The Making of a Lady (TV Movie 2012) Poster

(2012 TV Movie)

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8/10
Rushed, but surprising
isabelle-frater6 January 2013
A lot of reviews say this is bad, but I didn't think so. Before watching, I had no knowledge of the story, just that it was a period piece. I'm glad for that, because it surprised me. It did start out as a love story, and just when I was settled to watching another period romance (I don't like romance), it suddenly became something different.

I admit, the story was a bit rushed. I don't know the original book, but maybe a two-part treatment would have been better. The beginning does start off at a good pace, but then suddenly everything seems to happen in a short space of time.

I have seen it compared to ITV's other period piece, Downton Abbey, but the comparison is completely wrong. While both have beautiful pictures, excellent costumes, and happen when women still wore long skirts, the similarities stop there. This is a TV movie, that is a long series. This is somewhat Gothic in feel, and centers around one woman, that has the character list that could be the length of one of my old school headmistresses' speeches (she was known for speaking for hours).

I thought the acting was done superbly. The main character, Emily, is played by Lydia Wilson, and she shows the required amount of gentle intelligence and slight naiveté that is required for the story. The other characters are sufficiently creepy, helped along by the equally creepy music.

I am going to read the book, and I'm sure the movie will wet other people's appetites as well. Partly because it feels like there should be more of the story.
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8/10
Excellent Film
daria-morgan-esq15 February 2014
I was also surprised by the negative reviews. I admit this movie is a bit different than most... but I was captured from the start. The first half is a wonderful romance followed up by rather a bizarre, if not particularly scary, horror type yarn. It is different but not bad.

Emily Fox Seaton is poor and works for the very haughty Lady Maria. Emily knows Lady Maria's nephew Lord James Walderhurst who is, older (50s) and looking for a wife. While doing a favor for Walderhurst and moving a particularly annoying potential bride away from him at dinner, Emily is fired by Lady Maria. Walderhurst, follows Emily home and asks her to marry him. His proposal is as romantic as nails with him basically saying... what choice do you have? Emily accepts and prepares herself for a loveless marriage and her "duty". Thankfully, the relationship unfolds in a tender and pleasing way and they come to share a steady mature love that I was rooting for.

But then, Walderhurst goes on a mission to India. Alone, pregnant, and living in a somewhat empty mansion 10 miles from the nearest village she is overjoyed when Walderhurst's cousin and his wife come to visit. Alec will inherit the estate if Walderhurst does not produce an heir and thus is not to be trusted, but Emily is lonely and wants to believe. Things get quite crazy from this point on in the "Lifetime" movie of the week vein. But it doesn't go on long and is very captivating.

I found the first half of this film very enjoyable so even if the second seems not your cup of tea I would recommend it.
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8/10
Nice Surprise...it's a suspense movie!
johnathindozer25 March 2015
I agreed to watch this one just for my girlfriend, so we could spend some quality time together, and it turned out to be pretty good. I was expecting a major yawn-fest about ladies in big hats drinking tea, but it actually had a very intriguing plot, full of deceit and attempted murder, etc.; it wasn't really an "edge of your seat" type of thriller, but it had enough to keep me interested throughout. The plot was somewhat original, although not entirely dissimilar from some of the other standard fare from this genre, such as Jane Eyre. It was also very well-acted and had good production values; the sets and locations looked very authentic and the background score was appropriate. In my opinion, it was an entertaining film.
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10/10
Loved it.
pastorjo200412 February 2014
I was shocked at the number of people who said they didn't enjoy this movie. When it first came on, I thought perhaps it was a new series. I was so relieved when an hour passed, and the plot kept going. I absolutely fell in love with the lead character. Now granted I was a college English major and later earned a Masters of Divinity. I do love the "Hand me a handkerchief" emotion which doesn't seem to reach recent literature. I have a passion for stories which take place in old England. Most of my favorite writers fall into the category of romance in the 1800's, early 1900's. I will very likely now read the book and buy the DVD. I am surprised I haven't run on to it before. Thank you for a beautiful job...such a relief from reality shows and bad comedies.
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4/10
The Making of a Lady?
timewhorl14 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I was recently shown this film by a friend and was very surprised by it, mainly because I am familiar with Frances Hodgson Burnett's other works: The Secret Garden and A Little Princess. I thought it a very strange story for her to have written and very out of character due to the suggestive content. I asked my friend if she had read the book, The Making of a Marchioness, and she said she had tried but found it very dry. As someone familiar with reading "antique" fiction, I decided to give it a try and I am very glad to have done so.

