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He Knew He Was Right

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Product Details

  • Actors: Bill Nighy, Oliver Dimsdale, Laura Fraser, Cole Natalie
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Dolby, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 16, 2006
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00065GVIO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,368 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "He Knew He Was Right" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Behind their neat facades of Victorian propriety, Anthony Trollope's characters are bursting with life. A flirtatious vicar, two squabbling sisters, an ingenue and her meddling aunt... these are the friends and relations who surround Louis and Emily Trevalyan in the first blissful year of their married life. But things take a darker turn when the roguish Colonel Osborne (Bill Nighy) takes an interest in Emily, and, flattered by the resulting gossip, fans the flames of Louis's jealousy.


Novelist Anthony Trollope doesn't have the name recognition of his Victorian contemporary Charles Dickens, but he has all of Dickens's strengths and more--invigorating plots, eccentric characters bursting with life, and an insightful, panoramic view of English society. He Knew He Was Right starts with an idyllic romance between the well-off Louis Trevelyan (Oliver Dimsdale) and Emily Rowley (Laura Fraser). But when the rakish Col. Osborne (Bill Nighy, Love Actually) begins to visit her regularly, Louis becomes jealous--and the pressures of Victorian society soon turn this jealousy into an all-consuming possession that could destroy the lives of Louis, Emily, and their young son. This dark and harrowing story is deftly juxtaposed with two related tales: A blithely flirtatious clergyman finds himself fought over by a pair of squabbling sisters and a young woman struggles to find happiness despite the controlling grip of her miserly spinster aunt (the always superb Anna Massey, Angels & Insects, The Importance of Being Earnest).

The cast delivers wonderfully comic or heartbreaking performances, but much of this four-episode series' power comes from yet another outstanding adaptation by screenwriter Andrew Davies, who wrote the scripts for such BBC miniseries as Moll Flanders, Vanity Fair, and the hugely popular version of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth. The combination of Davies and Trollope results in a work of psychological depth, sly humor, and sheer storytelling mastery--just when you've decided someone is virtuous or odious, that character upends your judgment with an act unexpected yet completely plausible. He Knew He Was Right provides the pleasures of a thriller, a social satire, and a whirling romance. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews

I wish I could say the same thing for Emily Trevelyan though.
There is nothing redeeming about this film aside from excellent production values.
What outstanding acting, costumes, and beautiful settings and scenery!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 94 people found the following review helpful By J. C Clark VINE VOICE on January 17, 2005
Format: DVD
For an author as majestic and as prolific as Trollope, locating his "best" book is a challenge. But He Knew He Was Right would certainly be at the top of my list. The novel has several of his most lovingly drawn main characters, two beautifully intersecting plot lines, numerous minor characters that refuse to remain minor, and a story that makes the reader scream "No, no! Don't do it!"

It is also a typically mammoth book, where conversations go on for pages, descriptions are elaborate and detailed, and numerous authorial asides punctuate gloriously. So, how to compress this sprawling monstrosity into three hours? Well, I wouldn't have thought it possible, but Andrew Davies pulls it off. As exquisite as the novel? Not possible! No snack, no matter how tasty, can replace a multi-course meal elegantly served. But it ain't bad, ain't bad at all....

The cast is almost flawless. Laura Fraser, nearly perfect in the unseen Whatever Happened to Harold Smith? shines again as Emily, a headstrong girl whose inner conflict between submissive love and stubborn pride is beautifully rendered. Though the title is He, the story is about She, and we never lose sight of how much she suffers. Her family is wonderfully done, other than her sister Nora, who is hard to see as a worthy catch in any way. But the smaller characters, all deftly drawn by Trollope, shine wonderfully here. Colonel Osborne, the slightly creepy but pompously self-justifying blowhard, slinks across every scene he's in. Mr. Outhouse, seen for a few minutes only, inhabits his poor, honest and overwhelmed clergyman perfectly. The French sisters, and Mr. Gibson, three of the most odious scraps of humanity ever created by Trollope, are delectably portrayed. But no one drags this down.
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76 of 79 people found the following review helpful By randomartco VINE VOICE on March 2, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Once again BBC & screen writer Andrew Davies get it right with a classic adaptation, this time from Anthony Trollope's Victorian novel, "He Knew He Was Right." An innocent wife, a jealous husband, a notorious ladies man, an indecisive vicar, a pair of "French" sisters, a lowly born but lovely girl, an elderly aunt, a consummate gentleman, a poor journalist, a private detective, an American lady, and a woman in love. These are the main characters that make up one of Anthony Trollope's greatest novels, aptly named "He Knew He Was Right."

