Starring Jeremy Irons, Diana Quick, Anthony Andrews, Simon Jones, Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Claire Bloom, Phoebe Nichols
Comprehensive. Wistful. Alluring.
“Sometimes, I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there’s no room for the present at all.”-Evelyn Waugh
Listening to Jeremy Irons’ distinct, mellifluous voice dole out the prose of the great Evelyn Waugh is one of life’s higher pleasures, and one worth even the imposing running time of this 11 episode production. That it comes as almost a bonus on top of a fully formed, deeply compelling character and performance speaks to why this adaptation of the classic novel is so fondly remembered. Irons plays Charles Ryder, an intelligent, brooding, rather passive young man at Oxford circa 1922 who falls in with the lively, attractive Sebastian Flyte (Andrews) and his group of friends; then, later, his family, eventually, falling in love with Sebastian’s married sister, Julia (Quick). Just about 11 hours long, this version of Brideshead Revisited certainly isn’t in any hurry, nor is it at any point suspenseful. It trusts the material. The characters are interesting, their relationships even more so, and the performances are sterling all-around.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-