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Aristocrats

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Overview

Based on a true story, Aristocrats draws back the curtain on an 18th century English family near the summit of society, revealing a tapestry of romance, prejudice, infidelity, and revolution. The three-part TV miniseries follows the four Lennox sisters, daughters of Lord Richmond, from youth to middle age and beyond. They go through marriages, children, scandal, and intrigue as they decide what matters more: position or principle. Part one centers on three of the daughters -- Caroline, Emily, and Louisa -- as ...
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Overview

Based on a true story, Aristocrats draws back the curtain on an 18th century English family near the summit of society, revealing a tapestry of romance, prejudice, infidelity, and revolution. The three-part TV miniseries follows the four Lennox sisters, daughters of Lord Richmond, from youth to middle age and beyond. They go through marriages, children, scandal, and intrigue as they decide what matters more: position or principle. Part one centers on three of the daughters -- Caroline, Emily, and Louisa -- as they entertain ideas of marrying solely for love, an idea abhorrent to their snooty parents. But in spite of the folks' protests ("What will people think?"), Caroline marries an untitled politician, Henry Fox, about twice her age. Emily chooses, God forbid, an Irishman. But because of his wealth and nobility, he becomes acceptable. Louisa also marries a wealthy Irish noble. Part two centers on the fourth daughter, Sarah. After her debut in London, the diffident Prince of Wales (the future King George III) falls in love with her, but unexpectedly marries another for political advantage. Sarah then rushes into a marriage. But because her cold, neglectful husband cannot provide what she wants most -- love and attention -- she beds with others and the family ostracizes her. In part three, miserable, guilt-ridden Sarah finds true love with a decent military man and reconciles herself with the family. Meanwhile, Caroline dies, and social upheaval in America, France, and Ireland opens the eyes of the surviving sisters to new ideas, and they and their families become embroiled in struggles between the masses and the privileged few.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; 30 min. featurette "The Making of Aristocrats"; Stella Tillyard bio; Cast filmographies
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
A sumptuously mounted BBC adaptation of Stella Tillyard's fascinating book, The Aristocrats vividly recreates 18th-century Britain and makes it a colorful backdrop for the history of a proud, pampered family descended from royalty. It zeroes in on the Lennox sisters, Caroline (Serena Gordon), Emily (Geraldine Somerville as a girl, Sian Phillips as a woman), Louisa (Anne-Marie McDuff), and Sarah (Jodhi May), who never forgot their lineage but never let it inhibit them. Headstrong Caroline, the oldest, takes center stage in the first part of this three-installment miniseries. Daring to fall in love outside her class -- with a politician 20 years her senior -- she is banished from the family estate and forbidden contact with her sisters. But don't confuse The Aristocrats with soap opera: It's actually nothing less than a four-hour pageant, resplendent with sibling rivalries, marital infidelities, class conflicts, and outright revolution. Best of all, you don't have to be a committed Anglophile to love it. The period settings are impeccably detailed, the dramatic values strong, and the cast uniformly superb.
All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
Aristocrats is Gone With the Wind with a British accent. While chronicling the fortunes and misfortunes of highborn daughters with kingly connections, the production burgeons with jewels, powdered wigs, prancing horses, stately manors, and the life-giving fodder of the drawing-room: scandal, gossip, and power politics. A soap opera on a grand scale, Aristocrats arrays itself in the full panoply of English life in an age when position, power, and the ring of expensive china means everything. The costumes, architecture, and verdant gardens are beautiful, and the cinematography captures them adeptly. Development of the main characters is broad: knaves have their good points, heroes have their bad points. The actors -- all fourscore of them -- generally distinguish themselves with their ability to wring snobbery, desire, cruelty, and love from the script. Particularly good are Serena Gordon (as Caroline Lennox), Geraldine Somerville (as Emily Lennox), Anne-Marie Duff (as Louisa Lennox), and Jodhi May (as Sarah Lennox), the four sisters on whom most of the action centers. The production is not without flaws, however. A fifth sister is introduced, then dies, and one wonders why the scriptwriters bothered to include her at all. In part three, older actors assume the roles of the aging sisters, husbands, and relatives while other new faces appear as the next generation of aristocrats. It isn't easy to tell who's who, especially when scenes change swiftly as the action approaches a climax during upheaval in Ireland. Still, the production is a worthy one, skillfully depicting an age of turmoil and change.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/8/2006
  • UPC: 054961843190
  • Original Release: 1999
  • Rating:

