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Cranford (2007) (DVD)

4.8 out of 5 stars 255 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Cranford (2007) (DVD)

The BBC drama series adapted from Mary Gaskells classic novels of small town gossip, secrets and romance. 1842. Cranford, a market town in the North West of England, is a place governed by etiquette, custom and above all, an intricate network of ladies. It seems that life has always been conducted according to their social rules, but Cranford is on the cusp of change…


Adapted from Elizabeth Gaskell's novels, the five-episode miniseries Cranford focuses on female characters in the 19th-century British town to thematically contemplate encroaching modernity in rural England. With the camera roving house to house, each drama within the grander story is constructed of scenes featuring dialogue between several gossipy ladies obsessed with moral code, romantic ideas about courtship, and social occasions. Three main characters, the ever-appropriate Deborah Jenkyns (Eileen Atkins), her sweet sister, Matilda (Judi Dench), and their younger, more savvy relative, Miss Smith (Lisa Dillon), continuously weigh in on situations, providing a dependable view when other ladies, like the nosey Miss Pole (Imelda Staunton) are too judgmental. In fine period dress, the women of Cranford remind the viewer of how little action was needed in their small-town lives to provide unceasing entertainment. The series'most intriguing aspect lies not in the ample female conversation but rather in its display of earlier technologies and ways of life. Part One, for example, quickly launches a main narrative thread that runs throughout the series, namely the arrival and assimilation of London doctor, Frank Harrison (Simon Woods), into village society. Dr. Harrison's medical practices, such as his refusal to amputate a man's arm because it's broken, are all the more radical because they are so fundamental by today's standards. In subsequent episodes, he recommends Miss Smith get spectacles to cure her headaches, and saves his love's life by cooling her fever after conservative doctor, Dr. Morgan (John Bowe), recommends the old school practice of burying her in blankets in front of a raging fire. In Part Two, Lady Ludlow (Francesca Annis) throws a garden party at her estate, treating all the women in their fancy hats to a new novelty: ice cream. This scene foreshadows Ludlow's future concern at a railroad plan involving her land that would connect Cranford to Manchester, symbolizing the ruin of this idyllic setting.

In fact, fluffy and clever as some scenes are, death and rebirth assert themselves in each showing, both physically and idealistically. Part Four shows an auctioning off of a deceased man's antiques, and focuses on issues of class and women's education, as Mr. Carter teaches a peasant boy to read while his assistant fumes at her trappings as a seamstress. Part Five ushers in a new period of medical emergencies, securing Dr. Harrison's shaky position in town. In total, Cranford offers a powerful, if sentimental, look at how death begets life, love, and passion. --Trinie Dalton

Special Features

  • The Making of Cranford

Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 20, 2008
  • Run Time: 295 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (255 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00140PK6O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,144 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Cranford (2007) (DVD)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By KBM on March 14, 2008
Format: DVD
I ordered this from Amazon UK to be able to view this prior to its release date. I was not disappointed! Sadly, I had to watch it by myself because my husband didn't think he'd like it. He would have been wrong, by the way. It was exquisite in every way.

I watched it over 2 nights. It's a 5 hour miniseries and it is broken up into five 1 hour-long episodes.

The first 3 hours were very very good. Excellent, even. But the last 2 hours were absolutely perfect.

In Cranford, we meet many of its residents with most of the focus on 2 spinster sisters and their surrounding friends and relatives. Everyone is kind here and look out for their neighbors and generally want to live correctly and do the right thing. Their village has been like this for ages and the citizens have all known eachother since birth. It is an idyllic place and a happy place. They welcome new residents, too, with every bit of friendliness.

Cranford has existed in the same way for years, even though times are changing. A railroad may come through the town and most residents are against this type of change. For with the positive changes-- such as information, goods, and knowledge, there would also be negative changes-- more transients, less safety, etc.

The intertwined story lines here involve the two sisters, class distinctions, entitlements and expectations, a very funny love triangle, and accepting change and modernity.

One of the best stories involves the young son of a poacher (one who kills animals on others' land). The manager of the aristocrat's large estate takes the young boy under his wing and wants to teach him to read and write.
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Format: DVD
"Cranford" is at once a delightful and winning BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's literary works. While lacking the narrative focus of "Wives and Daughters" and "North and South," "Cranford" still comes out to top crest owing largely to a collection of likeable characters played by veteran and other well-known British actors, and also owing to a masterful interweaving of several storylines taken from Mrs. Gaskell's novel "Cranford," and her other smaller works (novellas,) such as "My Lady Ludlow" and "Mr. Harrison's Confessions." What could have been a trite exercise comes out fresh because of these qualities.

At the onset, the bucolic and fictional town of Cranford seems quiet and trapped in a former century. But nothing is ever quiet especially where gossiping ladies are concerned; and no "backward" town can forever stay asleep, not when a proposed railway which will connect it with other busier counties (such as Manchester) is about to disturb the peace and change town life forever. This is the foundation with which the storylines of "Cranford" are set, told in an era where change has been steadily making headways, and the social strata seem to be balancing out.

It should be noted, however, that while "Cranford" imparts to its viewers a sense of things on the verge of change, romance and social satire are still the order of the day. Making up the romantic aspect of "Cranford" are pairs of lovers who are kept apart either by mischief of fate, familial obligations, or class difference. Complementing these are subplots about a sister's longing for a long-lost brother, a mother's longing for an absent son, and silly feminine passions that explode to embarrassing proportions on two occasions. "Cranford" is also replete with satire, as evidenced by its comedy of manners.
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6 Comments 81 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
What a wonderful, rich and cozy experience, but you'll have to wait and see what the cat does with the lace. It's the funniest bit I have seen in a BBC film yet! While this film has not been shown on American TV as yet I was lucky enough to stumble across the entire film on youtube where it was shown in 9 minute segments. Its a quiet film with rich and wonderful characters long remembered. I was afraid that Judi Dench would overpower her role but nothing like it. She was perfect in her poignantly sad but joyfully rising role. It's about the town Cranford, that is fearful of changes being brought by the arrival of the railway. No one of course wants the charm of Old English ways to change and one gets very attached to the warm and sad and silly and funny characters in Cranford. Cranford really is a place one wishes to live and to never leave nor have change. I loved it, anglophile that I am, so this is a creation made just for me and I can't wait to own it when it is released. Another beautiful English costume romance by the people who really know how to do it well!! BRAVO!!!
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Format: DVD
With Judi Dench and Eileen Atkins leading a superlative cast and a wonderfully witty script this show cannot miss. I nearly cried when the
five hours were over. But it is not just Dench and Atkins that make this
so wonderful. They are ably abetted by Francesca Annis, Julia MacKenzie
and Imelda Staunton. In fact every actor in the piece contributes to make
this the most watchable show in years. I hope at next year's Emmy Awards
this wins several.
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