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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Brideshead Revisited, Again

Charles and Sebastian nod off in a gondola during a sun-kissed trip to Venice.

This week I was looking around on Netflix for something nice to watch in the evenings while getting ready for bed, and I rediscovered the original 1981 version of Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh's story of love, sex, guilt, religion, and redemption in the golden years of prewar Britain - and like a fine bottle of wine, this portrayal by a superb cast has only improved with age since I last saw it years ago. M.P. and I saw the 2008 film version with Emma Thompson as the iron-lady matriarch when that came out, and it is very good too - but the original TV series is done across eleven episodes, allowing much more time to savor the atmosphere and absorb all the nuances of character development.

Much of the series was filmed at the magnificent Castle Howard in Yorkshire.

Anthony Andrews is charming as the haunted Lord Sebastian, and Jeremy Irons is touchingly naive as his admiring middle-class lover. Nor must I omit to mention the late, great Sir Laurence Olivier as the middle-aged but still quite studly paterfamilias in exile. And many more fine characterizations by a first-rate ensemble. If you've never seen it before, I highly recommend you pour yourself a nice glass of wine, cuddle your teddy bear, and settle in for a delicious treat. If you don't have Netflix, you can watch the whole thing on YouTube - here's a teaser with some skin to entice you, from Episode 2:

PS - I see from googling around that some reviewers are still debating whether these boys had a homosexual relationship, or were just "good friends." OMG. What do you say, fellas?

Aloysius joins the boys in a dapper pose beside the fountain at Brideshead.


Grandmère Mimi said...

OMG, it's wonderful, isn't it? I've read the book and watched the series over and over.

Russ Manley said...

Yes, a gorgeous movie . . . I'd prefer a happier ending, but of course that would miss the point.

BTW Mimi, have you been to Castle Howard? You were just over in that part of England last year, weren't you?

Grandmère Mimi said...

Yes, I did, Russ. It's a beautiful place. I've seen a number of castles and great houses in England, and, after a while, they all sort of run together in my mind. I believe the interiors in the series may have been filmed elsewhere - at another castle or great house, but I'm not sure.

Russ Manley said...

How nice that you got to see it. When I was young I would have loved to live in Europe for a year or two and tour around to see everything.

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