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Old "English" movies. Which ones exist on DVD?


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#1 of 18 Neil Joseph

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Posted March 03 2004 - 04:35 AM

I want to get my parents some dvd's. They like movies like ...

- Pride and Prejudice
- An Ideal Husband
- Sense and Sensibility

The question I have is what other good old english movies like this are there? You know, the type with the women in gowns and such. Sorry for the ignorant question but I thought I would approach the experts first.
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#2 of 18 Mark Philp

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Posted March 03 2004 - 04:50 AM

Sorry Neil, I think we may have a generation gap here. I was thinking of "old" as the '30, '40s and '50s when I looked up an "Ideal Husband" I found two versions one released in 1999 and another in 1948. Perhaps it would be helpful to know what you or your parents think of as "old". There are hundreds of great British films from the periods I mentioned such as all the Alec Guinness comedies made by Ealing Studios and the wonderful films of David Lean like "Brief Encounter", "Great Expectations" and "Oliver Twist". If you narrow it down a little I think the folks here can come up with dozens of great films.

#3 of 18 James Reader

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Posted March 03 2004 - 05:02 AM

I think he means films set in 18th Century England.

I recommend The House of Mirth.
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#4 of 18 Rob Gillespie

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Posted March 03 2004 - 05:06 AM

Emma, with Gwyneth Paltrow is pretty good and very funny in places.
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#5 of 18 Stephen_J_H

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Posted March 03 2004 - 05:11 AM

Go buy the Alec Guinness box set from Anchor Bay. If your parents are anything like mine, they'll love it. Not costume dramas, but great, intelligent English humour.
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#6 of 18 Neil Joseph

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Posted March 03 2004 - 05:48 AM

Yes, I mean movies that deal with that period in time not necessarily old films, they could be made recently.
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#7 of 18 andrew markworthy

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Posted March 03 2004 - 05:59 AM

Neil, it all depends, I guess, on how liberal-minded your parents are!

I think you are after stuff set in the Regency (Jane Austen) through to late Victorian (Oscar Wilde) period.

Obvious safe choices are mainstream Jane Austen:

Pride and Prejudice
Persuasion
[there are excellent versions by the BBC]

Also:
Emma
Sense and Sensibility

A slightly riskier choice:
Mansfield Park

This is arguably the best of the recent Austen adaptations, but it includes a (brief) sex scene and some rather unpleasant drawings of abuse of West Indian slaves. It's also not totally faithful to the book (though this IMHO is no bad thing). I don't know how your parents will take to this!

After Jane Austen, there are a ton of 19th century adaptations that may be recommended.

Arguably the jewel in the crown is the Royal Shakespeare Company's stage adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby. This is 9 hours long, and I don't know whether your folks will want to stick with something that lengthy. Also note that the R1 version is oddly segmented into 1 hour episodes. For all of this, however, it is still a wonderful experience. If you don't feel this version is suitable, then you can always go for the recent movie of Nicholas Nickleby, which is pretty good, but cuts a huge amount of the book's plot.

There are two excellent David Lean adaptations of Dickens - Great Expectations and Olive Twist (both on Criterion). I'd avoid the BBC adaptations of Dickens unless you're certain you mom and dad will like them. The can be rather dark and depressing. Of course, if you want to get something really lightweight, you can always get them Oliver! (the musical based *very* loosely on Oliver Twist).

With regard to Oscar Wilde, I would urge you *not* to get the recent movie of The Importance of Being Earnest. There are some wonderful individual performances, but bits of it are too anachronistic for words. Instead, try to get the Anthony Asquith-directed version (I *think* this is another Criterion edition).

Anyway, that should be something to be going on with. Posted Image

Incidentally, James, 'House of Mirth' is set in the late 19th/early 20th century.

#8 of 18 Todd Phillips

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Posted March 03 2004 - 06:01 AM

Looks like you might want movies based on 19th century novels.

Emma with Kate Beckinsale is good (and better than the Paltrow one in some ways).

Persuasion is also well done.

The Importance of Being Earnest: 1952 version (recommended) or the 2002 version

The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain would probably satisfy with it's quaint english charm, even though it is a little more rustic and modern than the movies you mentioned.

I would also suggest Rebecca, though it is also a little more modern in it's setting, too.

Though it's not British, Little Women might fit the bill (women in gowns).
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#9 of 18 DeeF

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Posted March 03 2004 - 06:48 AM

An excellent BBC miniseries was made about the life of Lillie Langtry, with Francesca Annis. It's about 12 hours long -- excellent.

#10 of 18 Lew Crippen

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Posted March 03 2004 - 07:07 AM

There are some wonderful TV adaptations of Sherlock Holmes starring Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke. Also a brilliant TV adapation of John Galsworthy’s The Forsyte Saga, one of Trollope’s The Pallisers.

In films, you might consider The Private Life of Henry VIII, Oliver’s Henry V and Richard III
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#11 of 18 Mark Cappelletty

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Posted March 03 2004 - 07:14 AM

This is much different than the thread on "Olde English" malt liquor I was expecting.

#12 of 18 Stephen_J_H

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Posted March 03 2004 - 01:28 PM

Try Possession with Jeremy Northham, Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart as well. It's not purely period, but it does capture the period rather nicely.
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#13 of 18 Brook K

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Posted March 04 2004 - 05:59 AM

Topsy-Turvy

I'm drawing a blank otherwise.
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#14 of 18 andrew markworthy

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Posted March 04 2004 - 06:46 AM

Quote:
The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain would probably satisfy with it's quaint english charm

Ignoring the mispunctuation of 'its', there is the small matter of national provenance. The film you describe is set in *Wales*. People have been shot for less.

#15 of 18 Todd Phillips

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Posted March 04 2004 - 07:33 AM

Quote:
Ignoring the mispunctuation of 'its',

Ack, touché. (wait...you said you ignored it, but here we are talking about it)

Quote:
there is the small matter of national provenance. The film you describe is set in *Wales*. People have been shot for less.


Well, of course, I was refering to the quaintness of the "Englishman" himself, not the rest of the villagers. I would never think of the Welsh as quaint. Posted Image
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#16 of 18 Andrew Budgell

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Posted March 04 2004 - 02:25 PM

While not set in the 18th or 19th Century, I find the Miss Marple series starring Joan Hickson quite enjoyable and quant. Also check out the Angela Lansbury/Elizabeth Taylor Mirror Crack'd - it's quite catty!

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#17 of 18 Werner_R

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Posted March 05 2004 - 01:13 AM

I second the excellent BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice

#18 of 18 DouglasBr

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Posted March 05 2004 - 01:41 AM

How about Howard's End, if you can find it? Excellent acting and period detail (Edwardian, I believe). I found Emma Thompson's character one of the most appealing I've ever seen on film (can't exactly say why, I just did!).

There's a set of Oscar Wilde plays on DVD, put out by the BBC I think, which has people like John Gielgud, Jeremy Brett and Joan Plowright in them. I think they're from the late '70s or early '80s, like the earlier Austen and Dickens stuff from BBC. Production values can't touch P&P, I'm sure, but the acting might make up for that lack (haven't seen them yet myself).





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