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Re: PBS Series - "Howard's End"

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@ASTRAEA  - Yes, it was a disappoitment. One or two more episodes would have made a big difference, as far as the story was concerned. A lot of information that was covered in the novel was left out of the miniseries. I'm also curious about how it was treated in the 1992 movie. The movie is available on Netflix, so I'll watch it when I have time.

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@MaVolta  - Did you watch the final episode, or not yet? I didn't want to say too much & spoil it for you.

 

I'm a little disappointed that more & more it seems like these mini-series are an episode shorter than they should be, and the final episode seems to rush thru everything left (if it's from a book), compressing a much longer period together, than the previous episodes. Either that, of the screenwriter got tired of the story & just "put a bow on" whatever's left.

 

I didn't quite understand why Henry Wilcox was so adamant about pregnant, single Helen spending a mere night at Howard's End, and going back to London rested. And then, in the blink of an eye Helen & the little boy are living at Howard's End with them. 

 

I didn't quite understand why Charles Wilcox - who didn't really like the Schlegels or Helen especially - assumed Leonard Bast had "taken advantage of" Helen ( I think she was the one chasing him for long enough), and became enraged at Leonard "ruining her", and actually physically attacked the obviously frail Leonard. That had to be all about Charles, not Helen or Leonard, and how he saw himself as carrying on the family name.

 

What did you think about the end?


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@MaVolta Thanks for mentioning that; I didn't think they could possibly pull things together in just 1 more episode! Now I'd like to see the 1992 movie with Anthony Hopkins as Henry Wilcox, Emma Thompson as Margaret Schlegel, Helena Bonham Carter as Helen Schlegal, and Vanessa Redgrave as Ruth Wilcox. I just realized something amazing .. the actress who played Jacky Bast in the movie, Nicola Duffett, looks Caucasian .. so if in casting this miniseries they decided to use a Black actress instead, they added an additional level of scandal (for the 1900s) for the Basts to be an inter-racial couple living common law. In the movie, Jacky is supposed to get drunk at Evie's wedding, and exposes Henry Wilcox as her former lover .. in the mini-series, it was just a startling revelation when they recognized each other.

 

If you read the plot of the rest of the movie on Wikipedia, it's amazing to think they could fit all of that into a single episode in the mini-series!


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@ASTRAEA - Thanks for the background info. The series finale airs tonight. It's hard to believe that so many loose ends will come together in one last episode. 

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@MaVolta - A good source of background material (and if you don't want to have to hunt thru an episode again): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howards_End#Plot_summary

 

"The Schlegels had briefly met and befriended the Wilcoxes when both families were touring Germany." So that's how Helen happened to be invited to Howard's End. She & younger son Paul are attracted to each other, and - bizzarre as it sounds - they "become engaged" in a heartbeat & without any discussion with their respective families first. And just as suddenly as that happens, the engagement is "broken" when the Wilcoxes talk to Paul. That might be the basis for Helen's disliking them .. and that would be a lot more personal, than her altruistic/high horse complaints about Henry later on!

 

The article about "Howard's End" mentions that the Schlegels have cultural sensibilities linking them to The Bloomsbury Group; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloomsbury_Group. "they were united by an abiding belief in the importance of the arts." Their works and outlook deeply influenced literatureaestheticscriticism, and economics as well as modern attitudes towards feminismpacifism, and sexuality. A well-known quote, attributed to Dorothy Parker, is "they lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles".


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Also, Margaret Schlegel had formed very judgemental opinions about Mrs Wilcox until she got to know her. Likewise, when Helen returned from her visit with the Wilcoxes, she offered up her own opinions about the family. I'd have to go back and watch the 1st episode again, but I didn't follow exactly why Helen was there to begin with. They seem to think that everyone needs 'fixing' other than themselves! LOL. 

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@MaVolta - I think the Schlegels see themselves as more liberal, and are definitely self righteous, assuming everyone (i.e. Leonard Bast) wants to be just like them. Seeing Leonard alone at that concert, I think Helen & Margaret may have assumed he was single, and as a "man of culture," a good prospect for Helen. It wasn't until Jacky presented herself at their doorstep, that they realized he was married (common law, I think). But after seeing how poor he was, and then Henry Wilcox commented that Leonard's company wasn't well-run or secure, I think the Schlegel ladies saw him more as a "project" to fix his problems.


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@ASTRAEA  - All so true! The Wilcoxe family have a few problems, also. I don't think that the Wilcoxe children care much for the Schlegels, and would rather see them go away. And yeah, Helen is really pushy, and everything like you said! Why they were so insistent on Mr Bast coming to tea, when all he wanted was to pick up his umbrella and be off? He showed no interest in them whatsoever, yet Helen and Margaret were determined to have him to come to tea (never inviting Mrs Bast), and then started meddling in his affairs. Poor Mrs Bast, I felt so sad for her. They really put her in an awkward situation, and then showed so little regard for her when she came to their house. Now it looks like her health is failing. 

 

 

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@MaVolta For sure the Schlegels can be annoying! Considering that none of them work at all, and they live off an inheritance or the income from one, they're pretty judgemental about how Henry Wilcox makes his money!! I wonder if Tibby is supposed to be a little slow/socially awkward, because he seems to be incredibly naive, and sometimes uncontrollable saying things when he should keep his mouth shut. Helen is even worse, not letting her cloistered upbringing restrain her from thinking she knows how everyone else should live, and being a bull-in-a-china-shop about it. Who would think to decline a wedding invitation, and show up with a strange couple, demanding the father of the bride take care of them?! That would have been bad enough, even if it didn't turn out that Jacky Bast & Henry Wilcox hadn't had a relationship in the past. I'm not overly impressed by the Wilcox children either; they seem to live off Henry's largess without qualm, but resent the possibility that they might have to share a small part of it, if their father remarries. Evie is also 2-faced; seeming to be so friendly towards Margaret, but bad-mouthing her when talking to brother Charles. It's interesting that Helen is attracted to Leonard Bast; who seems unambitious & without much of a spine.


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It's turning out to be a fairly good series, but the Schlegles have some annoying habits! It drives me crazy when they all start talking (yelling) at once. I'm beginning to think that they overstepped their bounds trying to help the Bast family, even though they had good intentions. Maybe things will eventually work out for the Basts but it doesn't look good at this point. 

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