Favorite Movies/Miniseries Set in 19th Century Britain
Below is a list of my favorite movies and television miniseries set in Britain of the 19th century (1801-1900):
Pride and Prejudice (1995) - Even after twelve years or so, this adaptation of Jane Austen's novel, which stars Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehrle, remains my all time favorite. I cannot describe it anymore than magic.
The Buccaneers (1995) - This adaptation of Edith Wharton's last novel about five American young women who marry into the British aristocracy is also another big favorite of mine. I especially enjoyed the performances of Carla Gugino, Cherie Lughi, James Frain and Greg Wise.
Without a Clue (1988) - This charming and witty comedy does a Remington Steele take on the Sherlock Holmes legacy in which the "famous detective" is a front for the real investigative brains of the "sidekick" Dr. Watson. Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley are magic together.
Jack the Ripper (1988) - This two-part miniseries chronicles the investigations of Scotland Yard inspector Fredrick Abberline of the infamous "Jack the Ripper" murders of the late 1880s. Excellent production and performances by Michael Caine, Lewis Collins and the supporting cast.
An Ideal Husband (1999) - A witty and charming adaptation of Oscar Wilde's play about a British politician who finds himself embroiled in blackmail, political corruption, and on the themes of public and private honour. The stellar cast includes Rupert Everett, Jeremy Northam, Cate Blanchett, Minnie Driver, Julianne Moore and John Wood.
Sense and Sensibility (1995) - This adaptation of another Jane Austen novel about two sisters who have difficulty finding love in Regency England. The movie starred Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Greg Wise and Gemma Jones. Thompson won an Oscar for her screenplay.
The Forsyte Saga (2002) - I have never seen the famous 1967 version, but I was very impressed by this version of John Galsworthy's novel. This multi-episode miniseries starred the excellent Damian Lewis, Gina McKee, Rupert Graves, Ioan Gruffudd, Colin Redgrave and Gillian Kearney.
Around the World in 80 Days (1956/1989) - I tried to decide which version of the Jules Verne novel about an Englishman traveling around the world on a bet was my favorite - the Oscar-winning 1956 movie or the 1989 three-part miniseries. I discovered that I liked both versions. Neither is perfect, but both had that something that really appealed to me. David Niven starred in the '56 version and Pierce Brosnan starred in the '89 one.
Wuthering Heights (1939) - William Wyler directed this version of Emily Bronte's novel about the passionate, but thwarted love of a well-to-do woman of a Yorkshire family and the latter's Gypsy servant. Although the novel is set during the late Georgian Era, this version is set during the early-to-mid Victorian Era. No matter. Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon - along with David Niven, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Flora Robson have never been better.
Angels and Insects (1995) - This adaptation of A.s. Byatt's novella about a Victorian naturalist who becomes embroiled in the lives of an aristocratic family through marriage. Very interesting. The movie starred Mark Rylance, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Patsy Kensit and Jeremy Kemp.
Jane Eyre (1983) - Adapted from Charlotte Bronte's novel, this version about a destitute, but strong-willed governess who falls in love with her mysterious employer remains my favorite. Zeulah Clarke and Timothy Dalton are superb, together.