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Land Girls (DVD Review)

21 Sep, 2010 By: Angelique Flores

Street 9/28/10
$39.98 two-DVD set
Not rated.
Stars Summer Strallen, Christine Bottomley.

The Women’s Land Army was formed during the world wars in England. The organization placed civilian women to work on farms, replacing the men who were fighting in the military. These women were known as “land girls.”

This five-part miniseries is set during World War II in England and centers on land girls Annie, Bea, Joyce and Nancy. They work for the wealthy, arrogant Ellen Hoxley (Sophie Ward) and her sympathetic, gentle husband Lawrence Hoxley (Nathaniel Parker).

Through just five episodes, the main characters suck you in to their drama that is just as exciting as a soap opera, without the outrageousness. From episode one, each character is well-defined, and by the end of the series you see the changes and growth that have occurred in each of them.

Annie’s husband is fighting in the war. Though her relationship with him is rocky, he saved her and her younger sister Bea from their abusive father. Teenage Bea, meanwhile, is impregnated by an American soldier, much to the dismay of the farmer’s son, Billy, who is in love with her. Joyce, whose home town was bombed taking her parents’ lives, must hide her husband after he goes AWOL from the RAF to visit her before heading off to battle. Meanwhile, Nancy, a spoiled city girl, has an affair with Lord Hoxley.

In addition to the juicy drama, the series was a nice lesson about the Women’s Land Army and what life might have been like for them.

The land girls’ had long, hard days of physical labor, working in the fields alongside German and Italian POWs, while their husbands are away fighting. Their living conditions were basic and sometimes oppressive. In the series, the characters are forced to also work inside the Hoxley manner, as ordered by the callous Lady Hoxley who looks down upon the land girls.

The series adds some social commentary with its negative portrayal of Americans as well as the selfish upper classes, which historically speaking may be deserved.

The miniseries is a well done rich portrait of a segment of life during a tragic time in history.   

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