  • Source: Acorn Media
  • Time: 4:53:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Serena Gordon Caroline Lennox
Geraldine Somerville
Anne-Marie Duff
Jodhi May
Sian Phillips
Alun Armstrong
Julian Fellowes
Frank Kelly
Technical Credits
David Caffrey Director
Rebecca Eaton Executive Producer
Christopher Hall Producer
Kevin Menton Executive Producer
Harriet O'Carroll Screenwriter
David Snodin Producer
Rod Stoneman Executive Producer
Nigel Warren-Green Executive Producer
Michael Wearing Executive Producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Aristocrats, Vol. 1
1. A Different World [5:45]
2. Pretty Persuasion [6:08]
3. "Live to the Full" [3:22]
4. Proposal Refused [6:12]
5. A Small Rebellion [5:09]
6. Lady Emily's Debut [6:45]
7. A Little Conversation [3:54]
8. Mr. Fox's Return [11:13]
1. Settlement Reached [7:08]
2. Married Lives [5:57]
3. Lady Caroline's Rival [8:28]
4. Two Wars End [3:33]
5. A Most Unhappy Night [4:14]
6. Torn Asunder Again [6:08]
7. Love Blossoms [4:18]
8. The Children Mature [9:06]
Disc #2 -- Aristocrats, Vol. 2
1. Sarah's London Launch [7:59]
2. A Prince Among Men [7:51]
3. Sarah Shows Promise [4:43]
4. A Kingly Pursuit? [7:50]
5. A Surprising Engagement [4:44]
6. Growing Dissatisfaction [8:01]
7. A Theatrical Turn [7:36]
1. A New Teacher [6:51]
2. Talk of the Town [4:17]
3. Sarah's Regrets [4:15]
4. Lord William's Desire [5:21]
5. Sarah's Revelation [4:34]
6. A Family Divided [10:44]
7. Stress Bears Down [2:59]
8. Louisa: Saving Angel [8:34]
Disc #3 -- Aristocrats, Vol. 3
1. Queen of Ireland [5:15]
2. Sarah's Reformation [7:09]
3. Temptations Arise [8:41]
4. Joys and Pains [7:51]
5. All Ireland Mourns [4:11]
6. Reconciliation and Loss [8:42]
7. Hopes for a Future [7:08]
1. Acceptance in London [8:53]
2. Garden in Turmoil [4:31]
3. Edward's Role [7:05]
4. Encroaching Terror [3:32]
5. Safe Passage [7:42]
6. Edward's Capture [3:40]
7. Languishing in Pain [5:12]
8. Peace at Last? [7:54]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Aristocrats, Vol. 1
   Episode Selection
      Part 1
      Part 2
   Scene Index
      Part 1
      Part 2
   Special Features
      The Making of Aristocrats
      Profile of Author Stella Tillyard
      Cast Filmographies
         Serena Gordon
         Geraldine Somerville
         Anne-Marie Duff
         Jodhi May
         Julian Fellowes
         Diane Fletcher
         Alun Armstrong
         Ben Daniels
         John Light
         Si├ón Phillips
Disc #2 -- Aristocrats, Vol. 2
   Episode Selection
      Part 3
      Part 4
   Scene Index
      Part 3
      Part 4
Disc #3 -- Aristocrats, Vol. 3
   Episode Selection
      Part 5
      Part 6
   Scene Index
      Part 5
      Part 6
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2002

    A Lavish, Well-Told Biography of Sisters -- Costumes, Scandal, and Intrigue!

    This biographical costume drama follows an 18th century British family of sisters who are of royal lineage but who become separated by their choices in marriage and politics as well as by how well they do or do not meet the social expectations for women of their rank and privilege. That this tale is true takes it beyond the usually marvelous works produced by the BBC. Watch and decide if you think these women made good choices and judge for yourself the cost of their pursuit of liberality.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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