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Fortunes of War – #2/7 – Romania: January 1940 – Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson


Fortunes of War is a 1987 BBC television adaptation of Olivia Manning’s cycle of novels Fortunes of War. It stars Kenneth Branagh as Guy Pringle, lecturer in English Literature in Bucharest during the early part of the Second World War, and Emma Thompson as his wife Harriet. Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson met filming the TV series and married in real life. Other cast members included Ronald Pickup, Robert Stephens, Alan Bennett, Philip Madoc and Rupert Graves. The series stays relatively faithful to the original novels, with no notable departures from their plot.

This episode

Commander Sheppey holds a clandestine meeting to plot against the authorities. Guy feels guilty about not being on active service and is determined to do something productive. When he cancels a lunch arrangement with Harriet, she is worried about his whereabouts. Clarence Lawson happily entertains a lonely Harriet. Concern for Sasha Drucker and his family intensifies when they go missing and Harriet takes in a stray cat. When Guy and Harriet spend a weekend in the mountains, the feckless Yakimov is left looking after their flat, with tragic consequences. Guy has ambitious plans to stage a production of Troilus and Cressida but casting causes dissent. During the after-show celebration, Dobson makes a disturbing announcement about the political situation. Harriet and Guy encounter an old friend who is in desperate need of their assistance.

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