This hilarious spoof on British costume dramas based on great literature stars Kate Beckinsale (Much Ado About Nothing) as a strong-willed, young woman named Miss Flora Poste, who finds herself orphaned and without means in the 1930s. Moving in with some half-savage relatives on a country farm, Flora is hardly daunted by their primitivism (as she might have been in a novel by Thomas Hardy) but instead takes charge and imposes hygiene, order, and good manners on the dirty, superstitious lot. John Schlesinger directs this brisk, infectious adaptation of the 1932 novel by Stella Gibbons. Beckinsale is wonderful, and the rest of the savvy, inspired cast perfectly send up a host of literary clichés. --Tom Keogh
Ye miserable, crawlin' worms. Are ye here again then? Have ye come like Nimshi, son of Rehoboam, secretly out of your doomed houses, to hear what's comin' to ye? Have ye come, old and young, sick and well, matrons and virgins, if there be any virgins amongst you, which is not likely, the world being in the wicked state that it is. Have ye come to hear me tell you of the great, crimson, licking flames of hell fire? Aye! You've come, dozens of ye. Like rats to the granary, like field mice when it's harvest home. And what good will it do ye? You're all damned! Damned! Do you ever stop to think what that word means? No, you don't. It means endless, horrifying torment! It means your poor, sinful bodies stretched out on red-hot gridirons, in the nethermost, fiery pit of hell and those demons mocking ye while they waves cooling jellies in front of ye. You know what it's like when you burn your hand, taking a cake out of the oven, or lighting one of them godless cigarettes? And it stings with a fearful pain, aye? And you run to clap a bit of butter on it to take the pain away, aye? Well, I'll tell ye, there'll be no butter in hell!