We are two part-time academics. Ellen teaches in the English department and Jim in the IT program at George Mason University.

The Pallisers: Temporarily Defeated Here too · 13 May 07

Dear Marianne,

I’ve been driven to a standstill in my slow-moving project: for weeks on end, once a week I’ve been watching another of the 26 episodes of the landmark film adaptation of Trollope’s Palliser or Parliamentary novels called The Pallisers (BBC 1974, produced by Martin Lisemore, directed by David Hugh and Richard Wilson, screenplays by Simon Raven, starring Philip Latham, Susan Hampshire, Donal McCann, Barbara Murray). Tonight I discovered the disk for parts 20 & 21 (bought used this past November, part of Volume 3) is defective. I don’t want to go on to part 23 without having seen 20 & 21.

I phoned Video Vault & (as I expected) they don’t carry it. Many video and DVD stores don’t carry the older TV BBC mini-series. I went online & tried to find stores that might enable me to obtain the disk set quickly, e.g., the Borders site, & discovered a new disk set (Volume 3) is $60. That’s a lot to replace a single disk, and how would I know the disk was good? And if not, how get it replaced?

So I went to a used site and on ABE bought a used tape set of Volume 3 for $15 plus $3.00 postage and now must wait for that. Jim had found a tape set of Volume 3 for $13 on Amazon Marketplace but often Amazon Marketplace is slow on delivery.

I’ll report it on Trollope-l tomorrow. Not that anyone there will notice. If there were a community there, I could ask if anyone has an extra Set 3 (!), if anyone could suggest something. I don’t, to spare myself the embarrassment of yet more total silence.

In the meantime, Marianne, here’s the still I captured of Susan Hampshire as Lady Glencora Palliser at the close of Episode 19 as The Prime Minister begins.

The party of Whigs has “gone out,” an election is coming, but the Duke thinks they will not be returned. So the Duke and Lady Glen sit together alone preparing for their first time together. He will of course study and read for when he returns to power, but he says he will now have time to be with her, and in so doing turns to her and asks if she will mind. He insinuates that he knows she does not really love him . Her face (Susan Hampshire’s) face looks old, care-worn, and tender as she turns to him.

They talk and gradually assert they do care for one another, her regard based on high esteem and gratitude, his on affection over time for her loyalty and affectionate nature, cheer, liveliness. At one point she looks at him wryly.

For over 19 weeks now I have written postings on the series (with Trollope-l functioning as a public prompt, very like a blog) which postings push me into making me thoughts clear and coherent and thus I can record details to remember and discover what I think. It’s a sort of record-keeping, but I am not ready to make them into coherent essay-letters for you, until such time as I finish the series. I cannot see the shape of the whole into which the parts fit until I finish it at least once carefully.

My eventual goal will be to write an essay on the film adaptations of Trollope’s Palliser books or even myself a book on all the film adaptations of Trollope’s books. I mean to watch all the film adaptations of Trollope’s novels that are available to the public first—in just the way I have the film adaptations of Austen’s novels.

If I do not manage to get what I write on the Trollope films into conventional hard copy print, and Jim and I survive long enough for me to put my work on these film adaptations on my website, I’ll do so. (As I will what I write on the film adaptations of Austen’s novels—if I do not manage to get that into conventional hard copy print.)

In the meantime until I get the tapes for Set 3 and can see Episodes 20 & 21, here is the list of film adaptations of Trollope I have. I have seen them all but Nos. 1-4 (not available to the general public), 7 & 10. I own a DVD of No. 7; I’m not sure No. 10 can be bought anywhere.

For my viewing I began with the first films available to the ordinary person; that is, the landmark series the 1974 Pallisers.

1) 1951 BBC, The Warden. It is described as the very first BBC serial of a novel; it was done in 6 episode parts. Other adaptations of high status novels had been done before (1938, 55 minute P&P, 1948 105 minute Emma, Kerr and Papill, 1950 one hour American Philco Theatre, live S&S); the screenplay for this first Warden was by Cedric Willis, Kerr, 14)

2) 1959 BBC The Last Chronicle of Barset (mini-series)

3) 1960 BBC The Small House at Allington (mini-series)

4) 1969 a first BBC2 The Way We Live Now (5 episodes of 45 minutes) screenplay Simon Raven, directed James Cellan Jones, and actors include Colin Blakely, Rachel Gurney, Angharad Rees (as Marie Melmotte, made a central character as she was in the later series)

5) 1974 a BBC The Pallisers, (26 50 minute episodes or 22 episodes) directed by Hugh David, Donald Wilson, screenplay, Simon Raven, actors include Susan Hampshire, Philip Latham &c;

6) 1982 a BBC Barchester Chronicles (7 episodes of 55 minutes), directed by David Giles, screenplay Alan Pater, actors include Donald and Angela Pleasance, Nigel Hawthorne, Geraldine McEwan, Janet Maw, Alan Rickman &c

7) 2001 BBC The Way We Live Now (300 minutes) directed by David Yates, Andrew Davies, actors include David Suchet, Shirley Henderson, Matthew Macfayden, Mirando Otto, Paloma Baeza, Cheryl Campbell.

8) 2004 BBC He Knew He Was Right 4 parts (240 minutes) directed Tom Vaughn, screenplay Andrew Davies, actors Oliver Dimsdale, Laura Fraser, Bill Nighy, Anna Massey &c

Then two shorter films:

In the year of The Pallisers:

9) 1974 a small company (Penrith) does a 75 minute version of Malachi’s Cove, Henry Herbert writes and directs, with Donald Pleasance one of the characters, Veronica Quilligan as Mally. This one may not have been a made for TV movie originally; if so, it’s highly unusual as all the other movies adapted from stories by Trollope are products made for TV audiences at the more “elite” end. It was shown in movie theaters in Britain in 1977 under the title The Seaweed Children

In the year of HKHWR:

10) 2004 1 hour, BBC documentary, The Two Loves of Anthony Trollope, directed by Richard Downes, no attribution for a writer, with Stephen Frye as narrator.


Posted by: Ellen

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