Two generations of genius are brought to life in this lavish, eight-part British miniseries about one of the most talented musical families in history. THE STRAUSS FAMILY spans 85 years and chronicles the rise of Johann Strauss, Sr. from his humble beginnings to becoming one of the most famous musicians in Europe. But at the height of his success, a series of scandalous love affairs estrange him from his wife and prodigiously talented son Johann, Jr. Father and son soon become fierce rivals in the musical and political worlds of nineteenth-century Austria. THE STRAUSS FAMILY follows the advancing career of the younger Strauss as he achieves even greater fame as Vienna s Waltz King, celebrated even today for the Blue Danube waltz and Die Fledermaus.
With a superb cast including Emmy-award winner actors Derek Jacobi (Anastezsi) and Jane Seymour (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman), and glorious renditions of the Strauss s works by the London Symphony Orchestra, THE STRAUSS FAMILY is a dramatic family saga of tragedy and triumph.
DVD Features: Cast Biographies; Selected List of Compositions
British teledrama and miniseries fans--and classical music lovers--will love 1972's The Strauss Family
, a soapy, well-acted look at the life of the Strauss musical dynasty in Vienna. The Strauss Family
is as compulsively watchable as any dysfunctional family drama, from Dallas
to Arrested Development
--but the power mongering happening in 19th-century Vienna was far more subtle in the musical world. The miniseries focuses on Johann, played with equal parts passion and lazy excess by the talented young actor Eric Woofe, whose last performance this series would be. Johann's brother, Josef (Nicolas Simmonds), was the disciplined half of the brother act, though ultimately not nearly as talented as Johann. The Strauss Family
traces the beginnings of the popularity of the Strauss waltz and shows just how proletarian the three-quarter time dance was in 19th-century Vienna--it almost looks like a pogo mosh pit in the local pubs where the Strauss brothers play to be barely heard above the beery din. Another treat in The Strauss Family
is seeing talented young British actors just before their mega stardom, including Derek Jacobi, who has a small role as Johann's confidante, Josef Lanner. Jacobi steals every scene he's in, in a precursor to his career-changing role just four years later in I, Claudius
. Also making appearances are the comely young Jane Seymour and the very talented Georgina Hale, in smaller roles. The set includes cast biographies and a handy list of compositions, though even non-classical music fans will recognize the strains of "The Blue Danube" and arias from Die Fledermaus
. The Strauss Family
is equally a rich tribute to a dynasty of talent and an entertaining bodice-ripper--one that can double as a music-appreciation class. --A.T. Hurley