Posts Tagged ‘stuart wilson’

Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison (Inner Circles)

Dear friends and readers,

My Christmas present from Jim and Izzy (bought by me on their behalf) was the complete set of Prime Suspect seasons, and while I was chuffed to get them, it was not until I opened the box three nights ago now and began to watch again that I realized what a wonderful present I had given myself. From two angles: first off, I had not been understanding or seeing the stories the way they were intended and second, they continue to rivet, move, and thematically fascinate me.

First that the box showed me that the set on Netflix misrepresent the series: stories are left out. Does it matter? yes.

I had suspected there was something wrong, something missing. One of the delights of this series is the mostly marginalized but on going story of Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison herself. At the close of “The Lost Child” we had Jane having had an abortion and sitting in the darkness and at the opening of “Scent of Darkness” she had embarked on a fulfilling liaison with Dr Patrick Schofield (played marvelously by Stuart Wilson), the psychologist from “The Lost Child.” How was this? Then what I thought was the next story, about a Bosnian woman who was tortured I was so disappointed to find no Stuart Wilson who I really liked, especially from his relationship with her. Jane Tennison was alone, haunted, often in a black cape and had on DI Haskons with her.

Characteristic still from Season 6

Well, when I opened the box of DVDs for the first time, I found 7 boxes with a couple of boxes having 2 disks; the 6th and 7th also have bonus features (!). In Box 4 I found between the two-hour each film, “The Lost Child” and “The Scent of Darkness,” another 2 hour film: “Inner Circles.” And that there was a mini-series film between “Scent of Darkness” and the 6th series about the torture of a Bosnian refugee where Jane Tennison relocates to Greater Manchester for a stint as a community relations police officer. “Inner Child” lacks the usual crew of people except for Richard Hawley (Di Haskons in all of them) and a cameo appearance of John Benfield (her supervisor, Mike).

One problem with doing this series over several years is the producers could not always get the people back so my guess is her (unlikely) stint as “community relations” person (just what she as an iconoclast and unconventional woman would not be acceptable at or even good at) was the inspired reaction to the producers not being able to get any of their usual people back.

They overcame this partly by the focus on Jane but they clearly also did this for itself. The series has a woman’s novel implicitly working itself out inside the conventions of a police procedural (as the genre is called in Britain). In many of the detective series the film-makers of TV (BBC, the better British channels and PBS) have filmed, the books may have the outlines of an ongoing story’ but most of the time in the TV programs this must be dropped because there are too many programs (when it’s a success). Lynda LaPlante’s (and her successors) creating a series out of their own minds and intended for TV (not based on novels) and not having that many programs or stories per season , there is an evolving story and it matters. Sometimes it presents an ironic or ambivalent contrast to the crime story, sometimes Jane’s emotion out of her own life reinforces the emotion of the crime story, motivates her quest to solve the crime strongly.

To outline: when we first meet Jane (Story 1, Season 1, a mini-series) she is having trouble breaking into the hierarchy of the police force. She cannot get a case to conduct. She is also in a warm relationship with a husbandly man played by Tim Wilkinson – he has broken with his wife who is now pregnant with another man’s child and Jane tries to make dinner for him, the child and herself. We see he can’t get enough jobs in the killing new capitalist structure where people are left to “free-lance” and it hurts their relationship as she sits up night after night — to a breaking point.

Tom Wilkinson plays Peter Rawlins, her partner-lover in the first season

Jane also is straining to spend any time with her biological family; when with them, she must watch TV to keep up with her job and partly ignore them, and this angers Peter.

In story 2 (Season 2, another mini-series) we see her have a casual encounter with a young black officer which is held against her and she must drop as he is going to use it to wrest power.

The 3rd story (Season 3, another mini-series) about transsexuals and child molestation is so powerful and is framed by her at the opening of the story meeting an old lover and having a week with him where she does wrenchingly break it off because he demands she give up her job and he will in turn leave a wife and 4 children. This is scenario we may often see: the aging man leaves a wife and 4 children for a mistress. To her credit, Jane refuses.

The 4th story (Season 4) is the first of three 2 hour films and given a title: “Lost Child.” In this one she has an abortion, the result of her love affair in Story 3. It’s also the story of a child murdered by its mother where almost automatically a man who had been known to sexually molest and abuse children (had spent time in jail for this) was blamed. Jane’s anger is fueled by her own loss, her own ambivalence. The story includes a psychologist, Patrick Schofield (played memorably by Stuart Wilson) who explains and defends the accused young man to Jane.

I now realize that “Scent of Darkness” is Story 6, the the third of the two hour films of Season 4) and did not follow “Lost Child.” It has the most development of Jane’s private or non-professional life of all of them: we see Jane and Patrick
meeting at a movie house, both too late for the show, and discovering neither wanted to see it and then we have these vignettes of them in bed, in the bath, drinking and talking, her working at her latest crime and he watching TV: in this one he seems to betray her by himself taking on as a customer in part the man who wrote the book saying her solution of the first crime was false. The crime part of the story is a re-do of Story 1 (Season 1) about violence against women, how Jane is not permitted a promotion easily, how the men conspire against her to protect their chief. At its end she triumphs over a humiliation, dances with the officer chief who tried to bring her down, and is last with her Patrick at the same dinner party.

Penultimate scene of Scent of Darkness

So how did she get there: to that affair. Well, “Inner Circles,” Story 5 of Season 4, a two-hour movie in which shows her very lonely, picking up the phone to call this psychologist who she had liked and getting his answering machine. Trying twice. She has no circle, she is someone who comes home from her job and watches TV or reads. I see the opening of “Scent of Darkness” was the opening of their affair.

In “Inner Circles,” Jane’s lonely or outcast state may seem deprived, but the inner circles she see are made up of people who as much prey on as they support one another. She has more strength and more distance to be able to feel and act upon more real or un-ambivalent affection for the youngsters of the story than their troubled parents can manage. We see her fellow officers discussing this more than once and she is needled by DCI Raymond (Ralph Arliss), the man who is running the cop shop she is momentarily relocated to: he is having an affair with a woman detective in the office, DS Cromwell (Sophie Stanton) who changes allegiances to Jane during the 2 hours. When she sees them as a pair at a town bar and asks him, where is his wife, he retaliates by saying “at home” and she “she’s fine, she’s still getting it regularly which you’re obviously not.”

At the bar

I immediately recognized Arliss as the hard apparently mean working class male gamekeeper type in the 1977 Love for Lydia. Inner Circles like Story 1 (Season 1) and also “Scent of Darkness” (Story 6, Season 4) reaches back to superb actors from the 1970s series who never made it to total stardom. From Stuart Wilson (Ferdinand Lopez in Pallisers) to Gareth Forwood (Everett Wharton in the same part of the Pallisers) as the murder victim, Dennis Carradine. Again Wilson played the strong alluring male lover while Forwood the man with homosexual inclinations who cannot succeed in the world, weakish, but well-meaning, emotional, a victim type.

Opening shots of Inner Circle: the country club surrounded by a large — green and pleasant — golf club meadow

In my previous three blogs I suggested that each film-story examines another aspect of real life. In “Inner Circle” we move to a contrast between the wealthy, comfortable upper middle milieu, a place of of clubs, of power in police shops and city councils, and the desperately despised poor in public housing like Larchmont Estate from which the people accused of murdering Dennis all come, and in fact the hired killer too. The politics of the piece is the rich people are in cohoots with Raymond and others to blame the poor, do what they can to stimgatize and make the idea of helping such people useless, ludicrous, dangerous in order to protect their own crimes, ruthless appetites, and of course money and power. I noticed Anthony Bate as James Greenlees is the head of the club; he often plays this type (he was Lacoon in the 1970s/80s Smiley films).

Like Paul Endicott, when Greenlees is last scene he is getting into a luxurious car and driving home: at the center of the storm, he gets away with his dealing scot-free because he knows how to stay on the right side of custom and law

This time the murderer Maria Henry (Jill Baker), an upper class woman lawyer who wants to hide her financial dealings and her long-time friend, Dennis’s incompetence is leaking it out. She and Greenlees and her lover, Paul Endicott (James Laurenson), also a member of the club have Arliss to cover up for them and present the crime as an act engendered by poor people living in council housing (ironically named Larchmont Estates) who hated a homosexual upper class male type and tortured him in some humiliating way before strangling him.

Bird’s eye shot of Larchmont Estate courtyard: no grass here

So the crime becomes ammunition against social programs too. Early on in the show everyone assumes that Mickey Thomas (Jonathan Copestake) murdered Dennis with the help of the young woman the police do take in, Sheila Bower (Julia Rice). Raymond’s police come to the housing project and he panics and flees, and runs into a car which smashes him to death. Even half-way through the show the country club types, and Raymond are still trying to pin the crime on Thomas and Sheila.

Mickey Thomas looking up at helicopter surveillance over Larchmont (perfect symbol of our time), cursing them but also panicking

Only this pair of young people didn’t torture or strangle him. They were just trying to burglarize the building in which Dennis lived.

Like “Lost Child” and “Scent of Darkness” too much was piled into 2
hours and I didn’t quite get the ins and outs so had to re-watch before I understood what had gone on.

Suffice to say this one made me identify with Maria Henry (Jill Baker) the woman lawyer — this astounded me. Again the series was functioning to extend the sympathetic imagination, this time mine. This upper class lawyer, successful networking made-up hard nosed woman. Well she melts at the behavior of her equally hard but stupid and naive daughter, Polly Henry (played brilliantly by a young Kelly Reilly — Story 1 had a young Ralph Fiennes equally brilliant — and cannot reach her. I burst into tears at one angry set-to between them. Polly does not understand how she is being used and it is through her that her mother Maria’s crime is exposed.

Maria Thomas, the lawyer-mother, tough as nails

Polly Henry, the thick, sullen hurt puzzled daughter, weak and clinging, easily manipulated

Maria now needs to kill the killer of Dennis, Geoff Brennam (Thomas Russell), a sadistic thug because Jane Tennison has realized that Geoff was the paid killer.

Geoff also an inhabitant of the Larchmont Estates, another another of its cement and iron terrace patios

So Maria Thomas tells the easily bullied stammerer, another vulnerable young man, Hamish Endicott (Nick Patrick), Maria’s lawyer-loverm Paul Endicott’s son that Jeff raped and beat and maimed Polly, needling the boy to hammer Jeff’s head to bits. Paul loves Polly from afar:

Polly and Hamish in the country club, children imitating their parents

Hamish has been tormented and mocked and fleeced by Jeff (as he has been similarly sneered at by his father) and a huge amount of raging hostile emotion has built up.

Paul Endicott seemingly the ultra-successful lawyer male (he’s a failure in reality, like Maria needs money desperately)

Maria taps into this easily, manipulating the young man into fancying himself a hero doing a brave deed. Someone a the Larchmont Estate where Jeff lived and did inflict rough cruel sex on Polly saw a red-haired woman in the car with tall young man; when Hamish turns himself in, it’s a matter of deciding whether the woman was Polly or her mother, Maria. Maria could leave her daughter to be blamed (and we see the girl is a narrow, silly person who will probably be destroyed by others later), put that that far she won’t go. She has tried to protect her daughter from her crimes, her life-style, her boyfriends to no avail. Polly wants to live the way she sees her mother does, does not know enough to see how hollow are Maria’s relationships. It is hard to tell whether Maria does love the daughter who instinctively feels her mother does not love her, but when she turns whining to her in the last moment of the show, the mother melts once again.

They are an inner circle inside an inner circle. Jane is in no such inner circles at all — nor is DS Cromwell whom we learn during the show came from an estate like the Larchmonts and understands some of the psychology of the young people burglarizig and behaving in self-destructive ways. It is Cromwell’s way of interrogating the suspects that helps Jane to understand and ferret from them the truths of what happened.

Cromwell makes faux pas that Jane would not: she does not first clear her right to investigate Dennis’s mail at the club

Perhaps Jane and Cromwell are better off with their impersonal relationships. But Jane at least is lonely as we see her making those phone calls to Patrick’s answering machine. And DS Cromwell has been giving herself to that shit Raymond and for all we know may return to him casually once again.

That it’s a mother-daughter relationship gone all wrong and women’s friendship story at its core may come from its film-makers mostly being women as were the first three stories (seasons 1-3). It’s based on a story by a woman, Meredith Oakes; it’s directed by Sarah Pia Anderson and two of the producers were Sally Head and Rebecca Eaton.

Closing moment, Jane and Cromwell (we never do learn her first name) smoking together, sharing cigarettes

Other miseries of human relationships that are explored, dramatized exposed beyond that of how the powerful and rich treat the desperate and poor is how cold and therefore cruel and bullying personalities can twist emotionally loving and warm and weak or uncertain people. How such people will get back either directly or through the very love relationship the strong or bullying person (in two cases here it’s a father and son and a mother and daughter or parents and children) takes advantage of or even promotes.

