I recently watched the Masterpiece Theater production of The Cazelets, based on the series by Elizabeth Jane Howard, which I loved. This is a six-hour miniseries, made in 2001. It doesn't star anyone particularly famous (except for Hugh Bonneville, who I think has been legally obligated to appear in every single British film made since 1998). The only cast member I recognized is Anna Chancellor, who plays Diana, Edward Cazalet's lover. She was Miss Bingley in the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle Pride and Prejudice.
The cast may not be famous, but the acting is excellent. I particularly liked Patsy Rowlands as Miss Millament the governess, Stephen Dillane as Edward Cazalet, (though his character is such a shit) Lesley Manville as Villy Cazalet, and Florence Hoath as Clary.
|Patsy Rowlands as Miss Millament|
My one complaint is that the movie really only covers the first two books in the series. Several stories, such as the romance between Tonbridge, the chauffeur and Mrs.Cripps, the cook, were still developing at the conclusion. I wonder if there was a plan to make a second series and they never followed through. The DVDs from Netflix were damaged, so there were chunks that I couldn't see, including the very end. Maybe they did a hasty wrap up, but the rest of the movie is so sensitively filmed that I'd be surprised if they stooped to such a cheap trick.
Overall, I loved the movie. It's respectful of the novels and thoughtfully casted, costumed, and directed. It's also unbearably sad. I think for me, some of the sad scenes were difficult because they closely paralleled things that have happened in my own life, and I found myself crying more than once. Indeed, my children were so concerned that they asked me to stop watching. It's not all tears, though, and I loved naughty Neville Cazalet, and there are delicious gossipy-fashiony scenes too. The damaged discs were a bummer though. Unfortunately, there's no hope for a second series at this point. Patsy Rowlands died in 2005 and the other cast members have grown up and moved on.
What's your favorite film adaptation of a novel? Also, name one that you found disappointing.