|British TV Victorian Collection Box Art|
Based off the eighth book in the Poldark Series, The Stranger From the Sea, Poldark (1996) tries to continue the Poldark TV series started in the mid-70s. The year is 1810, ten years after the original Poldark series ended. Jeremy Poldark, the son of Captain Ross Poldark and his wife, Demelza, find a strange man at a ship wreckage and rescue him while Ross is working in Parliament in London. As the man, Stephen Cravenson, recovers, him and the Poldark's older daughter, Clowance, fall in love, though Demelza senses that there is more to Mr. Cravenson's story than he is telling them.
While none of the original cast members reprized their roles, there were still some familiar faces from other period dramas in this Poldark from other period dramas.
|Actor/Actress||Character||Also Seen In|
|John Bowe||Captain Ross Poldark||Cranford as Doctor Morgan|
|Mel Martin||Demelza Poldark||The Pallisers as Violet Effingham|
|Ioan Gruffudd||Jeremy Poldark||Amazing Grace (2006) as William Wilberforce|
|Kelly Reilly||Clowance Poldark||Pride and Prejudice (2005) as Caroline Bingley|
Also, as a little bit of a warning, if you plan to watch this movie, some knowledge of the original series may come in handy.
|John Bowe as Captain Ross Poldark|
|Mel Martin as Demelza|
|Michael Attwell as George Warleggan|
The newer characters seemed like they could have been successful if the series progressed. Though Clowance was a little rebellious (and did not ride sidesaddle, which in a Regency dress didn't look right at all), I can't really complain too much about her (though I really didn't like Stephen Cravenson). Jeremy Poldark appeared to be an ambitious, likable character, and I would have been interested to see where his relationship with gentlewoman Cuby Trevanion was going. And though Benjamin Carter was in the original series as a baby, it would have been nice to know more about his background (especially since his mother, Jinny, who the Poldarks employed for awhile, practically disappeared in the middle of the first series). So, it's too bad that these character's story lines were cut short.
If the movie did something better than the original series, it was the picture quality. Though the original series had better quality film that other 70s period dramas I've seen, the movie certainly had better picture quality since the cameras were probably better by the mid-90s. There were a good deal of outdoor scenes to look at and plenty of pretty prospects. The houses that were used in the movie were also very grand.
There was a bit of an inaccuracy that I found in the houses that didn't comply with the original series. I may rant a little here, so you may just want to skip this paragraph. In the original series, the house Trenwith (which was where George Warleggan and his new wife, Elizabeth (who was Ross's ex-fiancee and the wife of Ross's cousin, Francis, before he died), were living) was burned down at the end of Series 1, and at the start of Series 2 they lived in the house of Penrice. But in this movie, Ross makes a remark that his nephew (more like first cousin once removed), Geoffrey-Charles, was to inherit Trenwith which has gone into ruin because George neglected it. But Trenwith was already burned down. I wasn't sure if they meant Penrice instead of Trenwith or if Geoffrey-Charles inherits the land that Trenwith is on and George's son inherits Penrice.
|The Poldark Family|
Left to Right: Clowance, Ross, Demelza, and Jeremy
I've seen worse period dramas, but this movie definitely didn't live up to the original series. It seemed like it was too different from the original series in the 70s to be classified as Poldark. The characters that were in the original series weren't really made to resemble the original characters: they were almost completely different. You could tell at the end of the movie that they were trying to start up a new series from the movie (or that the movie was the first episode of the new series) since the movie ended with everything unresolved. If it was turned into a series, I probably would have watched it, but probably wouldn't have been happy with it. My guess is that if they had brought back the original actors and actresses from the original series (with the exception of Ralph Bates as George Warleggan since Ralph Bates died before this movie was filmed), it might have done better. But in short, there aren't many people that would be satisfied with this film (and I'm not just talking about the cliffhanger ending): fans of the original series won't find much to connect with the original series while new comers may be lost with what was going on in the story (especially since the feud between the Poldarks and the Warleggans isn't explained very well in this movie). My recommendation would be just to watch the original series which was a lot better.
There is some content in this movie that would earn it a PG-13 rating, but there are only a few scenes here and there that could be skipped fairly easily. There is also some shots of Regency undergarments in a couple of scenes, but nothing too horrible. Other than that, I can't think of anything else.
Poldark is available in the British TV Victorian Collection with three other movies. It runs for 102 minutes.