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42 of 43 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
15 of 19 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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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The BBC comes up with the goods!, 3 Jun. 2006
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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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30 of 31 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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25 of 26 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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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally on DVD, 4 July 2005
By 
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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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent adaptation, 7 Sept. 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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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful acting, but not quite faithful, 20 Sept. 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vanity Fair, 31 Aug. 2009
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This review is from: Vanity Fair [DVD] (DVD)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Unorthodox period piece.,, 28 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Vanity Fair (Repackaged) [DVD] (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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars faultless..., 24 April 2012
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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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 6 Jun. 2006
By 
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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Vanity Fair (Repackaged) [DVD]
Vanity Fair (Repackaged) [DVD] by Marc Munden (DVD - 2012)
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