on 8 November 2012
I find the review by the first reviewer rather odd. I have seen this programme recently and I did not find Geraldine's accent all over the place. Geraldine is the better Brodie!
Muriel Spark worked on this version of the book and thought it was the best adaptation!
The scripting and production values are of the era, 1977 and 1978 when broadcast on Scottish Television. Of all the versions, this develops the book and is in more depth to the authors praise.
This official DVD version has not been released so the first user can't comment on the actual DVD.
Be warned some episodes have saturation on the side of the screen. But this is comparable with programmes of this era and does NOT in anyway detract from the brilliance of Geraldine McEwan as Jean Brodie.
I treated myself to this title after weeks of hesitation for my Christmas treat to myself - I hadn't seen the series for almost forty years - since it first aired, and have never since been able to think of Geraldine McEwen as anything but `Miss Jean Brodie'!
I stumbled upon this mini tv series whilst in my teens, and though I'd recalled very little of it in actual detail had remembered though how terribly good it had been and how much I had enjoyed it. I had been impressed with Lynsey Baxter in particular who plays one of the main characters `Sandy' - so much so, that I remember purchasing `The French Lieutenant's Woman' made three years later - merely because she was in it! I thought her a great and exceptional actress, though I believe she later went into Directing.
I'm also a fan of the movie made ten years earlier starring Maggie Smith, and while I would urge viewers NOT to compare the two - if you should, then you will soon find that Miss McEwen knocks spots of Maggie's portrayal of Jean Brodie!
The first episode here, viewers may find a bit slow; it actually takes you back to before Miss Brodie takes up her post at `Marcia Blaine's' school for girls which is interesting. The third episode is thoroughly enjoyable, and is the one now I recall as being riveted to on its first tv airing. The dialogue in the whole series is superb which is delivered brilliantly by Ms. McEwen - particularly Brodie, but moreso here from the two girls, which as innocents discuss `how to do it' (meaning sex) which is amusing and most entertaining to say the least - Lynsey Baxter in particular giving an outstanding and convincing performance as a 12 - 13 year old, when in real life she was approaching the age of twenty!!
Many have complained about the seemingly abrupt ending of the series; the truth is, I understand that the series had not been completed for various reasons, the usual rule of thumb in tv to be a collection of thirteen episodes in a season/series - or six in a `mini'', and as this is neither would suggest a most definite `termination' of the production. As the main characters though had completed their being `nurtured' by Ms. Brodie and were about to `move on up' so to speak, I expect the stories could not have been stretched much further without the loss of some credibility or quality to the show. Whilst I agree to a somewhat `open' ending would imply a second season, I really believe it to be very appropriate, as the Ms. Jean Brodie here is much `gentler' by nature and conscientious' than she is portrayed in the movie by Maggie Smith, for what viewers seemed to have expected for the outcome.
I'm not sure about others, but I am left by the series actually `believing' in and loving Ms. Brodie and accepting her for what she is; a great teacher with a big heart - with a genuine interest and belief in her girls - and if she is misguided, it isn't out of malice, selfishness or neglect, but merely due to a sincere belief in a preparation for a world that would be best for her charges in her eyes.
Classic vintage tv at its very best - and in my eyes beyond criticism!
on 27 July 2013
This is a wonderful authentically Scottish adaptation and exploration of Muriel Spark's famous novel. The title performance carries the series and is absolutely flawless. Throughout, one feels simultaneously like a child again, wide eyed in wonderment at Miss Brodie's beguiling authority, certainty and sophistication, yet also as an adult faintly staggered by her eccentric teaching methods and bizarre, dangerous and now hopelessly dated claims about the big wide world. The viewer adores Miss Brodie but cannot be other than deeply concerned about the cult of personality she gradually promotes around herself, concerned both for her impressionable 'little girls' and for herself. In my opinion, coming from Edinburgh, Ms McEwen's Brodie succeeds as an intriguingly flawed mesmerising character, whereas Dame Maggie's succeeds as a flawed mesmerising star performance, hampered by an extreme parody of the local educated Edinburgh accent. This version is much less exaggerated and mannered and all the more believable for it, there's no chewing up the scenery and no melodramatic scenes.
It's drawn from the same play by Jay Presson Allen as the movie, but it goes so much further into depth because it has seven hours of airtime. Sadly, it appears to have been designed to go into a second series and doesn't. It stops dead with all the characters fully developed but does not cover the later years of the students, the bitter betrayal of Miss Brodie and her downfall. In a way, that's rather a pleasant aspect of this version, as Miss Brodie remains in her prime at the end, while the viewer can imagine exactly where all this is heading. I have seen reviews that moan about the production values, but in reality school teachers and most Edinburgh citizens in 1930 would have had one main outfit, lived in drab surroundings, and the school would have been Spartan, so the series isn't lacking anything. It's also worth mentioning there is a lot of comedy in most of the episodes. Sandy and Jenny play their sniggering sex-confused ages with great verve and are generally very amusing and the gymnasium scenes are hilarious and probably horribly accurate.
One last point is to pay tribute to all the schoolgirls whose characters are well-drawn and who act their school socks off, and to the other teaching characters, who are quite simply wonderfully cast.
This is a gem.
on 15 November 2012
Maggie Smith won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Jean Brodie. I think that Geraldine McEwan's Brodie is easily superior.
