Brideshead Revisited DVD Review

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I am away on holiday this week so I decided to do something a little different for a few of the days.  Last year I visited Castle Howard the fantastic location for most of the series and in my head forever Brideshead, you can find the photos I took during my visit and a impression of my day from my note book here. You can also see the full album of photos I took on my Pinterest where I have recently created a board for them and am working on uploading lots of photos from previous trips, I will also at some point look at making them into a slide show on Youtube when I get chance.

So what I am going to do is do a basic overview of the series and then in other posts look more deeply into some of the issues raised in the series and discuss their relativity today 30 years after the series was aired and almost 70 years after Evelyn Waugh’s novel was first published.

The novel was based on Waugh’s own personal life and his connection with the Lygon family, and I think this is evident in the depths of complexities he uses to create the characters within the novel and that shows through the adaptation. The film like the book is about relationships, and where the bounds of friendship transgress into something more.  It is about families and how rather than giving love and support they can be destructive even if that is not the intention, and how expectations and loyalties clash against personal desires and ambitions.

Although created by ITV rather than the BBC it is nevertheless an brilliantly crafted and authentic period drama.  Though some padding has been done to turn the book into a serial it is very much true to the book and extra scenes in slip unnoticed with no jarring against the orginal material.

In some respects this production has aged, but by that I do not mean in terms of the actual story/adaptation but rather the production and filming does not really stand up in some ways to modern standards, and while it works well for the themes I can imagine new viewers to the series finding it a little off putting.  This is one issue I find frequently with younger generations, that the quality of visuals can put them off watching things they would otherwise enjoy, and may explain why Film and TV moguls feel the need to remake things that do not need remaking, I believe Bridesheads received this treatment in 2008, I put in the trailer for it here so you can compare it with the previous one.

Despite the same locations, the same story, the attempt to make it attractive to new audiences with this type of trailer really does not appeal to me and judging from the fact I did not know it existed until I went looking for the original trailer suggests it did not appeal to many others either.  I would hate to see this remade but possibly at some point in the future and digitally enhanced, spruced up quality of the original would be nice maybe for the 40th anniversary.

It is a long watch, and can be rather slow paced in places compared with modern serials, but I really enjoyed watching this, I was too young to really watch it when it was first on although I know I had watched bits of it subsequently and read the book, I give it a wholehearted 5 out of 5 and recommend it as one to watch over a long deary winter weekend curled up under a quilt, chocolates at hand.

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