Coming to Digital HD and DVD this October from Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Company is the absolutely stunning return of an era we have come to love with “Julian Fellowes Presents Doctor Thorne.”
Dr. Thorne (Tom Hollander) is an honorable man who is raising his niece Mary (Stefanie Martini). She played with the children living at Greshamsbury Park estate owned by the Gresham family.
Now young adults, Mary and Frank Gresham (Harry Richardson) have become closer than his mother Lady Arabella (Rebecca Front) would like. The family has been plagued with financial problems and continue to borrow from Sir Roger Scatcherd (Ian McShane). Lady Arabella and husband Frank Snr. (Richard McCabe) have no choice but to make sure their children marry into wealth.
This means Frank and Mary can not be together since the young woman has no money of her own. Instead, Lady Arabella does her best to push her son toward wealthy oil heiress Miss Dunstable (Alison Brie) and her daughter Beatrice towards the politically motivated Mr. Moffatt (Danny Kirrane).
Both Frank and Beatrice are beyond themselves with unhappiness at their mothers meddling making their lives about money. Frank Snr. once again asks a very ill Sir Richard for money which gives him more of a stake in the estate. As things get worse for Sir Richard, secrets about Mary’s birth come to the forefront. Waiting in the wings is the Scatcherd’s only son Louis (Edward Franklin).
As Mary comes to the aid of Lady Scatcherd (Janine Duvitski), Louis finds himself infatuated with Mary and looking forward to inheriting wealth. When Mary makes it clear that her feelings still reside with Frank, Louis begins down a destructive path that puts the Gresham’s living situation in jeopardy.
Dr. Thorne knows that the time is coming soon where all must be revealed but only if it brings Mary the happiness she deserves!
Hollander as Dr. Thorne is such an elegant character and tries with such patience to do what is right by all. The problem with that is he forgets his own happiness in the middle of everyone else’s chaos. I have to say that after his recent stint on the series “Night Manager,” there should never be any doubt that he is an actor in every sense of the word. I loved both these characters because they are absolutely so very different.
Martini as Mary is graceful and it is easy to see who raised her as she also forgets her own happiness for that of Franks. It sometimes happens that a character seems to be deserving but on the “wrong side” of the estate hedges and the character of Mary is such a character. Martini is just so elegant in her portrayal of a character I came to admire. Richardson as Frank is a young man, who clearly is against his mother’s financial wishes as with the era, tries his best to move on. Richardson gives his character heart and a sense of duty but, of course, we root for him!
Front as Lady Arabella is a character that is so full of fear at losing everything that she is willing to sacrifice her children’s true happiness. Putting herself above everyone else, she sees Mary as a penniless waif that has no place near her family, especially her son Frank. Oh yes, she is a character you’d love to see fall hard!
McShane has a small role as Sir Richard but it is a role that sets up the answers to many of the questions regarding Mary and Dr. Thorne. Brie as Miss Dunstable is a role I wish had been bigger because she is definitely a force to be reckoned with and her American gumption of telling it like it is was refreshing.
Franklin as Louis Scatcherd is a son that needed more disciplining as a child. Wow, when he throws a fit he really throws a fit. With a pinched face and a need for revenge, Franklin gives his character the upper hand against the Gresham’s.
Other cast includes Gwyneth Keyworth as Augusta Gresham, Phoebe Nicholls as Countess de Courcy, Tim McMullan as Earl de Courcy, Kate O’Flynn as Lady Alexandrina de Courcy, Tom Bell as Lord Porlock, Nicholas Rowe as Mortimer Gazebee, Alex Price as Reverand Caleb Oriel, Cressida Bonas as Patience Oriel, Ben Moor as Cossett, Jane Guernier as Janet Thacker, Sean Cernow as Jonah, and David Sterne as Mr. Romer.
The Weinstein Company has released a broad range of films that include the likes of “The King’s Speech,” “Apollo 18,” “May Week with Marily,” “The Iron Lady,” “The Artist,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Django Unchained,” “The Hateful Eight” and “Lion” to name a few. For more on “Doctor Thorne” go to http://womaningoldmovie.com.
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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Julian Fellowes Presents Doctor Thorne” more than five tubs of popcorn out of five. There is everything to love about this short series that I secretly wish had gone longer and expanded on the characters. Is that selfish of me? I accept that! “Doctor Thorne” has all the elegance of the beautiful home in Greshamsbury Park with a complicated story as well.
From the tended estate set to the beautiful ornate costuming, it is a moment in time travelling back with ease because of the intricate details. I would expect nothing less from Fellowes and his introduction to each episode along with his final thoughts added too much to viewing “Doctor Thorne”.
Julian Fellowes has an amazing personal history of being an English actor, novelist, film director, screen writer and being a Conservative peer of the House of Lords. All of that is amazing except one thing most important to me – this man brought me season after season of immense joy with the award-winning television series “Downton Abbey.”
At the end of “Downton Abbey’s” run there was a serious mourning period because Sunday nights no longer had the pomp and circumstance of characters many of us came to love. When I heard about “Doctor Thorne” my heart skipped a serious beat because I knew that anything Fellowes put together was going to be amazing.
“Doctor Thorne” is actually an adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s novel by the same name. Fellowes would take this opportunity to bring the word to television with a story that is filled with human twists and turns but the basis of everything is love.