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Return to Cranford [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
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Both instalments of the 2009 Christmas special of the BBC costume drama starring Judi Dench. The two-part episode picks up the story in September 1844, a year since the small Cheshire market town celebrated the wedding of Sophy (Kimberley Nixon) and Dr Harrison (Simon Woods). Miss Matty (Dench) knows only too well that faces will always come and go in Cranford, but for now she is happy that her brother Peter (Nicholas Le Prevost) is home from India and that Martha (Claudie Blakley) is enjoying her newfound motherhood. Meanwhile, Lady Ludlow (Francesca Annis) is awaiting the return of her son Septimus (Rory Kinnear), and young Harry Gregson (Alex Etel) is set to begin his education at Shrewsbury.
The two-part saga Return to Cranford opens to a struggling Cranford, a traditional village that in autumn 1844 is airing the conflicts that accompany progress. Miss Matty Jenkyns (Judi Dench), after having closed her business in the last series, is happily babysitting the child of her maid, Martha (Claudie Blakley). This gives the ladies in town something to gossip about, as does every other small event in this chatty group. The same women populate this new Cranford--the snooty Miss Jamieson (Barbara Flynn), nosy Miss Pole (Imelda Staunton), Miss Forrester (Julia McKenzie), Peggy (Jodie Whittaker), and Erminia (Michelle Dockery)--while a few new men added into the mix creates options for love interests throughout. In Part One, Peggy, visiting her dead father's grave, bumps into William Baxton (Tom Hiddleston), a young and dapper gentleman who becomes a central character in Cranford's growing divide between those who want a railroad coming through town and those who don't. While politics are sorted, scenes alternate between heated public debates and intimate domestic exchanges to make Return to Cranford as charming as the first incarnations of this historical drama. The emphasis on the ways the women in town navigate thorny social situations remains primary in Return to Cranford. Babies are born and the elderly pass away while the ladies busily decide what to make of it all. While Part One focuses on catch-up, showing where each crone stands on the latest current events, Part Two attempts more to challenge outmoded cultural values such as elitism and to show how the community members toughen up to become a courageous bunch. Unfortunately, Miss Matty discovers that solidarity is hard to come by in this small village, and Part Two is as much about a town falling apart as it is about ways to heal sore feelings and a violated landscape. Ultimately, life marches on in this pleasurably fictionalized glimpse into England's past. --Trinie Dalton, Amazon.com
--This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Would have given five stars... Just wish it had been longer.
It only gets to the BBC intro screen and not any further. Diasppointing.
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