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Old 1st Feb 2015, 9:03   #1671
ono no komachi
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Default Re: Decent Telly

Are the Palimpeeps watching the Wolf Hall adaptation on BBC 2 with Mark Rylance and Damien Lewis? The first episode was remarkable in its spareness; and felt like a studious attempt to avoid the sumptuousness often laid on with a trowel in most period dramas.

Sadly the spareness of the exposition may have lost it viewers. I believe the figures dropped by a cool 1m for episode 2, which is a crying shame, since this episode was one of the best things I've seen in ages. The cast, of course, is superb. Mark Gatiss deserves special mention as a fabulously sinister Stephen Gardiner; also Saskia Reeves as Cromwell's housekeeper.

The second episode also had some of the lovely touches of very dry humour that are used to such good effect in the book. I think for once the endless trails might have been worth it.
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 10:07   #1672
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Default Re: Decent Telly

I think it is tremendous - the production values are top notch and the acting too. I particularly like Mark Gatiss and Jonathan Pryce (though no more of him now ) and Mark Rylance naturally excels at Cromwell.

So some people don't like the naturalistic lighting? It's perfectly possible to see what is going on. I watched the Amanda Root/Ciaran Hinds Persuasion yesterday, which is similarly lit - a wonderfully praised production in 1995 - and what of Barry Lyndon's equally superb cinematography?

Then there's the complaint being made that it recasts Thomas More as a villain, and Cromwell as a praise-worthy reformist. I find this interesting too because reading the books, I still come away with a strong impression of Cromwell as a dangerous and dark man, expert in the political arts maybe, striver for some reformist principles (anti- the corruption in the Roman Catholic church), but essentially a rather nasty - intelligent - fixer, with an eye to his own survival and improvement. I never felt I *knew* the inner man, and the loss of his wife and daughters - whilst sad indeed - didn't convince me that this was a shining man of virtue out to drag the English court and government (and church) out of the putrid medievalism it was clinging onto. Clearly the 'truth' - whatever that may be - is far more complex, and so far, by Episode Two, we haven't seen the extent of Cromwell's manipulations/management - and to be sure, Thomas More's attitudes towards torture or execution are not ideal either.

I am just loving the details - the strapping on Henry's arm as he practises archery, the ordinariness of a pile of linen on Wolsey's bedside table, the cluttered comfort of Cromwell's living/study room; the amazing locations, the stillness and moderated speed of the scenes.

And the actual lute-player (not the actor playing Mark Smeaton) was in the front row of a play in our local church hall last Friday
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 12:52   #1673
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Default Re: Decent Telly

... Rylance is bloody amazing. As was Jonathan Pryce.

I'm not particularly surprised they dropped 1m viewers between episodes 1 & 2. Just like the books, really. A lot of people admit to not finishing Wolf Hall, or seeing it as a worthy but difficult read. The Telegraph noted with glee that almost twice as many people watched Midsomer Murders.
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Old 11th Feb 2015, 17:38   #1674
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Default Re: Decent Telly

I've not read the books (yet?) and I know very little of anything historical, but I am enjoying the comparative stillness and slowness of Wolf Hall on TV.

I've also been watching the rerun of Smiley's People on BBC4 at the moment, and loving that, possibly for the same reasons. There are great blocks of minutes without speech - Alec Guinness driving around, or going through someone's flat, or retracing their steps. Telly that takes time to unspool itself rather than jumping up and down shouting KERPOW. Telly that's not afraid of showing facial expressions instead of speech. And lo and behold - I see a piece in the paper on this today - www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2015/feb/11/smileys-people-wolf-hall-best-tv-dramas-cant-be-rushed

The lighting in Wolf Hall has been a fantastic instructor by itself - it's really brought home the importance of daylight (and windows) in a world without electricity.
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Old 12th Apr 2015, 21:05   #1675
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Default Re: Decent Telly

Bit late now, but then we've been offline for ages, I too loved Wolf Hall and its quiet academic pace. And Rylance, coo isn't he good! And the locations - very up my street, in fact one of them was: Chastleton House is down my way, interiors of Wolf Hall itself according to the BBC.

Now, after typing that I must return to another piece of tight historical drama aka Raiders of the Lost Ark - every moment a winner, curse those Nazis!
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Old 13th Apr 2015, 10:31   #1676
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Default Re: Decent Telly

I like Mark Rylance a lot but I am a little worried that there is a danger that he is a bit samey in his acting. A recent review of Farinelli & the King suggests his quiet brooding face (serious emoting) is used a little too much in that play, and I am reluctant to rewatch my copy of the Globe Theatre Richard II in case I feel my fears will be confirmed.

I mean, he is genius at acting - just his face does the job without any dialogue, sometimes - but I do get a bit worried about the breadth of his style.
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Old 29th Apr 2017, 22:29   #1677
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