisseur". Their exploits are still entertaining at two fictional removes. Some viewers may prefer the first adaptation, some this second; you might want to look at both.
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on 23 July 2009
I absolutely loved this mini series. It is a must for anyone who enjoys watching the upper class in the time period between the two World Wars.
It covers a lot of material in its two and a half hours of viewing. The acting is excellent with utterly believable characterisation. I didn't want it to end. !
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on 3 November 2008
Why this wasn't popular on telly at the time, I'll never know. Immaculate acting by everyone - including Rosamund Pike before she was Jane Bennett, or a Bond girl, for that matter.

The story is of three friends - three girls - in 1930s England before the second world war. It is a tale of how they came out (in to Society, as it was then), married and settled down. Yet it is so much more. It portrays the eccentricities of the British upper classes, with their whims and `individual' moral standards. After all, the author, Nancy Mitford, was in a good place to see all this first hand with one sister, Deborah, marrying the Duke of Devonshire and another marrying Oswald Mosley. So there are doves that are "dyed pink and dried in the airing cupboard" and a baby that "looks like a howling orange in a black wig - really, it is kinder not to look!" The wit is razor sharp, cutting deepest at the those who deserve it most, such as the indomitable Lady Montdor.

Overall, if you enjoy people watching, you'll love this DVD.
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on 25 October 2009
I absolutely loved this series. It captures the spirit of the book really well (although does not always follow the plot). Alan Bates as Farve had me crying with laughter and the main actresses very touching and credible. You will want to watch it again and again.
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on 2 March 2010
A great fan of Mitford novels, I was not disappointed with this series, which is a thinly veiled story of the Mitford family. The production and acting are simply superb, settings and costumes beautiful, and I was hooked from the first minute. It has the stunning balance of drama, wit, and intriguing story line. I laughed, cried and didn't want it to end. A fabulous and highly recommended DVD.
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on 12 June 2011
I bought this DVD because I was intrigued by the mixture of 5-star and 1-star reviews. It is always difficult for someone to come to a film from a much-loved book, and evidently even more difficult for fans of the original TV series: it will be interesting to compare them when the Judi Dench version is re-released soon.

I have read and loved "The Pursuit of Love" and "Love in a Cold Climate" for over forty years, and the first thing to understand is that this film is an amalgam of the two, in spite of the misleading title, with rather more Pursuit than Cold Climate. This accepted, one has to admire the skill with which two quite different novels are weaved together.

I started out in a sceptical frame of mind, and there are some annoyances: Rosamund Pike as Fanny sets one's teeth on edge with the intensity of her gaucherie (she settles down a bit after marriage); Celia Imrie plays Aunt Sadie as nervous and fragile (wrong); Alan Bates doesn't quite convince as that "criterion of English manhood" Uncle Matthew - Lord Alconleigh is above all a comic character; and I wasn't entirely won over by John Wood's Lord Merlin. In fact very few of the actors project the unshakeable aristocratic self-confidence - the children come closest.

On the plus side, there are some wonderful cameos from the brittle society ladies; Daniel Evans is suitably appalling as Cedric; Sheila Gish as Lady Montdore is simply fabulous; and Elisabeth Dermot Walsh is a radiantly beautiful Linda, who becomes even more beautiful as the film progresses. I found the romance between Linda and Fabrice immensely moving, particularly given the sad reality of Nancy Mitford's own love-life. Having laughed a good deal earlier on, I wept my way through quite a bit of the end.

Visually the film is breath-taking: Americans must have rushed across the Atlantic in droves thinking England still looks like that.

So, in brief, if you can lay aside your preconceived ideas and give yourself to this production, it's worth it.
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on 16 November 2008
This is a little gem, capturing the book beautifully. Although not that popular when it came out, suffering from comparison to an earlier ITV production, there is little to fault it. I watched it on TV when I was a teenager and I am delighted it is finally on DVD, as it stayed with me all this time.
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on 22 August 2010
Fantastically wordy telling of the book of the same name and beautifully acted and set.
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on 12 August 2012
I absolutely adore the Nancy Mitford novels so was very excited to watch this two part adaptation which had been recommended to me, I was certainly not disappointed! I re-read the books and then promptly watched this DVD and was pleased at how true they had been to the story!
The outfits and set were wonderful, the casting was perfect (highlights being Celia Imrie as Aunt Sadie and Elisabeth Dermot Walsh as Linda) and I thought it had been very well cut down from the books.
I have seen on some other reviews reference to the 1980 version, I have not seen this version so I cannot comment however this version was really very good and would encourage me to watch the earlier version for comparison.
Would recommend highly to anyone thinking of buying, a very enjoyable day of watching!
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on 20 April 2008
I have only seen the original production on TV, which was brilliant. When will this DVD be available in Region 2 format? A British production should surely be available in the UK format!
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