The Forsyte Saga episode 1 (part 1)

Uploaded by Yosituna on 24.01.2009

In England today, there is no more charming and instructive sight than
an upper middle-class family in full plumage. This particular family is called Forsyte,
and they live in Park Lane. Indeed, all the Forsytes live around the park. It's fashionable,
convenient, and property values there continue to rise steadily. Yet although each Forsyte
is impressive enough singly, their true favor can only be appreciated on the occasions when
they gather together at one or other of their well-appointed houses. No branch of the Forsytes
has a genuine liking for any other, but as a group, they possess that mysterious concrete
tenacity which renders a family so formidable a unit of society. Today the gathering is
at my Uncle Timothy's in the Bayswater Road. Yes, my uncle, for I, too, am a Forsyte. They
call me Young Jolyon, because my father, Old Jolyon, is, at present, head of the family.
My father was one of the first to realize that the English have an insatiable appetite
for tea, and has made a blameless fortune out of it. Aunt Ann, born in 1799, the oldest
Forsyte. She lives here with Aunts Juley and Hester. Together, they care for Uncle Timothy,
the youngest brother, whom you are unlikely to meet very often. He is probably the most
cautious man in England.
Mr. and Mrs. James Forsyte.
Forsyte, Bustard and Forsyte, solicitors at law. If anyone's ever met Bustard, they
don't mention it.
Miss Winifred Forsyte, Mr. Soames Forsyte.
My cousin Soames. A junior partner and a cunning man, they say. Uncle Swithin, James'
twin. The fat and lean of it, my father calls them. Swithin's an estate and land agent.
Bachelor. Does himself very well. Claims to have been a devil with the women. I doubt
it. On the left, Uncle Roger, who collects house property as you or I would collect postage
stamps. On the right, Uncle Nicholas, company director and shrewd investor in the shares
of those companies. They both have large families and incomes to match. And we all come here
to Timothy's in the Bayswater Road, known as Forsyte 'Change, to exchange news and gossip,
to reaffirm our confidence in the stability of the family. And we go away comforted and
reassured. Why not? We're the backbone of England. We? Well, Soames is certainly, or
will be. That fellow has a very highly developed sense of property, even for a Forsyte. And
I? Well, I suppose I'm a little different. No better, I assure you, but different. For
one thing, my own sense of property is negligible. For another, thought the aunts and uncles
adore Soames, I dislike him, as intensely as he dislikes me. There are other things
which will be revealed, but one of them is that I paint. Only water-colours, but still,
I paint. And every Forsyte knows, there isn't any money in that.
Come on, Papa, hurry up!
Sit still, June.
I'm looking out for Grandpapa. He'll be
late in a minute!
Grandpa is never late. He's like royalty; you can set your watch by him.
I haven't got a watch.
June, you're supposed to be looking at
Fraulein! She doesn't keep spinning around like a top!
I'm a top, I'm a top!
You're a pest, and I don't think I shall
paint you after all.
So, and when your papa is famous, you'll be sorry.
There's Grandpapa!
Please, Papa, may I?
All right. Run along, pest.
May I look?
Bad, isn't it?
No, no, there is something there of June.
But not much, eh. [laughs] You're right,
landscape for me; at best, landscape with cows, and only if the cows are lying down.
You underestimate yourself.
Do I? I think I see myself very clearly.
Papa! We're going to the zoo! And Mama's
coming with us, to see the lions and the monkeys! ÉYou promised we'd see the monkeys!
So you shall, all alive-o in their cages!
Well, Jo?
Father, how are you?
Pretty well, my boy.
Guten Tag, mein Herr.
>> Err...gute tag, Fraulein.
No, Grandpapa. Not gute tag, it's guten Tag.
Is it? What's the difference?
You'll never learn.
I shouldn't bother if I were you. Fraulein
Hilmer speaks better English than either of us.
Ahh, hello, Papa. Well, now, are we all
ready? Well, now, June dear, you're not. Now why not? Fraulein...
Oh no, I'm so sorry...
My fault. I kept her.
He was drawing me, only he was being beastly
Beastly? Oh, really, June.
Well, he was!
[speaks German]
She's an Austrian, Father.
Same thing.
Oh, indeed no, Papa. Quite, quite different. And Fraulein Hilmer is really a most exceptional
girl. Well, a little quiet, perhaps. Withdrawn. But then, that too can be an advantage, don't
you know? Her parents were of quite humble stock, I believe. They're both dead now, of
course. But it's so far even more remarkable that she's become such a ladylike person,
and a very competent governess.
I dare say, but what do you want with a foreigner, eh? Why not an English governess?
Because all the ladylike English persons
happen to be working in Germany.
Really, Jo. No, Papa, but she has the languages, you see. And that's so important for a child.
And it's fashionable, too.
No, no, indeed. All the princesses have German governesses now. The Queen herself,
of course. It's the thing.
But above all, she's very good with June. And the child seems quite taken with her.
Doesn't she, Jo?
I'd say so.
As indeed we all are. Aren't we, Jo?
So you see, Papa?
Then if June gets on with her, that's all that matters. Anyhow, I'm glad you didn't
choose a French one. Jumpy lot.
Oh, Papa, that's absurd, and it's old-fashioned.
That is as may be. Oh, Jo, you heard the news?
On Forsyte 'Change?
Don't you call it? That's pretty good.
Not mine, I'm afraid...Cousin George's.
That chap.
That chap.
They tell me he's a wit. I can't see it myself.
Oh, what is the news?
Well, I hear your Uncle James has come around, and that girl of his is going to get
Winifred? To Monty Dartie?
That's the fellow. Haven't met him myself, but your Aunt Emily thinks the world of him,
I hear.
Is that a suitable match?
I've no idea, but James will make sure of that. You know him, Jo?
Oh, slightly. He's a friend of George's.
Well, that wouldn't recommend him to me.
Where's that girl?
I'm ready, Papa.
Jo, won't you come with us?
Oh, I'm sorry, Father, I...
No matter, some other time. You and Frances must dine with me soon. Thursday. Yes.
Yes, are we free?
Yes, I think so. I'll arrange it with Papa.
Oh, and Jo, you won't forget...we're dining
at the Ashburtons' tonight, so you won't wander off anywhere, will you?
My love to the monkeysÉ
...poor devils.