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23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s classic Victorian love story

Starring Patrick Stewart

Independent-minded Margaret Hale (Rosalind Shanks, A Question of Guilt) moves with her parents to Milton, a manufacturing city in England’s north. Compared to the bucolic south where she was raised, Milton stifles Margaret with industrial smoke and soot—and she takes an instant dislike to John Thornton (Patrick Stewart, X-Men, Star Trek: The Next Generation), the ambitious and severe mill owner. But amid a workers’ strike and family misfortunes, Margaret begins to reconsider her sentiments.

Based on the celebrated novel by Elizabeth Gaskell (Cranford, Wives and Daughters), this classic BBC period drama depicts the tensions of the Victorian era, as traditional society clashes with the coming of the modern world. Both a slow-burn romance and a clear-eyed view of the Industrial Revolution, North & South captivates with a magnetic performance from future star Stewart.

Due to the age of these programs and the improved resolution that DVD provides, you may notice occasional flaws in the image and audio on this DVD presentation that were beyond our ability to correct from the original materials.

Special Features

SDH subtitles

Product Details

  • Actors: Rosalind Shanks, Patrick Stewart, Robin Bailey, Rosalie Crutchley, Norman Jones
  • Directors: Rodney Bennett
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: ACORN MEDIA
  • DVD Release Date: July 2, 2013
  • Run Time: 207 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00CEBJC20
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,943 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "NORTH & SOUTH" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Trudy Brasure on July 30, 2013
Format: DVD
Assuming that those seeking out this vintage version are familiar with the book and/or the classic 2004 adaptation, I will mention plot elements without spoiler warnings or explanation.

As expected, the stage acting dated this production unfavorably, often making the portrayal of strong emotions seem melodramatic and having the unfortunate effect of preventing the viewer from totally immersing themselves in the evolving plot. The more nuanced and subtle portrayal of emotions we are accustomed to from current film actors seems much more realistic.

Margaret was very proper and rather reserved throughout, although she seemed overly effusive in the opening scene. I didn't get the strong sense that she was going through the most trying years of her life or that she was often put upon the brink of endurance.

Thornton embodied the energetic entrepreneur of the era and was a bit too prone to rushing his speech and losing his self-control in argumentative outbursts. Thornton of the book did not lose his temper in this manner. Also, it wasn't always easy to read this Thornton's body language for clues of how he was truly feeling. There were no unmistakable signs of Thornton's anguish, which is a vital and rather unique element in Gaskell's prose.

I believe I enjoyed most the characterization of Mr. Hale and Higgins in this adaptation. Both of these characters were much like the characters depicted in the book.

I didn't detect much depth of character in Hannah Thornton. She was too stern with Fanny, and not very gentle with the son she was supposed to adore. There was little hint of the tender-hearted mother hidden beneath the crusty mannerisms that Gaskell indicates in her book.

Henry Lennox was a fleeting mystery man.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By L. Sheppard on September 25, 2013
Format: DVD
First off, let me just say that it is nice to read such glowing reviews for this earlier production. I am glad so many enjoy it! I too found gems that I enjoyed, yet I must be honest in saying that I struggle with more, for I did not find it 'more accurate to the book', as so many proclaim.

The '04 adaptation will always hold a special place in my heart, for it was through this production that I found N&S and Elizabeth Gaskell. Still.. that being said, you can't adore Gaskell's work without acknowledging issues that are present. The '04 production team took liberties and made changes they felt were necessary to making the story more appealing to modern audiences. Determining whether they were correct in making these changes largely depends on each viewer.

I do believe that this same consideration needs to be given to this production ('75) as well. Yet saying that this earlier interpretation follows more closely to the book is overstated. Yes this production includes more direct lines and some settings of the scenes appear more accurate, yet it also took liberties and had some troubling omissions, as well. Omissions of events that prove essential to the shaping and forward development of our heroine and even our hero.

As to the characterizations, I found them lacking as well. Rosalind Shanks comes off much to old for Margaret, who at the opening of the story is an idealistic 18 year old. I did like that Rosalind portrays the more demure side of Margaret's character but she fails to show the intelligent spirited side. Margaret is a beautifully weaved character with both independent and self sacrificial traits. A friend describes this portrayal of Margaret in this fashion, "I kept waiting for Margaret to awaken from her sleeping beauty haze.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Harold Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 19, 2013
Format: DVD
This 1975 adaptation feels more realistic compared to the 2004 series. Both are recommended Victorian romantic viewing. Each offers its own interpretation and lingers on different portions of the book by Elizabeth Gaskell. The Hale family spends a bit more of the opening episode in London and England's southern countryside during this DVDs presentation. Thus the comparison of North & South is a bit more complete. Of course, here viewers also get an early look at the acting career of a huge film star in Patrick Stewart. He quickly moved on to "I, Claudius" and then, of course, the Captain of "Star Trek", among many. Also, film star Tim Pigott-Smith played the Hale son in 1975, early in his career, and went on to play the clergyman father in the 2004 version and even a later part in "Downton Abbey."

This DVD set seems to hold a classic-like visual effect, having been done in a period of time when the BBC was excelling at converting fine literature into TV serials, as they were called then. Period costume drama never goes out of style.

SDH SUBTITLES have been added to all 4 episodes.
1- The love story unfolds in the countryside bliss of serene Victorian bliss. Margaret Hale (Rosalie Shanks), at age 19, hopes to commune with the common locals. Her Papa, clergyman Hale (Robin Bailey), determines to resign from the church. The Hales move in a fortnight to the industrial, dirty, Milton of the north. He'll serve as a private tutor to cotton-spinners. There they quickly meet the 1st pupil, Mr. J. Thornton (Stewart), a textile manufacturer.

2- A mill strike places workers, including the Higgins family in a desperate situation. Nicholas Higgins (Norman Jones- `South Riding') is a union man, against violence and lawlessness. Thornton intends to break the strike and union.
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