Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Delightful Amanda Root

Ever since the first time I watched Persuasion (1995) I have become a big fan of actress Amanda Root who was perfectly delightful as Anne Elliot. I've enjoyed her appearances in other period dramas, each acted out with the same attention to detail and talent.

She was a very kind and encouraging teacher for Jane as Miss Temple in Jane Eyre (1996). Her Persuasion co-star actress Fiona Shaw (Mrs. Croft) was also in this adaptation as a very snooty Mrs. Reed.

As Mrs. Davilow she was a tender and thoughtful mother to Ramola Garai's Gwendolen Harleth in Daniel Deronda (2002).

A couple other appearances I had forgotten about:

In the BBC's 2002 miniseries The Forsyte Saga, and it's 2003 follow-up The Forsyte Saga: To Let, Ms. Root played a bit of a spoiled and frivilous young lady Winifred Forsyte-Dartie, fondly called Freddie by her spendthrift husband Monty.

Amanda Root also shone as Alice Hoschedé in The Impressionists (2006) alongside Richard Armitage who played Claude Monet. If I remember Alice and Claude were in love and lived together but never married. I don't recommend this miniseries but I found it interesting that she got to act with "Mr. Thornton"!

Now onto what made me think to do this post! I recently saw Ms. Root's appearances in two TV movies: Poirot: Mrs. McGinty's Dead and Midsomer Murders: A Talent For Life. She was lovely in both and I was able to get some screen captures from each.

In Mrs. McGinty's Dead Amanda played Sheila Rendell, a country doctor's wife who is quite a recluse, scatterbrained and nervy.

I really enjoyed this scene where Hercule Poirot is interviewing Mrs. Rendell. The lovely Amanda Root and the incomparable David Suchet - two of my favorite actors in the same scene!

She didn't have a huge appearance but she was delightful as always! In this scene burning letters to protect her husband's reputation.

She had a few lovely 1930's outfits, pretty curly hairstyles and a beautiful string of pearls! Sheila Rendell's husband is no Captain Wentworth though. It was so lovely to watch this film again, I had really forgotten Amanda's role in this mystery!

Oh, and I loved this scene from the end of the film, a young couple's blossoming romance to cheer the heart after a horrible murder. This scene reminded me of the below scene from Persuasion:

A sea Captain and his sweet lady! Lovely!

Lately I've been watching quite a few Midsomer Murders and I've been very surprised by the number of "period actors" who keep popping up in many of the episodes. I'm so used to seeing Amanda Root in period dramas that when she popped up in A Talent For Life I couldn't help but stare!

Ms. Root plays Ruth Scholey the wife of a chef who's husband is an extremely jealous and suspicious man. This episode was filmed in 1997 not too long after Persuasion and Ms. Root is as lovely as ever. I forgot how beautiful she actually is with her large dark eyes and gentle smile!

One scene I found particularly interesting was this shot of Ms. Root fixing her hair and make-up infront of her vanity because it reminded me of the below scene from Persuasion:

Darling Anne Elliot!

Another funny thing - James Hazeldine a former Mr. Weston from Emma (1996) played Ruth Scholey's old flame who re-enters her life after her husband is murdered.

Remember this very gallant father of Frank Churchill? He's probably my favorite Mr. Weston.

There was another actor who was in this particular Midsomer Murder and I didn't recognize him until halfway through the episode. Who is he? Philip Franks was the faithful and gentle servant Tom Pinch in Martin Chuzzlewit (if you've never see that miniseries it's highly recommend it!). It was funny because he turned out to be the murderer but I had this sense all through the episode that he was actually a really nice guy, obviously I was thinking of the Tom Pinch character!

She was lovely in this as always, though the character was not always the most forthcoming. I don't always recommend this modern murder mystery series but there are some interesting stories and characters.

Amanda Root is very versitile but most of her characters seem to have that underlying sweetness that comes from the actress's own personality in delivering the lines. Her smile is the loveliest and she carries herself with elegance. I hope to see Ms. Root in many other period dramas in future, she has a lot of talent and I just really enjoy her!

Thanks for bearing with me through this little ramble on one of my favorite actresses. Who are your favorite period actors and actresses?

Hope you're having a great week as we near Thanksgiving!

Very Truly Your's


kenneth said...

it was so nice to read your lovely comments on Amanda.
From a proud mum. Maureen Root.

Catherine said...

I like your post about Amanda Root. She is one of my favorites. She is so lovely and talented. I actually found your blog when I did a Google search on her. I enjoy your blog. It has class and grace.

Anonymous said...

If you get a chance to watch the TV series Love on a Branch Line, she has a small but significant part in each epidsode, and triumphs in the end... ;-)

catherine said...

I watched Love on a Branch Line as you recommended. She, of course, was wonderful. She is always the best part of any film or tv production she is involved with.

