I picked up the miniseries Gormenghast at the library and watched it this weekend with the family. This is a 232 minute BBC series (in 2000) based on the ‘trilogy’ (as it often called) by Mervyn Peake.
I tried to read Titus Groan, the first book. when I was an adolescent because I found the artwork and scope appealing but I couldn’t get into the text then. Seeing this miniseries has certainly made me feel like making the attempt again (I just put a hold on the Overlook Press omnibus edition of the main novels at the library).
This is very well cast cinematic effort and uses a very interesting underwater model technique to give Gormenghast castle a larger-than-life, surreal look. The set design, too, is often bizarre but the whole thing works together. I saw many impressive performances that are likely to stay with me for quite a while (the twin sisters Clarice & Cora Groan, for example, exquisitely played by Zoë Wanamaker & Lynsey Baxter or Flay wonderfully done by Christopher Lee). The great humour in the story is not, at first, obvious but starts to work on you as you learn more about the characters. It certainly could bear a second watching by me.
I recommend it very highly and was delighted to have been so surprised by it!


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