Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Young Visiters

Costume dramas can be tedious affairs- every detail is just so, with a script based on a "sacred" classic of literature. The sixth or seventh remake of a Jane Austen work carries with it a fair amount of baggage. With that in mind, one can imagine my surprise when I discovered a DVD of a BBC production of The Young Visiters, faithfully recreated from the "novel" of the same name by Daisy Ashford. Daisy wrote this masterwork in a fortnight in 1890. She was nine years old at the time.

The film is a delight. Noted actors from the British stage and screen (Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, Lyndsey Marshall) bring this sweet, naive tale of high (and aspiring) society to life with no condescension and, in the case of Mr. Salteena (Broadbent), a touching tenderness. This is Victorian England in all its pomp and glory, as seen through the eyes of a precocious young girl. Her plot may be a bit far-fetched, but her innate understanding of human nature is very clear and true. A welcome tonic for any who may be suffering from a Merchant-Ivory overdose.

By Professor Batty


Blogger Kristín said...

Oh, Hugh Laurie! Mieow! Roar!

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