PR: All Passion Spent: The Complete Series [Network]

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PR: All Passion Spent: The Complete Series [Network]

Post by Mr_Wolf »


Oscar-winning stage and screen veteran Wendy Hiller brings characteristic subtlety, grace and quiet determination to the role of a recently widowed woman who intends to relish her new-found freedom in this acclaimed three-part drama. Adapting Vita Sackville-West's classic story, All Passion Spent received four BAFTA nominations and co-stars Harry Andrews, Maurice Denham, Phyllis Calvert, Graham Crowden, and Hilary Mason.

Lady Slane sits beside the body of her husband in a bedroom of their elegant home. The handsome, distinguished Henry Holland, Prime Minister, Viceroy of India and Earl of Slane, has died at the age of 94. As her children ponder What Is to Be Done with Mother, 85-year-old Lady Slane realises that for the first time in her life, she is free to live where, and how, she chooses. And after more than half a century as a dutiful and loving wife, she revels in her new-found independence and the company of new friends... despite the wishes of her family. ... 58447.html

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Re: PR: All Passion Spent: The Complete Series [Network]

Post by Billy Smart »

I enjoyed this story of an 85 year-old widow (Wendy Hiller) finding independence a great deal. 1986 was an interesting cusp period for a BBC literary adaptation like this, the point in time when it might equally well have been made all-film (in the Brideshead in the Crown manner) or in the TVC studio. I'd never seen this before so didn't know what I was going to get.

It turns out to be studio with Outside Broadcast locations, which works a treat. The BBC's in-house design department was at its absolute peak in the 1980s, and Raymond Cusik's are both pleasurable to look at, but much more than decorative in a story that's realised through leaving grand rooms and renovating shabby ones.

One advantage that the TV adaptation has over the novel is in the depiction of Lady Slane's six children, who are very well delineated from each other by being played by a range of familiar older character actors of their generation (Geoffrey Bayldon, Faith Brook,Phyllis Calvert, Graham Crowden, John Franklyn-Robbins and Hilary Mason). With such a company reacting to each other, the busy scenes where the children negotiate their mother's future and attempt to reach a decision are highly engaging and entertaining to watch.

One way in which the adaptation differs from Vita Sackville-West's source novel is in its treatment of memory, which is interpreted through retrospective dialogue, rather than more impressionistic devices like flashbacks. This was probably the right decision, but it does make a couple of the serial's most important exchanges between Lady Slade and her new friend Fitzgeorge (Harry Andrews) who remembers her past have to carry rather too much weight to be wholly plausible. Overall the treatment of the story is admirably subtle, providing the viewer with the imaginative space for it to touch and to to resonate. Exactly the right length for the story at 3 episodes, too. I'm sure that I'll be watching this series again.

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