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CALLING ALL PERIOD PIECE LOVERS...
on 24 November 2002
This is a superb adaptation of George Elliot's novel of the same name. Set in nineteenth century England in the rural town of Middlemarch, it follows the lives of several of its inhabitants, as the threads of their lives intertwine with those of others. Filled with memorable characters with whom the viewer becomes engrossed over the six hours that the series runs, it is a well acted, beautifully filmed period piece.
When an idealistic, ambitious, handsome gentleman, Dr. Tertius Lydgate (Douglas Hodge), moves to MIddlemarch with the expectation of running a charity hospital that will allow him the opportunity for medical research, he is teeming with anticipation at his prospects in this provincial backwater. He is quickly thrust into a situation not of his own making, however, as the town seems to be a family divided over who is to be chaplain of the hospital. Aligning himself with his benefactor, Mr. Bulstrode (Peter Jeffrey), the town's unpopular banker, he sets the path upon which he must travel. Moreover, when he freely states his opinions without regard for the existing medical establishment, he makes enemies without even realizing it, so pure of heart is he. Upon meeting the lusciously lovely and thoroughly spoiled social climber, Rosalind Vincy (Trevyn McDowell), daughter of the town's upstart mayor, he is lost to her charms and loses sight of the prize. He sets upon yet another path that will bring him ignominy.
The lovely and intelligent Dorothea Brooke (Juliet Aubrey) is a scion of one of the wealthy first families of Middlemarch. She, too, is idealistic and wants to leave her mark on the world. Her head filled with socialist ideas, she, being pure of heart, longs to set right wrongs perpetrated upon the poor by the wealthy landowners, a class of which she is a member. Moreover, having been denied the education available to men, she deeply admires learning in others. Unfortunately, she is taken in by the scholarly pretensions of a wealthy, middle aged cleric, the Rev. Casaubon (Patrick Malahide), and chooses to marry him over her other suitor. Thinking that she can assist her husband with his scholarly work, she discovers too late that he may have other ideas on this matter. When she meets his cousin, the romantically handsome Will Ladislaw (Ruffin Sewell), this sets into motion a future event that is to have a lasting impact on Dorothea.
One would think that Dorothea and Tertius would be a perfect love match. Alas, that is not to be, as the heart of each is captured by another. Scandals, romance, intrigues, politcs, and the wind of social change permeate this epic period piece. With numerous memorable characters and subplots that move the story along, the viewer remains enthralled, as the entire six hours melt away. With beautiful, lush cinematography, wonderful costumes, and ensemble ecting that makes this epic period piece flow, this video is a welcome addition to one's collection. Bravo!