|"Bernard has a big home|
...he is inclined to be rich.
Oh indeed said Ethel looking
at some cows flashing past the window."
- 'The Young Visiters', Chapter 2
In 2004 or 2005 my family stumbled across The Young Visiters (2003) when it was shown on the BBC America channel. Although we'd never heard of it and didn't know quite what to expect, someone had the forethought to pop in a VHS tape and record it. We watched it many times before I was finally able to buy a DVD copy. This delightful film is now a family favorite, one that we still watch and quote from often. There are is a lot of period drama goodness, a witty screenplay and amazing talented actors. Unfortunately not too many seem to know about this little gem.
|"Mr. Salteena was an elderly man of 42 and was fond |
of asking people to stay with him."
- 'The Young Visiters', Chapter 1
Storyline: In England 1890, nine-year-old Daisy Ashford penned this delightful tale of Victorian life from her point of view. It gathered dust until when it was found and delivered to publishers who keeping young Daisy's original spellings and lack of punctuation printed it in 1919. It delighted readers and has not been out of print in England since that time. Her hero, Alfred Salteena, is a slightly bumbling gentleman who meets a young lady, Ethel Montague, on a train and invites her to his home in London. She comes to see society and meet young men and bothers him to go out and meet important people. They travel to see Lord Bernard Clark at his rambling family home. There Alfred realizes that he is not "high society" enough to win the beautiful social climber Ethel. Lord Bernard offers to send him to a training school to help gentlemen improve themselves, while he entertains Ethel.
|"I shall put some red ruge on my face said Ethel because |
I am very pale owing to the drains in this house."
- 'The Young Visiters', Chapter 2
"Then Mr. S. opened the box and there lay the most splendid top hat
of a lovely rich tone rather like
grape with a ribbon round compleat."
- 'The Young Visiters', Chapter 1
|"He was a lonely man in a remote spot and he liked peaple and partys |
but he did not know many."
- 'The Young Visiters', Chapter 1 (about Lord Bernard)
Music: In keeping with the period atmosphere as well as adding charm and humor, composer Nicholas Hooper's original music for The Young Visiters (2003) is lovely! Mr. Hooper is no stranger to period dramas having written the soundtracks for The Way We Live Now as well as some of the Harry Potter films. Another delightful addition is the very talented Mr. Hugh Laurie who portrays Lord Bernard sings as well as playing the piano. His song is supposed to be monotonous but I, like Ethel, rather enjoy it.
|"Here on a golden chair was seated the prince of Wales in a lovely ermine cloak and a small but costly crown."|
- 'The Young Visiters, Chapter 6
Actors You Might Recognize: Another lovely thing about the The Young Visiters (2003) is the amount of talented actors who they cast. Many of these actors are well versed in period dramas and did a wonderful job in portraying Daisy Ashford's characters.
- Jim Broadbent as Alfred Salteena - Not only was he wonderful as the bumbling Mr. Salteena but Mr. Brodabent was also an executive producer for this film. His many period drama films include: The Young Victoria, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Nicholas Nickleby, Widows' Peak, Vanity Fair, Enchanted April, Princess Caraboo, and Silas Marner (1985).
- Hugh Laurie as Lord Bernard Clark - With his wide blue eyes, charming accent, incrediable acting talent and wonderful comedic timing Mr. Hugh Laurie is perfect as Lord Bernard. It's always fun to hear his real accent (in stead of his good but fake American accent) and to see him in period films. His other period films include Sense and Sensibility (1995), Jeeves & Wooster (TV Series) and The Man in the Iron Mask.
- Lyndsey Marshal as Ethel Monticue - Although not fair haired as the book describes Miss Marshal does a wonderful job of keeping Ethel's childlike out look and reactions. She's sweet and feisty and precocious as the authoress herself. Her other period films include: Poirot: Cards On The Table, Marple: Murder Is Easy, The Shadow In The North and Garrow's Law.
- Bill Nighy as Earl of Clincham - As Mr. Salteena's chief instructor and helper on his road to becoming a true gentleman, the Earl of Clincham has many oddities but is extremely practical. Mr. Nighy has starred in many period dramas, some of my favorites are: He Knew He Was Right, The Lost Prince, Glorious 39, Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End, Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest .
- Sophie Thompson as Bessie Topp - Young Bessie is a maid who forms a bit of a crush on Alf when he stays at the Crystal Palace with the Earl of Clincham. Any fan of the Jane Austen adaptations may remember Sophie from her roles as Mary Musgrove in Persuasion (1995) and as Miss Bates in Emma (1996). Her other period dramas include: Nicholas Nickleby (2002), A Room With A View (2007) and Poirot: Hallowe'en Party.
- Sally Hawkins as Rosalind - As Mr. Salteena's hardworking, "bronkitis" afflicted maid Sally Hawkins makes a very sad but still comical figure. Her scenes are at the very beginning of the film but she makes quite an impact. Her most famous period drama role is probably as Anne Elliot in Persuasion (2007), but she's been in a few others and I look forward to seeing her as Aunt Reed in the newest Jane Eyre adaptation.
- Adam Godley as Procurio - Although very mysterious and a bit of a riddle, Procurio is the butler who helps Mr. Salteena on his journey to becoming a true gentleman. Adam Godley isn't as well known as others but is easily recognizable in period dramas such as The Old Curiosity Shop (2007), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Marple: The Secret of Chimneys.
- Simon Russell Beale as Prince of Wales - Though not quite as well known some of my readers may recognize him as Charles Musgrove in Persuasion (1995). I also enjoy his roles in An Ideal Husband and Hamlet (1996).
- Anne Reid as Mrs. Monticue - Quite a small role but Anne Reid is lovely as Ethel's mother at the beginning and end of the film. Other period dramas include: Upstairs, Downstairs (2010), Marple: Nemesis, Jane Eyre (2006) and Bleak House.
- Geoffrey Palmer as Minnit - I'm so used to seeing Mr. Palmer in older British comedies (such as alongside Judi Dench in As Time Goes By) that seeing him as Lord Bernard's stuck-up butler surprised as well as delighted me. Other period dramas he's starred in include He Knew He Was Right, Poirot: The Clocks, Peter Pan, Dickens, Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown, and The Madness of King George.
- Guy Henry as Mr. Domonic - Honestly I don't remember his appearance in this film which is too bad. I really enjoy him as Mr. John Knightley in Emma (1997) and he's just plain creepy as Mr. Collins in Lost In Austen. He's also has roles in Lady Jane and more recently in Poirot: The Clocks.
|"When will you marry me Ethel he uttered you must be my wife it has come to that I love you so intensly that if you say no I will perforce dash my body to the brink of yon muddy river he panted wildly."|
- 'The Young Visiters', Chapter 9
My Recommendations: Do see and enjoy The Young Visiters (2003). It is so delightful and fun, especially for those period drama fans out there it will be a breath of fresh air. And I also highly recommend reading Daisy Ashford's original work and considering it a classic. I highly recommend The Young Visiters!
Have you ever heard of The Young Visiters?
Have you seen this film? or have you ever read the book?
Who is your favorite character?
Very Truly Your's,