As I've done before with different versions of Les Miserables and Jane Austen films, this is a post listing all the period dramas I've seen that are available on Youtube (for free - you have to pay for some films). There are six all very, very good and I'm not going to rate them, I'm going to list them in alphabetical order.
- A Tale Of Two Cities (Musical) - I love this period drama/musical. I'm going to be featuring several of the songs in the 30 Songs blog series. The only reason I haven't done any in the series yet is because all my favorites are very high on my list. The casting is brilliant (the two that stand out the most, IMO, are Sydney and Lucie), the songs are gorgeous (especially the orchestration) and...it doesn't follow the book very well. I haven't read the full book yet (I'm going to be studying it for English Lit this school year. YES.) but I've read CliffNotes, two abridged versions, etc, etc, so I have a pretty good understanding of the original plot. Still, the musical captures the spirit of the book exceptionally well, which, after all, is part of what really counts (think P&P 1995 vs. P&P 2005). Rating - 10/10
- Bleak House (2005) - My family just finished watching this miniseries together and I was reminded again of what an expert storyteller Charles Dickens is (it inspired me to go read the book again) and what an amazingly talented scriptwriter Andrew Davies is. I mean, it makes my head hurt to just think about how hard it must have been to fit everything together into a workable screenplay (ditto for Little Dorrit). The entire cast is excellent and the only really bad thing about the series I can think of is the music. The music is...meh. Except at the wedding (I love, love, love the wedding music). Rating 9/10
- Little Dorrit (2008) - Words cannot express how much I love this miniseries. It tugs at your heart and doesn't let go until you finish watching it (and even then...). The characters are more than memorable, there are several heart-wrenching, tear-jerking scenes (and some funny ones a.k.a. anything with Sparkler) and the ending is, just, beyond words. I pretty much spend the whole last episode in some stage of tears because it is so emotional. I go from sad, to really sad, to heartbroken, to ridiculously happy all in the space of an hour :) Oh, and the music is gorgeous. I really wish a soundtrack had been released. Rating - 10/10 (obviously)
- North & South (2004) - When I first watched N&S I didn't like it that much but by the second time around, I was hooked. I haven't read the book yet but I'm planning to (as soon as I tick a few more books off my ever-growing 'to read' list). My favorite character is Higgins - I like him even more than Mr Thornton - but I like Margaret as well (she's better in the later episodes, I think). The music is appropriately dark because, while N&S isn't half as dark as Bleak House or Little Dorrit, it still has its moments. Rating - 8/10
- Oliver! (musical) - This movie musical is something of a tradition in our family. Even though we haven't watched it recently, we still quote it a lot (especially when we have sausages - a private joke) and I sometimes sing some of the songs. It was my introduction to Charles Dickens and while Oliver! doesn't follow the book very well (it leaves out several scenes and characters), I still like it. Rating - 6/10
- The Inheritance (1997) - This film usually gets a bad rap among period drama fans for its cheesiness, predictability and general inaccuracy to the book and the time period. All that is true, but it still remains one of my favorite period dramas (and, yes, I have read the book - if you want cheesy/predictable, go read it). Edith and James are a cute couple and the whole film is just sweetness and light and relaxation (sometimes you need that after watching something heavy like Bleak House or Les Miserables). And the music is very pretty :) Rating - 9/10