Taking place largely over the course of one tense night, Carol Reed’s psychological noir, set in an unnamed Belfast, stars James Mason as a revolutionary ex-con leading a robbery that goes horribly wrong. Injured and hunted by the police, he seeks refuge throughout the city, while the woman he loves (Kathleen Ryan) searches for him among the shadows. Reed and cinematographer Robert Krasker (who would collaborate again on The Third Man) create images of stunning depth for this fierce, spiritual depiction of a man’s ultimate confrontation with himself.
A historical drama for a modern audience, Wolf Hall tells the story of Thomas Cromwell, played by Mark Rylance (Twelfth Night)—a blacksmith’s son who rises from the ashes of personal disaster, and deftly picks his way through a court where ‘man is wolf to man.’ Damian Lewis (Homeland) is King Henry VIII, haunted by his brother’s premature death and obsessed with protecting the Tudor dynasty by securing his succession with a male heir to the throne. The cast also includes Claire Foy (Little Dorrit) as the future queen Anne Boleyn.
Told from Cromwell’s perspective, Wolf Hall follows the complex machinations and back room dealings of this accomplished power broker who must serve king and country while dealing with deadly political intrigue, Henry VIII’s tempestuous relationship with Anne Boleyn, and the religious upheavals of the Protestant reformation.
Find Wolf Hall in our library catalog.
Join us for two library program events in June, The World of Wolf Hall: Two Women, One King with our resident historian, Dr. Mona Garcia:
Register for Part 1.
Register for Part 2.
Enter the post-WWII world of Grantchester, a bucolic village in England pairing a detective and a vicar who solve murders. From PBS,
Set in the English countryside’s most idyllic village, Grantchester follows two unlikely allies as they solve a series of cases that reveal the dark side of early 1950s England.
Handsome, young vicar Sidney Chambers (James Norton) shares his spiritual duties with a love of jazz, complicated relationships with women, and an enthusiasm for amateur sleuthing. When the concern of a parishioner compels him to dig deeper into a grisly suicide, he gets on the nerve of a tired, local law enforcement officer—Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green). Fortunately, the cleric and the cop bond over their war service, their love of a good pub, and their competitive instincts—in this case, for backgammon.
Grantchester is based on the acclaimed novel Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie, which was called “the coziest of cozy murder mysteries” by the New York Times Book Review. Runcie styled Sidney after his late father, Lord Runcie, who was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1980s. Like Sidney, the elder Runcie was a war hero before he entered the ministry, and he was a compassionate and amiable parish priest. Unfortunately, he never took up crime-solving. Grantchester corrects that oversight.
The series stars James Norton (Chambers), who recently appeared on MASTERPIECE’s Death Comes to Pemberley as the underdog defense lawyer, and was also seen as the psychopathic villain in Happy Valley. Co-star Robson Green (Keating) is already revered for a number of MASTERPIECE starring roles, including the seductive hero opposite Francesca Annis in the runaway hit Reckless. Also featured are Morven Christie (Case Histories) as Amanda Kendall, Sidney’s first love and soul mate; Tessa Peake-Jones (Poirot) as Mrs. Maguire, the vicar’s morally judgmental landlady; Al Weaver (Sherlock) as Leonard Finch, the church’s new assistant curate; and German actress Pheline Roggan as Hildegard Staunton, the strikingly beautiful widow of the series’ first victim.
Every mean snowstorm has its silver lining. Not only did we get spared yesterday from 30+” of snow, Downton Abbey‘s fifth season was released on DVD and Blu-ray. Yes, you can binge watch the entire season before it airs on PBS. That’s a full 3 1/2 weeks before the final episode airs on February 22, 2015 and more than a month before the extra holiday episode airs on PBS March 1, 2015. So Downtonians take note – your favorite public library has you covered for all your British Costume Drama binge watching. Just be careful what you say around Violet. She might stab you with her retort!
Fairfield Woods is gearing up for a cold winter with your favorite British television shows and series. Up next part two in the Johnny Worricker series, Worricker: Turks and Caicos. Have you seen Page Eight from 2011? Bill Nighy starred as MI-5 agent Johnny Worricker along with Michael Gambon and Rachel Weisz. Three years later Worricker is back in Turks and Caicos. From Masterpiece,
Sun, sand, and CIA are the themes of Johnny’s (Bill Nighy) clandestine retirement on a Caribbean island, overrun with high-rolling American businessmen who are bankrolling a mysterious project. Their worldly-wise publicist (Winona Ryder) and a tycoon named Curtis (Christopher Walken) befriend Johnny. The cloak-and-dagger life revives when a dodgy British philanthropist named Stirling Rogers (Rupert Graves) arrives with an associate, Margot (Helena Bonham Carter), whom Johnny knows well. Johnny’s new mission is to escape from an ever-tightening noose.
Bill Nighy (Pirates of the Caribbean) reprises his Golden Globe–nominated role as master spy Johnny Worricker in Worricker: Turks and Caicos, written and directed by Sir David Hare (Oscar®-nominated adapter of The Reader and The Hours).
British four-part political thriller, starring Gabriel Byrne, Charles Dance and Gina McKee, and inspired by Chris Mullin’s novel A Very British Coup. It delves into the relationship between a democratically elected government, the military and big business.
Our branch library, Fairfield Woods is all about British television series. You’ll find many different worlds just an ocean away in the television stacks over at Woods. For example Doc Martin, Series 6 just arrived. From PBS,
Doc Martin stars Martin Clunes as the brash “Doc” Martin Ellingham who finds himself back home in a Cornish village after his illustrious medical career in London goes awry. The townspeople are not used to the doctor’s blunt opinions and insensitive manners, often leading to mayhem in the town of Portwenn. Caroline Catz plays school teacher Louisa Glasson for whom Doc Martin finds it difficult to express his romantic feelings.
New this week on DVD is Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge. From Rotten Tomatoes,
The character Alan Partridge first appeared over twenty years ago as a BBC sports reporter on the radio show, On The Hour. Since then, this wonderfully conceited, petty, anal, idiosyncratic comic creation has flourished across virtually every medium you can think of. He’s been a sports reporter (again) on the seminal TV news spoof, The Day Today, host of his own TV chat show, Knowing Me, Knowing You, star of the fly-on-the-wall sitcom I’m Alan Partridge, and most recently Mid-Morning Matters.
(In this current iteration,) Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan) has had many ups and downs in his life. National television broadcaster. Responsible for killing a guest on live TV. Local radio broadcaster. A nervous breakdown in Dundee. His self-published book, ‘Bouncing Back’, subsequently remaindered and pulped. ALAN PARTRIDGE finds Alan at the center of a siege, when a disgruntled fellow DJ (Colm Meaney) decides to hold their station hostage after learning that he’s getting sacked by the new management.