The Ginger Tree (TV series)

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The Ginger Tree
TheGingerTreeDVD.jpg
GenrePeriod drama
Based onThe Ginger Tree by Oswald Wynd
Written byChristopher Hampton
Directed byAnthony Garner
Morimasa Matsumoto
StarringSamantha Bond
Daisuke Ryu
Adrian Rawlins
Fumi Dan
Joanna McCallum
Composer(s)Dominic Muldowney
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes4
Production
Executive producer(s)Marilyn Hall
Alan Shallcross
Rebecca Eaton
Naonori Kawamura
Producer(s)Timothy Ironside-Wood
Running time50 minutes
Production company(s)Hallet Street Productions
NHK Japan
WGBH Boston for BBC
Release
Original networkBBC1
Picture format4:3
Audio formatMono
Original release26 November (1989-11-26) –
17 December 1989 (1989-12-17)

The Ginger Tree is a BBC's four-part TV adaptation, based on Oswald Wynd's novel of the same name, adapted by Christopher Hampton and directed by Anthony Garner and Morimasa Matsumoto. Originally aired on BBC1 from 26 November to 17 December 1989, starring Samantha Bond as Mary MacKenzie, Daisuke Ryu as Count Kentaro Kurihama and Adrian Rawlins as Captain Richard Collingsworth.

It was the first High Definition serial to be made for the BBC, although it has never been broadcast in HD by the BBC nor given an HD release. The series was broadcast in the U.S. on the PBS series Masterpiece Theatre in 1990. It was produced in 1125/60i and recorded using 4 D1 digital video recorders.

The series won the 1990 BAFTA for Best Video Lighting (by Clive Thomas) and for the Best Video Cameraman (by Ron Green), Michael Young was nominated for Best Design, Michael Burdle was nominated for Best Costume Design, and Stan Pow was nominated for Best VTR Editor.

Plot[edit]

In 1903, Mary McKenzie travels to Manchuria to join her fiancé. After her marriage she finds her husband is indifferent to her and her needs and she falls in love with a married Japanese nobleman. She bears him a son and is subsequently forced to leave China for Japan. She must carve out a life for herself in Japanese society as both a Westerner and a woman.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

After Scots actress Hannah Gordon had read the play on Scottish radio, she attempted to have the book adapted by the BBC. There were three Hollywood options which failed to be realized. Retired actress Juliet Gitterman took an interest in the book and raised money for its production. After a number of false starts, the project was completed.[1]

The Ginger Tree, a co-production of the BBC and the NHK network of Japan,[2] was the first High Definition serial to be made for the BBC, although it has never been broadcast in HD by the BBC nor given an HD release. It was produced in 1125/60i and recorded using 4 D1 digital video recorders.

Reception[edit]

The New York Times wrote of the series "Despite several fine performances, The Ginger Tree turns out to be unabsorbing. The East-meets-West aspects of the story are handled intelligently. The on-location effects are often splendid. But the overall production is plodding and curiously sluggish.".[2] Howard Rosenberg, writing for the Los Angeles Times, agreed and wrote the series "is a slow-evolving come-on with a disappointing payoff." While he praised the first two episodes, the production, and Samantha Bond's performance, he wrote of the final episodes: "As Mary gains assurance, the drop-off in intensity is dramatic. There is simply never any doubt where this part of the story is taking you or how it will arrive there. It's an unsatisfying resolution to a drama that begins so promisingly."[3]

Media releases[edit]

The complete series on DVD in a 2-disc set was released by Simply Media on 25 April 2016.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tracing the roots of The Ginger Tree". The Herald. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b O'Connor, John J. "In Which an Unhappy Wife Is Unhappier as a Concubine". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  3. ^ Rosenberg, Howard. "The Ginger Tree: Culture Clash". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  4. ^ "The Ginger Tree: Complete Series [DVD]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 25 March 2017.

External links[edit]