Some good lines:

On the police fear of the people in the Larchmont Estate and their terror (justified) of the police: Jane: “Whatever happened to community policing?”

Mike, Jane’s superior to Jane and her repeat reply late in the film: “”Politics this is what this is all about use your social skills if you’ve got any …”

Jane Tennison to Maria Thomas: “Tennison: you are refusing to tell us anything. Maria: “I honestly feel I’ve been as fank as I dare be.” In fact that’s so. We see how laws set up to protect people like her. She can claim client confidentiality to hide that she and Dennis were in deep trouble over their buying of a ruin, Burdette House when the city gov’t refused to let them build luxury housing there

I like my Christmas present very much. Prime Suspect was a series of brilliant films which evolved as they went, inventing and changing as the year and times and what was available for actors demanded. (By contrast, Poldark stayed with the books, for all three tries, even the 1996.) Perhaps the people making the 4th season of 3 two-hour films realized they had piled too much in and the series lost some viewer-ship or maybe because it kept gaining, for I can see that they returned to mini-series in the 5th season. I have much to enjoy. But before I watch these for the first time, I shall luxuriate in re-watching the touching affair of Stuart Wilson and Helen Mirren of “Scent of Darkness.” As I say these films demand and repay rewatching.


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The Duchess, Silverbridge, Tregear and Lady Mary in a gondola, seen from a distance

Dear Friends,

I’ve written about Pallisers 9:1810:21 (including the Lady Rosina de Courcy) of the 1974 BBC Pallisers on this blog thus far. (For 1:1 – 8:17 see previous blog.) I’ve another one to add tonight: 11:22.

The power of 11:22 come from the dramatization of the inward destruction of the marriage of Ferdinand Lopez and Emily Wharton. The overarching theme is drawn from Trollope’s The Prime Minister so as to embed the Lopez/Wharton story in the personal party politics of the book and previous Palliser matter. It’s the power of money (which power the Pallisers have) and the need Ferdinand Lopez has of money (which he lacks).

Part 22, has six scenes of Emily and Lopez! All piled together suddenly. It moves from 21, the honeymoon, a scene of an apparently loving couple which ends on a a sudden troubled note when Ferdinand admits he’s strapped for cash; then after another brief scene where we watch father send check, we have a second scene from this honeymoon, Emily still in nightgown and she more troubled yet not overt beyond saying Ferdinand misreading letter. Then there are two I have here transcribed.

The scene interwoven here of the Duke and duchess is not a contrast but a parallel.


In this part Raven has done justice to how a marriage can be founded on delusions and smash very quickly. This is but one part of Trollope’s novel but it is a centrally riveting one and one that would speak home to people today just as much as in the 1870s. For women then there was no divorce, and it was very hard to support yourself, for a woman of the gentry not trained to do so, a trauma she probably couldn’t cope with.

This theme is threaded through the Duke and Duchess’s scenes both alone, in contrast to Phineas and Marie, and with their son and heir, Silverbridge.

First then a summary of the episode and then transcripts and commentaries on individual scenes and separate threads:

11:22: The difficulties of marriage, 3 transcripts with a little of Venice

Episode 21: Honeymoon: Scene 1) Emily and Lopez’s bedroom in Italy (Rome?), balcony, bedroom, from PM, II, Ch 25, pp. 216-219. Transfer of dialogue in coach in novel becomes an elaboration in bedroom tryst, needs 3000 pounds; scene 2) Wharton reading letter, voice-over carries over from scene 1, Emily, letter not in PM, only father’s reply, PM, II, Ch 26, pp. 222-23; we hear only Emily’s voice, back to scene 3) we see corridor of Emily and Lopez’s bedroom in Rome, then same area, he delighted, she troubled, and waking up a bit to what he is; scene 4) blue upstairs sitting room in Gatherum, the transcribed scene in blog, from PM, III, Ch 42, pp. 356-58.

Episode 22: Travelers: scene 5) Gatherum park and landscape, Phineas and Marie Finn’s talk and love, Raven transposed narrator’s talk of troubles of Pallisers to voices of these characters, acting here as chorus and tonic coda of the companionate marriage working by not straining on relationship too strongly; scene 6) Mr Sprout’s shoe shop, Mr Sprout and Lopez reading paper, matter from letter in PM, Vol 2, Ch 34, pp. 286-87, that Duke will not interfere and Lopez on his own, that the electors will prefer a conservative candidate now, Sprout says cut your losses and go; Lopez insists Duchess will make some sign; scene 7) Venice, the balcony, Lady Mabel Grex, Miss Cassewary and Silverbridge doing tea, matter from Duke’s Children, I, Ch 9, pp. 57-59, and Ch 20, pp. 127-30: Lady Mabel’s desperate situation, her awful father, the idea that Silverbridge’s father could not survive with his mother, Silverbridge there because of prank, then Tregear’s entrance and the tense encounter not observed by Silverbridge who is getting to like this corner of Venice; two young men looking at map of Tregear’s coming tour; we see Silverbridge lonely and wants to return home; he’s very young; move to scene 8) with sign Silverbridge (makes for carry-over and anticipation as Silverbridge, the young man, will eventually run and easily succeed to a parliamentary seat there), street voices heard, and in shop, Sprout and Lopez again, from PM, II, ch 34-35 turned into concise summarizing scene, Lopez bitter, angry; scene 9) Lopez and Emily’s flat in London, first time we’ve seen it, and it’s dark, from PM, II, ch 35, pp. 301-2. Transcribed on blog.

Episode 23: Financial Bind: scene 10) Wharton’s chambers, Wharton and Lopez, from PM, II, Ch 35 and Ch 44, letter sent by Lopez,. pp. 384-85, 395. Lopez blames Emily for wanting seat, and says he is out of pocket 1000 pounds, Wharton pays, Lopez says he’d like to explain “the scope of his business,” but Wharton says he does not want to hear any more, then does not object but does not see he can serve Lopez; scene 11) again Lopez and Emily apartment, again PM, II, Ch 35, pp. 301-2 (milking same scene repeatedly as Raven has done before), short powerful scene registering his whining and her awakened sense of him as false through and through; scene 12) Blue upstairs sitting room in Gatherum, Lopez’s over-voice as Duchess reads letter he sent demanding payment, from PM, III, Ch 42, pp. 364-70; powerful scene over letter, the fourth such set to in two episodes (the other two in 10:21), some of all of them taken directly from book, Adam and Eve trope (he will not be Adam putting blame on his wife even if blame hers — it was not Emily’s) what will happen in the house looked forward to; scene 13) aviary greenhouse at Gatherum, Bungay and Duke of Omnium, from PM, III, Ch 50, pp. 430-34, Bungay coddling him.

Episode 24: Hidden Plans: scene 14) Gatherum upstairs blue sitting room, now Duchess rejoices at Gerald’s appearance, she studying pictures of Italy, wants to persuade father to holiday, ultimately (much transformed) from Duke’s Children, ch 1, pp. 1-2; scene 15) Lopez’s flat, Sexty comes to Lopez, what’s left of PM, III, Chs 45-46 (subplot of Parker’s insistence on social friendship), here Parker worried about money, where is 300 from father-in-law, another 1000 from Duke, creditors pressing, the PM, III, Ch 39 much changed in precise wording, Emily opens door (contrast to Gerald’s), and he now sickens her though she does not quite let on, the screaming on the word “money” echoes from book, but we are deprived of the quelling of this woman and how she become abject (the deeper levels of the book, Chs 47, pp. 408-411, Ch 48, p. 416), sceen 25) Venice, Silverbridge’s apart again, parents’ visit, wholly invented, including who flat belonged to and homosexual references about one man’s “oriental habits” and the pictures, jokes about Duke worrying where Mary and Gerald have got too, distasteful insinuating Duchess about Tregear and Mary on balcony; scene 26) in gondola on lagoon, Duchess and Tregear, Silverbridge and Mary, Treager has won Duchess over, talk of his background, they are returning to Matching, Mary’s cheerful smile

Episode 25: Scandal: scene 27) Lopez apartment in London, Emily announces her pregnancy, and Lopez moves to take advantage of this (this happens before ch 49, p. 421, probably before Ch 44, but I cannot find it), he at first joyous, natural but then she sickened; scene 28) Whartons’ chambers, Wharton expecting and Lopez comes in, from scattered moments in book, two letters mostly, PM III, Chs 45, pp. 384-385, Ch 46, p. 395, Ch 49, p 419 (it’s Emily’s distress which teaches Wharton he had better not give Lopez anything directly), sees he has had all his money from himself and Parker, the stockbroker, throws him out, scene 29) Duchess and Mrs Finn encounter Lopez in the park and snub him; scene 30) Mr Slide’s office at People’s Banner Banner, taken from PM, III, Ch 51, pp. 441-446, the bit about Judas and the 30 pieces is added; also at first Lopez is reluctant and gradually persuaded, he does not come as initiator but after Slide has published.

The following scene comes early in the part, right after the opening three of Ferdinand and Emily on their honeymoon with the sandwiched in one of her father writing out the 3000 pound check. it is the culmination of the high conflict we saw in the previous episode and the Duke’s having lost the strength.

Here we see finally the Duke cannot stand the networking and entertaining any longer and demands it be put an end to. The Duchess does not feel about her work the way the Duke does, but she is tired, weary, and has had a couple of bad moments with the Duke over Ferdinand Lopez, or her own politicking with her limited power.

Episode 21: Honeymoon

Scene 4: Sitting room at Gatherum castle; where Duchess works, they have coffee, intimates meet.

Basis: Prime Minister, Vol 3, Ch 42, pp. 356-58 (very different, not dramatized and Duchess half sarcastic, and playing for time to invite people, and then sticking precisely to those allowed to irritate him. Here we have a human drama of wide dimensions suggested in Trollope’s telling, not scenes themselves)

1. Establishment shot: Duke in dressing jacket looking out window, Duchess hard at work in nightgown, hat, and robe; we hear laughter from below, perhaps outside.

She carries on writing. She labors some more, as we watch her write on. He picks up and throws down letters. She’s writing invitations probably and correspondence having to do with guests gone and guests to come.

Duke: “Cora?”
Duchess: “Hmmm?”
Duke: “I’ve got something to say.”
Duchess: “Mmmmm. Please say it, Plantagenet.”
Duke: “Very well. It’s time to put an end to all this.”
Duchess turns round; “All what?”
Duke: “All this (reaches out for letters) entertainment (he throws down letters and puts sarcasm into word, irony).
Duchess takes off glasses. “Plantagenet! you approved the idea at the start.”
Duke: “Yes, the idea perhaps but the reality’s gone far enough (he stand up, looks grim). While I’m burdened with this present office I can’t continue to receive guests in the house.”
Duchess: “These are all people whom you need.”
Duke: “I don’t need them here. With most of them I get along much better in their absence. Well, do you remember that sickening affair, Sir Orlando Drought, all that could have been avoided if he had not been allowed to approach too near to become too familiar …”
Duchess: “Important men, little men for that matter, like to be able to approach their prime minister.”
Duke (gritted teeth, intense tones and face): “They’re making my life impossible.”
She looks appalled at realizing his psychological state.
Duke sits. “It’s got to cease.”
Duchess: “I see. So it’s a case of repel borders. (She puts out candle flame with a wet finger.) Darkness all round.
Duke: “Well (noise). Well, I know (really a noise) you cannot possibly turn out those people who are staying in here now, but I beg you no further invitations.”
She looks hurt, her hands folded.
Duchess gets up and walks over. “Phineas Finn, Plantagenet. He is due over from Ireland in a day or two and I was just about to invite him. His wife is here.”
Duke: “Finn may come and go as he leases. He’s an old friend, but don’t encourage any of these others to linger except um Lady Rosina. She stays for as long as we do.”
Duchess: “Do now it shall be Darcy and Joan and Aunt Rosina. What a galaxy of fashion and wit.”
Duke: “Well, that is the way I shall like it.”
She sits down wry.
Duke: “and as for these others, I’ll have no more of it.”
Duchess: “The Duke of St Bungay, Plantagenet, says that these assemblies are of great assistance to your ministry.”
Duke: “And so they were at the beginning, but now it’s degrading me.”
Close up of her face as it hardens in hurt and then anger. “Degrading (teeth show) you.”
Duke (close up) There are those, who say I’m bribing men with hospitality.”
Duchess: “Oh, Planty, you’re so thin-skinned that any counsel offered you take as a form of criticism. You must ignore them.”
Duke. “I try to, Cora. It is very hard you know to ignore journalists who write about you daily. Quintus Slide in the People’s Banner, well, he has a poisonous pen.”
Duchess: “Huh. One day he’ll prick himself too death with it.”
Duke: “He must prick me to death first. Well, Cora will ya do as I’m asking (clenches fist, in real need) about ceasing all this here at Gatherum.”


