That Forsyte Woman (1949)

That Forsyte Woman (1949), directed by Compton Bennett.

Rich adaptation of the first part of The Forsyte Saga. It's all relationships, conversations, and the shuffle of partners: soap opera of a superior sort. Galsworthy won a Nobel Prize for Literature, and the film/TV adaptations have all been well done.

It will be of most interest to people who already know the story but dull for anyone else. Like any well-established mythology (Shakespeare's plays, Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood) we watch the same stories over and over again just to see how a new treatment looks. I've been wanting to see this one for years because of the older Errol Flynn's rare opportunity for a dramatic role.

This is just an unrestored Warner Archive title, but the Technicolor image sometimes has amazing dimensionality.

The characters:

This version skips a key event: Soames wants a son and Irene is cold, locking her door against him. One night he uses force, an act which is never forgiven. The consequences reverberate down the decades: in the next generation the young people try to reconstruct the ancient history of the two branches of the family: What is this feud about? Why are we not allowed to know each other?

The books have been done twice as miniseries:

If you want an intro to the story, the 2002 version is well done, although the 1967 series is more complete. I read the books after seeing both. My secret to plowing through massive tomes that would be sleep-inducing at bedtime: audiobooks. You can be driving or doing chores and still go all Galsworthy.

Warner Archive title, available for rent from ClassicFlix.