The impression I have taken away from the first episode is rather different. That it is not afraid to take its time is a pleasurable relief. The dimness of scenes at night or in enclosed, windowless spaces contrast not only dramatically in terms of light and cinematography, but in terms of the narrative and characters up on the screen. This flows naturally out of how the visual adaptation meshes these period light and dark realities with Mantell's third person intrusive narrative style, and her Cromwell's memory sweeps back-and-forth through time. I'm guessing that the scenes featuring King Henry or Anne Boleyn in this first episode will, as the series progresses, become darker for them both.
|Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn with Damian Lewis as King Henry VIII. Lewis is a terrific choice for King Henry as I've never gotten over him as the loathsome Soames in The Forsyte Saga. This is a terrific still from "Three Card Trick" because one of the exaggerated cods of the period is evident, which are part of the series' costuming, though they were all hidden under the skirts and voluminous layers designed for the actors.|
|Claire Foy as Kate Balfour in Crossbones.|
However, though Cromwell rode to success and power the king's and Boleyn's obsession to be married legally, I'm not sure he particularly liked Anne, or cared about her at all. He couldn't afford to, of course. It was the king he served. Second, Wolf Hall is Cromwell's story, not Boleyn's or even King Henry's. So Boleyn and the king -- and Thomas More -- are as Cromwell perceives them within his own arc, which I, as viewer, must keep in mind.
|Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall|
|Anton Lessor, playing Thomas More in Wolf Hall.|
Thus a man whose wishes to become necessary to a king's administration and exchequer cannot be overtly projecting an image of himself as a weapon ready to strike anyone and anywhere anytime. This is particularly true if one is baseborn, surrounded by noble enemies.
I personally appreciate very much this approach of Rylance to Cromwell's character.
Yes, Wolf Hall, particularly because of Rylance, bodes well. I will also enjoy being able to watch it without a week's interruption when it's on dvd.
About the costuming:
This was an era of worse than usual cold, as well as when men were men, who supposedly exhibited their most manly of their manly selves in war and combat, so all the bulk of the clothes. But all those bare bosoms, FREEZING!