She looks at him with genuine puzzled pity. “Yes if you order it. (she laughs a little), but it is hard to be told after all my work that it has degraded you.”
Duke: “So it has and you too. All these false smiles and false words.”
Duchess: “I have told you that if you wish to remain as Prime Minister, someone must smile at your supporters, if not you then me.”
He looks pained.
She rises a little and turns face away, real aching strain etched on bones of her face.
Ducjess: “It has been for you that I’ve done it. That people mght know how really gracious you are and good.”
Duke looks down sad and grave.
Duchess gets up: “Is that unbecoming a wife?”
Walks over to desk with letters, puts them down.
Duchess: “Still I own, Plantagenet, I shall be glad to doff my mask. It was beginning to feel … (she covers her face with her hand as she gathers papers) (whispers) degrading ..shaking hands with all those cads and caddesses has nearly worn my poor hands away” (rubs it — a reverse of lady Macbeth as a gesture).


He gets up, puts paper in his hands down, goes over to her. He touches her lightly and she turns round and is in his arms (just like a Trollope novel!), being hugged tight. They rock slightly. [This is an ending of a number of the parts in this series, including those which climax a sub-story in a book.]
Duchess pulls away and looks up to her (near close-up again): “You .. you must not think Plantagenet that I am not clever enough to realize how ridiculous I am.”

This is a very different portrait of the Duchess than the chapter I invite you to compare it with. By contrast, Trollope is not in deep sympathy with her, or inclined to show her as continuing very hard. The question is, which is humanly more likely? I like Raven’s duchess much better but I fear Trollope’s is closer to typical human nature.

As I say, it follows hard upon the “honeymoon” of the Lopezes where we see Emily also in a nightgown and Lopez similarly hugging her (itself arched around the father sending the 3000 pounds), but how hollow is the difference.

And it is followed by a deeply congenial conversation between Phineas and Marie in the park at Gatherum where Marie says it is not bad they are often apart, for love is so easily staled.

We see Phineas and Marie Finn walking in the meadow, possibly at Gatherum. It looks like the landscape around the castle. The scene between the Duke and Duchess included the Duchess’s assertion they must have Phineas as he is coming home from Ireland, and the Duke’s response, yes, of course, we will have friends.

It’s a lingering interlude where the two discuss their happy marriage (in effect). He says how much he has missed her, and she counters she has missed him, but sometimes or a certain amount of apartness is good for a marriage. There is a beautiful scene caught by the camera of the two of them looking into one another’s faces with softened love; they kiss in the meadow too.

Then they discuss what has been happening between the Duke and Duchess, the Duchess’s bad judgment in taking up Lopez, and how the Duke seems not to be able to shake it off.

It’s a choral scene. Unlike Trollope this couple is made to stand for an ideal. Trollope (I think) has no ideal loving married couple; he is himself too disillusioned for this; he will present marriage as a satisfactory arrangement for life (networking, children) such as we see in the Grants, tender love say here or there (between the Quiverfuls say or the couple in La Vendee where the man thinks he is dying), but a couple who stands for a full group of norms (anti-ambition in Marie, moderated in Phineas and to do good), no.


So these two couples are a scrim against which we see Ferndinand and Emily.

The basis for both Lopez and Emily scenes is literally tiny dialogue (The Prime Minister, Vol 2, Chapter 35, pp. 301-2 in Oxford Classics paperback) when Lopez comes home from Silverbridge, but more generally it comes the narrator’s commentary on them and implication of awakening to living with hollow and increasingly desperate and unrealistic man, particularly on Emily’s part turned into high drama.

Episode 22: Travellers

Scene 8 between Lopez and Sprout where Lopez very strained and cannot accept that he will be treated like everyone else who is nobody in this world

Scene 9: Lopez and Emily’s apartment in London

1. Establishment shot: Lopez glimpsed in the corridor, framed tightly, overcoat and hat, quickly moves to room and we see Emily looking at him, her face now flat and weary, not happy

Lopez: “You had my telegram?”
Emily: “Oh, Ferdinand, it did make me so wretched.”
Lopez: “And a wretched business it was too. yet I could hardly believe it. Everybody suddenly seemed to turn from me. Everybody there deserted me.”
Emily: “You did not give up.”
Lopez comes up to kiss her lightly. “No, the more fool I. The duchess originally intimated that I [Emily now taking his coat off] I would be returned unopposed, in which case the cost would have been almost nothing. Now the expense of a contested election win or lose is at least 1000. pounds.
Emily: “Oh, Ferdinand, have you paid it?”
Lopez: “Not yet. No doubt the bill will come in before long. That at least I can depend upon.”
He sits there in a fever of intensities. She stands there with a somber troubled look; somehow holding his coat while she stares at him captures her own desperate case too.

Emily (Sheila Ruskin) standing there, somber

Lopez: “I mean the duchess must have known what would happen. [He sighs.] By Jove, Emily she left the castle the day I reached Silverbridge. A short visit to London, they said. You know men and women have become so dishonest that nobody is safe anywhere.”
Emily: “It is hard.”
Lopez smiles: “It is cruelly hard, Emily. [Voice now slithering.] I don’t suppose there was ever a time in my life when the loss of 1000 pounds would have been as much as this now.”

She looks at him and is seeing him for the first time as a man without money or resources, a liar. A hard look in her eyes.


Lopez: “The question is what will your father do for us” (his eyes shift away).

Episode 23: Financial Bind, Scene 10: The next scene is where he goes to Mr Wharton and complains and says it was Emily who wanted this Parliamentary place and her father gives him the money rather than listen to this. Adam and Eve metaphor comes up later when Duke and Duchess discuss Ferdinand’s letter asking for money (see below) and the Duke says he will not be like Adam and blame Eve. Duchess says but it was my fault; in Emily’s case it isn’t except for having married him. Wharton says he does not object to Lopez telling him of Lopez’s business, but does not see how he can serve Lopez. Lopez feels unable to continue.

Scene 11: Back in Lopez and Emily’s flat, another day for she is in another outfit, also austere

1 Establishment shot: Lopez with angry face turns as if from his father-in-law to wife (scene moves swiftly from previous)

Lopez (angry face, demanding, the sense is where is some to serve him, and who is there but Emily the wife?): “I had wished to tell him everything there and then, but his manner was too discouraging. I may yet have to ask you to do it.”
Emily (looks puzzled now, for a second, then appalled): “It would come better from you. I think” (she sits down and he looks sullen.)
Lopez: “But as he has come up to the mark (? — in) this, it would be sensible I think to let the reins lie loose on his neck for a while.”
Now her face set (dismay controlled). She looks round at him:


Emily: “Is that how you think of him?”
Lopez (angry face): “Upon my soul, I do not know what to think. I’ve been so abused and cheated over this election, that I can hardly see straight. There is one thing I have begun to see … the duchess encouraged me to go in for Silverbridge under false pretenses. Now if anyone owes me compensation, it is she.
Emily” “But paper has just paid the costs.”
Lopez: “I’ve no doubt the bill will be more in the end. They always are [close up to angry resentful face] besides it’s not only the money. There has been treachery here, Emily. [Ugly look in his eyes, really creepy face] and for me there has been humiliation.”

Pained humiliated expression (Stuart Wilson)

Scene 12: Duke and Duchess over letter and again it feels continuous for Lopez’s letter done as voice-over by Stuart Wilson. This one a brilliant rendition of PM, Volume 3, Chapter 42, pp. 364-70.

This one between the Duke and Duchess is among the many strong scenes so far in the series between the Duke and Duchess. He just lights into her: her disobedience, interference, stupidity (a good natured woman who is foolish), all of it, and look what has resulted.

Duchess (Susan Hampshire) as startled at Duke’s shame as Emily is at Lopez’s lack of shame

He must pay Ferdinand he says because he owes it to him. In other words the Duchess was just nothing really and it was his responsibility. (Women are not responsible.) He admits he cannot stop reading the newspapers; the public life has gotten under his skin and into his veins. He talks of how much she means to him and how it hurts him to see her discussed in the way she will be and that he cannot get himself to present the truth of what happened (that she picked up, encouraged, and promised Lopez).

He (Philip Latham as Duke) cannot make it public

The two come close to one another, sit close, bow, hug, look into one another’s eyes, and we see a distance between them as people where they cannot understand one another. The Duchess says she is stupid or dumb (some such words) but operates as best as she can see it in the world and at least she has a thick skin. So the Duke says he will himself pay the money and have a letter printed admitting mistakes were made. He hopes that not too much will be made of this to make him look corrupt, as if he was doing what he said he abhorred: picking a candidate and then paying him off.

It is true we have seen as bad people in the series as Lopez, but Lopez is the first male to behave so vilely and meanly in front of us with not an iota of redemption in the way of generosity of spirit anywhere at all.

The real modern insight in both situations here is how in marriage one can end up with someone with whom there is a complete lack of understanding. When you are young, you may be startled to see this: at the other person’s so very different inner self and how they impinge and pressure you with these thoughts, feelings, demands that jar intensely.

And then later in the part there is another, this one a deeply troubled bitter scene between Emily and Lopez (the fifth between them in the episode) following hard upon Parker’s visit demanding payment for the guana and asking Lopez to get the money from his father-in-law. And finally after the idyllic gondola scene (see below) of the Duchess, Silverbridge, Frank Tregear and a now happy Mary (for her mother has been won over and is attracted by and likes Tregear and invites him to Matching), talking of the peace of home, we come ironically to a home where there is no peace.

We see Emily in nearly black, dark brown telling of pregnancy to be confronted with demands she get money. Emily’s face is very hard as she looks in the mirror. She will not go to her father now. Ferdinand does and finally tells the old man what is his business. The old man listens and we see this is rotten stock market gambling and by the end he throws Ferdinand out literally, saying only he will not let his daughter and grandchild starve and will give Ferdinand bread. Marvelous bitterness of the man playing Wharton as he talks about the expensive honeymoon and flats Ferdinand has bought.

This too I think is meant to reach the 20th century audience, how those who resent those who have and supposedly don’t pay for it. Ferdinand’s worst social sin is he can’t hide his deprivation.

The part end on the terrible scene with father-in-law where Lopez behaves is a cur, and at last shows up at Mr Slide’s to betray the Duke for a measley 130 pounds, and is told that is 100 more than the traditional price.


One of the characteristics of the soap opera form, which shows its feminine nexus, is the happy interlude. It’s often found in women’s films and occurs periodically in the Pallisers films, e.g., all the returns the Arcadian garden signaling transition from one major story to another. In 11:22 we get a different sort of interlude.

It occurs in the part’s third thread (which is woven in early, Episode 22, Travelers, right after Marie and Phineas and scene of Lopez and Sprout in shoe store), a further adumbration of matter from The Duke’s Childre: Silverbridge is in Venice, meets with Lady Mabel Grex and Miss Cassewary.

In 10:21, it has already been established that Silverbridge is feckless and naive (his painting the Dean’s house red), and it has been made deeply clear from the time of Silverbridge’s baby hood until now how bonded are he and his mother. In this part 11:22 we also meet Gerald (first scene of Episode 24) come to Gatherum and see him too greeted lovingly by the Duchess, and her plans to visit Silverbridge (to get away from Gatherum too) with him, Lady Mary and the Duke. So (at the end of Episode 24) the parents come to visit Silverbridge, and so too Frank Tregear, and the duchess (off-stage) learns to like Tregear by the gondola ride.

The sense of the first Venice sceneis he is courting Lady Mabel who is much more mature or knowing than he (as in Trollope’s DC). Pleasantly for once (and this does happen in Trollope too) the “old maid” in the scene, Miss Cassewary, is presented as a congenial pleasant woman. h

Duchess speaks to Silverbridge (Anthony Andrews) on the terrace; both collude to hide whatever they’ve got to say of intimate life from the Duke; lighting is used to make us feel they stand near sparkling waters

Duchess and Tregear (Jeremy Irons)

The gay subtextual use of Venice is brought in during the visit of the Duke and Duchess to Venice in Episode 24. The story of the family who had to give up their flat and went bankrupt because they chose “oriental” ways uses language Trollope and other 19th century writers used as euphemisms for homosexuality. (Margaret Markwick’s book uses this phrase to detect homosexual themes in Trollope.) We see paintings of nude figures in the apartment and their gender is not clear.

Ferdinand Lopez is the contrast this TV film makes to Tregear. Tregear in Trollope is ambitious, can be ruthless, and an upstart, not all that unlike George Vavasour in some ways, only he is controlled and prudent and can and does love Lady Mary Palliser once he is thrown off by Lady Mabel Grex. Tregear in Raven is a much more pastoral figure: he is contemplative, he is adult and mature and sees much more clearly than Silverbridge (as Charles Rider does Sebastian Flyte in Brideshead Revisited): really Irons and Andrews are playing the same typed pair in both films, just with different names.

