7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Read the books first,
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This review is from: A Dance to the Music of Time [DVD]  (DVD)
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 unchanged; it doesn't make much sense if you haven't read the books. But if you have, there are real treats; Geilgiud as St John Clarke, Alan Bennett as Sillery, Michael Williams playing Ted Jeavons to a T, Miranda Richardson as a rather brilliant Pamela; and of course, Simon Russel Beale's monstrous Widmerpool. Most of the dialogue is lifted from the books, so it can be laugh aloud funny. But there is no time for characterisation, many of the characters have been cut (Barnby, Frederica and Dicky Umfraville etc), and some characters appear on screen for such a short period of time that it is impossible to care; Robert Tolland's death, for example, or Maclintick's suicide, both would have made me shrug my shoulders if I hadn't known who the characters were. But I must say my eyes moistened at the deaths of Lady Molly and Moreland. But that was because I cared for them as characters in the book. So, read the books, and then watch this in the realisation that they are really unfilmable, and that this is the closest anyone will get.