Vanity Fair (1998) 1 Season 1998

Amazon Instant Video

Season 1
(78) IMDb 7.8/10

4. Vanity Fair Episode 4 TV-PG CC

Panic spreads throughout the city because of the war. Both Amelia and Becky have a child, though Amelia is much more the loving mother than her old friend.

Natasha Little, Frances Grey
53 minutes
Original air date:
November 22, 1998

Vanity Fair Episode 4

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Season 1

Product Details

Genres Drama, Romance
Director Marc Munden
Starring Natasha Little, Frances Grey
Supporting actors David Ross, Philip Glenister, Michele Dotrice, Janine Duvitski, Anton Lesser, Nathaniel Parker, Jeremy Swift, Tom Ward, Stephen Frost, Tim Woodward, Janet Dale, Frances Tomelty, Mark Lambert, David Bradley, John Surman, Miriam Margolyes, Daniel Hart, Abigail Thaw
Season year 1998
Network BBC
Producers Delia Fine, Suzan Harrison, Nigel Taylor, Michael Wearing
Rental rights 7-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

113 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Halloran on January 27, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Thackeray's "Vanity Fair" is such a sprawling, grand example of the Victorian novel that any mere two-hour movie adaptation will be forced to leave out crucial elements. As it is, this six-hour BBC film version emits certain items (Jos Sedley's ultimate fate, the James Crawley episode), but is remarkably faithful to its source. Indeed, a television mini-series is the best way to adapt such a work, allowing the story to unfold and the viewer to become involved with the various characters.
This production is fantastic, with beautiful costumes, excellent performances, and a fine script. Chief among its attractions is Natasha Little in the key role of Becky Sharp. Miss Little is not only luminously beautiful, but manages to arouse our sympathies toward a virtually unsympathetic character. Special mention must also go to Jeremy Swift, whose portrayal of bumbling Jos Sedley is a delight. Miriam Margolyes (always wonderful) and Eleanor Bron appear in secondary roles. The rest of the cast is well-chosen and all play their parts with conviction.
The greatest hurdle a filmed version of "Vanity Fair" faces is how to convey the many shifts of tone which Thackeray goes through in the novel. This problem has been solved by use of an unusual score, which draws from such diverse sources as military marching bands, Strauss waltzes (wrong for the period but who cares?), and a bit of Kurt Weill. Murray Gold's score never lets us forget that we are in the world of Thackeray's biting satire, and not Jane Austen's more delicate world of comedy-of-manners.
All told, it will take a long time before this film treatment is bettered.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 14, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
It would be hard for a movie to do justice to Thackeray's wonderful novel VANITY FAIR, but it is clear that this awesome 5 hour version is every bit as good. I bought the whole set of tapes as soon as I heard they were coming out, and love them. Every time I watch them, I get so involved in the characters that I can't wait to watch the next episode. I always laugh at the broad, witty comedy that brings the film to life, and at other times I have to cry, for example the beautiful scene when Dobbin finally admits to Amelia that he is in love with her, or when Amelia has to send her son to go live with his grandfather because she is too poor to take care of him...The film is excellently done, with lavish sets and costumes. I find all of the actors to be wonderful, Natasha Little in particular plays the tricky role of Becky to the hilt, so that we are simultaneously rooting for her and wishing she'll get what's coming to her. Little finds the right mixture of sympathy and wickedness to capture Becky. Also, Miriam Margolyes is absolutely hysterical as the outspoken Miss Crawley, constantly laughing, eating, gossipping, flirting, moaning about her aches and pains, talking with her mouth full, and stabbing her friends in the back--she's like Becky, minus the table manners. Many peole have complained about the musical score, but I think it was incredible. The use of mainly brass instruments is superb, and the horns blare with an evil charm just at the right moments. They are just the right touch, adding to the movie's boldness. The only thing that upset me was that in almost every shot, the heads of the main characters are always cut off--it's so annoying!Read more ›
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Ms Winston TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 28, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have read "Vanity Fair" twice and intend to re-read this coming year. I remember seeing a BBC version with Susan Hampshire in the role of Becky Sharp back in the 1970s, as well as the 1930s Hollywood version with Mariam Hopkins on late-night television when I was a teenager. Now I understand that there is to be another Hollywood version, with Reese Witherspoon, of all the odd choices, to play Becky. Natasha Little is, in my opinion, an outstanding Becky Sharp, surpassing both Hampshire and Hopkins in the role. I cannot feature the vastly overrated Ms Witherspoon being able to give as subtle and natural a performance as Ms Little does in this A&E production. Ms Little is at once appealing and a monster, a woman "on the make"; in one very funny, and creepy, bit she is forced to turn down a marriage proposal from the coarse Sir Pitt Crawley, because she is already married to his dashing son. When Pitt Crawley leaves the room, it becomes clear that Becky would have married the vulgar old man for the security he offered had she been free.

The rest of the cast was very good, particularly the actors portraying Amelia, George, Rawdon, and Dobbin. There has been some criticism of the appearance of the actors, that they were too plain or even downright unattractive for the roles. One of the differences between British and American productions (particularly those made for televsion) is that in British productions the performers are more often selected for their talent than their appearance. Sometimes this backfires, as in the case of the remake of "The Forsyte Saga," when many viewers complained about Geena McKee being too plain for the role of Irene Forsyte, who was supposed to be a great beauty.
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