During Episode 22 (an inbetween imagined journey) Tregear goes for a long tour in middle Europe; he makes no attempt to secure Lady Mary; he may be a nobody and outsider, but he has in him the feel of a poet and certainly is serious and ethical (parallel to the Duke).

Now the Duchess is attracted to Tregear (she is ambivalent about power and status finally) and we see has fostered his relationship with Lady Mary Palliser but again it seems her understanding or attraction to Tregear is his handsomeness, that her daughter is physically attracted. He is unambitious and what he loves best is home, Cornwall. Lady Mary loves him for that (in a gondola scene).

Another contrast to the rest of this Part and the one previous is the implicit indifference to ambition and showing of power over others in Marie, and the idea you must allow yourself to be soiled, and become rotten, if you go in for it too much, if you have to fight for it when you are not born to it. Maybe this is as subversive as one can get today (I mean 2009) — and more so today than ever as we now live in an era where ruthless breaking of bonds is just fine (whether at work or at home). This is of course brought home in the scene where the Duke and Duchess agonized together over Lopez’s letter (see above) in Episode 24.

The series also marks (as I remarked yesterday on my query on greying hair in women in the Victorian perido) that are characters are reaching middle aged, the new generation making its appearance. It’s autumn says Donal McCann so beautifully (he has a wonderful speaking voice).

There was yet another couple in Trollope’s book (more really, minor characters in the Wharton family comprise yet more): Mr and Mrs Sexty Parker. Sexty (David Ryall) is in the series, but not Mrs Parker. She is a real loss: with her we return to a character like Mrs Bunce, a working class woman and we see how her domestic common sense marriage works, and how the loss of money devastates it

Next up: 11:23


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The cork-soled boots, now heavy with subtext

Dear Friends,

As I wrote a couple of years ago now (really): while often I wish Raven had not chosen to de-emphasize the individual sub- or primary story of a Palliser novel, and emphasized the Palliser one (the only book where he cannot manage this is The Eustace Diamonds), in this part and the one previous I am glad the Palliser story is made pre-eminent. For The Prime Minister parts of the Palliser films, the Lopez/Emily/Wharton story, now shorn of many of its characters is made subordinate, with material brought in from The Duke’s Children. These include coping with the ejection of Silverbridge (Anthony Andrews) from Oxford, as a young man, his arrival at the castle with Tregear (Jeremy Irons), his close relationship with his mother, his difference in character from his father, and the beginning of the romance of Tregear and Lady Mary (Kate Nicholls).

I’m glad because the Palliser story now about two mature aging adults in an often tense conflicts with one another as they go through life is a living story for me: their conflicts are ours and their accommodations too (although couched in the Victorian idiom of the novel).

I have three more of my favorite scenes from this part to share. We’ve already had the Duke’s two walks with Lady Rosina (Sheila Keith). Two are not invented, but rather elaborated from Trollope somewhat differently than the original text: those where the Duke (Philip Latham) first tells the Duchess (Susan Hampshire) that he will respect the recent law and newly elaborated custom of relatively free elections in an area, and asks her to do likewise; and then, having discovered she has been trying to influence the election, when he erupts in a bitter rage (partly the result of all he has endured from her politicking and his experience of office) to demand that she stop.

One is wholly invented: the scene where she visits Mr Sprout (Brian Tully) in order to influence him; now instead of this we have the narrator telling us she had a quiet word with Mr Spurgeon (we are told this more than once). The scene is done in the spirit of the book to the extent even a long-time reader of Trollope like myself looks in the book to see if there is a scene to correspond. There is not.

First to situate, a summary of 10:21 itself:

10:21: Duke and Duchess in conflict; development of Lopez story; Silverbridge and Tregear material (he kicked out of Oxford, Tregear and Mary attracted, he thrown out

Episode 16: Entertaining: scene 1) Gatherum castle, grand salon, soprano singing, fireworks outside; reworking of PM, I, Ch 11, p. 92, 97-100: Duchess makes up to Sir Orlando Drought, tempts Lopez who plays back; Erle, Dolly, Mrs Finn chorus at fireworks, justifying her, asking if she’s going too far, from PM, I, Ch 11, pp. 97-100, Planty don’t appreciate it; move to Duke in shadows, with Bungay, first clever voice-over (singing going on again), again on same debate, bringing up Slide and People’s Banner, PM, I, Ch 18, pp. 48-54 (Bungay talks to Duke, Duke shows People’s Banner letter); final phase, Duchess and Mrs Finn, includes Silverbridge expelled, all the while fireworks interspersed; scene 2) upstairs sitting blue room; Duchess and Duke at coffee, he intensely distressed over Silverbridge, the “disgrace” the “shame of it all,” she you must not let it appear so; Silverbridge enters, Duke barely civil, leaves, Duchess and Silverbridge on how he should travel, and ask Tregear to “bera him company.” Invented but consistent; scene 3) garden out-of-doors around Gatherum, transcribed scene (see previous blog), from PM, I, Ch 21, pp. 180-81, Ch27, pp. 233-35; becomes Dolly, Erle, a bit from Lopez cynical and ironical on Boffins and Duke’s first walk with Lady Rosina

Episode 17: Future Politic: scene 5) Aviary greenhouse at Gatherum, birds in large cage, Sir Orlando Drought waiting, encounter with Erle, invented scene, Drought restless and wants to be listened to by Duke, Duchess not enough; scene 6) outside vast garden, Monk and Bungay, what role is duke to play, caretaker, the trade problems, modern substitute for Trollope’s narrator; scene 7) Aviary greenhouse again, now Duchess and Lopez around bird cages, from PM, II, Ch 21, pp. 182-84, hard looks on Duchess’s be pearled faced, insinuations, he is getting money he hopes from marriage, she gives him to understand if it were understood the duke on his side, he kisses her hand; scenes 8 and 9) evening party at Gatherum, Duchess and Lopez in card room, moves to Orlando accosting Duke, PM, I, Ch 20, pp. 168-69, 173-75. A parallel to when Phineas went to Loughlinter, same feel only this time bitter; Duke rudely cuts off Orlando’s scheme for armaments; scene 10) Outside castle, vast grounds, second scene of Lady Rosina and Duke walking, this time using the one cork sole dialogue, from PM, II, Ch 27, p 235 (see previous blog). long tracking shot weaving walk, ending by water (honesty striking contrast to aviary scenes, salons)

Episode 18: Lopez Enigma: scene 11) Sexty Parker’s office, from PM, II, Chs, 43, 46, p. 372, 377-78 (narration), 395-96 (from letter) the deals they do in trading guano, tight-lipped Lopez over coming marital money, he’ll make it worth Sexty’s while, the 50,000 for brother; scene 12) Wharton London front room, Emily and father, Mr Wharton reports his enquiries turn up so little he doubts the man was born, nothing substantial; he’s not impressed by her assertion of Lopez’s connection to “high sphere” of Duchess of Omnium; foreigner so there’s an end of this; she upset and not accepting, she leaves; in comes Everett, with desire to get into house, and spendthrift ways, from PM, I, Ch 22,p. 186, not gainful, dubious use (parallel of Silverbridge and Duke) but Wharton a bigot (“I’ll choke his greasy tongue — invented but in character); scene 13) Club which now seems like Beargarten, from PM, I, Ch 22, pp. 187-90, some direct from novel, II, pp. 191-97: about parliament, father not taking to Lopez, Lopez’s hopes, Everett drunk and irritated at Lopez’s cynicism, refusal to mouth any platitudes so dares him to walk in park, Lopez in corridor glittering man in cape following Everett; scene 14) the park at night, black sky, thick green-black bushes, unpleasant nasty condescending talk from Everett (“you’re doing it from grease”) and Lopez deserts; scenes 15-16) still park, another place, Lopez walking, hears shouts, rushes over and rescues Everett from 3 set upon him, has a Dracula look; scene 17) Wharton front room, Emily feeding soup to Everett, Wharton brooding upon foolish walk, from PM, pp. 195-98, changed much and material taken from elsewhere but central point of how rescue made it impossible for Wharton to refuse is made, pp. 200-201, Ferdinand enters, the conquering hero, they kiss and father irritated

Episode 19: Open Seat: scene 18) Aviary green house, again Duke and Orlando Drought, invented or transposed from PM, II, Ch 17, pp. 236-38 where Duke explodes on Major Pountney, Orlando wanted the seat for his nephew, “the most impertinent evet addressed to me” (directly insulting); scene 19) Duchess’s office, at desk with room plan and Mrs Finn; it’s nearly killing her, Lady Rosina brought up; Tregear enjoying himself too much with Mary, and must go (“we need the room” — not very likely), Mrs Finn surprised; scene 20) Aviary greenhouse (bad things happen in this place): Silverbridge tells his friend he must go and now; we see Tregear hurt and insulted, Silverbridge not aware of how egregious this is, gently nudging that Tregear will still come to Italy, but Tregear takes it, “provided your mother makes no objections”; scene 21) upstairs blue sitting room for coffee, from PM, II, ch 27, pp. 238-40, Ch 32, p. 278: the first of two scenes in the blog below where Duchess alerted against Drought (it’s okay when she does it) tries to say a word for Lopez, and Duke cuts her off to insist on no electioneering and his determination not to interfere and her disagreement, nothing; scene 22) again Aviary greenhouse, again Lopez and Duchess (in same outfits I’m afraid) so he is directly disobeying her husband, birds heard cooing, now talk of wedding tour; she says election will be contested and may cost and she cannot be quite as active, but nonetheless … (courtesan smug smile), he asserts he’s marrying for love, smiles this time but hard

Episode 20: Money Woes: scene 23) Sexty Parker’s office, no specific scene but generally from narrator and sense of them all, but some from PM II, Ch 25, pp. 213-14: Sexty now distressed, desperate (“stop nagging”, father won’t like it, we must keep up front, must not sell, he needs to raise 2000 at once; nasty overbearing bullying shames Sexty, forces him to sign again for much larger amount; dark closed face of Lopez; scene 24) Wharton front room, the fatuous luxuries on offer from Lopez with Emily’s (naive) delight and father sitting behind offering nothing, and not impressed at all, details from narrator’s telling of how they lived after marriage; scene 25) wedding bells in front of us; scene 26) Mr Spout’s shop (below in blog). from Chapter 32 where Duchess has word with Mr Spurgeon over iron plates; here Lady Rosina’s boots make great play scene 27) upstairs blue sitting room for coffee, second scene in blog below, Prime Minister, II, Chapter 32, p 274-278: some time later as boots are now there on table; bitter scene of Duke having found out about her politicking, demanding she stop, her indignation (uncle Lear), her wanting “women’s rights,” his outcry against her separating herself. deeply vexed troubled ending.


The three transcribed scenes:

Episode 19: Open Seat.

The Duchess has encouraged Lopez (Stuart Wilson) to go for the seat. At the same time, she has told Silverbridge to tell Tregear to leave as (like Wharton) she does not want her daughter sluiced by a man of a lower rank.

Marie Finn (Barbara Murray) exhibits more decent feeling than the Duchess; surprised at this at first

Silverbridge has just complied (told his good friend to depart immediately!) in the previous scene.

It is another night in the castle.

Scene 21: Night drawing room for the Duke and Duchess to retire to, the blue sitting room we’ve seen repeatedly

Source: PM, Vol 2, Ch 27, pp. 238-40, Ch 32, p. 278; Duke refers to a scene which in the novel occurs between him and Major Pountney, PM, Vol 2, Ch 27, pp. 236-237. The scene with Sir Orlando concerns just his suggestion for an increase in armament (iron sheaths) supposedly in order to have something to do Vol 1, Ch 20, pp 173-75.

