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Cranford (2008)

Various , Various  |  NR |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (228 customer reviews)

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Cranford Cranford 4.8 out of 5 stars (228)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: Unknown
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 20, 2008
  • Run Time: 295 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (228 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00140PK6O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,781 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Cranford" on IMDb

Special Features

  • The Making of Cranford

Editorial Reviews

Adapted from Elizabeth Gaskell's novels, the five-episode miniseries Cranford focuses on female characters in the 19th-century British town to thematically contemplate encroaching modernity in rural England. With the camera roving house to house, each drama within the grander story is constructed of scenes featuring dialogue between several gossipy ladies obsessed with moral code, romantic ideas about courtship, and social occasions. Three main characters, the ever-appropriate Deborah Jenkyns (Eileen Atkins), her sweet sister, Matilda (Judi Dench), and their younger, more savvy relative, Miss Smith (Lisa Dillon), continuously weigh in on situations, providing a dependable view when other ladies, like the nosey Miss Pole (Imelda Staunton) are too judgmental. In fine period dress, the women of Cranford remind the viewer of how little action was needed in their small-town lives to provide unceasing entertainment. The series'most intriguing aspect lies not in the ample female conversation but rather in its display of earlier technologies and ways of life. Part One, for example, quickly launches a main narrative thread that runs throughout the series, namely the arrival and assimilation of London doctor, Frank Harrison (Simon Woods), into village society. Dr. Harrison's medical practices, such as his refusal to amputate a man's arm because it's broken, are all the more radical because they are so fundamental by today's standards. In subsequent episodes, he recommends Miss Smith get spectacles to cure her headaches, and saves his love's life by cooling her fever after conservative doctor, Dr. Morgan (John Bowe), recommends the old school practice of burying her in blankets in front of a raging fire. In Part Two, Lady Ludlow (Francesca Annis) throws a garden party at her estate, treating all the women in their fancy hats to a new novelty: ice cream. This scene foreshadows Ludlow's future concern at a railroad plan involving her land that would connect Cranford to Manchester, symbolizing the ruin of this idyllic setting.

In fact, fluffy and clever as some scenes are, death and rebirth assert themselves in each showing, both physically and idealistically. Part Four shows an auctioning off of a deceased man's antiques, and focuses on issues of class and women's education, as Mr. Carter teaches a peasant boy to read while his assistant fumes at her trappings as a seamstress. Part Five ushers in a new period of medical emergencies, securing Dr. Harrison's shaky position in town. In total, Cranford offers a powerful, if sentimental, look at how death begets life, love, and passion. --Trinie Dalton

Product Description

The BBC drama series adapted from Elizabeth Gaskell's classic novels of small town gossip, secrets and romance. 1842. Cranford, a market town in the North West of England, is a place governed by etiquette, custom and above all, an intricate network of ladies. It seems that life has always been conducted according to their social rules, but Cranford is on the cusp of change… For spinsters Deborah Jenkyns, the arbiter of correctness in Cranford, and Matty, her demurring sister, the town is a hub of intrigue - a handsome new doctor Frank Harrison from London has arrived; a retired Captain and his daughters have moved in to a house opposite and the preparations for Lady Ludlows garden party are underway. Everyone - from charming rogue Dr Marshland to mean Mrs Jamieson and her lap dog talks, and is talked about, behind closed doors. The town also has its secrets which it slowly reveals: Mattys encounter with an old flame at the garden party; Lady Ludlows gardener, Mr Carter, teaching a gypsy lad to read and write; the wild expectations of the May Day celebrations and - news that shakes the town when it is revealed - a railway line from Manchester is coming to Cranford.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
256 of 261 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cranford March 14, 2008
By Kendra
I ordered this from Amazon UK to be able to view this prior to its release date. I was not disappointed! Sadly, I had to watch it by myself because my husband didn't think he'd like it. He would have been wrong, by the way. It was exquisite in every way.

I watched it over 2 nights. It's a 5 hour miniseries and it is broken up into five 1 hour-long episodes.

The first 3 hours were very very good. Excellent, even. But the last 2 hours were absolutely perfect.

In Cranford, we meet many of its residents with most of the focus on 2 spinster sisters and their surrounding friends and relatives. Everyone is kind here and look out for their neighbors and generally want to live correctly and do the right thing. Their village has been like this for ages and the citizens have all known eachother since birth. It is an idyllic place and a happy place. They welcome new residents, too, with every bit of friendliness.

Cranford has existed in the same way for years, even though times are changing. A railroad may come through the town and most residents are against this type of change. For with the positive changes-- such as information, goods, and knowledge, there would also be negative changes-- more transients, less safety, etc.

