Fortunes of War: Complete DVD
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Directed by James Cellan Jones
Produced in 1987
Main Language - ENGLISH
Countries & Regions - British Film
Taking Romania, Greece, Egypt and Palestine as its setting, and featuring a sublime cast, the BBC’s big-budget drama Fortunes of War is majestic in both its scope and its vision.
It starts at the commencement of war in 1939. English lecturer Guy Pringle arrives in Romania with his new bride, Harriet, and becomes heavily involved in the politics of anti-fascism. Despite Harriet's misgivings, Guy's social circle soon includes members of the British Secret Service who want to involve him in dangerous missions, and a downtrodden prince who ends up living with the Pringles. The stage is thus set for this involving story of a marriage tested by accidental betrayal, callous insensitivity and a world in upheaval.
It's based on the double trilogy of novels (The Balkan Trilogy, The Levant Trilogy) by author Olivia Manning. Guy Pringle is her core character, a communist English Literature teacher, who lives his life on benevolent principles without very much understanding that he is dealing with real people who have real feelings. Mannings' books are said to be semi-autobiographical, with the lead characters based on herself and her husband R. D. Smith, and we can assume that a lot of the interplay and dramatisation is her own attempt to understand where her husband is coming from - an effort that he certainly doesn't reciprocate in this drama, but which gives Fortunes of War real texture. Harriett has admirable pluck too - witness the application of a hat-pin to a Nazi’s behind!
The photography is superb, the period detail magnificent and Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh as the Pringles are on terrific form. Their on-screen chemistry really does have a certain something - they married two years after making this epic. The supporting cast is superb too, with Ronald Pickup as the penniless aristocratic sponger Prince Yakimov, Alan Bennett as Lord Professor Pinkrose, Rupert Graves, Ronald Fraser and Caroline Langrishe all thoroughly worthy of note.
Anthony Burgess described Fortunes of War as 'the finest fictional record of the war produced by a British writer'. Alan Plater's excellent adaptation translates this record admirably for the small screen.
The Balkans, 1939. British professor Guy Pringle (Kenneth Branagh) arrives in Romania with his new bride, Harriet (Emma Thompson), and becomes enmeshed in the politics of anti-fascism.
Despite Harriet's serious misgivings, Guy's social circle soon includes members of the British Secret Service who want to involve him in dangerous missions, and a downtrodden prince who zeroes in on Guy's generous nature and winds up living with the Pringles.
Thus the stage is set for this mesmerizing story of marriage tested by accidental betrayal, callous insensitivity, and a world in upheaval.
Adapted by Alan Plater from the autobiographical novels of best-selling author Olivia Manning, and set in places as far-flung as Bucharest, Athens and Cairo, Fortunes of War is majestic in both its scope and its vision.
Publisher: Cinema Club
Length: 407 mins
Cat No: CCTV30284
Format: DVD Colour
Subtitles: HOH English subtitles
- 3 discs.
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