July 17, 2008

North and South

So Kristie (J) was nudging me to post about North and South. That's not too taxing, so here it goes. I discovered the gem that is North and South in 2006. I read the forums on Television Without Pity, and many posters there recommended North and South for those who like the Firth/Ehle version of Pride and Prejudice. Some posters even recommended it as an unseen-buy, which is very high praise and had me curious. I can't remember how long it took me to finally check it out, but I eventually got around to it with a library dvd. And then I of course had to buy my own copy; I think the unseen-buy advice in this case turned out to be justified.

Everything about the production is solid - the acting by the entire ensemble cast headed by Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe portraying John Thornton and Margaret Hale, the gorgeous cinematography, the music... sigh. It's grittier than
Pride and Prejudice, taking place during the industrial revolution in the 'dirty, smoky place' of Milton (Gaskell's fictional version of Manchester).

John Thornton has risen from struggle and poverty to become the successful owner of Marlborough Mills and a magistrate, which comes in very handy for Margaret. And... well, he's hot, particularly without the cravat. But there's also the social issues - the striking workers versus the mill owners, the culture shock for the Hales from moving from the south to the north, the evolution of the relationship between Margaret and John, and their relationships with the secondary characters.

My online interests immediately after watching it were, 1) Who is this Richard Armitage and what else has he been in, and 2) Is there a soundtrack available? I think number two was particularly on my mind because of that fantastic, swoonworthy ending, where the music swells during their meeting on the train platform.

I haven’t watched my dvds in several months, and my memory isn't good enough to recreate my initial fangirl squeee reaction from two years ago. But here are some of my favourite parts/quotes that come to mind:

  • I'm glad to see we've almost passed muster
  • teacup hand pass
  • I'd like to play the overbearing master...
  • Margaret writing to Edith: I've seen Hell. It's white -- snow white (cue music)
  • He’s better looking than a bulldog, surely?
  • Fanny, the whole tea scene :)
  • the handshake at dinner
  • Fanny after the riot, waving her fan
  • Mr. Thornton giving Mrs. Hale fruit
  • Proposal scene: I don't want to possess you, I want to marry you because I love you
  • meddling Mr. Bell
  • Margaret's conversation with the inspector
  • comical animal, helping the Boucher kid read
  • Higgins and Mr. Thornton's friendship (Reckon I'll leave my brains at home, then)
  • I wouldn't know how to dabble
  • Look back at me
  • Fanny in general, she brings much needed hilarity
  • Any foolish passion for you on my part is entirely over
  • It was her brother (thanks for the clue, Higgins)
  • You don't need Henry to explain, the yellow rose, cravat-less Mr. Thornton, "business" conversation, or the whole ending / last 5 minutes
I'd never heard of Elizabeth Gaskell before watching this, but the adaptations made of her books are period dramas worth watching, I feel. The other two made to date are Wives and Daughters and Cranford, both made by the BBC - I recommend them as well.

And this North and South tank and tee look fun. I wonder if the quality's any good?

And now some videos.

Oh Johnny by PezGirl7

Serenata by HeathDances

Frankly, this never gets old...

Sexyback Richard fan video by HeathDances

(and I did track down some music/dialogue mp3 tracks. ETA: link is here.)

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