Tuesday, November 15, 2022

The English, BBC2 review — a stirring love letter to the great westerns

The English – English title


A 2021 British, U.S.A. television co-production film [Wolf Gate Productions LTD, Eight

     Rooks Ltd., Drama Republic, All 3 Media]

Producers: Elinor Blick, Hugo Blick, Emily Blunt, Greg Brenman, Mona Quareshi,

     Daniel Toland, Collin Written, Nicolás Tapia

Director: Hugo Blick

Story: Hugo Blick

Screenplay: Hugo Blick

Cinematography: Arnau Valls Colomer [color]

Music: Federico Jusid

Running time: 6 episodes x 60 minutes


Story: Set in the mythic mid-American landscape in the year of 1890, The English follows Cornelia Locke, an Englishwoman who arrives into the new and wild landscape of the West to wreak revenge on the man she sees as responsible for the death of her son. Upon meeting Eli Whipp, an ex-cavalry scout and member of the Pawnee Nation by birth, they join together and discover a shared history which must be defeated at all costs, if either of them are to survive.



Lady Cornelia Locke – Emily Blunt

Eli Whipp – Chaske Spencer

Thomas Trafford – Tom Hughes

Thin Kelly – Steve Wall (Stephen Wall)

Sheriff Robert Marshall - Stephen Rea (Graham Rea)

Martha Myers – Valerie Pachner

Billy Myers – Nicholas Aaron

Jed Myers – Walter Klink

Clay Jackson – Cristian Solimeno

David Melmont – Rafe Spall

Jerome McClintock – Julian Bleach

Red Morgan – Malcolm Storry

Kills on Water – William Belleau

Timothy Flynn – Miguel Alvarez

Black Eyed Mog – Nichola McAuliffe

Madoc Morgan – Kristian Philips

Keir Grant – Ian Pirie

Hans Steiger - Maarten Dannenberg

Herr Brubacher - Christian Stamm

Frau Brubacher – Julie Nash

John Clarke – Gary Farmer

Katie Clarke - Kimberly Guerrero

Evan Morgan – Arturo Vázquez

Rachel - Matilda Ziobrowski

Touching Ground – Tonantzin Carmelo

Flathead Jackson – Jack Klaff

Tap O’Neil – Tadhg Murphy

Cam McKewan – Jimmy Shaw

Major MacKay – Stuart Milligan

Captain Grann – Edward Cook

Captain Clegg – Jan Knightley

Captain Knox – Sule Rimi

Sergeant Ellroy – Andy Williams

Dutch Van de Lote – Ben Temple

Trooper Charlie White – Rod Rondeaux

Trooper Scott – Sam Alexander

Young White Moon – Corey Bird

Simon – Benjamin Victor

Hogarth Soloman – Adam Brown

Lead horseman – Cokey Falkow

Herr Steiner Maarten Dannenberg

Brubacher – Christian Stamm

Master of ceremonies – Jamie Wilkes

Tobias Biskind – Christian Patterson

Shotgun rider – Julian Nicholson

Driver – Alex Walton

Clegg – Jan Knightley

Drew - Jon Bermúdez

Sebold Cusk – Toby Jones

E.J. Jenson - Nathan Osgood

Grover Best – Tom Godwin

Richard M. Watts - Ciarán Hinds

Red Elk – Sheldon Peters Wolfchild

White Moon - Forrest Goodluck

Civilian woman in sheriff’s tend – Alba Enriquez

Piano tuner - Matthew Zajac

Stunt coordinators: Rebeca López Estacio, José Antonio Oña Sánchez, Domingo Beltrán

Stunts: Domingo Beltrán, Pablo Casillas, Samuel Icasto (Samuel Álvarez), Jeremy Oña, David Munoz Sacristan, Ricardo Rocca, Brandy Rodríguez, Chemi Hitos, Anton Kostov, William Monrabal Cook, Alicia Moreno, Iván Pérez Rodríguez, Juan José Rodríguez (Juan Gil)

Stunt double: Lorenzo Casares (Lorenzo Baturone) for Eli Whipp

Stunt double: Lucile Perez for Emily Blunt

Stunt double: Miguel Juzgado for Red Elk

Stunt double: Alicia Moreno for Tonantzin Carmelo

Emily Blunt and Chaske Spencer are two lost souls in search of meaning in this 1890s-set six-part drama

Financial Times

By Dan Einav

November 4, 2022

[‘Nothing fosters camaraderie quite like a shootout against cold-blooded mercenaries’]

In the 1960s we had the spaghetti western. Now the British film-maker Hugo Blick brings us the cream-tea western with his new BBC series about a patrician Englishwoman who traverses the American frontier of the 1890s in pursuit of her son’s killer.

The English is a six-part drama steeped in the storytelling traditions and visual vernacular of the genre. The tale it tells is a simple, time-honoured one of retribution, justice and self-determination, set in a landscape at once spare and stifling. But though our two heroes are the classic lost souls in search of meaning, they’re not exactly archetypal.

One is Lady Cornelia Locke (Emily Blunt), who may not be the first woman to make her mark in the machismo of the Old West, but is probably the first to do so from a family who “own half of Devon”. The other is Chaske Spencer’s Eli Whipp, a Pawnee native and former cavalry sergeant in the American army. That his identity and the broader historical context of this period is so foregrounded feels especially significant in a genre hardly renowned for its approach towards representation.

The duo first cross paths outside a standalone hotel where Cornelia emerges from a carriage, a shock of vital pink in an arid prairie, to find the manager (Ciarán Hinds) in the process of torturing Eli — who had been passing through on his quest to reclaim ancestral land in Nebraska. Her attempt to intervene is met with indifference by the stoic Eli and a beating from her host. This, they suggest, is no country for young women.

Those who underestimate Cornelia do so at their peril. She displays true grit in the face of the hotelier who, it transpires, plans to kill her until help comes in the form of Eli, fresh from escaping his own dramatic ordeal. He assures her that he was only acting in his own interest, and is seemingly unmoved by her plea for support on her revenge mission.

What follows is a treacherous cross-country journey in which the two forge an engaging rapport built on shared experiences of loss and existential uncertainty. And nothing fosters camaraderie quite like a shootout against cold-blooded mercenaries.

Between the exquisitely choreographed stand-offs — all twitching fingers and shifting eyes — the Morricone-inflected soundtrack, the sweeping vistas and the cool, broody dialogue, Blick delivers a stirring love letter to the great westerns of yesteryear. But this is as much a human drama as it is a laudable pastiche, driven by strong, textured characters who manage to stand out in the vast expanse. Amid the ubiquity of death, The English doesn’t forget to emphasise the richness and complexity of life.



On BBC2 from November 10 at 9pm and on Amazon Prime in the US from November 11

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