I saw this in the US on Public Television in the late 70's and have been looking for the series for over a decade. The series has seven episodes, each centered around the brilliant, inspiring, and deeply troubling Jean Brodie. She is both the best teacher a student could ever have and a woman without ethical boundries and who imposes her aspirations on helpless schoolgirls.
The best of the seven episodes is "Giulia," which shows the character of Miss Brodie at her worst and the McEwan's performance at its best. The last episode is the series' weakest, especially when the "Brodie girls" are shown to be petty and cruel.
(US purchasers should be aware that this is in PAL format, so you'll need a zone-free DVD player.)
on 25 March 2014
I first saw this as a small boy around ten years old. When we visited my grandmother, we were made to sit quiet and watch this show. I was completely mesmerized by Geraldine McEwan.
I have a feeling STV must have shown this series again a few times in the early eighties, because I saw it again recently on SKY Arts and could not believe there were only ever seven episodes, It seemed to go on forever.
However, the impact of each individual episode is long-lasting and captivating.
Miss Brodie is a literary creation of Muriel Spark's formative years at an all girls school. Turned into a movie starring Maggie Smith, who was applauded for her performance.
This series began in 1978 and is considered by many the preferable adaption. For me, Geraldine McEwan (Whom you may remember more recently as Jane Marple) is both immersed in the role to the point of perfection and enchanting.
Anyone who has the least interest in historic Scottish culture could not be more connected in procuring this DVD. I see Amazon have recently begun selling a Region 2 version for just over a tenner. Bargain!.
Each episode focuses, from episode two onwards, on Miss Brodie's relationship with an individual or a couple of her girls at a time. Sometimes comedic, pompous and entertaining, sometimes heartbreaking. In amidst of this, she has to contend with the cantankerous Miss Gaunt, who seems intent on sabotaging the methods of teaching at the school. Her main object of attention being the non-conforming Miss Jean Brodie. Miss Gaunt likes to be consistently in the headmistress's good favour, mostly to her chagrin.
This is set in the early 1930s, Miss Brodie is a confirmed 'old maid', as she strikes you she will become, after losing her love who fell in the Great War a week before armistice. Each episode leaves a lasting impression, and gives more and more endearment to its subject.
This is without doubt the definitive version, I rather fancy the ending left us to assume there would be more to come, but soon thereafter many afflictions hit ITV, including an overlong strike. So we can assume again, budgets meant much local dramatizations would suffer.
However, this is a landmark in television production. You won't be disappointed, It is something you will delight in relaxing of an evening and digging out once in a while to watch over again.
on 26 April 2015
Every bit as good as I remembered, and then some! One of the first things I had seen Geraldine McEwan in and she had me hooked from the start. Bought this to remind me of her great skill and charisma, and to introduce my older daughter to the early work of the woman she has always felt to be the definitive Miss Marple.
I didn't think anyone could live up to Maggie smith in the role of Miss Jean Brodie but Geraldine McEwan excels. I loved this series. The only disappointment - the last episode does suggest that another series would follow but alas this never happened. fjs
on 25 November 2012
I will agree with the previous reviewer; Geraldine McEwan wins the prize for her portrayal of Miss Jean Brodie (as much as I love Maggie Smith). Was very touched by her performance and enjoyed the filming in Edinburgh, complete with misty sets! I also much prefer the ending of this version. Delighted it has been finally been released on DVD and look forward to curling up to watch it again soon. Very atmospheric.
on 10 February 2013
Geraldine Mcewan is wonderful as Miss Jean Brodie, as good in her own way as Maggie Smith is in hers. They are both incredible actresses. The problem with this version is that the producers obviously meant to continue it beyond the first season, except that they didn't, and so the mini-series doesn't end, it just 'stops'. The Miss Brodie in this series is much more chaste than her cinematic counterpart, who managed to carry on affairs with both the art teacher (Robert Stephens), as well as the choir instructor (Gordon Jackson). Mcewan's Miss Brodie gets no further than fending off a kiss from Teddy Lloyd (art teacher), citing his wife and family as obstacles (something that never bothered Maggie Smith's Brodie). In fact, the whole Miss Brodie/Sandy/Teddy ill-fated triangle never gets off the ground here, though possibly the writers meant to develop it in the later episodes that never materialized. So the story arc is never completed, and the sense of tragedy that hangs over the movie Brody never makes an appearance here. Still, I recommend this set for lovers of the book and movie. First and foremost I love Geraldine Mcewan in anything. And the rest of the cast is excellent as well, particularly Lynsey Baxter as Sandy (though I am a huge Pamela Franklin fan as well, and she remains my favorite in the role). In addition, the episodes are generally well-written, and one can't help wonder how it might have continued, if it had been allowed to continue.
on 7 January 2015
Received the DVD today & have spent the afternoon/evening watching it.
Have to say that i agree that Geraldine McEwan is the better Brodie, her performance to me is excellent and brings out the character of Brodie far more than Maggie Smith did. This series also gives the characters of Sandy, Jenny, Mary etc much greater depth,
The only disappointment is the way in which the series was left in mid-air, i wonder if Scottish TV left it like that hoping that a new series would be commisioned.
It was very sad that this series was never really repeated much on ordinary tv, but thankfully this DVd brings back many happy memories.