November 25, 2013

Far from the Madding Crowd..... Filming

 Thomas Hardy's greatest accomplishment, to date, when published in 1874, was considered an early piece of feminist literature featuring a strong woman with the courage to defy convention and live an independent life. In this tome he transports the reader to British rural life in Dorset England. Madding actually meant 'frenzied' in Hardy's era.
"Hardy Country" is in the area where I stayed with my treasured friend Sylvia and husband Joe, in the town of Sherborne. Think thatched cottages, undulating green valleys, gardens, sheep.........all oozing with charm. 

The ancient town of Sherborne was transformed to late 17th c England, not terribly difficult as the setting is intact with a variety of buildings dating from 1260 onwards. 
All the action centered around the magnificent Sherborne Abbey
The current heroine, Bathsheba, is Oscar recipient Carey Mulligan, do you remember the original Julie Christy version?
 This is a period drama as we follow Bathsheba's  relentless misfortunes regarding men, culminating in a surprise reunion at a street fair, with shepard, Oak. The street fair portion was filmed in Sherborne.
Below is Troy, her dashing albeit disastrous husband, followed by the only man whom stood by her, always, Oak.


The only element that belies modern times is the 'official parking only' sign to the right.
Gravel was heavily scattered over the Abbey close asphalt roads and paths, very little else
 needed transforming. Britain has, over time, buried all electrical lines underground to not impede it's magnificent views. BRAVO!

One exception was the exterior transformation of the surrounding shops. In the far left of this image is a series of cardboard newsprint boards, see it? Those boards conceal a red British telephone box

 Once shooting wrapped for the day, the scenes were open to the public to wander

Ahhhh yes, all five senses were engaged to transport you to life in the 1870's

These guys.......were everywhere, constantly chiding myself and others with the refrain "NO PHOTO'S ALLOWED!" (during filming that was)
I cannot wait for the release in Spring 2014.

While away I had the pleasure of seeing two other films I can highly recommend..........

Have you seen 'Blue Jasmine' by Woody Allen? A comedy-drama about a wealthy NY socialite, Cate Blanchette, that finds herself penniless and homeless. Cate should be nominated for an oscar in this performance. Watching it again on the flight home added another dimension with the knowledge of the shocking twists and turns to come. 

 The 'Intouchables', a French, English subtitled, movie for belly laughs and a solid soul warming. Based on the true story of a wealthy gentleman who is paralyzed after a paragliding accident and his hiring of an unlikely, ill-equipped caretaker. The hilarity, leading to a deep friendship that ensues today, is LOVELY!

 Illinois' winter season is a perfect time to hunker down and watch a movie. Any recommendations?

Remember that and enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Please consider supporting your local small businesses this Saturday, well always really. 
At Scentimental Gardens, we are hosting a one day sale;

If it is on our is 20% off.

Thank you for visiting!



  1. HI Debra, I love period films, this looks wonderful. Your other two recommendations sound great as well. It is so good to see your post, have missed you.

    The Arts by Karena

  2. I commend you for reining in your inner fan girl. I would have been a bug-eyed mess.

    Happy T-Day, Miz Debra!

  3. i wanna see the woody allen film, and i won't be back at a decent hour on saturday to shop your sale, but i'll drag myself in sometime in december!

    happy thanksgiving, hollywood.


  4. How fun and I am a huge fan of any type of period films...always say I was born in the wrong era!! I loved Blue Jasmine and The Intouchables, both great films, actually two of the best ones I saw all year! Hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving!

  5. Can't wait. They are so wonderful when he art direction is well done. This production seems to have it right.

  6. Hi Debra,
    I'll contact my 2 "chick flick" buddies and we'll put this on our list. My girlfriends and I are all anglophiles and see most British movies, especially those stories retold from great books.
    You might like the heartwarming movie, "About Time", It's such a fun and sweet film...Bill Nighy and Rachel McAdams (Richard Curtis latest, of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually fame).
    Enjoy your Thanksgiving my friend.

  7. Thomas Hardy is the author of my all-time favorite poem, The Darkling Thrush!
    Thank you for bringing this to our attention, my friend!
    Have lovely Thanksgiving!



  8. Such amazing places you visit, Debra and how fun to watch the filming of a movie. Looking forward to seeing this film when released. I somehow missed Blue Jasmine, but have it on my Net Flix list for this winter. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


  9. Very special places!! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Debra. Enjoy this day of gathering!

  10. Oh, excellent, I didn't know that a new version was being filmed. I can remember my joy on first reading the book and finding that it actually had a happy ending, the only one of Hardy's stories, I think, that doesn't end in misery!
    Some parts of the 'Untouchables' film is laugh out loud funny. I loved the trip to the opera and the dancing!


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