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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The BBC comes up with the goods!
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...
Published on 3 Jun 2006 by Reviewer

versus
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Curate's Egg
It's years since I read Vanity Fair; vague memories suggest that it would be impossible to do the book full justice on screen, and I dare say Thackeray aficionados will probably find this adaption bears that out. However, putting faithfulness to the book to one side, how does this stand in its own right as a costume drama? Well, there's a lot that is wrong. The BBC's...
Published on 18 Mar 2012 by Sou'Wester


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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The BBC comes up with the goods!, 3 Jun 2006
This review is from: Vanity Fair [DVD] (DVD)
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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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, 19 Aug 2007
By 
This review is from: Vanity Fair [DVD] (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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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless classic brought to life, 5 Jan 2008
By 
Four Violets (Hertford UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Vanity Fair [DVD] (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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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally on DVD, 4 July 2005
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pseudopanax (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Vanity Fair [DVD] (DVD)
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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 6 Jun 2006
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N. T. Diep "brakhe" (London - UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Vanity Fair [DVD] (DVD)
Great casting/acting/costume/background, in fact great everything! Stuck close to original book. My only criticism is that awful music & no DVD extras e.g. interview/making of, etc.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars faultless..., 24 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Vanity Fair (Repackaged) [DVD] (DVD)
This is not Jane Austen or, (happily) Downton Abbey. This is by far the best adaptation I have ever seen of an 18th century style novel. Thackeray was not polite and polished. He was writing before society had become dominated by prudish manners. It was an earthy, tough, dangerous world where life was relished because it could end so suddenly. It was a time of social turmoil when opportunists could become rich or ruined overnight. It was the age of Gilray cartoons, heavy drinking a high crime rate and sexual freedom. All this is captured in this glorious romp.

Becky is perfect, a designing minx but so charming and so alluring that it is entirely credible that man after man and women too fall at her feet. Yes of course the characters are comic caricatures. That is the whole point. This is a satire. But the production is so intelligent and all the actors so proficient that it matters enormously who wins or loses. From the smallest detail of the robust cuisine, (watch out for the tripe) through the gorgeous costumes to the moments of strong emotion at Waterloo, and Rawden's dicovery, I can't think how it could be better and I can't recommend this production enough. Gobble it up.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent adaptation, 7 Sep 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Vanity Fair [DVD] (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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best BBC period dramas, 9 Jan 2010
This review is from: Vanity Fair [DVD] (DVD)
This is one of the best BBC literary adaptations I've ever seen. Witty, with a great sense of humor, plus fantastic acting and script. I can't believe it is so badly known by the British audience. My only explanation is that it might be just a bit too sharp and caustic if you like love stories with happy endings and, perhaps, those people looking for something a bit more authentic might not get through the appearance of yet another period drama. I have watched it a few times and enjoyed every minute. I would say it's worth giving it a go.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful acting, but not quite faithful, 20 Sep 2005
By 
Star_Sea "Xing" (Salisbury, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Vanity Fair [DVD] (DVD)
If you like your drama sharp and funny, then "Vanity Fair" is for you. Thackeray is merciless in his portrayal of English society, although this adaption is much kinder to the character of Becky Sharpe, seeing her as a modern woman who is just trying to survive, rather than a heartless social climber.
Basically, the story is all about two women: Becky and Amelia. Becky grew up too soon, and is a woman at 15, whereas Amelia is still a child; Becky is a cynic and worldly-wise, Amelia is trusting and loves everyone. Becky is poor, with nothing but her looks and her wits; Amelia is rich, and is engaged to a childhood friend. From then on, all is turned upside down in the turmoil of early 19th century England, as the Napoleonic Wars intervene in the girls' lives, with Becky desperately trying to improve her lot while Amelia floats along. Fortunes are won and lost, hearts are broken, reputations are made and ruined. It is the faithful men who come off best: Becky's Rawdon, a rake turned into a loyal husband, and William Dobbin, who loves Amelia from afar while she is engaged to his dashing friend George.
The ending of the adaptation is much more sanitised than the book, where Becky is implicated in the murder of Amelia's elder brother, ambiguous to the end. There is also the small but important matter that Becky is turned into a scheming brunette and Amelia into a sweet blonde, when in the book, it is the other way around! Becky is blonde with green eyes, while Amelia has chestnut hair with great blue eyes. Colouring is not something many people look at when casting, but given Natasha Little is blonde anyway, I don't see why they changed it; it smacks of modern stereotyping. Otherwise, this is an adaptation rather different from the usual Dickens & Austen fare, and highly recommended.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moulin Rouge meets Sense and Sensibility with a small dose of Blackadder, 11 July 2006
This review is from: Vanity Fair [DVD] (DVD)
My wife and I had a great time seeing this. The godfather of adaptations, Andrew Davies, as usual constructs an effective and egaging series out of a classic novel (which i haven't read). The plot twists and turns, the pace and humour is kept up and the characters all have something distinctly human about them. I found the acting superb and believable, so all is good. What makes this a top series, however, is the dynamic filming, direction, costumes, production design and music. Some might find it over the top, i found that the style - which sometimes borders on the surreal - completely catches the bizar nature of the social game everbody is playing. First class - go enjoy.
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Vanity Fair (Repackaged) [DVD]
Vanity Fair (Repackaged) [DVD] by Marc Munden (DVD - 2012)
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