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Man in an Orange Shirt (2017)
Film Made Its Debut Last Night in the States on "Masterpiece"
I never miss "Masterpiece" because it is probably my favorite current, ongoing series, and it never manages to disappoint. "Man in an Orange Shirt" is probably the most frank and explicit of all of its offerings to date, it will not be for everyone, but it packs a powerful punch and shows the whole picture of what it meant to be gay when it was illegal in Britain, and presents an equally involving story set in the present. It would take very strong, charismatic actors to make this work on all levels, and they are first-rate: Oliver Jackson-Cohen (from "Lark Rise to Candleford," "Mr. Selfridge") and James McArdle in the post-war story, and Julian Morris and David Gyasi in the modern day. I was extremely impressed by the performances by Vanessa Redgrave as the older Flora and Australian-born Joanna Vanderham ("The Paradise," "Dancing on the Edge") as the younger Flora. Redgrave is still a force to be reckoned with--she is, first and foremost, a Redgrave--and the explosive scene with her grandson Adam is painfully delivered and deeply felt. Vanderham is poignant and unforgettable in driving home the point that her life has been ruined by the marriage "of convenience." There are excellent supporting roles by Frances De La Tour ("The Collection") as Mrs. March, portraying a woman trying to be strong under near-impossible circumstances; Laura Carmichael (Edith in "Downton Abbey") always enjoyable as Flora's sister Daphne; and Julian Sands ("A Room With a View") as the arrogant partner of Steve. I appreciated the fact that "Masterpiece" chose to air the entire film in one night. I am hoping that all viewers who saw this ground-breaking production learned something, if not tolerance, then understanding and perhaps even sympathy for a human experience that is no longer stuck in the closet and called "the love that dare not speak its name." I see Emmy nominations on the horizon.
The Search for the Nile (1971)
"Search for the Nile" is a greatly-missed gem
"The Search for the Nile" was originally telecast on NBC in January of 1972. If I remember correctly, the network broadcast it immediately following its coverage of the Winter Olympic Games from Sapporo, Japan. (It was, and still is, very rare for any of the three major networks in the years before cable to broadcast anything from the BBC. PBS did pick it up later; has anyone contacted them?) Yes, the narrator was the incomparable James Mason. I also love the main title music for this superior docudrama. I was told the sheet music was available but have never found it. The composer's name is Joseph Horovitz.
Everything all the other respondents have written is true, this mini-series was one of the best histories ever made and I would also love to have it. As for Bob Rafelson's "Mountains of the Moon," don't bother. It doesn't even hold a candle to the original.