Thursday, March 14, 2013
The expansive, tragic, romantic Parade's End
One of the brighter moments of the prospect of an 11 hour trans-Atlantic flight is the discovery of a five hour BBC/HBO series on the Virgin player that one hasn't scene. And when that series is based on a novel by Ford Madox Ford, adapted by Tom Stoppard and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, it's pretty much blissful. The piece itself is a little uneven. I suspect that the complexity of the novel Parade's End (described in 2010 by John Gray as "possibly the greatest 20th century novel in English) might be lost a little in translation but this scene, in episode one, is probably more romantic, more quintessentially English (it's Vaughn Williams and nightingales and the heady euphoria of the first long days of summer combined) than much I have seen, and for this alone, the series is worth a watch:
Referred to not once as the "Downton Abbey for grown-ups" even Julian Barnes weighs in with an appreciation here. The series stars Cumberbatch with Rebecca Hall, Adelaide Clemens, Rupert Everett, Rufus Sewell, Miranda Richardson, Janet McTeer and Roger Allam. There is also a magic wishing tree hung with charms and combs and bells and pipes.