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The Crimson Petal & The White (2012)

Romola Garai , Chris O'Dowd , Marc Munden  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Romola Garai, Chris O'Dowd, Amanda Hale, Shirley Henderson, Gillian Anderson
  • Directors: Marc Munden
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: ACORN MEDIA
  • DVD Release Date: September 25, 2012
  • Run Time: 274 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0074FUSFG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,790 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

SDH Subtitles
BONUS Deleted scenes (11 min.); interviews with Romola Garai and Chris O’Dowd, director Marc Munden, and key crew members (20 min.); and character biographies

Editorial Reviews

Based on the sensational novel by Michel Faber

"Thrilling" -Daily Express (U.K.) "A deep, dark treat" -The Times (U.K.)

"Compelling, beautifully shot, and vividly acted" -The Daily Telegraph (U.K.)
"The outstanding drama of the year" -The Times (U.K.)

As seen on Encore

Enter a Victorian England you’ve never seen: gritty, dark, and unsettling. Based on Michel Faber’s international bestseller, this four-part BBC series follows the fortunes of Sugar (Romola Garai, Atonement, Emma), a notorious prostitute who longs for a better life. Sexually adept, ambitious, and clever, she casts a spell on William Rackham (Chris O’Dowd, Bridesmaids, The IT Crowd), feckless heir to a perfume business and husband to a wife slipping slowly into insanity. As their lives intertwine, events are set in motion that will change them forever.

This provocative psychological thriller boasts a stellar cast and a boldly original look and feel, exposing 1870s London as a place where violence and madness lurked everywhere. Garai is “electric” (The Telegraph Magazine, U.K.), O’Dowd “a revelation” (The Daily Telegraph, U.K.), and Amanda Hale “brilliant” (The Times, U.K.) as Rackham’s wife, Agnes. With Gillian Anderson (Bleak House, The X-Files) as monstrous madam Mrs. Castaway and Richard E. Grant (Gosford Park) as creepy Dr. Curlew, “this striking Gothic melodrama…[is] lurid in the best sense” (The Scotsman, U.K.).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensual, intoxicating visual experience for adults August 1, 2012
Compulsory & addictive, it mimes froth of Victorian London Sts. Cinematography, costumes & sets force viewers deeper into its dark psychological story. The plot and writing are less than stellar. Lead characters portrayals leave one mesmerized by the despicable dearth and poverty of a Dickensian era. Catherine Cookson's poor and low-class tales come to mine too. Don't expect glamor and Victorian gaiety, but every form of crime and dereliction known of the time, 1874. No sympathy, it's lost in strong crass depictions that leave little to imagine. Mad, cunning women are played so well the viewer begins to hate, not adore these characters. Yet it's a mini-series you'll love hating.

The camera's eye, focused on the disgust of the dirty streets and rooms, is filmed so cunningly it resembles Impressionism art done with dark color. Not a love story, but debauchery glistening from mud, vomit, blood and ale. Stunning visuals obligate viewing. Romola Garai (Emma; Amazing Grace) turns sharply from roles like "Emma." As Sugar, she's sweet/sour in her portrayal both with and without clothing as she passes from prostitute, to mistress, to governess. Her Mom and Madam (Gillian Anderson- Bleak House) is so convincing she seems to have literally taken a turn into the underworld. Mrs. Fox (Shirley Henderson- Wish Me Luck: Series 3) seems unable to decide which side of the orgies she desires. William (Chris O'Dowd) will disgust men and women, with and without garments. Plenty more adding to a coarse, disturbing image of poverty and orgy coming to life. Adults only, strongly recommended.

SUBTITLES for all 4 episodes (an hour each) and bonus material.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
The four part British production "The Crimson Petal and The White" showcases a world with little hope and much depravity. And yet, it revels in this exquisite misery! It is so bleak and so dark, in fact, it is sure to turn off certain viewers. But its willingness to push into this unpleasantness (and beyond) is just what makes this miniseries so compelling and so very different. It is a masterful presentation, to be sure, recreating a London of the 1870's with rich period detail in both costuming and sets. But this is no staid and refined period piece. It is explicit and graphic in depicting the underbelly of the city. Set partly in the streets and the brothels of London and partly in the realm of the aristocracy, "The Crimson Petal and The White" tells the story of one prostitute's efforts to bridge this gap by any means necessary. And what she finds as she moves toward better conditions are every bit as alarming and disturbing as what is shown on the mean streets! Really, there is no respite in this world! But that's exactly why I liked this brutal and uncompromising program, it never goes soft or promises anyone happiness.

