Apr 16, 2013

New Period Movies/Shows

A couple of weeks ago, I had a desire to watch a romance. Not just any romance, but a period romance. A movie with beautiful dresses, witty women, and handsome men in top hats. I wanted a declaration of love followed by an amazing kiss and a happily ever after. And I knew many movies that fit this description, but I wanted something new. Something that would surprise me. So I asked around and looked at my trusted period channels on YouTube. I came up with some hits, and some misses.

So, for your viewing pleasure (or displeasure), here are the new period movies (and one TV show) I discovered.

Lorna Doone (2000)
I had seen this on one of my YouTube channels, and had heard friends mention it, but I really didn't know anything about it. After two friends told me it was great, I decided to watch it. I was very pleasantly surprised! It was lovely, with just about everything that I wanted. But at the same time, it made me want to eat Lorna Doone cookies. . . . 

The gist is this. The time period is the 17th century. John is intent on avenging the death of his father, who was killed by the Doone clan. Then he meets Lorna, who happens to be the "queen" of the Doones. They fall in love, and must fight for what they most want--marriage to each other--but things keep getting in their way. There is a Doone who wants to marry Lorna and will have her or no one else can. There is the mystery of Lorna's mother. And of course, John's vengeful heart against the Doones. It was described to me as "like a Scottish version of Romeo and Juliet, but without the suicides."

The Buccaneers (1995)
This is not recommended. So, just keep that in mind if you decide to go watch it. The story follows for American girls as they go to England in the mid to late Victorian era to find rich and/or titled husbands. The story focuses mainly on the youngest girl, Nan. This is not a happy way to spend 5 hours. Only one of the girls ends up in a happy marriage, and we barely see her. One ends up unhappy in her marriage and cheats on her husband. One ends up in a loveless marriage with a man who only married her for her money and keeps a mistress. And Nan ends up married to a brute who rapes her, abuses her, and is also a homosexual (keep in mind, homosexuality was illegal at this time). I think the ending was supposed to be happy, but since it involved infidelity, I had a hard time thinking it was. If Nan had chosen love over a title and money, she would have been happy in the second hour and I would have been happier too. (Be aware that there is one scene of non graphic rape, and one scene of attempted rape. Though you shouldn't watch this movie anyway, so this warning is unnecessary.)

Barbara Cartland adaptions:
Barbara Cartland was a writer of historical romances during the 20th century. I have never read her novels, but I have heard that they are better than the movies. Keep in mind, that I am judging these based on the fact that they were made in the late 80s/early 90s, and as such, contain a bit of cheese. (And floppy haircuts for the men, and anachronistic makeup and hair for the women.)
A Hazard of Hearts (1987)
This was the best of the three adaptations I watched. It has a young Helena Bonham Carter as Serena. It's Regency time period. Serena's father is a gambler, and in a game of dice loses not only his money, but his house and his daughter to the evil Lord Wrotham. Lord Justin Vulcan wins back the house and Serena, but not before Sir Giles kills himself. Lord Vulcan then takes Serena to his home, which is rumored to be haunted.

I like that there is romance, as well as a bit of swashbuckling in these movies. The romance in this one is probably the strongest of the three, though the kiss is cut short. (Also, there is an attempted rape, but it's not graphic, just some struggling.)

A Ghost in Monte Carlo (1990)
A young girl and her aunt go to Monte Carlo incognito in the late Victorian era. The aunt seems intent on her niece marrying royalty, though the girl falls in love with English Lord Robert Stanford (played by Marcus Gilbert, who also played Lord Vulcan in A Hazard of Hearts). The beautiful niece has also caught the eye of a Rajah. Again, there's some swash buckling, and men riding to the rescue.

Duel of Hearts (1991)
Probably my least favorite of all the Cartland movies. Possible because Marcus Gilbert wasn't in it. . . .

Anyway, Lady Faye is intent on proving that Lord Brecon did not commit a murder that he is suspected of, so she says she is Miss Frye and gets a job as his mother's companion. This movie is a bit like Jane Eyre, with the mysteries of the house, etc.

"Garrow's Law" (2009-2011)
This was a three season TV show, and I loved it! If you liked Amazing Grace (2006), I think you'll like "Garrow's Law". They are similar not only in time period (late 18th century), but also in that they both tell the story of a man intent on making changes. William Garrow was an English barrister who, among other things, invented the phrase "Innocent until proven Guilty." The TV show isn't very accurate, historically, when is comes to the life and cases of Garrow, but instead, it uses Garrow as a character to show real cases that came to the Old Bailey court at the time Garrow was practicing. I loved seeing someone fight for what he thought was right. And there is a bit of romance, too.

Bert & Dickie (2012)
This is the story of the English skulling team that won gold in the 1948 London Olympics. They were placed together five weeks before the Olympics and had to learn how to be a team, put aside their differences, and learn to trust each other. It's one of those feel good, triumphant, sports movies, and it did have me tearing up a bit in the end. The hard thing about this is that Matt Smith played Bert Bushnell, and I just couldn't get past thinking of this as the Doctor. It's the way he talks! He just talked like the Doctor. I've never had that problem with any of the other actors that have played the Doctor. In fact, at one point he asks some for change so he can use the "phone box" and I kind of giggled a little to myself at that. But it was an interesting story. Even more interesting is that the Olympics used to have art competitions.

So, there you go. Three good movies, one good TV show, two so-so movies, and one movie that is not recommended.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE Hazard of Hearts! Forgot about that one. Marcus Gilbert is great!