Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The post-Russell round-up!

Most of you are well aware of this, but for the benefit of our irregular or non-US readers, The Russell Girl starring Jennifer Ehle aired in America on Sunday.

  • Jonathan Storm of The Philadelphia Inquirer considered Ms Ehle's performance to be of 'Emmy-nomination caliber':
[...] Hallmark Hall of Fame's "The Russell Girl," though fictional drama, insightfully explores gripping themes of real life. ... Fine acting, particularly from Amber Tamblyn and Jennifer Ehle, breathes life into it... Watch double Tony-winner Ehle... get a supporting-actress Emmy nomination for this gripping performance. [...]
[...] a compelling, superbly acted film about people and the real life that can stomp all over their happily ever after. ... Scribe Jill Blotevogel's teleplay strikes all of the proper melodramatic notes, her dialogue infusing the characters with a stark authenticity. All of the players turn in fine work in a project that deftly shines a light on the humanity of scarred souls [...]
  • Tom Jicha of Freep was much less enthusiastic, but even he noted 'a strong supporting turn by Jennifer Ehle'.

  • In the blogosphere, viewers report being left in a range of emotional states after seeing the show, from the pleasantly tearful to the disappointingly depressed, the drained and lastly the unsatisfied-because-the-news-interrupted-the-ending. Another viewer was torn between Masterpiece's Mansfield Park and The Russell Girl, so gave equal attention to both, describing Ms Ehle in the latter as 'excellent, of course'. (A reminder that Pride and Prejudice will be shown as part of the Masterpiece extravaganza on Sunday February 10, 9-11pm EST on PBS).

  • The Russell Girl has also been credited with causing CBS to win the eyeballs race on Sunday night. Zap2it more specifically note that:
[...] "The Russell Girl" drew an 8.8/14 for CBS at 10 p.m., easily beating NBC's record-breakers, 4.1/7, and a "Brothers & Sisters" rerun, 3.2/5, on ABC. [...]

Luckily, Mediaweek explain it using more digestable figures:

[...] CBS followed up with a special Hallmark Hall of Fame movie The Russell Girl from 9 to 11, which averaged 12.7 million viewers. [...]

Alternatively, see bythenumbers for a more comprehensive channel/program breakdown.

  • Incidentally, residents of Stouffville, Ontario - one of The Russell Girl's filming locations - were reminded to tune in as well to see their town on the small screen.
  • Thankfully, Hallmark will be selling The Russell Girl on DVD from February 1 for $19.98, although it seems that delivery is only available within the US at this point in time. (Thanks to qqazz for letting us know).

In non-Russell news:

  • The ATW's Downstage Center radio interview with Tom Stoppard is now online. Ex-Utopian Richard Easton is also the next scheduled interviewee.
  • Packetonline briefly review Oscar and the Pink Lady starring Rosemary Harris, while the British Telegraph briefly profile the actress as part of their regular feature on cinema's unsung heroes.

  • Also, read a brilliant piece on Sir Tom's travelling habits by the New York Times if you want to see what happens when you cross a suitcase with a library. (Note: I want one!)

  • Lastly, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette describe Utopia director Jack O'Brien's induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame. They also answer a question that has been puzzling me for some time - how old he is. (An unbelievable 68, it turns out!) They also reveal an interesting piece of advice that Mr O'Brien issued to the Utopia cast at the beginning of their project:
[...] In rallying his huge cast for "Utopia," O'Brien told them, "you're going to be together for over six months. You are a group of enormously attractive people. Proceed with caution!" [...]

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