1. Establishment shot: Plantagenet in evening jacket, standing reading papers; Duchess leaning down pouring coffee.

Evening coffee

Duchess: “I saw you playing chess with Mr Lopez this evening.”
Duke: “Mmmmm….”
Duchess: “How did you find him?”
Duke: (Unintelligible to me) ” ,,, quite intelligent to talk to. I can’t think why you invited him down here for a second time.”
Duchess: “Well, he’s a pleasant fellow and I am sure he’s a rising man.”
Duke: “Yes, well we’ll see about that.”
Duchess: “And see … there soon I hope [Parliament?] … uh … Planty ….”
Duke: “Yes.”
Duchess: “Is Mr Grey still going off to his mission to Peoria?”
Duke: “Yes, Yeah.”
Duchess: “And he’ll give up his seat at Silverbridge?”
Duke: “Yes, almost certainly.”
Duchess: “Then let Mr Lopez have it.”
Duke (surprized): “Mr Lopez?”
Duchess: “Yes, he’s a clever man and new blood and could be of use to you.”
Duke: Noise which questions this assertion.
Duchess: “Well, you ministers keep shuffling the same old cards until they’re so dirty you could hardly see the pips on them.”
Duke: “Why, I am one of the dirty old pack me’self.”
Duchess: “No (a coddling affectionate tone). Nonsense. I didn’t include you with the dirty old pack.”
Duke: “Nope. It is not for me to return a member at Silverbridge.”
Duchess: “Not, no openly these days. I know that but uh the quiet suggestion in the right place?”
Duke: “My dear Glencora, I’ve already been approached on this you know by Sir Orlando Drought.”
Camera on her, dark shadows around her, stands still.
Duke: “with a similar request for his nephew.”
Duchess: (turns around, a little worried look on her face): “You turned him down, of course.” (we see she is only worried for her candidate and didn’t believe the Duke’s assertions about not influencing the election at all)
Duke: “Yes, I did (firm).”
Duchess: “Oh, but not too roughly I hope, the man is valuable to you.”
Duke: “My dear, the man’s a wretch. Now I honor the law I hope in the letter and in the spirit. Oh, I just made it plain to him that his request was indecent and presumptuous.”
Duchess laughs lightly. Looks down.
Duchess: “Well, perhaps it was, coming from him. Coming from your wife, Planty” (an appeal in her eyes and tone).
Duke: “No, my dear, that is for nobody. Not even for my wife will I interfere in this election at Silverbridge.”
Duchess: “If the candidate be worthy?”
Duke: “Pshaw. I know very little about the worth of Mr Lopez.”
Duchess: “I will guarantee it.”
Duke: “Ah ahk. (Noises). I will not interfere in this election. Now that is not on his behalf, or any man’s.”
Close up of her guarded face, an unpleasant look on it.

The Duchess with a hard, guarded face

Duke: “Nor will you.”
She ironically bows with cup in her hand.
Duchess: “As your grace commands.”
Duke: “Well then, now, my dear, I am serious about this. I am very serious indeed.”
Duchess: “Well (huffy sound) I suppose that I may speak a word or two.”
Duke: “In Silverbridge not one word. No where else for that matter.”
He goes back to his papers; she faces the door; she goes out the door.

Intervening scene of her still encouraging Lopez in the aviary/greenhouse.

The aviary/greenhouse, a pastoral place, becomes a place of corrupt assignations for place, petty power, money. The duchess a bird in a cage flapping against her bars?

Episode 20: Lopez’s money woes as he wrests money for his honeymoon and apartment from Sextus Parker. Then a scene of his fatuous showing off in front of Emily. We are supposed to see his false values and his failure to understand that he has not impressed his father-in-law favorably by this gross spending and insouciant gestures. Then the bells signaling the wedding and Emily now married and bedded too. And so we turn back to the Duchess.

Scene 26: Just outside and then inside Mr Sprout’s shoe shop.

Leitmotif: cork-soled boots, white ones on display as Duchess comes in

Establishment shot: Outdoor window which says “Superior Footwear” and “B. Sprout.” We hear her shoes walking, in front of her a footman holds open the door.

Camera switches and we are inside the shop. We see white boots on one level and above them black ones. Sprout comes out to meet her; he is expecting her and talks in awed tones.

Sprout: “Your grace!” (He handles watch; again we see how he has been waiting for her.)
Duchess (with basket in hand): “Mr Sprout. Uh. The duke has advised me to come to you for some of you cork-soled boots. It seems that his great aunt Lady Rosina de Courcy has found them very serviceable (intent look in her eyes).”
Sprout: “Eh! Her ladyship is a most valued client (Duchess looking at display) and has always sworn by my cork shoes.”
Duchess: “Yes, she declares she owes her very survival to them. Although heaven knows she’s survived long enough.”
Sprout looks uncertain how to reply to that, dubious, not clear what this is about. He walks over to stand.
Sprout: “If I may take some measurements, your grace.”
Duchess: “Oh, yes, please do. I shall be needing half a dozen pairs against the coming winter.”
Sprout looks astonished (and pleased).
Sprout: “Your grace!” (hurries over to get measuring stuff from behind the stand on the other side of room. He takes a white cardboard looking object with some ribbons hanging from it. He moves worn stool over to where she is seated and places it beneath her foot afer she takes off her boot.
Duchess (now flirting): “Woo! Mr Sprout!” (giggles, hands down near her lower leg). “I suppose you’re very busy, Mr Sprout, considering candidates for the bi-election. I know that you and Mr Spurgeon always see to everything important in Silverbridge.”
Sprout: (as he does his task, now has a measuring tape in hand) “It is a weighty affair, your grace. This is the first time in many years that Silverbridge has had to find a new member.”
Duchess: “Mmmm. The duke of course has no views in this matter.”

Duchess and Mr Sprout

Sprout. “So we have understood.”
Duchess: “And neither of course have I (light laugh) and yet Mr Sprout …”
Sprout look up briefly and then down, listening.
Sprout: “And yet, your grace … ”
Duchess: “Although I have no views as to the election, I have been favorably impressed by a certain Mr Ferdinand Lopez who may just conceivably present himself here in some weeks time. When he returns from his wedding tour.”
Sprout: “Mr Lopez (tying her shoes back), your grace.”
Duchess giggles: “He has from time to time been a guest at the castle. You understand?” (very light voice now).
Sprout (getting up) “I entirely understand, your grace.” (Writing down something on pad). “Cork-soles just like Lady Rosina’s. Uh. When did your grace wish for delivery?”
Duchess walking out: “Oh, any time that is convenient. Oh … Mr Sprout …” (door opens, fell tingles, as man hold it for her).
Sprout: “Your grace?”
Duchess: “Since Lady Rosina speaks so well of your work, I think I’ll take a whole dozen pairs after all.”
Sprout (eyebrows raised high). He looks keen and knowing as she walks out. He shakes his head.

She is humming lightly.

Scene 27: Again the sitting room for Duke and Duchess and family at Gatherum (recognized by frilly blue skirted lamp, like a little crinoline).

Much is taken from Prime Minister, II, Chapter 32, p 274-278.

Establishment shot: to the front of the room before the fireplace, on a large well made basket, two black boots, one laid on its side, showing the rubber soles.

Mastershot: as she comes in she is humming the same tune, but she has a different dress and hat on.

A little later in scene, she removes elegant hat

Enough time has gone by for the man to make 12 pairs of cork-soled boots. A short maid taking mincing steps behind her as she comes in.

The Duke opens the door suddenly and sharply.

Duke: “Cora!”
Duchess: “Yes” (looking in the mirror at herself). Mastershot shows us the configuration of the room, where they are in relation to one another, the maid. She is still humming.
He closes the door. Irritated dark look in his face.
Duke: “Why is it hard to kill an established evil?”
Duchess: “What evil have you failed to kill, Duke?”
He is standing looking at cork soled boots, picks one up, looks at soles. (We are to recall that when Lady Rosina talked about cork soled boots she meant nothing else, no subtext; the Duchess is endlesss subtext.)
Duke: “The people in Silverbridge (the maid comes over to where he is and he begins to help her pick up the basket by handing it to her), they’re still saying I want to return a candidate for ’em.”
Duchess: “Oh! (looks hesitant and smiles placatingly). So that’s the evil. It seems to me to be an admirable (maid quietly walks out the door, new mastershot of room from another angle) institution which for some reason you wish to murder.”
Duke (soft voice): “Well, I must do what I think is right. I’m sorry I don’t carry you with me in this matter, Cora.” (He turns round to face her). “But I think you’ll agree on this (piercing look at her, she looks down though not facing him, but us) that when I say a thing should be done, then it should be done.”
She sighs and with a wry expression on her face she puts on gloves.
He looks grim.
Duchess: “Any more suicidal thing than throwing away that borough was never done in all history.
Who will thank you? How will it help you? It is like King Lear throwing off his clothes in the storm because his daughters threw him out.”
Duke (deep voice) “Glencora. Cora.” (Bridling and he walks to the wide door and closes both sides of one facing us. He means to endure a scene.)
She sits, now gloveless and begins to take off her hat.
Duke turns round. “Now I have chosen that I shall know nothing about this election in Silverbridge because I think that that is right.”
Duchess. “Yes, Uncle Lear.”
Duke: “And I’ve chosen that you should know nothing about it. (Walks behind her and sits to her side, but nearby), and yet they’re saying at Silverbridge that you are canvassing for Mr Lopez.”
Glencora (turns round, close up, concerned face). “Who says that?”
Duke: “I don’t think that it matters who said it so long as it is untrue. Now I trust that it is untrue.”
Duchess (look perturbed and worried). (Gulps.) “Of course I haven’t been canvassing for Mr Lopez.”
Camera on his dark face listening.

Duke listening, darkened face

Duchess: “But I did just happen to mention to Mr Sprout the cork-sole man that I rather approve of Mr Lopez in a general social way.”
Duke (low voice): “Well, Mr Sprout is a very prominent citizen in Silverbridge. Well, I particularly asked you not to speak on this matter to anyone at all.”
Duchess: “But I only said that I thought .. think that he … ”
Duke (interrupts fiercely) “What business had you to say anything” (loud, emphatic, the feel of him hitting something without doing it).
She looks up at him. “Well, I suppose I may have my sympathies as well as another. You’ve become so autocratic (she gets up and walks over to the door, looks like she is about to open it) I shall have to go in for women’s rights.”
Duke (other side of the room). “Cora. Cora. Don’t separate yourself from me. Don’t disjoin yourself from me in all these troubles” (crying sound in his voice).
Duchess (high pitched and turns round) “What am I to do when you consistently scold me. ‘What right had you to say anything?’ No woman likes that sort of thing, and I do not know of any who like it less than Glencora (comes over to sofa and curtsies) Duchess of Omnium.”
He stands, shaking his head. “My dear” (soft voice) “you know how anxious I am to share everything with you in politics but at the last there must be one voice and that must be the ruling voice.”
Duchess: “and that is to be yours. Of course.”
Duke: “In matters such as this it must be.”
Duchess; “But do not you see that is why I like to do a little business on my own behind your back. It is human nature and you have got to put up with it. I wish you had a better wife, but as you haven’t you had better make the best of your bargain and not expect too much of it.”
Close up on him: “I still expect it certainly but not without trying to amend it.”
She looks down (close up on her).
Duke (Cont’d): “Now I will not have it said that the castle is trying to influence the borough (very bitter and low voice) and from this time on, I command (very loud and clearly enunciated word) your utter obedience in this.”
Camera goes back and forth between their faces.
She nods a slight assent and we hear the anamnesic music come in.

End of Part 21. The moment where he says, Cora, Cora, don’t separate yourself from me, don’t disjoin yourself very moving. It also hits at precisely where men cannot understand feminism.

A few concluding notes on this part: If you count as a scene action which occurs in the same general place, this episode has the longest scene of the whole series: a long series of encounters and conversations that occur at Gatherum at what we are to suppose is an ongoing and even nightly typical grandiose party with the Duchess as presiding genius and the Duke the reluctant observer (lurking Dolly says it in the wings, using a word that reminds me of people on lists who never speak or write). If on the other hand, you count as a scene each time a new character enters or a character who is central to a dialogue leaves, this is a extraordinary display of virtuoso patterning of scenes. I agree with the director who said each time a new character enters a scene, it’s new because the new presence alters the atmosphere.

Choral moment: Marie Finn and Barrington Erle (Moray Watson)

The context for the above three scenes are choral conversations where we see Dolly and Barrington Erle, the Duke of St Bungay (Roger Livesey) and Monk (Bryan Pringle, made very old by tiny glasses and mustaches) and other politician figures, including now once again Marie Finn (as Madame Max she functioned this way when she first appeared), speaking lines in the novel the narrator speaks, which meditate and which usually assert the Duke is wrong for not approving of his wife’s conduct, that the Duchess is performing an important function in keeping politicans happy, and even the Duke himself: when the Duke asks St Bungay if he really thinks politics works through such parties, St Bungay says why yes, for what drives most men is vanity.

The question this film asks (it is a different one from Trollope’s in his book) is how much corruption is necessary. The parallel or contrasting story of Lopez shows us a snake, a moral horror who has so corrupted himself he is become something deeply pernicious to anyone’s leading a life with meaning. The Duke will not sully his heart at all, even to the extent the world regards as trivial: when Duchess says of Silverbridge to the Duke, that it behooves the Duke not to allow others to see how much he disapproves of his son’s conduct, that it’s a peccadillo to most people, one which doesn’t matter (as nothing that counts to pragmatists rides on Silverbridge getting a degree), he replies that to him it is deeply shameful that his son does not respect learning and will not have any.

And the sub-story provides the dark notes of corruption. Again in Trollope the emphasis is on Lopez as outsider; here his outside status is what drives him and enables him paradoxically to make his way in. Not in itself the emphasis (as in Trollope)

Lopez (played with great acumen by Stuart Wilson) is pitch itself, the man who has no principles whatsoever and thus can be counted on to do anything.