The intertwined story lines here involve the two sisters, class distinctions, entitlements and expectations, a very funny love triangle, and accepting change and modernity.

One of the best stories involves the young son of a poacher (one who kills animals on others' land). The manager of the aristocrat's large estate takes the young boy under his wing and wants to teach him to read and write.
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78 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Cranford March 19, 2008
"Cranford" is at once a delightful and winning BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's literary works. While lacking the narrative focus of "Wives and Daughters" and "North and South," "Cranford" still comes out to top crest owing largely to a collection of likeable characters played by veteran and other well-known British actors, and also owing to a masterful interweaving of several storylines taken from Mrs. Gaskell's novel "Cranford," and her other smaller works (novellas,) such as "My Lady Ludlow" and "Mr. Harrison's Confessions." What could have been a trite exercise comes out fresh because of these qualities.

At the onset, the bucolic and fictional town of Cranford seems quiet and trapped in a former century. But nothing is ever quiet especially where gossiping ladies are concerned; and no "backward" town can forever stay asleep, not when a proposed railway which will connect it with other busier counties (such as Manchester) is about to disturb the peace and change town life forever. This is the foundation with which the storylines of "Cranford" are set, told in an era where change has been steadily making headways, and the social strata seem to be balancing out.

It should be noted, however, that while "Cranford" imparts to its viewers a sense of things on the verge of change, romance and social satire are still the order of the day. Making up the romantic aspect of "Cranford" are pairs of lovers who are kept apart either by mischief of fate, familial obligations, or class difference. Complementing these are subplots about a sister's longing for a long-lost brother, a mother's longing for an absent son, and silly feminine passions that explode to embarrassing proportions on two occasions. "Cranford" is also replete with satire, as evidenced by its comedy of manners.
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128 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What The Cat Does with the Antique Lace!!! February 24, 2008
What a wonderful, rich and cozy experience, but you'll have to wait and see what the cat does with the lace. It's the funniest bit I have seen in a BBC film yet! While this film has not been shown on American TV as yet I was lucky enough to stumble across the entire film on youtube where it was shown in 9 minute segments. Its a quiet film with rich and wonderful characters long remembered. I was afraid that Judi Dench would overpower her role but nothing like it. She was perfect in her poignantly sad but joyfully rising role. It's about the town Cranford, that is fearful of changes being brought by the arrival of the railway. No one of course wants the charm of Old English ways to change and one gets very attached to the warm and sad and silly and funny characters in Cranford. Cranford really is a place one wishes to live and to never leave nor have change. I loved it, anglophile that I am, so this is a creation made just for me and I can't wait to own it when it is released. Another beautiful English costume romance by the people who really know how to do it well!! BRAVO!!!
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77 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Miniseries Since Upstairs Downstairs February 28, 2008
With Judi Dench and Eileen Atkins leading a superlative cast and a wonderfully witty script this show cannot miss. I nearly cried when the
five hours were over. But it is not just Dench and Atkins that make this
so wonderful. They are ably abetted by Francesca Annis, Julia MacKenzie
and Imelda Staunton. In fact every actor in the piece contributes to make
this the most watchable show in years. I hope at next year's Emmy Awards
this wins several.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great series
Great series. Also, purchase the 2nd series.
Published 10 days ago by Kaiser
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Such an amazing series - could watch it over and over again.
Published 1 month ago by Hope Campbell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by frostycat
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the best!
Just love it. those little old ladies are just wonderful, great acting and great story. One of my very favorits!
Published 1 month ago by mrsp6
4.0 out of 5 stars You must gird your loins; it is all go in Cranford
"All around us England shifts and changes but Cranford stands fast. Its women are like Amazons, and to those who live here it is the world entire. Read more
Published 2 months ago by E. A Solinas
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Costume Drama
The acting was wonderful. Each cast member brought their own lively character to the story. The writing and costume designs were equally as amazing!
Published 2 months ago by Tomaso
5.0 out of 5 stars Crawford
I enjoy buying English movies for my parents as a gift. They really prefer watching at home and not going to the movie theater. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kelley Ring
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun
Crawford is an amazing story with amazing characters and amazing acting. I would compare it with the long version of Pride and Prejudice. Read more
Published 4 months ago by R. W. Ramsey
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!
Cranford is a great series. If you love BBC Masterpiece Theater, Downton Abbey, and anything Jane Austen then this may be for you. Personally, I enjoyed it.
Published 5 months ago by Daisy Kat
5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL!!!
Love the old "costume dramas". Cranford has some funny lines in it, I even turn on subtitles so I don't miss anything due to the British accent! Read more
Published 5 months ago by Linda Mowry
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