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Any Human Heart [DVD] 
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Main Stars: Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean 4 – On Sytranger Tides, Pillars of the Earth), Matthew Macfadyen (Robin Hood, Pride & Prejudice), Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince), Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City), Hayley Atwell (The Brideshead Revisited), Gillian Anderson (The X Files), Tom Hollander (Elizabeth – The Golden Age, Pirates of the Caribbean – At Worlds End)
An adaptation of William Boyd’s best-selling novel, Any Human Heart tells the story of Logan Mountstuart’s long and rackety life, one which spans every decade of the twentieth century, in all its fantastic and humdrum, dangerous and tranquil, tragic and humorous aspects.
The four films follow Logan from his time in Oxford; through literary market success with the publication of his ‘racy’ novel ‘The Girl Factory’; through numerous affairs and two marriages; one tragic true love; adventures as a spy behind enemy lines; flirtations with Wallis Simpson; encounters with Ernest Hemingway, Ian Fleming, sexual scandal in the New York art scene; destitution in Pimlico; unlikely heroism to a final and perhaps even contented death. Although it would appear to the outside that his life has been defined by a combination of random quantities of good and bad luck for Logan, if he really looked closely, it has probably been more accurately defined by sex.
While it is compelling, pacy, witty, sexy, emotional and clever it is also a brilliant and innovative charting of the history of the 20th Century. Logan has the habit of popping up, Zelig-like, at pivotal moments in 20th Century history and teetering on the brink of immortality before, inevitably, plunging back into obscurity. Logan’s journey touches on key moments and movements that still shape our times in the 21st Century: the pre-war emergence of the working class power and the end of establishment complacency; the rise of European Fascism; the last global conflict that was World War 2; the zenith of American hegemony in the 1950s and 60s; the emergence of political terrorism (the Baader-Meinhof Gang); the squalor and degradation of urban poverty; the long shadow of the 2nd World War; and finally the serenity and wisdom that a long, fully-lived life can provide.
- In Oxford with Sam Caflin
- Matthew MacFayden on location in Spain
- Interview with Jim Broadbent
- Kim Cattrall on 'Gloria'
- Gillian Anderson and Tom Hollander on playing the Duke and Duchess of Windsor
- Hayley Atwell on 'Freya'
- On the set of Any Human Heart
- From paper to screen - William Boyd discusses Any Human Heart
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Top Customer Reviews
The story centres around Logan Mountstuart, who is a novelist and some time journalist. Ranging from about 1906-1991 we are given an entry into Mountstuart's life. His affairs, his friends all appear as we are shown occasions throughout his long life. Flashing between his old age and his younger self we get the feeling of Mountstuart looking back on his life, with regrets but also with happiness. With his old age, and like your average old person his health isn't the best it could be, we are also shown a very poignant sight. My gran recently died and she was the oldest of all her brothers and sisters, only leaving the very youngest one now alive, and this shows in a way what that is like. As relatives and friends die before you you kind of get a feeling of loneliness, and thoughts of will I be next.
All in all this was brilliant, from the script to the acting, and like all lives this doesn't show all doom and gloom, but those happy moments, those times when you wished you had done more and those times that are humourous, though sometimes this humour is quite black.
This drama, although slow-moving, is utterly captivating. The themes of loss and regret are expertly, effortlessly woven throughout it, and the acting subtle, but moving. Jim Broadbent steals the show; in the first three episodes he hasn't even got a line but still manages to deliver a heartfelt, seamless performance. I will devour the book greedily, and when the DVD arrives I will savour it a second time.
I noticed in the Radio Times that this production hasn't been too well received by the viewing public,which is so sad...for a change we got a story slowly told so that we could get to know the characters involved, lots of dialogue & minimal 'Action Sequences', call me old fashioned...I am,but it was wonderful for once to watch a programme which rates with 'Brideshead', 'The Forsyte Saga' etc. It's a classic.
The series is based on a book from 2002. The book is written by William Boyd, who is also responsible for the screenplay. The leading character in the book and the film is a fictional person: Logan Mountstuart, an author and a reporter, who lives his fictional life from 1906 to 1991. As we follow his life and career in the four episodes, we are taken on a journey through the 20th century.
While Logan is a fictional character, his life and career are placed in a historical setting. The role of Logan is played by four different actors: a boy, a young man, a mature man, and an old man,
As he goes through life, he meets several famous people. One example: he meets Ernest Hemingway before and during the Spanish civil war. Another example: he meets Ian Fleming, who worked for British intelligence during World War II. A third example: he meets Edward, who was for a while king of the UK, and his special friend Wallis Simpson. When Edward abdicated and married his friend, the couple became known as the Duke and the Duchess of Windsor.
I do not wish to spoil the viewing for anyone; therefore I am not going to reveal any significant details here, but I have to mention an episode that took place in 1943, because it is a true story that is woven into the fictional drama.
During World II, the Duke of Windsor served as governor of the Bahamas. Ian Fleming sends Logan to the Bahamas where his job is to keep an eye on the famous couple and make sure they do not cause any problems for the British Empire.Read more ›
Would recommend this as much as the book.
Quite a life it has been too. What did it include? A stately home. A dingy basement (where he was reduced to eating dog food). Friendship with Hemingway. Work with Ian Fleming in Intelligence. Bizarre encounters with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (they superbly played by Tom Hollander and Gillian Anderson, and NOT emerging with credit). So many lovers, but only one who mattered (Hayley Atwell as Freya a delight). Never achieved was that great ambition of a literary masterpiece, something always contriving to thwart. Regrets? None really, merely acceptance "it's all just luck in the end."
An ambitious five part series, with interesting bonus features. Evocatively it recreates key aspects of the Twentieth Century - the skills in so doing perhaps particularly appreciated by viewers who themselves have reached a good age, their own memories similarly stirred. They too are more able to empathize with one who has outlived so many friends and colleagues.
Jim Broadbent is wonderful as the older Logan, Sam Claflin and Matthew MacFadyen shining as his younger selves. The transitions from one to another (and back again) are smoothly handled (slight adjustments to chins and earlobes helping continuity).
Totally involving, tender and true. Much humour, although sadness inevitably increases as the years advance. Destined to finish on a sombre note? Not at all. The last few seconds of the final episode contain a surprise that uplifts.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A really good dvd, really enjoyable entertainment. Jim Broadbent as usual, excellent acting.Published 21 days ago by anne maddock
Read the book, watch this and if you are born in even the 60s and can remember the 70s 80s ... it will hit you where it hurts !Published 8 months ago by David Yue
William Boyd is one of the best writers around and this TV adaptation of his wonderful book of the same name doesn't disappoint. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Judith Sharpe
It wants to be bigger than it is, and it is darned long but if you have a few evenings to fill and you don't mind being depressed, go for it! Get the bunting out and await the V2s. Read morePublished 9 months ago by SeaGoat under Sirius
Brilliant acting ... but wanted to like it more than I did.Published 10 months ago by mosses farmhouse