Sunday, December 2, 2007

North and South Week - Wrap-up

It's been quite a week! Kristie, Kate and I had so much fun planning and posting about North and South. Flurries of emails, AIM chats to iron out the details, bouts of squeeing over Richard Armitage, hunting down photos to match posts, editing out the more salacious elements of our PJ party (oh wait...we left most of those in, for our sins...) And how cool was Lisa Kleypas' interview? I am not really sure how to follow that. (how bout with a picture of Richard Armitage?)

I moved back to my house a few days ago and am basking in the boundless capacity to surf and post and just dawdle on the internet. Saturday evening I curled up in bed with my laptop and rewatched the entire North and South miniseries in one go. It's actually been quite some time since I've watched it, as I'd lent it out to a friend. I fell in love with it all over again and realized that as much as I've enjoyed posting and sharing and talking about it, I'd almost forgot how genuinely awesome it was. There were so many little nuances and details that I have overlooked the previous times I'd seen it. Details that I now noticed because of something Lisa mentioned in her interview or that Kristie and Kate talked about in our chats.

A good film like a good book is something that you can go back to more than once. That's why we call those books "keepers", and I suppose I would call those films personal classics. No matter how many times you've seen them, they can always bear repeat viewing. And like a good book, you can get even more out of them or see things in a different light because of a discussion with a friend. This open exchange of ideas and enriching debate is something that I love about the internet and the blogosphere in particular. I feel really lucky to have found such a neat community of people around the world with whom I have some things in common and whom are also very different from me in other ways. Without them, I might have never even known about this movie and I definitely would not have had such fun talking about it and obsessing over it.

So if I have any final thoughts it is that I'm really grateful that I had the good luck to be introduced to this film and that I hope that all of you out there who haven't yet seen it get the chance to do so in the near future. And that we continue the discussions!! :)

And now for Kristie's final thoughts:
First off, hopefully anyone who is at all intrigued by this awesome series, I urge you to try and track down a copy and watch it. It isn’t often something blows me away as much as North and South has. It’s the kind of thing that gives you shivers, like an extra special song or a really good book, the kind you will remember forever. We did go a bit goofy, devoting an entire week to it, but if you’ve seen in, I think you might know why and if you are planning on it, hopefully you will see why.

It’s not just that Richard Armitage is so devastatingly attractive, although he is. When you are watching, it’s like you’ve been transported into the time and are an observer of a slice of history we don’t always see. The acting is incredible. We feel John Thornton’s pain and anguish again and again, as he is dealt blow after blow, first of all being rejected by Margaret when he declares his love to her and then again when he thinks there is someone else in her life. From the first time we see him as he is beating on an employee, we slowly see beneath the surface to a man who hides his pain and his passion behind layers of gentility. We see his own self doubts, his loneliness. We see that although he is a master, he does genuinely care about his employees. And finally we see his triumph when he finally sees that Margaret does love him.

But something else I’d really like to mention is the fun this has been for me working with Sula and Katiebabs. All the emails we’ve exchanged and the chats – once we finally figured out how it works :). I know I’ve made two really great friends and that is a wonderful thing. We’ve had a riot, sighing and ooing and awing over some of the great clips on YouTube. We hope to keep this going – although not a whole weeks worth, but we do still have plans up our sleeves. Thanks to Sula and Katiebabs for joining in and promoting something we’ve all come to love!!

And finally, Katiebabs shares her parting comments:
So what can I say about North and South that hasn't been already mentioned? Well I have found a new appreciation for a classic and now I want to read the actual book and experience the passion, romance, and social issues that are brought up in the movie. If a movie adaptation is so good, that means the book must be even better. I've always been a big fan of BBC productions along with Masterpiece Theater and North and South must be one of the best productions I have ever seen. Almost tied with Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth.

We have gone on and on about Richard Armitage's portrayal of John but we also have failed to mention the actress Daniela Denby-Ashe who played Margaret. She was perfect and so lovely looking. These two actors played these two wonderful characters to perfection. Each look, touch and word spoken that came out of their mouths were scripted perfectly. Their chemistry was incredible and I truly believed they were John and Margaret.

There are two scenes that come to mind that made a big impression on me. I could say it was the swoon-worthy final train scene or when John watches Margaret leave him and says the simple statement, "look back", but there are two other scenes that are also as good and stick with me.

