The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Return of "The Pallisers"

I see that Acorn Media has re-released (last year, in fact, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the original airing) a new DVD edition of The Pallisers:

For all of its deviations from the novels, the series does a wonderful job at evoking Trollop's characters, especially the two lead couples--Plantagenet Palliser, later Duke of Omnium, and his wife Glencora, and Phineas Finn and Marie "Madame Max" Goesler.

The series does not shy away from the outsider status of Phineas and Marie--she is older, foreign, Jewish, he an Irish Roman Catholic. Even when Phineas's attention is directed elsewhere, the chemistry between them, as portrayed by Donal McCann and Barbara Murray is striking:

The adaptation was written by Simon Raven, an interesting, and under-appreciated novelist in his own right. The relationship between Trollope's texts and the adaptation has been elegantly illuminated in a series of blog posts at Ellen and Jim Have a Blog, Too.

Although I had read the novels long before I ever knew there was a television adaptation, I enjoyed the adaptation very much, and it was marathon re-watch my wife and I did of the series that awoke my slumbering interest in continuing Trollope's story.

So, with last year the 40th anniversary of The Pallisers, the forthcoming graphic novel version of Trollope's John Caldigate, and next year Trollope's own bicentennial year--it's a good time to celebrate Anthony Trollope, whose sympathy melted even the prejudices he had imbibed from his culture.

Edited to Add: Of course, as the book to which Phineas at Bay is most directly a sequel, Phineas Redux, was published in book form in 1874 (the serialization ran from 1873-1874), my timing could only have been better if I'd waited another decade.

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