The Making of a Lady is quite the travesty of the authoress's original story. The film is a highly romanticized, sexed up affair that really should never have been made, no matter the high filming quality and excellent casting.

SPOILERS FOR THE BOOK AND FILM BELOW

Emily Fox-Seton is a kindly, good-natured, tall, big-boned woman of respected name but no means. Much of the book is given over to her friendship and boarding with Jane Cupp and her mother Mrs. Cupp, respectable ladies with a room to let. She does not live on a seedy part of town and all who meet her find her very sweet. Lady Maria invites dear Emily who is so indispensable as a secretary of sorts, to her home in the country where she meets Maria's cousin Lord James Walderhurst. He is a gentleman in his fifties who is rather dry and wear a monocle but must marry and produce an heir to his fortune. Of all the women he has met, he finds Emily to be the most complying and understandable and weds her in great style and pomp, for after all, her family name is still highly acceptable.

Lord Walderhurst's ungrateful heir apparent and relation Alec Osborn, his Anglo-Indian wife Hester, and her servant Ameerah come to live on the property in a beautifully fixed up house due to Emily's kind heart. Lord Walderhurst leaves as in the filmed version, for India and slowly Alec becomes enraged at all he will lose if Emily has a child. His own wife is pregnant and he desires to be his Lordship. Emily truly is pregnant and Alec plots murder through what appear to be accidents until Hester intervenes on a poisoned milk drink plot.

Emily leaves with her very loyal servant Jane Cupp and Mrs. Cupp and goes to live in London to await the return of his Lordship. The Osborns return to India following the birth of a daughter and James returns to find his wife having born him a healthy son, though gravely ill herself. His presence revives her (and leads him to realize his love for her) and all is well. In India, an "accident" happens to Alec with a loaded gun and he dies. Generous Emily calls Hester and the baby back to England, and all live happily ever after.

Apart from four very different murder attempts involving a ruined horse that Emily wisely does not ride, a bit of wood left at the top of the flight of stairs where she would walk, a broken rail on a bridge over a deep spot of water, and poisoned milk...one might not recognize the contrived and ruined story they dished out on film. The whole drugging with the milk and seduction of the maid Jane was pointless, as was his Lordship's undying love for Emily (no matter how touching). In reality he was married to her a good year before he realized his feelings could be love, as he is not sentimental. There is no passage between rooms, attempted strangulation, chaining of guns, brutal ride on a horse, murder of a servant and taking over of the house. Emily has the good sense to flee and take her loyal Jane with her and they completely removed her spine for this.

I give it 4 out of 10 stars for 4 reasons:

1 star for casting, which was well done. 1 star for costuming and sets, which were very accurate. 1 star for location filming. 1 star for filming quality.

The other 6 stars are missing because this is not even Ms. Burnett's story. While I do not expect adaptations to be word for word from the original novels, I do expect some of the original plot and behaviors of characters to remain. They could have changed the names and places and put it out like that...I assure you nobody who has read The Making of a Marchioness would have recognized it at all. It is a great disappointment and I hope that the next time it is adapted it will be handled with as much care as the recently produced Little Dorrit.
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8/10
Victorian Romance
deanofrpps15 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I was surprised to see the number of negative commentary on this made for TV film. Much of it I think fails to understand the limitations of the genre of the story book Victorian Romance.

A client once told me, "Middle class marriages of that era were all arranged; that is why they were more enduring!"

Of course in MAKING OF A LADY, we're dealing with the upper crust. In England, that's the landed aristocracy, enjoying its last hurrah in the time of the Queen-regnant Victoria.

In reality making of the Lady is two stories in one. The first story is how Emily is selected to become the Lady of the Manor.

Meet Emily Fox-Seton (Lydia Wilson) good-natured, tall, with a respected family name but no money. Boarding with the Cupps, mother and daughter, Emily acts as a as a secretary to Lady Maria Byrne. (Joanna Lumley). At Lady Marie's country home, Emily meets Maria's cousin Lord James Walderhurst, a retired 50 year old colonel.

Lord James is widower who needs to get marry and quickly produce an heir to his fortune. It's a set up and Emily elected. Notwithstanding a little hesitation, Emily trots off in white to wed Lord James in an impressive church service which concludes with the arch of swords.

Now, James for all his hurry proves to be a bit of a shy breeder, until he shows Emily the "priest hole," a secret passage that connects their rooms. Mission accomplished. Had the story ended there, this would be a cute Victorian Romantic comedy with the cheery assurance that life goes on.

