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44 Reviews
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dance
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;...
Published on 14 Jan 2008 by Marcus Manilius

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read the books first
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...
Published 9 months ago by Ian Marchant


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4.0 out of 5 stars Full of fine characterisation and performance, 3 July 2013
By 
Leslie Reed - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dance to the Music of Time [DVD] (DVD)
Not quite a cast of thousands but they tried hard. The list of 41 principal actors contains some very famous names even though Gielgud has no more than a cameo it is an enjoyable one but don't blink or you'll miss it. The series hangs on Simon Russell Beale's performance which is staggeringly good and at least one of the 4 stars given is his alone. Even with four 90 minute episodes, it was a challenge to reduce a series of twelve books and a huge number of narrative strands to some comprehensible script. Some become too abbreviated as they are squeezed into the 6 hours of filming allowed. It is, however, a noble if uneven effort and should not disappoint anyone interested in the period and even those who have actually read the novels.
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4.0 out of 5 stars One for the collection, 8 Jun 2013
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Mrs. Alyson Farr (UK) - See all my reviews
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Excellent production and interpretation of the book. Spans from their school days, their 'loves' and the war. Each catching up with each other at various times during their lives.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dance to the Music of Time DVD, 25 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Dance to the Music of Time [DVD] (DVD)
I enjoyed this DVD. The quality of the recording was great. I shall certainly think about ordering from you again in the future.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Save for mid-winter comfort viewing!, 2 July 2012
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This review is from: Dance to the Music of Time [DVD] (DVD)
This is a well acted, lengthy TV adaptation, well deserving of a watch. Simon Russell Beale is excellent. My only gripe is the terrible 'ageing' make up as the characters are supposed to be getting on in years. Some of the characters are replaced but the ones who are 'aged' look, in some cases, a little ridiculous.
If you are a fan of Brideshead or Chamomile Lawn, then you will like this but maybe not quite as much
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4.0 out of 5 stars A classic piece of television, 10 Nov 2011
This review is from: Dance to the Music of Time [DVD] (DVD)
I watched this version of Anthony Powell's most famous work on Channel 4 in 1997. This DVD is every bit as good as I remeber. The acting and production values are of the highest standard, thugh like other reviewers, I found the fourth film not up to the standard of the others and best avoided.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dance to the Music of Time, 3 Jan 2011
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David Hellawell "davidh3074" (Bromsgrove, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dance to the Music of Time [DVD] (DVD)
I found this DVD of the series both enjoyable and also an essential starting base for the ascent of the novels! The style of the latter is dauntingly convoluted but the visual images from the TV series helped considerably to get me through the longueurs of the first two novels so far. Unfortunately there was some technical fault on the DVD with the last episode because the film 'froze' on 2 or 3 occasions (3 I think) and it wasn't easy to get it going again.

David Hellawell
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overstuffed, But Full of Plums, 26 Feb 2012
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dance to the Music of Time [DVD] (DVD)
"A Dance to the Music of Time," (1997) is a four-part Channel 4 television serial based on 20th century English author Anthony Powell's 12-volume literary series of the same name: (the initial volumes have since been combined into four `movements,' as the publisher calls them.) The author always denied that "A Dance" was a roman a clef; still, even to me, many characters resemble figures well-known at the time, and more knowledgeable readers would probably recognize even more. Also, the narrator, Nick Jenkins's life, closely parallels the writer's.

Powell's written series must be considered one of the masterpieces of 20th century British fiction: it is little-known today, and doesn't get the respect it deserves, perhaps because, in addition to being closely observed and intricately plotted, it can be hilarious. Book and TV series more or less parallel Evelyn Waugh's much better-known and more popular Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder and BBC-TV series,Brideshead Revisited - The Complete Collection (Digitally Remastered) [DVD] in their drawing room wit, the social class and lifestyles of their characters, and the between-the wars period of time in which they're largely based, but "Brideshead," of course, particularly the TV serial, is much more admired; it's surely more engrossing. The filmic "Dance" carries the burden of those 12 books, published over 20 years real time, more than 3,000 pages in total, at least 400 characters, in its relatively brief running time. Each book gets only around 40 minutes. Script was written by Hugh Whitemore, an able playwright and screenwriter, but if you don't already know the books, you will probably have trouble following this series. It's got its advantages, however. Among other things, the Beeb threw a lot of money at the screen for "A Dance." It boasts a star-studded cast, wonderful clothes, jewels, cars and interiors, and was made on location. The big ballroom scenes feature not only crowds of beautifully garbed extras, but historically correct bands and orchestras making music to swoon for. Furthermore, as it was made for BBC4, the Beeb's experimental arm, it boasts the occasional full-frontal female nudity, too.

