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Oliver Goldsmith’s classic comedy of errors
Boisterous and brimming with energy, Oliver Goldsmith’s funniest and most famous play finds new life in this scrupulously faithful screen adaptation. The plot centers on Kate--a well-bred, whip-smart lass who passes herself off as a barmaid to win the heart of her stuffy suitor. Full of mistaken identities and multiple deceptions, the play pokes fun at the various masks we all wear in social situations and proves as relevant now as it did when it debuted in 1773. Along the way, Goldsmith’s conniving characters learn much about the nature of true love.
Filmed entirely at a 17th-century English manor house, this production escapes the confines of the stage and enlivens Goldsmith’s witty text in every scene. The stellar cast includes Mark Dexter (The Bill, From Hell), Roy Marsden (Devices and Desires), acclaimed newcomer Susannah Fielding, and veteran stage actors Polly Hemingway and Ian Redford.
DVD SPECIAL FEATURE INCLUDES A Gooseberry Fool: Oliver Goldsmith Stoops to Conquer, a lively 50-minute documentary on the writer’s life, work, and humor.
Top Customer Reviews
The Hardcastle manor is home to the Squire (Ian Redford) and his lovely daughter, Kate (Susannah Fielding). Current wife to the Squire, Mrs. Hardcastle (Polly Hemingway) is mother to Tony Lumpkin (Miles Rupp) who is believed to be something of an idiot. He is quite good at practical jokes, especially when filled with the grog at Three Pigeons tavern.
The Mrs. H. plans for Constance (Holly Gilbert) to wed her dumb-cousin Tony. Both loathe each other. Mr. H. has Kate promised to Charles Marlow (Mark Dexter) who is to arrive this day for the engagement with Kate. He travels with friend, George Hastings (Joseph Thompson) who really wants to elope with Constance. Confused yet? Wait till you see how disoriented Marlow and Hastings become.
The pair arrive at the alehouse, where Lumpkin sings to the local low-life, and he realized the two are completely lost. Lumpkin, as a joke, convinces them they will need to stay the night at the Hardcastle INN, claiming Mr. H. only to be the keeper, not the owner. Since Mr. H. is unknowing of the practical joke, thissets up quite a humorous conflict between the men and ladies as to who is gentry and who are low-class.
The eccentric characters, interact in numerous sub-plots of ludicrous purpose. Perhaps this is the funniest duel-romance story ever written and it has lasted 2 1/4 centuries. This DVD set is a fantastic adaptation of Oliver Goldsmith's play of 1773, & is filmed at Wiveton Hall, Norfolk, creating action and a set incapable on a stage. The scenery is as beautiful as the story is comical.Read more ›
The English Augustan age produced three poets in Dryden, Pope and Swift who successfully filled the dull and repetitive regularity of the heroic couplet with observations of genius and a fierce timeless wit. They overcame stylistic limitations by remaining utterly sui generis. English stage works of the era were similarly structurally hobbled by the contemporary theatrical precept known as The Sentimental Style. During Greece's comparable Augustan Age it produced Menander (Ca. 341-290 B.C.), a writer of romantic comedies filled with ordinary folk doing ordinary things. Menander's plays merit serious consideration as the precursors of the sit-com. His sentimental works encapsulated a complacent age by entertaining a complacent, non-adventurous audience. 18th century England seems to have had a similarly mild-mannered theater audience to whom the strictly formulaic sentimental romantic comedy manifested all of their meager artistic aspirations. Comparisons to Hollywood as it is presently configured are unavoidable.Read more ›
Here's the local, country-loving lord of the manor, Mr. Hardcastle of Liberty Hall, with his pretty daughter Kate, his grasping and snobbish wife, a sort of Georgian Hyacinth Bucket less the Doulton with hand-painted-periwinkles and her crude and prank-loving son Tony (by a previous marriage), whom she aims to marry off to cousin Constance Neville, and thereby keep Miss Neville's family jewelry firmly in the Hardcastle family. Coming to visit, with Mr. Hardcastle's approval, is the son of an old friend, one Charles Marlow - the plan is for him to court Kate, and if they like each other - to marry. Alas for good intentions; Charles Marlow is all assurance when with women of lower social standing, but timid and tongue-tied when in company of women of his own class. And he has a friend with him, George Hastings - who is madly in love with Constance, and plotting to elope with her. Double alas, for Constance refuses to run away without her inheritance - the jewelry which Mrs. Hardcastle will not give up. Or at least, not without a fight. All of this sets the plot into sprightly motion, beautifully shot on location in and around Wiveton Hall, in Norfolk. This DVD version is broken up into six approximately half-hour episodes, which heightens the resemblance to a situation comedy, as the two visiting gentlemen mistake Liberty Hall for an inn, and Kate for a barmaid - among other twists.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ugh! might best describe this pitiful attempt to present what should have been a delightful farce of romantic comedy, but what a failure! Read morePublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
Shakespearean period piece by Oliver Goldsmith. A comedy of the misadventures of an English family. Costuming is outstanding. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
Neither Shakespeare nor W.S. Gilbert could write a funnier comedy of errors, which gives you that "bubbly" feeling throughout. Read morePublished on May 5, 2011 by Makarios
This on-location performance is dull and unimaginative. The production values are poor and the costumes look to be of Amdram quality. Read morePublished on July 28, 2010 by Fatjack
I liked the dress and the talk, but thought that the leading man wasn't as convincing in his role as
the leading lady. Read more
I have just finished watching this film and have a big headache from the noisy shrieking mother's voice towards the end of the film. Read morePublished on October 9, 2009 by Fran W.
This comedy is well worth watching, but obviously requires a willingness to be entertained by human folly of a lite and frothy nature. Read morePublished on May 29, 2009 by John Wilson