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Lorna Doone (2001)

A movie directed by Mike Barker

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Civil war

  • Sep 21, 2009
R.D. Blackmore's Lorna Doone is a particularly dense novel, containing hundreds of characters and a lot of country philosophizing. This sort of work is not easy to translate to the screen, but there are more than enough adventure, brawling, and love scenes to do the trick. Writer Adrian Hodges has remained true to the original, and together with director Mike Barker, has produced a winner. The casting is superb - look for a caustic Michael Kitchen as the infamous hanging judge Jeffries. Richard Coyle as hero Jack Ridd turns in a pitch perfect performance as a courageous young man who comes of age by refusing to compromise the principles instilled in him by his parents. And Aiden Gillan makes the nefarious Carver Doone the villain you love to hate. The costumes and scenery beautifully evoke late 17th century England, and the blend of romantic drama and plentiful battle scenes is well balanced. The music is a bit cloying, but you can't have everything! A&E and BBC have a winner with Lorna Doone.

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Linda ()
Ranked #63
After 21 years as a school psychologist, I now work part-time at two local historical museums, giving tours and teaching special programs. This leaves me more time to enjoy my little grandchildren, and … more
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Star-crossed lovers, feuding family, royal plots, noble destinies, and salt-of-the-earth heroes. No wonder R.D. Blackmore's romantic classic has been a perennial favorite. Amelia Warner (Michael Caine's innocent child bride inQuills) is Lorna, the beautiful young brunette "queen" of the feral Doone clan in this latest adaptation, a handsome 2.5-hour co-production between the BBC and A&E. The once noble line now lives out of a swamp fortress and preys off the local farmers and tradesmen, but the family patriarch (Peter Vaughan) has hatched a plot to win back his title and his land. Handsome John Ridd (Richard Coyle) swears vengeance against the Doones when they murder his father, but he falls for Lorna, and the rakish, ruthless Doone scion (Aiden Gillen, who swaggers through the drama with a perpetual sneer) refuses to give up his claim on the girl without a fight.

This is the kind of British romantic adventure that decries the tradition of nobility and privilege while rewarding its heroes with those very privileges, all within a grand framework of melodramatic twists, thrilling battles, and chivalrous heroics. Director Mike Barker creates an appropriately larger-than-life world at once pastoral and savage for his little epic--shot in the verdant British countryside, where a lush forest green permeates every outdoor scene, while the dusky interiors glow with candlelight--giving in completely to the sweeping emotional melodrama at the core of the story. --Sean Axmaker

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Director: Mike Barker
Screen Writer: Adrian Hodges, R.D. Blackmore
DVD Release Date: May 29, 2001
Runtime: 180 minutes
Studio: A&E Home Video
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"Civil war"
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