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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars

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on 13 April 2008
A film as relevent today as Hogarth's paintings were then!
Someone should make a modernized version of the film, but until then this beautifully filmed period piece must suffice. And it does so. Eloquently.
Darkly. Without shame or judgement.
Part of the growing trend of "Faction", a fusion of fact and fiction,
this film explains Hogarth's obsession for the "Harlot" of his set of paintings. It depicts with grave honesty the degradations of the era and
the precarious position of women in it, whether wife or whore.The sad state of the lower classes and their children.
We have come a long way, but have we?
Well directed, filmed like a moving painting,believable and emotional acting, one of the few films I have seen that is well casted.
Watch this and prepare to be moved.
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on 23 July 2007
I saw this when it was first shown on Channel 4 last year. Toby Jones was just coming to the fore as an actor of some repute (support in Mrs Henderson Presents) and this shows why. Superb production that uses Hogarth's Harlot's Progress as the basis upon which to tell the story of Hogarth's rise to fame and fortune as Britain's foremost artist and cartoonist of the 18th Century. It brings to life London and how people lived in the capital at that time, with all it's degradation and deprivation, very vividly with excellent performances and script. Scenes from Hogarth's works are reconstructed and made alive giving a very 'real feel' to the production. News Bulletins are interspersed to give a modern slant on proceedings indicating the relevance to today - are we so different 300 years later?
First class. A must for scholars of the 18th Century, Hogarth and British art/artists, social historians and anyone who likes good innovative drama! Buy now!!
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Koch Vision and BBC presents "A HARLOT'S PROGRESS" (2006) (120 mins/Color) (Dolby Digital) --- Toby Jones (AMAZING GRACE) plays English artist William Hogarth in this retelling of his life --- The film brings all the grubbiness of 18th century London to the screen as Hogarth's undoubted talent, and his infamous relationship with a prostitute, is outlined in vivid style --- Great contrasts and characterization --- William Hogarth (November 10, 1697 - October 26, 1764) was a major English painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic and editorial cartoonist who has been credited with pioneering western sequential art --- His work ranged from excellent realistic portraiture to comic strip-like series of pictures called "modern moral subjects" --- Much of his work, though at times vicious, poked fun at contemporary politics and customs --- Illustrations in such style are often referred to as Hogarthian --- BBC and Koch Vision release.

Under the production staff of:
Justin Hardy - Director
Clive Bradley - Screenwriter
Clare Alan - producer
Richard Blair-Oliphant - Original Music
Douglas Hartington - Cinematographer
Michael Harrowes - film editor

A Harlot's Progress (also known as The Harlot's Progress) is a series of six paintings (1731, now lost) and engravings (1732) by William Hogarth. The series shows the story of a young woman, Mary (or Moll) Hackabout, who arrives in London from the country and becomes a prostitute. The series was developed from the third image: having painted a prostitute in her boudoir in a garret on Drury Lane, Hogarth struck upon the idea of creating scenes from her earlier and later life. The title and rich allegory are reminiscent of John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.

In the first scene, an old woman praises her beauty and suggests a profitable occupation, procuring her for the gentleman shown to the back of the image. She is a mistress with two lovers in the second, has become a common prostitute on the point of being arrested in the third, and is beating hemp in Bridewell Prison in the fourth. By the fifth, she is dying from venereal disease, and she is dead aged only 23 in the last.

The protagonist is named after the heroine of Moll Flanders and Kate Hackabout. Kate was a notorious prostitute and the sister of highwayman Francis Hackabout: he was hanged on 17 April 1730; she was convicted of keeping a disorderly house in August the same year, having been arrested by Westminster magistrate Sir John Gonson.

The series of paintings proved to be very popular, and Hogarth used his experience as an apprentice to a silversmith to create engravings of the images, selling a "limited edition" of 1,240 sets of six prints to subscribers for a guinea. Pirate copies of the engravings were soon in circulation, and Hogarth procured a 1735 Act of Parliament (8 Geo. II. cap. 13) to prohibit the practice. Soon after, Hogarth published his second series of satirical and moralistic images, A Rake's Progress, followed some years later by Marriage à-la-mode.

The original paintings were destroyed in a fire at Fonthill Abbey, the country house of William Beckford in Wiltshire, in 1755. The original plates survived, and were sold by Hogarth's widow, Jane, to John Boydell in 1789; by him to Baldwin, Cradock and Joy in 1818, and then to Henry Bohn in 1835. Each produced further copies.(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

the cast includes:
Toby Jones ... William Hogarth
Philip Martin Brown ... Gaoler
Zoe Tapper ... Mary Collins
Geraldine James ... Mother Needham
John Castle ... Sir John Gonson
Kate Ambler ... Top floor whore
Sophie Thompson ... Jane Hogarth
Vicky Hall ... Sarah
Roger Hammond ... Doctor Rock
Adam Levy ... Nathaniel Hirsch
Francis Magee ... James Dalton
Nicholas Rowe ... Henry Fielding
Oliver Ryan ... Samuel Scott
Richard Wilson ... Sir James Thornhill
Sarah Jane Wolverson ... Singing Prisoner

Disc #1 -- Harlot's Progress
1. The Foudling Hospital [4:52]
2. Starvation [3:27]
3. Covent Garden [11:43]
4. Fortunes [8:40]
5. Black Market Gin [6:52]
6. Mother Needham [4:46]
7. The Wig Box [14:17]
8. Beating Hemp [7:02]
9. A Visitor [6:43]
10. Moral Welfare [17:44]
11. Notorious Quack [11:45]
12. Closing Credits [1:31]

Great job by Koch Vision --- looking forward to more high quality titles from the BBC Collection film market --- order your copy now from Amazon or Koch Vision where there are plenty of copies available on DVD, stay tuned once again for top notch releases --- where they are experts in releasing long forgotten films and treasures to the collector.

