Acorn Media is releasing the original North & South mini-series starring Patrick Stewart and Rosalie Shanks that tells how Margaret Hale is uprooted from her ideal life as the daughter of a pastor when he decides to leave the church.
Film making 4/5
Bonus Features 0/5
Recommendation 4/5 Stars
Patrick Stewart of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame starred in a small miniseries that released by the BBC back in 1975. North & South was written by Elizabeth’s Gaskell about the class differences between rich and the workers as well as other issues of the day.
Margaret Hale played by Rosalie Shanks is the daughter of pastor Mr. Hale who is having a conflict in his faith as a church leader. He decides to leave his position in the church and move to a town north of London where he can find work as a tutor.
A friend of his already has a student in a mill owner who wants to educate himself because he feels that being educated will grant him privileges and prestige. John Thornton owns and operates a cotton mill but the mill struggles with union strikes and eventually closes.
John falls in love with his tutor’s daughter Margaret but in the times of 19th century England Margaret does not see John as a possible suitor. Margaret has other ideas with her life but in the end she does fall for John but only after several years have passed.
The mini-series is a four part show with about 50 minutes for each episode and the actors do a great job with their parts. The series looks at the life and death of several people in Margaret’s life as well as her eventual return to John just after he closes the mill.
The story is solid with great acting and fantastic detail of the times but with as old a source material as this is video and audio do suffer. The warning pops up at the beginning of the DVD series that the films source was not the best so beware some flaws in the film.
Video is not bad but not great either with noticeable grain, problems with distortion and subdued color but it is watchable and even enjoyable. This release had some problems with the source video so problems crept into the DVD release as well.
Audio is fine with good voice and very understandable conversation but the money was not spent on a good audio track so surround sound is not that great. There is some surround and familiar audio but at times the surround sound is not that great.
Audio and video quality is alright and about what you would expect from an older film that was a lower budget for the technical side. I could not find an actual statement for the budget but the film looks like it had a low budget but the actors do their best.
There is no bonus features on the DVD release so there is a bottom of the barrel rating for extra content which is a shame. They could gather at least something extra for the DVD release about the story, book, and other series but there is nothing here at all.
North & South is much like a play taken to film but it does have a good story about the class separation of the late 19th century and other interesting plots.
North & South starring Patrick Stewart is a good series and well worth a rental if you can find it or a purchase as it does have a good story that is well acted. I highly recommend North & South starring Patrick Stewart, the 1975 mini-series that has just been released as a mini-series from BBC and Acorn Media.
North & South @ Amazon