Part I begins with our narrator, Nick Jenkins, at what the English prefer to call a public school: Eton, shortly after the end of the first world war. We meet his two best friends, Charles Stringham and Peter Templer. Also Kenneth Widmerpool, outcast at the school, with whom they will continuously come into contact later. Jenkins is played by the handsome young James D'Arcy, who has only become a bigger star over the years. His Uncle Giles is played by Edward Fox: Simon Russell Beale does a remarkable job as Widmerpool. As Jenkins moves on to Oxford, we'll meet Allan Bennett as Sillery, one of the more powerful dons there.

In Part II, we suddenly meet James Purefoy as the somewhat older Jenkins; also, a 95-year old John Gielgud playing the best-known novelist of the age, the supposed-to-be 60 year old St. John Clarke. Zoe Wanamaker plays Audrey McLintock, a mover and shaker in the artistic circles Jenkins frequents. The depression has hit; many characters have moved leftward politically, some all the way to the Communist Party; Widmerpool has begun his irresistible ascent to power, prestige and wealth. World War II is casting its shadow forward. But, by and large, most of the younger characters are having enjoyable, busy sex lives, running off with each other's husbands, wives, and, perhaps, goats....

Part III finds us in wartime. The insufferable Widmerpool continues his rise in the world, and comes to dominate the show more and more. The war seems, to this viewer, to aid that unpopular man in dispatching a couple of his old enemies. He will marry Stringham's beautiful but very "difficult" niece Pamela Flitton, well-played by the beautiful young Miranda Richardson. Jenkins establishes his literary career, and meets the girl of his dreams, Isabella, of a family based either on the well-known literary Longfords, or Mitfords: I'd guess the Longfords, but you'd have to know more than I do about these people to be sure.

Part IV is the weakest of the series. The makers have fooled around with Powell's timeline, trying to stretch things out to more contemporaneous times, and have also suddenly foisted John Standing, as Jenkins, and Joanna David, as Isabella, upon us: nor does Standing look much like his predecessor in the part. All parties concerned have a good time with the craziness of the 1960's; rebellious youth, hippies and swamis make hay. Widmerpool has achieved wealth, power, and prestige; he's been made a life peer - as has Sillery -- and chancellor of a major university. But has he achieved contentment? Well, that's always the $64 question, isn't it.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets better with each viewing, 2 Feb 2004
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I have tried to get in to the books, but without success. This TV version is an ideal introduction. You have to pay attention because they cram in a lot of characters over a long time span. Simon Russell Beale as anti-hero is superb.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great achievement, 20 Aug 2013
By 
Bluebell (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dance to the Music of Time [DVD] (DVD)
Having just listened to over 80 hours of the unabridged audio version of the 12 books that comprise the Dance to the Music of Time, I am very impressed by this filmed adaptation. The books have minor characters, tangential stories and quite a bit of philosophising that have been eliminated without losing the the essence of the books and the screen-writer has created a coherent story with strong characters. The central character is Nicholas Jenkins whose view of his companions and surroundings carries the reader through from the First World War to the 1960s. The main characters are apparently based on real people: see Wikipedia about this series of books.
I first saw this C4 adapatation many years ago and enjoyed it as a first-class film with a wonderful cast. I now have an even greater appreciation of how well the film brings Anthony Powell's dialogue alive. Recommended.
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19 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 out of 4 is ... er, well ..., 28 Jan 2005
By 
Marten Sanden "martensanden" (Lund, Sweden) - See all my reviews
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The first three episodes of this series are quite enjoyable, and very much in the vein of (the far superior) Brideshead Revisited. A budget version of the Merchant-Ivory films if you will, and I don't mean that in a bad way. But the fourth episode! Its plot is laughably far-fetched, the psychological development totally unconvincing and as a result it completely ruins the mood set by the precious three. Even the truly original and fascinating character of Kenneth Widmerpool manages to suffer irreparable damage. Watch it, by all means, but do yourself a BIG favour and skip the last part.
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Dance to the Music of Time [DVD]
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