The first time Margaret enters John's mill and as she looks through the flowing white flakes that looks like snow, she spies John and my heart went thump. All is silent and both are shown as quiet and stoic.

The other scene was the party scene. John is making his rounds with his guests and when he meets a female guest, he grasps her gloved hand for only a moment. But when he goes to Margaret, he holds her un-gloved hand for a full minute before he releases it. That is just as sexy as a passionate kiss!

This whole experience has been incredible. From wonderful conversations with Kristie and Sula who are very intelligent women to getting the word out about works of art that are not usually discussed, I thank you for welcoming to be a part of this!

And every time I see a train, I will think of John as he smiles and gives his one love a simple yellow flower that means so much to her. Not one word of love has been spoken, but there it is in a simple gesture, look and of course a kiss.


And we leave you with the climactic "train scene" to bring some serious romance to your day. (if you haven't seen the film, this would constitute a spoiler...but oh WHAT a delicious spoiler!!)


Katie(babs) said...

ACK, that first picture of John is very swoon-worhty!
Final thoughts! I will get back to you after I have gotten over going gaga over that man (yet again!)

Kristie (J) said...

I could (and have!) watch the train scene over and over and over. It's been SUCH fun doing this and I don't really want to let go :(

Rosie said...

Love the clip. Sublime...really.

Kristie (J) said...

So Rosie - how was it watching Episode 4 on your big new TV? And did you love it even more on watching it again?
I just love this scene - everything about it, the way he looks at her when she's talking as if his every dream has come true. The way she kisses her hand and then the way he touches her face, the way he gently, yet Ohhhh Soooo wonderully kisses her, the way he turns his back when he thinks she is leaving and the way his face lights up when he sees her reflexion *heavy, huge sigh* and says "going home with me?" The look on poor Henry's face when he realizes he's lost her for good. *moment of goohy silence*
And will you join in our crusade?

lisabea said...

*lisabea still moaning about being out of the loop*

Kristie (J) said...

Good point about Margaret. We've been so busy rhapsodizing about John Thornton that we haven't paid as much attention to Margaret. I agree that Daniela Denby-Ashe does a wonderful job as Margaret. If she didn't, it wouldn't be so believeable. I think one of my favourite parts is near the beginning when she is new to Milton and going down the stairs when the factories let out and all the people come rushing towards her. You can feel her panic as she is surrounded by this group of people she knows nothing about. And you can feel her confusion that nothing she knows applies in Milton. She really is like a fish out of water. And she is the conduit that we can see both sides of the struggle in classes. Because she has befriended the Higgns, we see the working class side, but because of her higher status, we get to see the point of view of the masters also.
And I love her ability to stand up to Hannah (John's mother) I have a feeling she's going to need that :) She is a strong woman for her time and the 'real' head of her household. Yet at the same time she has such a wide eyed innocence about her. She's not capable of disguing her feelings. At the dinner given by the Thorntons, if you watch, her eyes follow John as he moves about and you can almost feel her attraction and fascination. Yet it is after this that she tells him she doesn't like him, never has and never will. And foolish man, he believes her.
Well after writing almost a treatise, one more thought. I too am looking forward to reading the book to get an even deeper glimpse and understanding of John & Margaret. And then of course I'll have to watch the series again *g* And with that happy thought.......

Katie(babs) said...

It would be interesting to watch without the sound and see the looks John and Margaret give ech other or their reactions.
So much is shown between them that is not spoken.
Of course the train scene doesn't need any words or sound!

Dev said...

I just watched this today ~ The train station scene was my absolute favorite part. I'm still a puddle of mush.

cheri said...

Thank you girls for urging me on to indulge in some GREAT romance. I enjoyed every scene and it's been fun reading all your comments and seeing the WONDERFUL pictures.I have to say there are so many good scenes between these two characters that it would be too hard to pick one, other than the train scene and that smile! I may just read the book too and then do a rewatch again. I'm off now to do just that! And happy, happy about that.

Anonymous said...

Hi from Dublin! I am a spanish native speaker and I love this serie. I have watched the final scene a lot of times.
Thank you for posting these great pictures of the film!
Scoutfinch :)

sula said...

Hi Scoutfinch. I'm happy you enjoyed the photos. Isn't it a great film? Richard Armitage is so delicious. how do we say... me gusta! :)