Starring a very young Clive Owen, Polly Walker, Billie Whitelaw, and Sean Bean, this version was a lot starker (pun intended, Game of Thrones, fans) than the 2000 version, and the plot significantly altered. The Monmouth Rebellion, for example, which was extremely important to the plot in the original novel Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore does not feature in this adaptation.
I think it’s a bit of a shame that the Rebellion was not included in this version, but I think that’s more due to the costs involved in representing rebellion more than an oversight. Regardless, things end up generally the same as in the novel – which is a classic.
Before Clive Owen became Mr. Hollywood, he portrayed the hero, John Ridd, a humble farmer whose father was murdered by the Doone family years before. He has hated the Doones ever since, but one day fate decides to make him fall for one of them. It’s kind of like Romeo and Juliet, set in the 17th century, but ending very differently!
Polly Walker, who is known for her work in Restoration, Rome, and Wrath of the Titans, portrayed the lead heroine, Lorna Doone. I have always thought that Polly Walker is one of those lucky people who have been graced with extraordinary natural beauty, which comes off the screen so magically.
There were some scenes that were very beautiful – I particularly enjoyed an early scene between Lorna and John in her hiding spot in the woods. The greenery and the fluttering dandelion seeds made it quite lovely. I had to smile when one scene took place in a bluebell wood:
The best thing about this version? Hands down, it must be Clive Owen and Sean Bean, wearing 17th-century attire, fighting each other, and still coming off as very dreamy.
Just look at ’em go…