Total Time: 120 mins on DVD ~ Koch Vision KOCV-6535 ~ (6/10/2008)
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“A Harlot’s Progress” is an unusual historical drama about a harlot and a painter that is set in London around the year 1731. It was shown on British television (Channel 4) and released on DVD in 2008. Here is some basic information about it:

*** Director: Justin Hardy
*** Writer: Clive Bradley
*** Musical score composed by Richard Blair-Oliphant
*** Run time: 100 minutes

The cast includes the following:

** Zoe Tapper as Mary Collins – the harlot
** Toby Jones as William Hogarth – the painter
** Sophie Thompson as Jane Hogarth – William’s wife
** Richard Wilson as Sir James Thornhill - Jane’s father
** Geraldine James as Madame Needham

The historical drama is based on a series of six paintings (from 1731) and six engravings (from 1732) by the English artist William Hogarth (1697-1764). The paintings were destroyed in a fire at Fonthill House in 1755, but fortunately the original plates that were used to make the engravings survived. Here is a brief summary of the motives:

# 1. Mary arrives in London. An old woman praises her beauty

# 2. Mary is a kept woman. She is the mistress of a wealthy merchant.

# 3. Mary is a common prostitute who is on the point of being arrested.

# 4. Mary is beating hemp in Bridewell Prison.

# 5. Mary is dying from venereal disease.

# 6. Mary is dead at the age of 23. The year is 1731.

This historical drama is based on a true story. What do reviewers say about it? On IMDb it has a rating of 71 per cent, which corresponds to 3.5 stars on Amazon. If you ask me, this average rating is too low.

On Amazon UK there are 16 reviews of this product. The average rating is 4.7 stars. If you ask me, this average rating is too high. I think this unusual historical drama deserves a rating of four stars.

PS # 1. William Hogarth: A Life and a World by Jenny Uglow is a very long and very detailed biography of the painter. It was published in 1998 (hardcover) and 2002 (paperback).

PS # 2. City of Vice – a mini-series in five parts – is a somewhat similar product. It was shown on British television (Channel 4) and released on DVD in 2008. On IMDb it has a rating of 80 per cent.

PS # 3. “Harlots” – a mini-series in eight parts – is a somewhat similar product, created by Moira Buffini and Alison Newman, inspired by the book The Convent Garden Ladies by Hallie Rubenhold (2005, 2006). The series is distributed by Hulu and ITV. The first episode was shown on television in March 2017. On IMDb it has a rating of 77 per cent. Since the series is still running, it is not yet available on DVD.
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on 10 February 2009
I really was not prepared for such a good film. I had seen part of the BBC production City of Vice and had bought the DVD from Amazon and bought this video as it was next to the other one. I had even wondered if it was a good idea. However, I was surprised to find it to be so shocking and the hard, cruel circumstances of life for people in those days prompted me to look into the history of those times. The film was well acted and produced and I also found it very moving. It cures andy desire to live in the good old days, but the film does show that many of the pitfalls that were present then are again present now. Well worth watching and learning from.
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on 22 April 2008
This is a really thought provoking film, well acted and extremely well filmed. One of the best a sympathetic portrayal of the extreme sqalour and deprivation of the poor in the Convent Garden area. I can recommend this one.
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on 30 January 2012
This really is an excellent introduction to the work of Hogarth, but not really his life; the story is quite speculative and based (loosely) on his meteoric rise to fame. The episodes blend together to allow for uninterrupted viewing in the style of a film, and even though it's quite long, the 'progress' of the Harlot (which I already - vaguely - knew from the original plates) kept me hooked. If you care more about a good story and can brush aside the inaccuracies - along the same lines as The Tudors or Desperate Romantics - this makes for very enjoyable watching.
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on 31 December 2008
Wow.. this certainly blew my breath away. It is very graphic and does not ease down for the light hearted or stuck up noseds.. in other words if your a before watershed sort of person best stay clear love.

It is based in 18th Century London following the famous engraver William Hogarth ( I have like 8 orginal engravings of his because of this film so trust me it is far from just good!) As he sets out trying to prove to his stiffshirted father-in law he can be as good a painter and artist as him. (little history for you here his father in law in the end got totally forgotten along with all his work as william out shon him so much.)

Anyhow as he is musing over little sketches in a dingy bar with the young henry fielding he catches glimpse of a beautiful young (and at the moment..) innocent lady dissappearing into the hands of the infamous Madam Needham who ran a hell of alot of brothels.

William, although married, takes an almost obsessive interest in her and we watch as their friendship/relationship grows and how as she once wished of high hopes of being rich as he, she was going down the dirty sewers of London as he was rising to fame from her portrail.

Alot more happens and whether it be historical truth or fiction as william Hogarth himself never denied or confirmed the woman to be real, it certainly has alot of twists, saddness, happiness and an utter jaw dropping dipiction of just how horrendous London in the 18th century was.

It really is an absolute must see especially if you are an historical come costume drama sort of fan - it is far from the BBC's costume dramas I can assure you....

This one is in a league all of its own! 10/10
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on 17 August 2016
Magnificent when it was made and somehow even more magnificent now: Hogarth is an unlikely hero and artist, and his story and method is well- told in this film. How history can be told fresh to allow the common humanity we share to show through the centuries. Beautifully played too.
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This is one of those films that will quickly send the historians into frenzies of how inaccurate it all is. And yes the sets are perhaps not the greatest but the story and the acting are brilliant. If you a fan of Toby Jones, you have to see this.
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