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The Inheritance

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Editorial Reviews

The Inheritance centers on an innocent young woman's struggle to make sense of her position within the Hamilton household and in society, and the love she feels for her patrons, as well as for a young man she can never marry.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Cari Shayne, Brigitta Dau, Paul Anthony Stewart, Brigid Brannagh, Michael Gallagher
  • Directors: Bobby Roth
  • Writers: Louisa May Alcott, Maria Nation
  • Producers: Edwin Self, Jeffrey S. Grant, John Cosgrove, Lane Zachary, Laura Pozmantier
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Echo Bridge
  • DVD Release Date: December 7, 2004
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (460 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00062IZ0Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,832 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Inheritance" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1,087 of 1,105 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 27, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Those who like period pieces will very much enjoy this made for television movie, which is loosely based upon Louisa May Alcott's novella of the same name, which novella she wrote when she was all of seventeen. With an excellent cast and deft direction, this Cinderella-ish, happily-ever-after story is one that the whole family can enjoy.

The film, which takes place in nineteenth century America, focuses upon a wealthy family, the Hamiltons. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton (Tom Conti and Meredith Baxter) live in elegant splendor on a vast estate with their bookish teenage daughter, Amy (Brigitta Dau), and her slightly older companion, Edith Adelon (Cari Shayne), whom Amy adores, along with a large retinue of servants. Edith has a place in the household that is somewhere between upstairs and downstairs, as she is more than a servant but not quite family.

It appears that Edith, an orphan, has been raised in the household since infancy, when the Hamiltons went to Italy to settle the estate of Mr. Hamilton's estranged older brother. The Hamiltons found the infant Edith abandoned on the Italian estate of Mr. Hamilton's brother and believed her to be the daughter of a servant who died in childbirth. The Hamiltons were so smitten with her that they took her back to America with them and proceeded to raise her.

Now a young woman, Edith's life is thrown into a tailspin when the Hamilton's beautiful cousin, Ida (Bridget Conley Walsh), comes to visit and be introduced to some eligible bachelors. The Hamiltons arrange for a very eligible and wealthy bachelor, James Percy (Thomas Gibson), to stay with them with an eye towards his making a love match with Ida.
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250 of 257 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 16, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If "Little Women" is the novel wrapped around Jo March, then "The Inheritance" is her sister Beth -- small and unnoticed, but sweet and beautiful all the same. This lovely period TV movie is (very loosely) based on the mediocre novel of the same name, by the classic author Louisa May Alcott, and this is one of the few instances where the movie is vastly better than the book.

Edith Adelon (Cari Shayne) has lived with the wealthy Hamilton family ever since she was a baby, and is now the companion of bookish Amy (Brigitta Dau), and a good horsewoman to boot. But her life changes with the arrival of two guests at the Hamiltons' home: the beautiful, calculating Ida (Brigid Conley Walsh) and handsome James Percy (Thomas Gibson).

James and Edith are drawn together first as friends, and then by something deeper. But Ida, who wants him for herself, manipulates Edith into rejecting James when he proposes to her. Then after Edith takes place in a famed horse race, mysterious thefts and a family tragedy threaten to derail her entire life with the Hamiltons.

Louisa May Alcott wrote "The Inheritance" when she was only seventeen, and the book is syrupy, over-romancitized and cliched. But the movie "The Inheritance" is what Alcott probably would have turned the book into, had she rewritten it instead of burying it in a trunk. The wilting lily Edith is replaced with a strong, friendly young woman, and the plot is spiced up with some social commentary.

To some degree, it's a typical love-conquers-all romance, and the dialogue borders on cheesy at times, although overall the scripting pretty good. It's the execution that is likeable. The characters ramble around lush manorhouses full of light and beauty, or idyllic forests.
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138 of 152 people found the following review helpful By C. Cunningham on July 9, 2007
Format: DVD
Based on the "lost novel" of the same name by Lousa May Alcott, The Inheritance chronicles the life of Edith Adelon, an orphan who is given an opportunity to live with a wealthy couple (Tom Conti and Meredith Baxter) as their daughter's companion. Edith proves herself a formidable entry into a rather cold and unwelcoming upper-class society and soon catches the eye of a wealthy gentleman played beautifully by Thomas Gibson.

I absolutely love period pieces and it's very rare that I come across one don't like, but this one was absolutely terrible. Meredith Baxter was unfortunately miscast (as was 3/4 f the actors in ths movie; I couldn't stand watching her play this role. She looks great, but her dialogue forced, and her acting was mediocre to say the least, making the entire effort very difficult to watch. I felt as if I was watching Dynasty in Regency gowns. Sorry, If you like period pieces, take your chances...
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By My opinion on December 5, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Hi all. I've read many of these reviews of the movie "The Inheritance" before deciding to speak my piece. First of all, The Inheritance is a late-1800s story of a poor Italian orphan, Edith Adelon, raised as the companion to the Hamilton family's daughter Amy. Over the years, she has gained their trust and affection. As the great horserace among the local gentry approaches, several visitors arrive to the area: Ida Glenshaw, a "good family, no property" lady, distant cousin of Mrs. Hamilton; Mr. James Percy, "tall, dark, and handsome" who is staying with the Hamiltons, and a Mr. Frederick Arlington, a guest in the area. Mrs. Hamilton wishes to match her relative Ida to one of the young men, but the story twists as both men attach themselves to the quiet but frank and kind Edith. She herself is charmed by one's attentions, but distance herself, realizing their stations are so far apart.

I read the book before watching the film, and was charmed by the quiet romance, if encased in a somewhat foreseeable plot and stereotype characters. Anyways, I write with one main point. Many comments have stated the flimsiness of the story- a perfect, gorgeous, and noble heroine, a gentleman of impeccable grace and dignity, with piercing eyes and dark hair that flops besides his eyes when he looks down at her, a jealous and proud man-chaser, and a vulgar, flirtatious jerk(I mentally searched for a more classical term). And these commentators have a somewhat valid point.

My lone response to this point is simple, not earth-crumbling or brilliant. Do you read the forwards or intorductions to novels? I sometimes do. And what I learned from the forward to The Inheritance was that Louisa May Alcott wrote this little story at age seventeen. That's right. Grade eleven or twelve today.
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One or two, if at all. And nothing more than "hell" or "damn" said in passing.
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