Enter Part II: The struggle for the Family Estate. A critical facet of the Victorian Romance was the struggle for the family estate and wealth.

By the time James is recalled to service in India, Emily is pregnant. Against the advice of Jame's loyal servants who are abit frosty to Emily, Emily admits two of Jame's relatives: Captain Alec Osborn (James D'Arcy) and Alec's Anglo-Indian wife dark complexioned Hester Osborn (Hasina Haque) to the Estate. They stand to inherit the entire Estate if James and Emily are unsuccessful in producing a new generation of Walderhursts. There's an interesting play on words at work in Walder (forest) Hurst (treed hill) suggesting Emily is riding a slippery slope.

Naturally, Captain Alec, his Anglo-Indian wife and her Indian servant with the frightfully sounding name Ameerah though syrupy friendly to Emily at least initially hatch plot after plot against the pregnant Emily. James returns from India in the nick-of-time to keep Emily from being suffocated by the powerful servant Ameerah.

The art form is the Victorian romance: the conflict is preserving the family line. Told in the version adapted by MAKING OF A LADY, the forces of evil are the fallen cousin who is wasteful and profligate and has moved from the protection of the caste structure by marrying beneath his station.

There are variations on the basic structure of the Victorian Romance where the wife of the lord of the manor and a servant are plotting against order and stability of the realm. This sometimes takes the form of the Butler did it. A more modern version of this yarn might daringly make the Anglo-Indian wife of the spent-thrift poorer relative the heroine of the story.
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8/10
Surprisingly Enjoyable
KatharineFanatic20 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I admit, my first go-through I wasn't convinced. The plot seemed to rush forward with so much momentum that there wasn't a great deal of character development, and I found the characters themselves utterly obtuse. But, a second watch-through convinced me of what an enjoyable piece of Victorian drama this is -- beginning out with the makings of an unexpected love story (the love comes after marriage, in this case) and turning into a thriller. It won't win any awards but the costuming is gorgeous, the cast is surprisingly good (in spite of any romantic spark between the leads), and it's something I'll watch more than once. Try it, you may be surprised how enjoyable it is.
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7/10
Suspense at the Manor
atlasmb10 August 2015
Before watching this film, I knew nothing of the story. It proved to be about Emily Fox Seton (Lydia Wilson), a young English woman who married for financial security. As it progressed, it became a suspense story, with Lydia Wilson being the best part of the production.

The film includes beautiful scenery and settings. The music adds much to the film's mood. And the costuming is absolutely wonderful.

The narrative might have enchanted Alfred Hitchcock, with its foreboding images and a sense of claustrophobia that surrounds Emily as her circumstances change and she begins to feel helpless within her situation.

If you like beautifully filmed period pieces, I recommend this film to you.
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1/10
Worst Remake of a Good Novel For This or Any Year
bsullivan24-121 February 2014
I looked forward to seeing this film. Frances Hodgson Burnett's double novel, the Making of a Marchioness and Emily Fox Seton, is a fine minor Victorian work with excellently drawn characterizations and a good plot. The romance develops in a true-to-life fashion, and the author is careful in recognizing the contrast between the action and the expectations of convention at the time. This film production is a burlesque of what it ought to have been. Important characters have been deleted; others changed beyond recognition. The jarring anachronisms could easily have been avoided by following the book as written. The plot elements are impossible in too many ways to mention. The characters' behavior makes no sense. This is another work entirely, bearing no slight resemblance to the Burnett work, and vastly inferior. Even the characters' names are mangled.Why not make a film of the work after which it is titled? What a waste!
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2/10
1h 35min of horror film music
GQsm13 November 2016
It's pretty much from the start even though there is very little to warrant it but you basically end up with 1h 35min of horror film music. It gets very tiring very quickly. If you thought this was going to be the usual entertaining period drama the UK puts out regularly think again. I was forced to watch it but if you manage to make half way through by choice expect to start shouting in irritation at the far fetched ridiculousness more and more as the movie continues. You hope it will get better as the film goes on but it gets worse. Add in a load of randomly unexplained or uncompleted plot points for the final nail. Don't waste your time in my opinion.
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4/10
Clichéd nonsense that passes the time if you're feeling forgiving
Leofwine_draca22 December 2012
THE MAKING OF A LADY is a 2012 ITV adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel, THE MAKING OF A MARCHIONESS. Being entirely unfamiliar with the story, I sat down to check it out, and ended up watching a television film of two parts.

