Edith Adelon is the companion to Amy Hamilton, the daughter of Henry and Beatrice Hamilton who took Edith in when she was orphaned as a baby in Italy. With the arrival of guests at the Hamilton's home of Evanswood, Edith meets one of the guests, James Percy, and falls in love with him. However, husband seeking cousin of Mrs. Hamilton, Ida Glenshaw, has also arrived at Evanswood determined to marry James Percy. Edith must over come the obstacles of social class that separate her and James and those obstacles that are set by Ida.
The Inheritance features a cast of mostly new faces. From the cast list, there are two names/faces that might be recognizable: Meredith Baxter (Beatrice Hamilton) can also be seen in Little Women (1978) as Meg March (she is also known for being the mother in the 1980s sitcom Family Ties); and Tom Conti (Henry Hamilton) can also be seen in an episode of Lark Rise to Candleford as Mr. Reppington.
|Edith Adelon and James Percy|
The Inheritance focuses on the family of Evanswood (the Hamiltons and their companion Edith Adelon) and their guests. Though each member of the family gets a decent amount of screen time, the main focus of the story is Edith. Edith is a very likable character and since coming onto the screen, I couldn't help but like her. She is portrayed as a bit of a tomboy (especially when she rides out on horseback astride and wearing men's clothing), but she can also be the lady that a girl in her situation is expected to be. Edith was almost always with Amy Hamilton, Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton's daughter; though I liked Amy, she was a little bland compared to Edith. There seemed like there could have been a little more to her story, but I did like that they included in the movie how close Edith and Amy were -- almost like sisters (Spoiler though it is revealed that they are actually cousins End of Spoiler).
Then there's James Percy, who Edith instantly falls in love with. James was a respectable man and I was rooting for him and Edith the whole time watching the movie. He was an overall good guy that was always kind to everyone that he met.
Set in America during the 1870s or 1880s (determined by costuming), The Inheritance features a range of pretty scenes. Most of the scenes take place around the Hamilton's home of Evanswood, which not only features a very nice Victorian house (fitted up with lovely furniture) but also features nature scenes. Some scenes also take place outside of Evanswood, but not far beyond, so the town that Evanswood is near is also seen. The camera quality is very good, though you can tell that this was a made-for-TV movie. Nevertheless, the colors are very vivid and are a delight to see.
The costumes are gorgeous! From the looks of the costumes, I would say that the story takes place sometime in the 1870s or in the early 1880s (depending on how fast fashion trends moved from Europe to America). There were times that it looked like the bustle was worn by the women, while other times there was no bustle.
|The main cast|
Front: Henry Hamilton
Back: (Left to Right) Ida Glenshaw, Beatrice Hamilton,
James Percy, Edith Adelon, and Amy Hamilton
Edith was dressed plainer than the Hamiltons and Ida. Her clothes were mostly dark (save a couple of outfits here and there) and appeared to be made out of some sort of cotton or wool (nothing fancy like silk, which would have been worn by Ida). Though her clothes are plainer, they are nevertheless very nice. I just really didn't like Edith's riding habit: all it was was a man's riding outfit (and especially when she races in a town race later in the movie, would it have passed the way it did with her wearing a man's outfit?). Other than that, I thought her clothes suited her character well: they expressed a love of nature (after all, silks and lighter clothes would get dirty), a meek personality, and they contrasted well with Ida's flashy clothes.
|Amy, why is your hair down?!|
Henry Hamilton was dressed like a gentleman, but his attire was more casual than most gentlemen. Since he was a more laid-backed character, this suited his personality well. James Percy was another one that this effect was also used on. He was also a gentleman, but he was also a man who liked nature, so his clothes reflected that.
The Inheritance is filled with delightful music performed by what sounds like an orchestra. There are a couple of dance pieces, piano pieces, and orchestra music throughout the entire movie.
What I have to say next might shock some people: I actually liked The Inheritance better than Little Women. The story was delightful that seemed to progress as more of a story than Little Women (to me, Little Women felt like a series of little stories in one movie, which would have worked if it was a TV series, but not as a movie). Plus, I could easily like the characters in The Inheritance and could identify with them quickly (which didn't really happen for me with Little Women). The one thing is that Little Women was better film quality than The Inheritance (some of the effects in The Inheritance screamed made-for-TV movie), but despite that, I would still recommend this movie over Little Women.
I can't find a rating for The Inheritance, but I would probably rate it G: there really isn't much content to speak of. There is a scene where a man pushes a woman down, but nothing happens and he is chased away by another man. There are also some low cut Victorian dresses. Other than that, there's nothing horribly inappropriate.
The Inheritance is available on DVD. It runs for 95 minutes.