Lopez as wild man; in this part two Stuart rarely makes eye contact with others

If seen in the context of our world today, Lopez would be okay hiring torturers as all part of his day on the way to some luxuriant party where he borrowed money to wear fancy clothes.

In the long scenes with Sexty Parker (David Ryall), one at the beginning of the episode where Lopez returns the bill he had gotten Sexty to sign and is very contented and pleasant because he thinks he’s about to marry money (Emily [Sheila Ruskin]) and get a seat in Parliament (through the Duchess), he is kind to Sexty and all magnanimity, but in the second to last scene of this episode he is in an intense state of high charge since even though he now has permission to marry Emily, his father-in-law, Abel Wharton (very able, Brewster Mason) has not given him a dime and has not brought the subject of money up (Lopez becomes intensely biting and fraught when Sexty says well, you bring it up) and he is now having to spend great sums to look rich (buy an expensive honeyman, rent a palatial apartment) and also possibly to be elected (as after all the Duchess has become enigmatic and insinuates that she cannot do anything explicit fo him as the Duke himself refuses to favor anyone).

In the talk of this sub-story, Abel Wharton insists that he disapproves of Lopez because 1) he can find out nothing about him, and 2) is also an alien to them all (a foreigner) is disapproved of. He is a “man dropped out of the moon” (Raven’s wording):


Lopez is Jewish, but it’s rather the people know nothing of him. We can see in the scenes between Parker and Lopez despite Lopez’s reiteration he also loves Emily, what he longs for intensely is her money.

So he’s half-hysterical in temperament, and when he cannot get money from Wharton and desperately needs it, he shouts and menaces Sexty to get him to sign a bill for 2000 pounds. He turns into a kind of slitherly sliding animal, ready to pounce. Just before he saved Wharton’s foolish son, Everett (Gareth Forwood) in the park (a scene which parallels how Phineas saved Kennedy and also despite Kennedy’s dislike and distrust of him got Kennedy to accept him) and got the father’s permission to marry Emily, Everett had wanted to get into parliament for he (naively, the whole of the Palliser series shows) thinks he can do real good and will be simply so honorable by being there, but episode suggests otherwise. The parallel in this episode is inadequate sons and naive women (no feminism here):

Comic absurd image; they are looking up at father

In this episode Susan Hampshire plays the Duchess differently than she has before. Suddenly she is hard, often taking on a tart pert and flirting tone that is more than slightly distasteful because it’s projected as cold and calculating, and for the first time the film-makers have dressed her very sexily. She wears a lot of diamonds and her outfits are over-the-top in glitter and furbelows and flounces and feathers. She has one of the kinds of bras used frequently in costume drama today which push a woman’s breasts high up and make them prominent like two squashed hills (to me looking like they are now ready for their mammogram). The talk (as I’ve said) is all in her favor by the choral characters: her flirting with the banally immoral and stupid Sir Orlando is justified by Marie too.

But if the talk of the episode justifies her, not the way she is made to act, and what happens. She is out of her depths. She has mistakenly chosen Lopez for her candidate attracted by this snake who glides up to her garments (yes Eve with the serpent comes to mind) because she does share in her mind and heart some of his characteristics.

The episode also shows that she also lacks the cunning to pick a candidate who has at least a minimum of truth-telling and social responsibility which will enable him say to support himself (Lopez is lying from the get-go as he hasn’t a dime) and the implication goes way back to 9:19 where Lopez is brought up, and as Madame Max as Barbara Murray suggests to Susan Hampshire as the Duchess to stay away.

And Lopez in over his head because he is spending madly when he should not. He does not recognize that he makes a fool of himself in front of his father-in-law when he boasts of huge apartment which he will drop in a moment and of fancy honeymoon. That’s suicidal in its way. So Duchess is absurd for supporting Lopez; he is leaping well beyond his capacity with his wedding tour, apartment, buying and selling and now wanting to be elected, foolhardy in the extreme.

Silverbridge ashamed of himself as he begins to tell his friend he must leave and quickly

Here again the parallel shows the Duchess in an amoral light: towards the end of the episode she mentions to Silverbridge she has noticed Tregear and Lady Mary attracted to one another. She therefore wants Tregear out, and she suddenly says she needs the room.

The Duchess only cares what the world thinks and tells husband he must pretend not to care about Silverbridge’s ejection. I felt for the duke. And Raven’s Tregear again is not at all Trollope’s character who is enigmatically ambitious, a man on the make, harder with less ideals than Phineas Finn, the earlier type in the series. In the novel it is the Duke who throws someone out: Major Pountney and he looks bad. This episode substitutes two scenes with Sir Orlando (asking for armaments to have something to do and asking for election place for nephew) but cannot be thrown out even if Lady Rosina and Duke know he is a “wretch.”

This reminds me of General Tilney’s behavior in Austen’s Northanger Abbey. She wants him out and now. “How dare he” and “what presumption” says the Duchess. This to a young man who has left his education to keep Silverbridge company; he takes it pretty well from Silverbridge (he doesn’t care that much for Lady Mary as well will find out).


In the next episode Tregear (Jeremy Irons) is an unambitious poet-travelling type who has a soul and heart and has been rejected by Lady Mabel (in Duke’s Children we are told he wandes an climbs through Alpine mountains; and earlier in films John Grey is humanized by putting him in a climbing alps outfit); there is a gliding over the homosexual material here. Slowly material from The Duke’s Children woven in.

How much they get into 55 minutes! And I have omitted how aged a number of them suddenly are. They have been getting older, but here they seem to put on another 10 years from last time.

On to 10:22.

Thumbnail outline of The Pallisers, with links to all the summaries


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“We must go out there” (and face the world, a young and older woman’s entrance into the world, last still from 10:20)

Dear Friends,

Though it’s been a number of months (again) since I last posted about the 1974 BBC Pallisers series, I am still working my way slowly through all the Parts. I’ve decided I can’t both try to write a book on the Austen films and keep up thorough analyses of the Palliser series in blog-essay format. What I’m doing now is carrying on reading the Palliser novels whole and then carefully taking down the screenplays of each hour episode, comparing the texts of the screenplays and actual dramas to what I find in the novels: the series continues to be a commentary type.

What I’m doing now is writing blogs Parts 18-26 (Volumes 9-12). This blog is on three parts; the part after that (10:21) will either have a blog to itself or two blogs. And so it will go after that.

I left off at 8:17. In a nutshell, 8:18 and 8:19 bring us to the end of Phineas Redux, with some striking changes: for example, a ghost scene where it is made explicit that Phineas (Donal McCann) did long to do away with Bonteen (Peter Sallis), so that the inferences from the novel are altered to something far more disillusioned at the same time as far less ethically demanding.

I would call these two episodes “Phineas’s ordeal” and they correspond in Victorian melodramatic detective terms to Meredith’s “Beauchamp’s Ordeal.”


I take our first transcript from such 9:18. First to situate or contextualize it, here is a barebones outline of 9:18:

9:18 Phineas Redux: first half of trial ordeal.

Episode 1: Finn’s Case: scene 1) PM’s chambers (?), conference room, Palliser and Erle defend Phineas, Bunay there reasoning, PM will not listen to talk of Emilius, wants the case over with, assumes Phineas guilty; scene 2) Carlton Terrace, Madame Max and Duchess, some from PR, II, Ch 54, pp. 124-31. Madame Max deep distress; evidence against Phineas, Palliser and Monk, Madame will go to Prague against their advice; Duke must believe in law; scene 3) high bench, judge remands Phineas; scene 4) Portman Square, Lady Laura’s distress, her brother, Chiltern, and father’s lack of sympathy with her; Lady Chiltern also seeks to repress Laura, who will visit Phineas in prison she declares; scene 5) Phineas in prison (depressed, despairing), with Monk at chess, from PR, II, Ch 55, pp 133-35; Beauchamp’s Career and American Senator allusion.

Episode 2: Love and Death: scene 6) Carlton Terrace, Duchess and Adelaide, Burgo’s letter from CYFH?, Ch 42, pp. 452-53. Duchess regrets loss, but asserts Planty never out of her heart since she grew to love him; Adelaide’s announcement of her and Maule’s engagement; Duchess’s supposedly comic-anxious responses; scene 8 [I skipped a number], Portman Square, Lord Brentford Laura, from PR, II, Ch 52, p. 102-4, 108-10: father acrimonious, resentful of son, says Phineas a murderer, Laura at solitaire defends, telegram to say Kennedy is dead; scene 9) Phineas’s prison room, alone, from PR, Ch 55, pp. 133-34, voice-over of prayer, even Chiltern does not believe him; scene 10) Portman Square, Laura at solitaire, men delighted at Loughlinter, money, from PR, Ch 52,pp 104-110 (narrative turned into scene): Chiltern waxes angry, tells her Phineas has Madame Goesler, she livid; scene 11) Phineas’ prison room, Laura walks in, from PR, II, Ch 55, pp. 135-141. Moving; she tells of husband’s death; he thinks of his coming death; she asserts she believes him innocent; Erle wrests her away

Episode 3: Investigation: scene 12) Park Lane beflowered room, Madame Max, the great invented scene [see transcript just below] with Mrs Meager, from PR, II, Ch 56, pp. 143-46. Learns of key, of coat; scene 13) Bonteen front Room, Mrs B and Lady Eustace in mourning, bits from PR, II, Ch 51, pp. 168-172; also Ch 72, pp.291-92. Reading news, trial delayed; Loveybond, lawyer, tells her Mr Bonteen right; they have brought back wife of Mealyus and documents, jailed for bigamy and Lizze bursts out Emilius the murderer (lawyer regards her as bloodthirsty, Mrs Bonteen as having caused her husband’s death); scene 14) Carlton Terrace, Duchess and Marie pour over map, Marie off to Prague, from PR, II, Ch 66, pp. 150-51, 154, grand moment, they kiss

Episode 4: Coin and Court: scene 15) PM’s chambers, Palliser, PM. Bungay, Monk asks for postponement of trial, new evidence, from PR, II Ch 58, pp. 158, where question of Duchess’s support of Phineas discussed between 2 dukes (Bungay, Palliser); trade problems invented as now threatening election, loss of Bonteen at Board of Trade is in another part of novel; scene 16: Carlton Terrace; Adelaide practices walking before Duchess, from PR, I, ch 18, p 157; Ch 21, pp. 189-90. Maule Abbey solution; scen e 17) Portman Square, from PR, II, 60, pp. 177-78, Monk and Chiltern persuade newly introduced Chaffanbrass to speak to Phineas; scene 18) Phineas’s prison room, from PR, II, Ch 60, pp. 180-84. Chaffanbrass and Phineas; noble aim of Phineas, narrow one of Mr Chaffanbrass (“they ain’t worth it”); ominous note at close (“if we can”); scene 19: Courtroom (25 minutes of episode left), from PR, II, Ch 61, pp. 184-86, full scene, Chiltern and Violet are us; accusation and Monk’s testimony with Chaffanbrass’s protest and Sir Gregory Grogram’s determination. Wholly original replaces Ch 61, pp. 188-93. Ambiguous evidence, e.g., Monk says Phineas “bitterly angry”, life preserver scene retold

Episode 5: Cloaked Figure: scene 19 continues: Courtroom, Superintendent Worth’s evidence (from narrator’s account of what court believed, Chaffanbrass’s angry interjections, steps down, Fawn’s evidence, PR, II, ch 62, pp. 197-203, Ch 63, pp. 206-7 (about coat itself), film much kinder to Fawn, Chaffanbrass badgers every bit of the story, first cloak brought forward; scene 20) Portman square: PR, II, Ch 71, pp. 189-90; Laura not allowed to testify, Chiltern and Violet’s pessimism, end on Laura’s face.