Anonymous said...

I also found your blog through doing a Google search on Amanda Root. She really is a standout actress; I especially enjoyed her performance in Anna Karenina; she brought life, light, and laughter to an otherwise dark story. She is remarkably energetic in each of her roles.

Anonymous said...

I have just seen Amanda in the stage play Jumpy in the Duke of York theatre until November. She and the rest of the cast were superb.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely article on one of my favorite actresses! Thank you for the photos and references. Now I will be able to find her in other films. Janice

Clinton Staley said...

I've enjoyed Ms Root in every role I've seen her in, and especially liked her portrayal of Anne Elliot in the 1995 film. The character seems to be a difficult one to portray in film, since her social standing in the story offers her little spoken dialog, and so much of her strength of character comes across via Austen's third-person narrative, which is lacking in a film. Ms Root and her director did an excellent job of conveying Anne's attractive character via a series of well chosen visual vignettes and brief bits of dialog in the first 30 minutes of the film. Excellent acting!

Cliff Clifford said...

I had the good fortune to 'bump' into Amanda Root on the tube yesterday.

She was/is charming - and very pretty!

Henry said...

I have fallen madly in love with Amanda. Oh those eyes! Loved her in Persuasion, The Impressionists, A Taste for Life, Daniel Deronda, Jane Eyre, and other, smaller roles.

Henry said...

I just viewed 'A Taste for Life" for a second time. Amanda, I LOVE the longer hair. You are always gorgeous, but that hair is something else again.

Henry said...

I've just finished viewing Amanda in a film called "Breaking The Code" in which she had a principal role opposite Derek Jacobi. She was magnificent as a woman in love with a man she could never have. The last scene was strangely reminiscent of the ending of "A Taste For Life" where Amanda's character muses about a mistake she's made in her choice of mate.

Henry said...

I first saw "The Man Who Cried" six years ago, before I became such an avid fan of Amanda's work. I viewed it again last night on DVD (Acorn Media). She had a leading role in a complex and emotional story. Very excellent acting! For those who want to see Amanda in substantial leading roles, rather than single scenes (like Iron Lady) "The man Who Cried" is a must-see.

Henry said...

Last night I viewed a program titled "Fifty Ships". It's Episode 1 of Season 2 of "Foyle's War". Amanda gave a very emotionally powerful performance as Christopher Foyle's first love who rejected his proposal for marriage under pressure from her father. Amanda was as compelling and gorgeous as ever.

Henry said...

If Amanda lovers would like to see her playing a very different kind of character, they should see her supporting role in a program called "Another Life". It's Season 11, Episode 1 of "A Touch of Frost." This role is a testimony to Amanda's ability to play a wide range of characters. It's available through online streaming from Netflix.

LittleDreamer said...

I found your blog while researching Amanda Root. I just rewatched both Persuasion and The Forsyte Saga and was reminded what a remarkable actress Amanda is. I'm so happy to find everyone's AR suggestions and can't wait to watch more. Thanks for such a wonderful blog!

Henry said...

I just finished watching "The Forsyte Saga" for the second time. I viewed it back when it was originally released and enjoyed it then, although I must admit I found Season 1 more compelling than Season 2. Perhaps I was suffering from "saga-fatigue". Since my purpose in viewing it again was mostly to recapture more scenes featuring our Amanda, I was highly motivated to stay the course and was not disappointed. Winnifred (Amanda) is featured in supporting roles through each of the 10 episodes and is enchanting as always.

Henry said...

Last night I saw Amanda in a supporting role from 1994 in a religious documentary TV film named "Hildegard". Yes, that's our Amanda hanging upside down from a tree in the opening scene. In the beginning I was a bit surprised to see Patricia Routledge in a dramatic role since I'm most accustomed to seeing her in "Keeping Up Appearances". As always, Amanda presented her role beautifully, although sadly for her fans, she only appears in the first half of the program.

Henry said...

Yesterday evening I saw Amanda play a supporting role in a television adaptation of P. D. James's mystery "Original Sin" with Roy Marsden playing Commander Dagleish. As always, Amanda inhabited her character convincingly and added strongly to the magnetism of the plot. I found out yesterday that Amanda is married. Sigh! ;-(

Une petite Indienne said...

I found your delightful blog while doing a web search on Amanda Root. I just watched A talent for life again last night and was reminded yet again of what a lovely and talented actress Ms Root is. She is the heart of any production she stars in. This episode had a good number of excellent actors but with her mesmerizing eyes and soft, melodious voice, she was captivating! But her role as Anne Elliot is my all-time favorite. Whenever I re-read Persuasion, it's her image that I envision Anne as.

catsinboxes said...

I just watched Persuasion again, and I loved Amanda Root. I was wondering what else she was in, and I loved your overview in this post. Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful actress who has it all.
Good luck for the future Amanda

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