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Desperate Romantics--A Portrait: A behind-the-scenes featurette
Top Customer Reviews
Peter Bowker's well-judged script focuses on the professional and personal lives of the charismatic Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the urbane John Everett Millais, and the manic William Holman Hunt. The dialogue blends Victorian idiom with contemporary expressions and delivery. The lush production is based on Franny Moyle's Desperate Romantics: The Private Lives of the Pre-Raphaelites. A brash, fantastically comedic glam-rock score by Daniel Pemberton accompanies scenes of artistic creation, of sex, and of the Brotherhood swaggering abreast through London asserting their brilliance.
Using a fictional narrator (the diffident but awestruck diarist Fred Walters), the dramatisation remains historically faithful. Flame-haired hat-shop girl turned model/Muse Lizzie Siddal, models for Millais's iconic ''Ophelia'' in a full bath warmed by dozens of candles; Charles Dickens pours scorn on Millais's ''Christ in the House of His Parents,'' accusing it of blasphemy; the repressed influential critic John Ruskin (Tom Hollander - wonderful) is sexually repelled by his wife Effie, leaving the way open for her to fall in love with the engaging, affable Millais.Read more ›
* The series never addresses Lizzie's pregnancies -- two of them -- that also helped push her to the edge of sanity. Lizzie was pregnant twice in actuality. The fetus died iwhen she was pregnant with the first child, and she was forced -- as often happened in that day -- to carry it to term, go into labor and give birth to a corpse. This took a terrible emotional toll on Lizzie. She was already suffering with Gabriel's incessant affairs, and she felt worthless. When she became pregnant again, and the affairs accelerated, she increased her laudanum intake and died of an overdose. While many believe she committed suicide and it was covered up in order that she would be buried in hallowed ground, I'm of the school that does not discount murder by one of Rossetti's crazed mistresses. Most likely candidate from where I sit would be Fannie Cornforth, who posed for Boca Baciata and who was mad about Gabriel. There are any number of candidates.
* The infamous disinterrment. The film shows Gabriel tossing his poetry in ON TOP of the closed coffin. This is inaccurate. Not only did he bury the poems in the coffin, but the legend grew up that when they disinterred her, her famed red hair had grown to the point that it filled the coffin. The poems were riddled by worms. Fitting, if nothing else.
* The number of paintings for which she posed. The film downplayed the scores of paintings for which Lizzie posed -- she was Gabriel's primary model.Read more ›
The series is a look at the life of the Pre Raphaelites and tries to show why they were do revolutionary. Today they have a very staid and boring reputation, but their art took the world by storm.
So, strap on your seatbelts and take a roller coaster ride through the lives of four young artists and their models as they drink, take drugs, whore and paint themselves into a frenzy. The device of a totally fictional "brother" as a narrator works beautifully.
Though some critics have praised the set design, no one has pointed out the ham-fisted attempts to reproduce some of the artists' paintings used in the production. You did not need a book to hand to see how wretched Rossetti's "Bocca Baciata" was rendered. And whilst on the subject -- why on earth would you have a script that went beyond the original PRB? Jane Morris was so striking as to be impossible to cast. Only a credulous fool could suspend disbelief long enough to credit that the actress playing the role could inspire the lust Rossetti feels when they first meet. She looks NOTHING like Jane Morris.
If anyone out there wants to know a little about Rossetti, Morris, Ruskin, and Burne-Jones, they ought to read:
Oswald Doughty's and Jan Marsh's biographies of Rossetti
Fiona MacCarthy's magisterial biography of William Morris
Tim Hilton's exhaustive biography of John Ruskin
Lady Burne-Jones's Memorials of her husband (and the forthcoming biography of Burne-Jones, by Fiona MacCarthy).
"Desperate Remedies" is a desperate, rubbish treatment of these four men, in particular.
Give this a miss.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The movie could of been better. Adrian Turner has changed a lot as a actor. He is better now and he's getting better roles.Published 21 days ago by Linda K. McClure
This is the best Pre-Raphaelite drama I have seen since Ken Russels Dantes Inferno. It's not totally true to the details, but the semi true information keeps it entertaining. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Layla 71
If you love the Romantic period (art/history/literature), aka "The Romantic Revolution", you will get hooked. But don't expect a history lesson here. Read morePublished 4 months ago by L. Courtney
A lot of sex and some overacting. Not really up to BBC standards IMHO. I donated it to the library, which is unusual as I have always prized BBC series DVDs and watch them over and... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Textures Junkie
WOW, WOW, WOW. This is a fantastic mini series. Acting is superb, and the cast is spot on. An interesting group of people, so well brought to life by the actors via the story. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Trekgloria