The first half is an entirely conventional romance between ANY HUMAN HEART's Lydia Wilson (keeping her clothes on this time around) and Linus Roache, playing almost exactly the same role as the one in ITV'S TITANIC shown earlier this year. The look, the feel, the script, everything is familiar and safe.

The second half moves into unfamiliar territory as the plot gradually develops into a mystery/thriller, somewhere along the lines of a Wilkie Collins novel. I don't mind a bit of melodrama, but this ends up just as clichéd and predictable as the first half, albeit in a different genre. The would-be villains aren't menacing in the least and there's a pantomime feel to the whole production.

In the end, I didn't buy it. I appreciate the thought and effort that went into this, and I always like new productions of the more unfamiliar classics, but THE MARKING OF A LADY has zero style and not much else to recommend it.
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1/10
very very bad middle to end
wendyco7144 February 2015
I literally have never written a review but this is an awful movie. Well not all of it, but the part that is...it's just bad.

It started out quite nice, fell in love with the main character, until the plot twist began and they made her into one of the most stupid characters I've ever seen. It's really a shame. Every decision she makes is more stupid than the next. And how they story is made into a climax and the resolution events, they are all just horrid. I'm an avid movie watcher, in particular, movies of this style. This is by far the worst. It's a shame. It really is. I am not sure if the novel makes the main character appear as "delusionally" dumb as the movie did, but I am not a fan.

That said....I was able to make it through the movie...but it did seriously make me cringe at how bad it was. The ending is not too bad...I guess -_- I didn't understand why it has 4.5/5 stars on netflix..it barely deserves a 3/5.

Ps. cannot shout in your review? umm...OK?
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7/10
I liked it
blanche-210 August 2015
I guess a lot of people didn't like this movie. It's a standard Victorian story and follows along those lines.

It's 1901. Emily (Lydia Seton) is a young woman with the position of temporary secretary to Lady Maria Byrne (Joanna Lumley). At the urging of her nephew, Lord James Walderhurst (Linus Roache), Emily changes place cards at a dinner, which is held to introduce suitable women to him.

He doesn't like any of them and can't stand the thought of sitting next to one of them. Because of this, Emily is not hired for the permanent secretarial position she wanted.

Lord Walderhurst walks her home and proposes a marriage of convenience. He is a widower and he has to produce an heir, or the family fortune goes to a ne'er do well cousin, Alec (James D'Arcy).

Emily agrees to marry him, and she invites her former roommate Jane (Sarah Ridgeway) to live there as her maid. James has always cared for Emily; now Emily develops feelings for him.

When he has to join his regiment in India for a while, Alec and his part-Indian wife (Hasina Haque) bring Emily a letter in which James has asked them to take care of her. They move in.

There are some stupid things here. The first one is that Emily knows that James can't stand this guy, even if Emily thinks they're a nice couple. And she does realize soon enough that he didn't write that letter, but she doesn't throw them out. They are in debt and people are chasing them, they explain.

The second thing Emily does is tell Alec that she can't swim. Bad.

Then Emily becomes pregnant. At first she hides it, but after nearly fainting, she tells them that she is. Now we're talking death knell for Alec inheriting.

When Alec becomes ill (maybe, maybe not) his wife brings in an Indian nurse, Ameerah, who starts giving Emily tonics. Like anyone would drink those things. When Alec gets well, he seduces Jane. Great, now Emily is all alone, and now -- NOW she realizes she's in danger.

I still liked this because it had an element of suspense, the woman in danger thing one has in these stories. I also agree that she couldn't be more stupid. As the article "The Making of a Lady is Preposterous and Proud of It" says, everyone does these things with a straight face.

I never realized Linus Roache was British until this. I think he's a good actor, showing us that this is a gentle, good man, who wants his wife to be happy. James D'Arcy is both sweet and menacing when he needs to be. Lydia Seton is very low key and quite good, keeping the style of the period.

Beautifully photographed, this can be a laughfest with its absurd situations and racist views toward Indians, but it does have an element of interest, in part due to the fine acting.
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10/10
Very nice
lemagicienbergier1 January 2018
I perfectly enjoyed both part, first romantic victorian tale and the second, dark, horror story. Actors were excellent, and me, not-lover of Pride and prejudice-like tales, the first part was totally breathtaking. Great chemistry. Very much liked Linus Roache...and Lydia Wilson, too.
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