Masterpiece Theatre: Nostromo

Program Description

One of the greatest novels of our time comes to Masterpiece Theatre in a lavish international production capturing the love, honor, obsession and greed of a mythical South American country in the 1890s in Joseph Conrad's Nostromo.

Shot entirely on location in Cartegena de Indias, Colombia, Nostromo stars Colin Firth, Albert Finney and Claudia Cardinale, along with an international cast featuring Italian film star Claudio Amendola in the title role.

In the imaginary republic of Costaguana, where the Andes plunge down to a tropical paradise, there are fortunes to be made. Englishman Charles Gould (Colin Firth) has arrived with his wife (Serena Scott Thomas) to take over the family's closed silver mine, which may yet yield great wealth.

Gould's obsession to make the mine productive works on the people of Costaguana like a dangerous drug, energizing them and plunging them into a morass of corruption, betrayal and revolution as the shining bullion mounts up.

Throughout it all, there is only one man who is reliable beyond question: Nostromo, the proud leader of the local dockworkers, whose name means "our man." To him falls the duty of saving the mine and its treasure when civil war engulfs the country.

Nostromo is populated with extraordinary characters: Nostromo himself, keeper of many secrets; Charles Gould, unwitting slave to ambition; Emilia Gould, caught in a collapsing romance; Dr. Monygham (Albert Finney), aging romantic with a knack for survival; Martin Decoud (Lothaire Bluteau), intellectual gunrunner and dandy; Antonia Avellanos (Ruth Gabriel), enchantress and patriot; Joshua Holroyd (Brian Dennehy), financier from America who idolizes greed; and dozens more.

Critics have hailed the original novel, published in 1904, as indisputably one of the greatest of the 20th century -- a South American War and Peace that probes the actions, emotions and destinies of people who are caught in epic forces beyond their control.

Episode One
In the 1890s, Englishman Charles Gould (Colin Firth) returns to his boyhood home of Costaguana, South America to reopen the family silver mine where his father was killed in an insurrection years earlier. Welcomed by the country's government and leading citizens, Gould and his wife (Serena Scott Thomas) soon find themselves embroiled in a revolution. .

Episode Two
With armed factions battling for control of the silver-rich country of Costaguana in South America, mine-owner Charles Gould turns to the one man who can safeguard his amassed silver bullion -- Nostromo (Claudio Amendola), the incorruptible head of the dockworkers. After a harrowing sea voyage, Nostromo and an accomplice manage to hide the treasure.

Episode Three
Nostromo helps gain independence for a silver-rich province in the South American country of Costaguana. Having safeguarded a fortune in silver for the winning faction, he finds that everyone assumes it is irretrievably lost. Will the wealth that caused his country so much misery now work its corrosive evil on him?

A PIXIT production for BBC Television and WGBH Boston in association with RAI Italy and TVE Spain, Joseph Conrad's Nostromo is considered one of the most ambitious dramas ever undertaken by European and American public broadcasters. It was written by John Hale and produced by Fernando Ghia who also produced The Mission, the acclaimed 1986 motion picture set in colonial South America. The score is by Ennio Morricone, Academy Award nominee for, among others, The Mission.

Alastair Reid, who directed Masterpiece Theatre's Traffik series, returns as director, with Michael Wearing as executive producer.

Masterpiece Theatre is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston, where Rebecca Eaton is series executive producer. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Russell Baker is series host.

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