The thing to keep your eye on is how this melodramatic scene is changed It is derived from Phineas Redux, II, Ch 56, pp. 13-46, but with considerable changes and much original dialogue. The Original takes place in Meager household, includes Amelia the daughter, reveals the life of the lodging house directly.
Here the key is the relationship between the women which builds in the comfort of Madame Max’s house, and it through this built-trust that Mrs Meager reveals the unexpected important fact that there was another grey coat in the vicinity, one Mr Emilius could have worn. An irony is the women are more effective outside the established logical allowances of probabilty. The acting of barba Murray and Sheila Fay as the two women takes us beyond Trollope’s text where there is no such intimation and also the screenplay:

  • 1. Establishment shot: Madame Max’s table with yellow flowers. We have seen how she likes yellow flowers before (in all the scenes in her room these are there).
    2. Mastershot: two women walking in through the door, dialogue happening.
    Marie: “Now let us be quite clear about this, Mrs Meager.
    Mrs Meager looks round her suspiciously.
    Marie closes the door. “Mr Emilius lodged with you some time back. only after the murder, but you are sure he was back before the murder.
    Mrs Meager startled from her absorbed looking round at these beautiful apartments: “Hmmm? Uh oh yes ma’am that is quite true.”
    Marie: “Now we know he went to Prague and that he was back sometime before the murder happened.”
    Mrs Meager: “Uh yes ma’am back in the best room at 6 and 8 a week.”
    Marie (very earnest). “Now Mrs Meager, I want you to think very carefully about this. Was there anything at all odd in Mr Emilius’s behavior? Anything anything before he went to Prague or after he came back.”
    Mrs Meager (melodramatic expression, twisted and tight): “Odd?”
    Marie: “Anything he may have said? Something in his room. Something you may have seen (she goes over to pik up a purse and bring it back to the table) in his room?
    Mrs Meager: “Well, ma’am. there was just one thing.”
    Marie (puts down purse ostentatiously). “Mmmm?”
    Mrs Meager: “When he went away to that foreign part what you said he took his key with him.”
    Marie. “Oh” (gestures Mrs Meager to sit down)
    Mrs Meager (sitting) Ah which he hadn’t got no right ah seeing as how he wasn’t paying for his room while he were gone.”
    Marie. “Well perhaps he was just forgetful.”
    Mrs Meager: “Well that’s what he said later, ma’am, but he wasn’t usually forgetful. Anyways there was me and the front attic and any body else in the house there was just the one key between us all. That’s why I remember it so particular.”
    Marie’s face (close up): “So you only had the two keys.”
    Mrs Meager: “Yes, ma’am.”
    Marie take up the coin and puts it in front of Mrs Meager.
    Mrs Meager (then talks on): “And Mr Emilius had run off with one so there was the whole pack of us fighting over the other until Mr Emilius gets back and says eh’s ever so sorry in his best religious voice but that he forgot and left it in his drawer.”
    Marie. “But he hadn’t.”
    Mrs Meager: “No, ma’am, in ourline we is obliged to know about drawers.
    Marie: “So. He must have had it with him all the time.”
    Mrs Meager nods.
    Marie. “Hmmmn (put another coin on the table). “Poor Mrs Meager. what a very difficult life you must have (see still on groupsite page).
  • 74Pallisers917MrsMeagersHardLife

  • (More coins clinking on table. Mrs Meager’s face acknowledges the truth of this). Now can you remember anything else about Mr Emilius?”
    Mrs Meager: “Well, eh though not exactly about him, ma’am, but um there has been some talk about a coat” (suddenly eager, the sympathy extended has also had its effect).
    Marie alert: “Indeed there has.”
    Mrs Meager: “Well, ma’am, my husband, Mr Meager, he’s not ‘ere very often, but he does sor tof flit in and out from time to time. Well it just so happened that he flitted in on the day beforfe the murder and when he flitted in see he was wearing this coat.”
    Maried (sharp): “What coat?”
    Mrs Meager: “The coat there has been all the talk about, ma’am, a gray sporty sort of coat (Marie’s face is quivering).
    Marie: Have you told this to the police?”
    Mrs Meager: “No, maa’m, in our parts we is not overly keen on talking with the police.”
    Marie: “Well … (she looks down at purse, and more coins are put out). “Never mind, Mrs Meager (camera on pile of coins) “What happened to the coat?”
    Mrs Meaeger: “It spent the night in the house, ma’am, along with Mr Meager, a gallon of port and a bottle of Dutch gin.”
    Marie: “So. Mr Emlius could have borreowed the coat while Mr Meager was refreshing himself.”
    Mrs Meager: “an ‘im none the wiser, filthy sot.”
    Marie: “Where is it now?”
    Mrs Meager: “Oh well …. (stuble sounds) that’s har dto say, ma’am … I mean now the summer’s really coming I pawned it for sure.”
    Marie: “But it was definitely in the house on the night of the murder.”
    Mrs Meager: “Yes, ma’am, I saw it on the sofa before I went to bed.”
    Marie: “Mmmm. (faint music) (put more coins on table) Now. Mrs Meager send for your husband, find out where he pawedn that coat and redeem it at once and take it to that address.”
    Mrs Meager; “Not the police, ma’am, I hope.”
    Marie: “No no. A nice kind gentleman who is my solicitor and who will show himself to be (she pushes oisy coins on table towards Mrs Meager) most grateful.”
  • The women’s shared sympathy is strong. The best moments are in Fay’s face, for example the peculiarly tense look from actress’s face comes when she is telling of coat, of pawning, of her fears of police, and particularly her tones when describing Mr Meagre as a filthy sot. Much she has had to endure.

    The allusions to political novels in 9:18 and 9:19 anticipates Raven’s development of Trollope’s later political novel, The Prime Minister. No longer will we look at issues but at the workings of personal politics in the upper class and how coteries function, an important theme in Trollope’s own The American Senator, also alluded to in 8:17-18. Material bringing in the growing up of the Pallisers’ children is interwoven in conversation. Also Lady Glen’s tearing a letter from Burgo (from 1:1), the Duke’s memories of how his wife did not love him and wanted to flee shortly after they married.


    Again I will situate or contextualize 9:19 and 10:20 with a barebones summary.

    9:19: Second half of trial, Phineas’s vision and depression, wedding, PM transition in Arcadian gardens once again.

    Episode 6: Defensive Proof: Scene 1) courtroom, now defense, PR, II, Ch 53, pp. 206-10: Chaffanbrass harangues on hearsay nature of Fawn’s evidence, brings forth second cloak, Phineas’s holding out life preserver called “jocular”; Monk still there, and Duke testifies to Phineas’s character; scene 2) Carlton Terrace, Duchess reading People’s Banner, Phineas’s life on a thread, from PR, II, Ch 58, pp 161-62 (some of this chapter went into 9:18, Episode 4, Scene 15); Duke reassurres, accepts, brings up problems at Board of Trade; business about him asking her to clean Gresham’s shoes; scene 3) courtroom, PR, II, Ch 53, pp. 212-13; Grogram making strong case against Phineas (Bonteen blocking his advancement); telegram, Chaffanbrass shouts to bring all to halt; judge protests, Duke of Omnium intervenes to explain who lady is,

    Episode 7: Prague evidence: scene 4) Phineas’s prison room, Phineas, Monk, Chiltern, Phineas’s great distress and anxiety, inclination to dismiss Madame Max’s efforts and man named Peter Prasker; scene 5) courtroom; now there is no such scene in PR, a hint on p. 227: Madame Max’s testimony and fun over latin by Judge triumphing over Chaffanbrass; Prasker asked to make a copy, identifies Emilius as the man; acquitted rom PR, II, Ch 67, pp 239-40; Phineas’s continued depression and even bitterness, Chaffanbrass congratulates


    but Phineas remains stunned and at long last showing how shattered and appalled he’s been; almost paralyzed he is taken out by Palliser, cf PR, II, Ch 67, pp. 233-34, 241-43 (book has Chiltern, Cantripp, Low); scene 6) the streets, Phineas re-enacts the night, from PR, II, Ch 68, pp. 245-47; even in grey coat; the major departure where ghost says Phineas wanted to do it, and Phineas doesn’t deny that, just says he didn’t; Duke of Omnium turns up and pulls Phineas away


    Episode 8: Pained Freedom: scene 7: Phineas’s lodging house room, substitute argument by Palliser where he says they all believed him innocent but doubt is inevitable for it shows people are frank with themselves, and brings up how his wife could have run away (the same as a murder?); letter which Phineas says disturbed him in I, Ch 71, pp. 280. In book it’s Monk and Low and about Phineas’s depression directly, PR, II, Ch 68, pp. 249-52; scene 8) Parliament before the door, Finn walks in and is congratulated by Erle (who interrupts another topic, all shake his hands; cf PR, II, Ch 73, pp. 295-96; scene 9) Matching Priory; Madame Max in lovely grey-blue light by those windows, to her Duchess,

    from PR, II, Ch 68, p 248; Lady Glen says Phineas recovered and Madame Max had better snatch him up; Madame Max does not snatch people up; in come Phineas, PR, II, Ch 74, pp. 302-2, 354; Duchess removes herself and at long last he tells her how he loves her, they kiss and hug tightly, sway

    Episode 9: Offers Revealed: scene 10) Prime Minister’s chambers (or conference room, not clear what it is), trade, foreign affairs, election crisis; Duke glad at offer of Board of Trade; Monk puts in word for place for Phineas, Gresham shrugs; 11) Matching Priory: Marie, Duchess, planning wedding, Phineas with letter, Duchess leaves, Phineas not sure he wants it, not sure he’s wanted by Gresham; Marie “you are quite right” (perfect mate all right): in book he meets with Marie after refusing offer; 12) Prime Minister’s chambers/conference room, from PR, II, Ch 77, pp 337-39, Phineas says no p. 350 (much later in book); just about new dialogue, PM’s annoyance, cannot forget defection over Tenant’s rights even if now the thing is a done deal; Phineas brave and sincere: he was falsely accused, he’s troubled in his mind, PM sneers in effet; resembles Crawley and Grantly (terms in which discussed); Gresham polite at end, offered it, Finn walks off silently; scene 13) Matching Priory, from PR, I, Ch 22, pp. 190-92 (one sees how Raven could skip about): Gerald tells of scene (that occurs in PR) and sneer at Lady Glen; Gerald unkind, Adelaide slaps him, he walks off, she cries desperately; scene 14) Portman Square: long beautiful walk, with words from PR, II, ch 70, and again 78, pp. 347-9 condensed into one beautifully acted but necessarily inadequate scene. Probably Raven does not feel for her and sees her as unfair, transgressive; she remembers all that has happened (when he turned to Violet) but words are taken from cliched (I worshipped you when I should have worshipped god) showing Raven is not himself reliving or feeling this for real (afresh)

    Episode 10: Hope and Peril: scene 15) Carlton Terrace, major change again, for Palliser persuades Finn to take office, it will restore confidence in him, they will work together, Phinaes is won over; scene 16) Matching front room: scene of four of them, two couples as winners, where Duchess persuades Duke to let Adelaide have the income older Duke of Omnium meant for Madame Max, from PR, II, Ch 76, pp. 321-22 (no such scene but the details are from book, and this is what happens; I feel actors getting a kick out of not caring about 20,000 pounds; sudden telegram from Gresham, government in trouble and Duke must return; ending of cheer on Phineas still looking forward first to honeymoon, and Duchess to go find and tell Adelaide 16) Arcadian gardens around Matching: the wedding, jokes about wedding albums, photos, mild satire on modern ritual”

    It’s a funny scene between Dolly (Donald Pickering) and the Duchess (Susan Hampshire) where he informs her what such picture albums left on tables for others to see are for.


    Dolly then mentions he hears Duchess’s sons both “great characters at Eton, particularly Silverbridge”; the walk in front of the building (parallel for transitions into Phineas, 3:6, and and Eustace, 6:11); political choral dialogue in great tent afterwards between Erle and Dolly on coming election, Erle serious about trade, Dolly mocks (“twade”); scene 17) Matching. Duke and Duchess, private quiet room at night, what to do, the boys are away, office is gone; moving dialogue of tender affection and respect = love, no equivalent in Trollope

    The Prime Minster itself is begun more in earnest with this political talk of Barrington Erle (Moray Watson) and Dolly at the wedding and then in the final touching nightime scene between the now Duke (Plantagenet, Philip Latham) and Duchess (Lady Glen, Susan Hampshire) who have grown to love tenderly, value, esteem one another despite great differences in attitudes. They talk of what they will do outside the political world, thus telling us they care intensely about it and will rejoin.


    In 10:20 the Lopez story is begun, denuded of many characters (as was Frank Greystock’s story in the Eustace Diamonds parts) and is to be fitted into the political and sexual vision of this part. There are strong hints (never elaborated), again through allusion (to Swinburne) that part of the mystery of Lopez is he’s homosexual. The Lopez story vies for space as at the end of the part we have the entrance of Lady Mary (Kate Nicholls), Silverbridge (Anthony Andrews) and Frank Tregear (Jeremy Irons) into the films, Silverbridge having been thrown out of Oxford (for painting a master’s house red), Lady Mary a close loving daughter with her mother, and the two young men (hinted) a strong loving friendship (they go to Venice in a later part, living there together).

    The strongest scenes in the part are those which dramatize the relationship between the Duchess and Duke, and I give a transcript of the last one in the part. First a summary of the part to situate this scene:

    10:20: Lopez introduces; the Duchess’s way of politicking

    Episode 11: Call to Office: scene 1) The Club, Dolly and Erle; 4 years have passed; liberals out for “bungling money,” a coalition forming (invented information dialogue; scene 2) Carlton Terrace, private sitting room we’ve not seen before (piano, place to sew, coffee table); from Prime Minister, I, Ch 6, pp. 50-51 (all narration with only hints of this fully dramatized scene): Palliser gravely tells; and when she first looks at him, she sees how ill he is.

