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4.4 out of 5 stars
A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE TRILOGY (RE-ISSUE)
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80 of 85 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
A trilogy of substance. 3 Barbara Taylor Bradford books adapted to mini-series, now a complete epic. In bonus film of the author, she praises adaptations, she always influenced content, and her husband produced 2 & 3. "It was faithful to the book."--BTB. Bradford said Jenny Seagrove was indeed the young Emma she envisioned. Long novels, therefore some cutting. What's left is great British drama of not a women's libber, but a driven woman successful in a man's business world.

Cast is stellar. Jenny Seagrove is flawless as young Emma in #1, then Gr-daughter Paula in #2. Deborah Kerr is 1980s Emma in #1 & #2 (her last performance ever). Diane Baker played Laura, but was the force behind the series' start. Biggest surprise is Liam Neeson a new face in his 30s, as Blackie, lifetime lover/friend to Emma. He was as good then as he is today. Meg Wynn Owen (Upstairs, Downstairs), Peter Chelsom, Steven Collins, James Brolin, Claire Bloom (King's Speech), Christopher Cazenove, Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey, Monarch of the Glen), Bionic Lindsay Wagner, Anthony Hopkins...well, many & more.

SUBTITLED. My wife and I enjoyed all 3 series. #1 `A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE' best, #2 `HOLD THE DREAM' almost equally but you do have to get used to the lead actress changing roles, & #3 `TO BE THE BEST' perhaps not the best, but a modern finish to the saga. Comparisons one to the other can/& are written, but it's best to simply enjoy the DVDs, not as the novels, but as video entertainment well worth the price.

A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE-3 episodes In 1905 young Emma is maid at Fairley Hall, Squire (Peter Egan), alcoholic Mrs (Nicola Pagett) & 1 good son (Chelsom), 1 bad (Christopher Gable). Builder Blackie (Leeson) arrives for repairs meeting Emma, who's Ma (Meg Wynn Owen) is seriously ill. There are secrets, ambition and love to encounter.
In ep 2 Emma leaves facing problems & new beginning. 1906 moves through arson, a rapid business climb, WWI and Emma makes a shrewd mill purchase for war garments.
Ep 3 Widow Emma inherits more property as wounded brother (Mick Ford) returns. Death, financial gain, remarriage, & Emma's hatred of Fairley's cultivates in surprises in lusts of love, money, & power. War ends. Personal battles grow. Love rendezvous, disaster, WW2 and a 1980s attempted business takeover.

HOLD THE DREAM-2 episodes Kerr in a larger role, Seagrove in a new, with other family returning but played by new actors. Neeson is an older Blackie, still perfection in the role. He competes with Kerr & Seagrove as show anchors. A new generation of affairs, business tycoons, Harte-Fairley feud. 1980s loves lost as fast as new lusts begin. Worldwide business managed by Emma's grands. Gran-Paula (Seagrove) becomes an Emma clone, including marital issues. Matriarch Emma mellows. Who can hold another's dream? Business gets physically rougher.

TO BE THE BEST-2 episodes Paula (now Lindsay Wagner) continues taking on a modern business world. Competition becomes violent and deadly. Players in this game are in London, Hong Kong, NY, & Indiana (rudely misrepresented as a mix of a southern/Country Western state) about 1990. International intrigue within family lines, high finance garnished w2ith adultery. A dramatic contemporary change from Emma's quaint beginning.

Bonus interviews Baker 22min; Author BTB 59 min -all subtitled. +Text bio & book list.
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56 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2005
Format: DVD
I bought this trilogy on the strength of the 5 star review I had read. To save someone else the disappointment I received, I am writing my first review.

The first of the 3, the title piece, was worth watching and on it's own might rate 4 stars. But the quality of the other two fell off dramaticly and I wouldn't give either of them more than 2 stars. Have our standards changed so much in the last 14-20 years since these were made and first broadcast, or would they have seemed just as insipid to me if I had seen them then, I wonder? I suppose if you have read and enjoyed the books (which I have not) you might have a different opinion. But I found the story rather contrived, the acting mediocre, and the characters underdeveloped and unappealing. Even the love scenes were uninspiring. The worst part, though, I think would have to be the cheesy background music which made it impossible to forget that I was watching a repackaged 80's miniseries.

So buy it only if you are a big Barbara Taylor Bradford fan and can overlook some major shortcomings. This trilogy has certainly not made a fan of me.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2012
Format: DVD
This is a wonderful series.
It is indeed a rags to riches.... In reference to the previous review: when did pulling oneself up by the bootstraps not involve some serious sacrifice & hard work?

My Mother recorded this on VHS years ago & I can hardly wait for it to arrive on DVD. ----------- I found it inspiring, motivating & most entertaining.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I waited a long time to see all three of these stories. I was not dissapointed! My favorite was the first which is called Woman of Substance. The choice of actors was brillant and Jenny Seagrove was especially good. I hate it when a film does not follow the book and i was worried as I had read the book some years before. Not to worry!! This time they got it right.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2002
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I was so happy when I learn that "A Woman of Substance" series was coming to DVD. These are two great DVD's(while Hold the Dream is okay)The picture and sound on all three movie's is great. My only complaint is why was Lindsey Wagner casted for "Hold the Dream?" The change in the cast hurts this movie. Overall, "The woman of substance" trilogy is must for any fan of the books.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Not quite as good as I expected. Perhaps it was because I had read the book, it didn't quite live up to my expectation. However, it was better than any currently produced movies.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
After reading the reviews, I thought this sounded like an enjoyable trilogy - a 'rags to riches' story, which can sometimes be enjoyable.

I found the overall negativity - while probably very true to human nature - unappealing. Too much vengence, too much hate, and no real happy moments to balance.

It was more a story about a woman who gave up 'living' to prove she was as good as those she hated, than someone who overcame all odds to make a place for herself and her children in a world dominated (at the time she began) by men. She becomes just as ruthless and uncaring as the ones she's trying to prove her worth to, simply 'proving' to the viewer that you can't win by being a different type of person than the 'examples' you have been shown.

Maybe I'm too Pollyanna, but I feel we can all WIN, and still stay true to our values - we don't have to become even worse than those we see around us who have apparently succeeded - if only by amassing a lot of money.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2013
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I loved it, in the beginning, but when you have to change actors, it disappoints. I felt by the third dvd it had gone the way
of a Soap.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I started reading this author because she was local and I loved the background she painted. Then I happened on the first book of this series -- I could not stop -- I had loved her style and I was "hooked" by this character. No housework got done, all else was neglected until I finished the book...then I started the second, and the third, etc. Wonderful reading -- wonderful role model for girls today! I just had to have the DVD.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
disc #1 was wonderful ... I started disc #2 the same night and was THOROUGHLY DISAPPOINTED.... this #2 started out about 30 yrs ahead.. There was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ON THE DISC ABOUT EMMA'S LOVER PAUL AND THEY STORY TOGETHER... i watched #3 just because I had it... I WROTE TO THE AUTHOR MRS BRADFORD AND THE COMPANY THAT MADE THE CD... I WANTED A REFUND.... If there is a complete disc 2 out there I never saw it :(
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