When Louis Trevelyan (Oliver Dimsdale) meets Emily Rowley (Laura Fraser), daughter of Sir Marmaduke Rowley (the island's governor), on a trip to the Mandarin Islands, he falls madly in love: Emily and her parents consent to a marriage (she has some say: after all, she has been raised in the free ways of the tropics). They marry, honeymoon, and even have a child in a first few years of complete and utter bliss in London, with Emily's sister Nora in accompaniment. All is fine until insecure Louis begins to suspect that Emily is having an affair with old family friend and her godfather, Colonel Osborne (Bill Nighy), a notorious ladies man who has a penchant for married women. Emily has received him alone in her London home (she is unaware of the dangers of London society, being both beautiful and independent), and gossip begins to circulate that something is going on there. When Louis confronts Emily she denies that anything is going on or has ever happened. He forbids her to ever see Osborne again and she refuses: she professes her complete innocence and her complete love of Louis, but does not see why she should promise not to see Osborne and in so doing admit wrong.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Enoch Soames on March 10, 2005
Format: DVD
The BBC have done it yet again; they have taken us back in time in a marvellously convincing manner. It is difficult to find fault with any aspect of this production. Settings, locations, constumes and casting are all near perfect and the acting throughout is admirable. From the beginning to the end my attention never flagged for a moment; it was so jam-packed with human interest that I couldn't have enough of it. This is not a melodrama as some have said; taking into account the mores of the time it is totally realistic with nothing over-played. Yes, it was annoying that the central character should allow his happy marriage to be destroyed by unfounded jealousy and a bit difficult to accept until you remember that this wasn't his only source of complaint; he was also annoyed that his spirited wife should refuse to submit to his unreasonable demands, something which as a Victorian husband he felt he had a right to expect. And she was not altogether blameless; she didn't have to behave in such a flirtatious way as to excite her husands jealousy. Or to seem to enjoy so much the frequent visits of her philandering God-father. However, the film was not all focused on the anger and strife of the two central characters; it was enlivened by two other love stories that end happily. With so many characters so well realized, well acted and convincing, I was left wanting more - much more.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By C. M Mills on July 15, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Anthony Trollope is famed for his Barchester and Palliser

novels but wrote many more excellent pieces of ficton. He Knew

He Was Right is a huge three-decker which was recently dramatized in the lush,leisurely told and faithful to the text the way we

expect from the BBC! Excellent actors; exquiste costuming and

beautiful scenery add to the joys of watching classic works come alive on the screen.

The novel tells the tragic tale of the wealthy Louis Trevelyan who weds the beautiful Emily . She is the daughter of a British

diplomat posted in the Mandarin Islands. The novel has several

plot strands.

1. Louis wrongly thinking he was right accuses Emily of adultery

with the odious old flirt Colonel Osborne. He take their child

little Louis and flees to Italy. As a result of his fatuous mono-

mania a tragedy transpires.

2. The charming tale of the love of Dorothy and Brook Burke in

the city of Wells. Anna Massey plays the fussy but lovable old

aunt opposing their union.

3. The story of Nora the sister of Emily and her love for an

impecunious newspaper paper man following her rejection of the

wealthy Lord Glasscock (he in turns falls in love with of all

people-an American)

4. The hilarious tale of poor Rev. Gibson caught between two

frightful French sisters who quarrel and battle over the right to

be Mrs. Gibson!!!!!!!

The Victorian time was the great age of the English novel. Trollope could tell a complicated story; knew human nature and

keeps us laughing,crying and guessing throughout each of the

four episodes in the series!

An excellent dramatization of the life of Trollope is an added bonus.

Excellent for all of us Anglophiles!
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