    Susan Hampshire as Duchess registering strain on her husband’s face

    But when he tells her the news, she’s intensely awed, exhilarated, excited, exultant; if it were not “cowardly” he’d “avoid this task” if he could; he talks of memory of when he gave up office for her, he doesn’t have gifts for this; she vows to work for him; scene 3): hall before throne room, Duke and Bungay go in; scene 4) Carlton Terrace, return to same sitting room, Duchess and Mrs Finn, from PM, I, Ch 6, pp. 54-56. Duchess’s plans to be hostess, closely taken from book, except added is modern Tory point of view on places; Duke’s idealism an obstacle, Mrs Finn his beliefs ingrained from the workings of his own mind.

    Episode 12: Pain of Power: scene 5) Carlton Terrace, front drawing room where we’ve seen them entertaining, Duke and Duchess, from PM, I, Ch 7, pp. 56-58. Closely from book, Duchess asks to be Mistress of the Robes, refused on grounds she’s his wife, and he doesn’t want to exercise power in this way unless he must; she is hurt, angry; then from, PM, Ch 7, p. 59, also Ch 63: Bungay enters, and they must allot the postions again versus “ideals” and “moral vision”; scene 6: The club, Dolly reading paper and Erle pouring wine, from book and dramatizing narrated material, PM, Ch 63, talking of who gets what, “not many Tories” says Dolly; oh we’ll have Sir Orlando Drought; Lopez’s first entrance, snobbish disdainful reaction of Erle, Dolly mocks “you the pillar of the liberal party;” but also moves to exploit Lopez’s insider info, PM, I, Ch 11, p 95) Lopez wangling invitation to Duchess; scene 7) another room in club, where Everett Wharton playing solitaire, from narrator, PM, I, Ch 2, pp. 17-22, pp. 22-24 (this is substitute of modern talk): Everett’s desire to wangle a seat, but his father won’t pay; Lopez’s cynical motives v Everett’s unthinking naive defense (“somebody must make the laws”), Emily Lopez’s target, father won’t like it

    Episode 13: Expansive Plan: scene 8) Carlton Terrace, again sitting room, Duchess sewing, Duke walks in from PM, I, Ch 8, p. 68: he gives Mistress of Robes to Duchess of Jersey, Finn gets Ireland, with Duchess’s regret Mrs Finn might accompany him, leads to PM, Ch 11, pp. 89-91, she gains permission to open Gatherum where they can entertain up to his new position; he reluctantly agrees; scene 9) London park, the invented picturesque stroll, Duchess and Mrs Finn encounter Lopez and he recites Swinburne which Mrs Finn gets but Duchess does not, Duchess says she will take this young man up, Mrs Finn suspicious of this unknown man, dubious plan; rich women in beautiful park and elegant man supposed to be contrast to dialogue; scene 10) Sexty Parker’s office, from PM, I, pp. 14-16. Sexty’s character, Lopez’s unknown background, bullies the man (with his “missus and three children”) into cosigning for “750 quid.” Some dialogue taken from book.

    Episode 14: A Proposal: scene 11) Mr Wharton’s chambers, Lopez proposes himself as suitor to Emily, from PM, I, Ch 3, pp. 29-31, angry resentful old man, will not countenance man with background he doesn’t know (Protestant gentleman necessary; Lopez says he’s Portuguese, English mother, where educated, his business in trading stocks; father “gambling;” by end of scene Lopez angry in face, Wharton grim; scene 12) Wharton home, front hall, PM, I, Ch 4, pp. 36-38, Everett going out to dine at club with Lopez, Wharton remarks it’s injurious to purse; sexy Emily glimpsed coming down stairs; dressed as a man’s toy; scene 13) Wharton’s study, son still there but leaves after Emily comes in, PM, I, Ch 5, pp. 43-46, Wharton tells Emily of Lopez’s visit, and Emily says she loves him, Wharton it cannot be (“no family … adventurer … doesn’t belong”); she (he’s English, educated, lives with gentleman as gentleman, Everett’s friend); no no no, she asks him to look into it, not to make her unhappy for nothing and he agrees sternly; she looks grateful and trusting; scene 13) long entry by coach of Duke, Duchess, Mrs Finn into gatherum castle; different stone building from Matching, has walls and gate around building. From PM, I, Ch 19, pp. 157-58; we see workmen, raking sand; scene 14) grounds further out around castle, Duke walks and sees workman, he on parapet

    Episode 15: scene 15) Gatherum, a sitting room, PM, I, Ch 19, pp. 158-59; a dramatization of Duchess’s housekeeping, Pritchard and Duchess go to the numbers, the problem with chef (artist, bohemian), Duchess wants to say she wishes she didn’t have to go through this, Mrs Fin “it would have broken your heart;” and we see grown Mary for first time; innocent and loving mother (she greets each child with open arms and delight in face, each reciprocates fully), they talk of Silverbridge as 18 and needs to pass exam; Duchess looks out, he hates waht we have done, wants to pass if off as “a few friends,” Marie’s concerned face; scene 17) Duke’s time walking through grounds, from PM, I, Ch 19, pp. 159-62. Powerful comic ironies as he is told it’s not for them to decide; scene 18) upstairs private sitting room in Gatherum, Duchess in purple with white apron; this is powerful clash transcribe below, heavily invented and yet close too, taken directly at high points; his distaste, apology but continued distress, her anger, hurt, not resolved at all; scene 19) back to gardens; camera catches big machine making flat lawn, the tents, and we watch people coming through gate, getting out of carriages; scene 20) upstairs sitting room, Mary dressed up, waiting Silverbridge dramatic opening of door, brings Tregear, the attraction between Mary and Tregear, story of how he’s been expelled, so Duke’s Children, Ch 1, p,. 3, Ch 18, pp. 113-14: Duchess asks if Tregear sent down too, oh no, seems more worried about father and not bothered deeply about how Silverbridge refers to himself lightly as “a fellow,” proposed they go to a tavern to stay out of the way until she tells father, Palliser arms, the tale told and Mary laughs, Duchess smies, Tregear rueful,Silverbridge makes a naughty face, but she says father will not see the joke; they are pushed away, with our hearing Tregear’s voice, “yes, Mary, and the two women link arms to confront world. The sense is of something hard but worthwhile winning.


    Now chose I chose this scene because if you compare its ultimate major source (Prime Minister, Vol 1, Chapter 19), you will discover that surprizingly little is actually taken from the original scene, key phrases and sentences, some memorable hot words (“vulgarity”), and much is invented. The scene feels as if it were Trollope and anticipates the ending of PM where indeed we find that the Duke has learned to like power and does not want to give it up. I can imagine people hunting for the full scene in the book, and finding themselves a little startled to see how much original development there is here.

  • From Prime Minister, I, Chapter 19, pp 162-63
    Scene 18: A sitting room at Gatherum Castle
    Establishment shot: Duchess laying on couch, in heavy duty white apron, tired
    He walks in quickly; she sighs and smiles upon seeing him, does not move.
    Duchess: “I’ve never geen so tired in my entire life. I’ve just planned every menu for the entire month, making sure that no guest should have the same dish twice. And I have been into every bedroom and moved most of the furniture with my own hands.:”
    Duke: “Oh, was that necessary, Cora?”
    She begins to get up.
    Duchess: “Well, if I’d gone to bed instead, the world would have gone on I suppose. Well, people must eat and some of the more important like Sir Orlando are staying a week or more, which makes it very difficult. Well, you wouldn’t want Sir Orlando to have the same dish twice. It mght choke him.”
    Duke (turns). “Hmmm. (Has looked at papers scattered and piled on the desk.) Cora, so far … now I’ve always let you have your own way in everything.”
    She is now sitting and looks up at him as he straddles himself.
    Duchess: “You’re going to scold. I know you are going to scold. I shouldn’t have said what I did about choking Sir Orlando. Don’t worry I shall sing to him like a siren for the next seven days.”
    (She does not understand what he is protesting or is wishing it were something other than it is.)
    Duke: “Cora (louder). Now I don’t like what you’ve done out there. That’s not necessary.”
    Duchess: “People do make changes in their garden without necessity.”
    Duke: “Yes. But these have been made to impress our guests. Now had you done it to gratify your own taste, I’d have said nothing at all. No, no, even though I think you might have told me what you intended.”
    Duchess (beginning to get very excited from within): “What!? When you’re so burdened with work you don’t know where to turn.”
    Duke: “I’m never so burdened that I (dark face) cannot turn to you. Now what distresses me is this. Those thing which were felt to be good enough for our friends before are not felt to be insufficient (he paces). It’s cause of this (points up) this post I hold.”
    Duchess (very close up shot): “You agreed that we should entertain at Gatherum.”
    Duke: “Hey I did not (half cough) agree you could dig up half the country round. Hey. In order to make a display. Hey I’d almost have said there’s ah well there’s a vulgarity about this which offends me.”
    Duchess (unusual close up now). (She begins to look askance and deeply offended with an expression of intensity unusual to her.) (She rises her body a little.) (Whispers the word). “Vulgarity? How dare you?”
  • 74Pallisers1020DuchesscalledVulgar

  • Duke (suddenly backtracks, backs literally a step, and gets a kind of smile on his face): “Stammers. My my dear … I … I retract the word (smiles deprecatingly, placatingly as we watch him watch her) (holds up hand). Now I never really said it. I used it in the conditional sense, the optative mood. ‘I had almost said …'” (quoting himself)
    Duchess: “Oooh … you … said it all right. Vulgarity indeed. (She swallows). (Whispers loud fiercely) Yes. Of course it’s all vulgar but you don’t think that I do it from any pleasure that I get from it. The lavishing of smiles on butchers and tinkers must always be odious and vulgar. You cannot have power and remain untainted. It is impossible to be be both public and private at the same time. You must submit to vulgarity or cease to be the first minister.”
    Duke (from within is regathering his forces together): “My dear, I would remind you of this. There is no personal ambition (very intense face)”
    Duchess: “So you have always said yet you enjoy ooh how you enjoy telling us all what is best for us” (concise kind of pointed enunciation).
    Duke (now unusual close up to his face as she has hit him with a truth we have seen — we have seen her let him bully his sons and herself)
  • 74Pallisers1020DukeHurt

  • Duchess: “Nothing now would persuade you to let it go.”
    He looks sad, remorseful, hurt, she now turns and looks like she feels bad, moves over slightly to himi with gesture that seems about to reach to him to soften what she has just said but then stands still.
    Duchess: “Oh.”
    He walks in front of her before the camera and by. He picks up his hat and cane from her desk and then walks out.
    She has tears in her face (because she is doing it partly for him), like a little girl, her face scrunches up.
    He shuts door with a snap. She tears up and looks away.
    Then with a sudden fierce gesture and deep sound from within, she pushes and throws all the papers across her desk and to the ground.

  • The acting of Latham and Hamsphire is at this point superb. He often makes wordless sounds and his body language replaces words; he has become the older Duke over the year.

    I do not think Hampshire usually that powerful an actress; the type she plays is one who is guarded and makes a point of living on the surface in front of others, but in this rare moment in the series, she drops her mask and we see her intensely grated upon as she hears the word “vulgarity” from the Duke as a description of all her hard work fixing up the grounds, turning the castle into a super-hotel, being a hostess who is all smiles. In the still I have included her lips and the right side of her face just begins to move into a hard sneer of deep offense and irritation.

    Much of scene between Duke and Duchess not in the book but it could have been and feels so right; he writes what Trollope could have and makes us think it’s there. It’s almost there 🙂 Much is invented.

    “He hates it,” the Duchess observing the Duke wandering about the gardens of Gatherum Castle

    In the audio-commentary by Emma Thompson to the 1995 Miramax Sense and Sensibility film (directed by Ang Lee), she remarks that the Atlas scene between Elinor (Emma Thompson), Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant) and Margaret (Emilie Francois) has seemed to some viewers who know the novel to be so like Austen that they ask where in the novel does it occur. For my part I find it too sweet for Austen, but there are other scenes (between Elinor and Marianne, Kate Winslett, for Lucy Steele and Mrs Jennings (Elizabeth Spriggs) where you think the scene is close to Austen’s own and when you go back find much has been changed or invented. Thompson says she is most delighted when people ask her to tell them where in Austen’s book this dialogue or scene occurred when there is no such line or quite this scene. She feels she has performed the ultimate function of recreating Austen for us.

    So perhaps Raven, only he has changed the inferences of the whole hour by new additions, scenes which are quite different, important eliminations and allusions. But I must save the discussion of this for when I come to the end of writing out all the screenplays and after I have written two chapters of my much longed-for (meaning me, meaning I do long to do it) “The Austen Movies.”

    Comic moment of what Duchess might be seeing: Duke told it’s not for him and the workman to ask questions about what’s being done to the grounds


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