Romola Garai play Sugar, a world weary working girl, who really knows how to manipulate a mark. She harbors violent fantasies and dreams of a different life. Setting herself apart as a premium girl, she pursues an avenue of escape with single minded obsession. One day, she meets a rather timid john (Chris O'Dowd) who seems smitten with her and is genuinely easy to bend to her will. When she recognizes that he is a man of great wealth, she maneuvers to become his mistress. She insinuates herself into the life of his mentally damaged wife and eventually gets close to his troubled daughter.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't judge a book by it's TV adaptation July 15, 2013
By Sarah
Verified Purchase
If you've never read the book, I can see why you might not like this.

Readers love the novel because it gets into the heads of the characters and brings them to life. You feel their emotions and hear their thoughts and inner most secrets. You get to know the characters from the inside out. Sadly its these types of books and characters that are nearly impossible to bring to life on screen. Almost always they fall flat, and that's whats happened here to a certain extent. While readers won't mind because they know what the characters are thinking/feeling in any given scene, people new to the Crimson Petal world may be disappointed.

In the novel, we come to know Sugar as a terribly abused girl with a brilliant intellect and rich inner world, who is desperate to escape the brothel of her madame who is her also own mother, Mrs. Castaway. We're privy to her every thought, feeling, emotion, hope, and fear as she slowly and skillfully navigates her way up through the rigid caste system of the time.

The Sugar of the TV adaptation comes off as almost drugged and at times nearly deranged. Her eyes are blank, unblinking, staring. Her tone is flat, her expressions stale, and she comes off as sullen and manipulative, instead of fiercely hopeful. Also, not enough time is spent explaining Sugar's book and why she writes it. Viewers are given the lazy explanation that it's a "hate book" against the men she services, which does not help her gain the sympathy of the audience, especially when they use her lover William as the man in all of her dark torture fantasies. It makes her look like a psycho.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Nudity
The story was interesting; it could have done without all the nudity. To bad they never had another season; it left the story unfinished.
Published 1 month ago by Nancy
3.0 out of 5 stars Can't Hold A Candle To The Book
No, I'm not one of those book readers who dump on any movie inspired by a book. I watch movies of books I've read hoping to add to the story or get a different perspective on it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by W. Powell
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Done
I read the book several years ago. It is a rather dark story and wasn't one of my favorites. However, I love the costuming and scenery of period dramas, so I gave this series a... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Candice Lehman
3.0 out of 5 stars luke warm period melodrama
Great period costumes, and typical UK retelling of "bawdy and lurid" Victoriana. Left me feeling nothing and rather bored. Good performances -especially Romola Garai.
Published 2 months ago by valerie marcus ramshur
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT series
If you love the book, you will enjoy the movie. It does not follow the book completely (the role of Caroline for example is barely touched on and if you didn't read the book you... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. Butler
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it, view it be entralled
Sugar rocks. A common prostitute on the rise in the 1870's. Follow her adventure of stinking streets of London to gentle society.
Published 2 months ago by Bradley A. Rigg
4.0 out of 5 stars Well done but almost pornographic.
In the recent documentary series “The Story of the Costume Drama,” mention is made of the fairly recent trend in costume dramas on television to graphically depict sexual... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jon Wynne
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the Book? You'll love the video even more
Always love a novel or movie where I can't guess the ending beforehand. I'd read the book, and was thrilled when I saw BBC had produced a mini-series. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Linda Cooper-smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Read the book and the movie is just as good
The movie does an excellent job of condensing the book into a viewing format. Although some things are different, this does not take away from the character of the book.
Published 3 months ago by Donna
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a Man's World
When fat and feckless William Rackham encounters the mysterious prostitute Sugar in the bowls of the Victorian underworld, this strangely addictive tale of false power lost and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by lily t.
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