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Hotel Portofino

My local newspaper reviewer described it as Downton Abbey meets The Durrells as made by Merchant Ivory.

I and sure Downton Abbey meets The Durrells is how it was pitched but the Merchant Ivory but I’m not getting, what with the terrible writing, middling direction, lack of battle male buttocks and C-List cast.

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by Anonymousreply 38June 29, 2022 5:03 PM

Anna Chancellor does her best, but it’s pretty woeful.

You know it’s low budget when British actors dust off their shorty American accents. I like Adam James, but he and the Josephine Baker chick sound terrible.

by Anonymousreply 1February 10, 2022 5:54 AM

McElhone was pretty good in an actual Merchant Ivory movie, "Surviving Picasso", but it's one of their weaker efforts.

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by Anonymousreply 2February 10, 2022 6:06 AM

I’ve been watching this and it is very mediocre. A few thoughts:

The scenery is beautiful and really the only reason to watch.

It is billed as “a PBS/ITV Co-Production.” I imagine since PBS is listed first, they are the majority stakeholder and probably the ones allowing it to be so mediocre.

At times, it is so laughably cliché. The Italian head of police insults the hotel owner and then blows cigar smoke in his face. Any director who uses the “smoke in face” gimmick should never be allowed to work again.

There is a gay subplot but it is so ridiculously neutered. The two men are shown kissing and ripping their shirts off, then there is a cut to another scene. When we return to the gay lovers having a post-sex conversation, they are still in their pants. Who knew that gay sex in 1920s Italy consisted only of kissing and bumping bippies.

In the first episode, one character goes for a nude swim then sits on a rock to have a conversation with another character. The scene is so darkly lit that when he enters the water you can’t even see his ass. I wonder if because it’s PBS that they insisted on no nudity.

Poor Mark Umbers looks terrible. It was just 10 years ago that he was sexy in Merrily We Roll Along. Those British genes are so unkind. And his acting is so one note: of the “twirling the mustache” blackmailer variety.

Anna Chancellor is phoning in her usual upper crust lady performance. Can’t say I blame her.

Lily Frazer comes out the best. She plays an American singer and actually rises above the material she’s given. Her character is the most colorful despite being given dialogue where she has to call everyone, “Honey.” I guess it’s better than her going around calling them “chile” as in “Honey chile…”

The rest of the actors/characters are dull, cliche or overacting.

by Anonymousreply 3February 14, 2022 1:58 AM


by Anonymousreply 4February 14, 2022 2:01 AM

Is the show streaming in the US?

by Anonymousreply 5February 14, 2022 2:02 AM

What are "battle male buttocks"?

by Anonymousreply 6February 14, 2022 2:02 AM

[quote] I wonder if because it’s PBS that they insisted on no nudity.

Is this one of the British shows they show at anytime or a Masterpiece? I feel they are more comfortable with nudity, especially just an occasional ass, if it is a Masterpiece production.

by Anonymousreply 7February 14, 2022 2:15 AM

R7, it’s not a Masterpiece production. It was created for Britbox which is a subscription service, so I don’t know why there isn’t more sex.

by Anonymousreply 8February 14, 2022 2:19 AM

R8 I've figured it out it was not made for any of them. It is made by a German production company which then sold it to others including Britbox, ITV, and PBS. It is supposed to air on Britbox(UK) now and then ITV later. It isn't on Britbox (US). According to reports it will air on PBS as a Masterpiece installment.

by Anonymousreply 9February 14, 2022 2:35 AM

[quote] It is made by a German production company

Then the gay sex scene should have been more explicit. I’m not saying we needed to see it, but they could have given the impression that they actually took all their clothes off.

by Anonymousreply 10February 14, 2022 2:43 AM

R10 I get the feeling it was made in a manner to be as widely sellable as possible.

by Anonymousreply 11February 14, 2022 2:56 AM

I found it rather charming. Mainly because of the location it takes place. The episode of the younger characters having a party, while the older guests and hotel owners have dinner at some fancy woman's mansion, is my most favorite.

by Anonymousreply 12February 14, 2022 3:22 AM

Mark Umbers is a hot daddy

by Anonymousreply 13February 14, 2022 3:25 AM

[quote] Anna Chancellor is phoning in her usual upper crust lady performance.

She has a scene where she talks about going to a concert with her son before he died in the war. It was a clear standout of the otherwise rather twee scenes and story plots.

by Anonymousreply 14February 14, 2022 3:27 AM

There’s a heavily feminist thread that runs through the show. “Men can’t be trusted and we women have to stick together.”

You’ll notice the women don’t play an antagonist role in the show. The worst is that the oldest daughter finds out a secret about one of the servants. But all the women just react to the bad behavior of the men.

by Anonymousreply 15February 14, 2022 3:37 AM

There are some good guys, like the son who suffers from PTSD from his war experience. And his friend, who happens to be gay and caught up in some political drama plot.

by Anonymousreply 16February 14, 2022 3:41 AM

Oliver Dench, who plays the son with the odd accent, was in another German British co-production called The Athena (2018). It's a cheesy, kiddie teen show about an arts school. It lasted only for a season, but it featured a few new faces who moved on to other things like Ella Balinska in Charley's Angels (the one with Kristen Stewart), Basil Eidenbenz from The Witcher's second season and Chris Jenks in Sex Education's third season. Of course, the show had a lesbian / bi storyline and some flamboyant student turned out to be a straight creep.

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by Anonymousreply 17February 14, 2022 4:00 AM

R17 He is Dame Judi's nephew.

by Anonymousreply 18February 14, 2022 4:02 AM

[quote] I've figured it out it was not made for any of them. It is made by a German production company which then sold it to others including Britbox, ITV, and PBS. It is supposed to air on Britbox(UK) now and then ITV later. It isn't on Britbox (US). According to reports it will air on PBS as a Masterpiece installment.

ie so shit that even the BBC weren’t biting.

by Anonymousreply 19February 14, 2022 7:01 AM

Actually, having settled into the groove of the latest episode, I don’t mind it.

by Anonymousreply 20February 16, 2022 10:33 AM

Britbox seems to be the new British streaming platform attempt (does the BBC and ITV move away from Acorn?). It just released a new exclusive show (episode by episode instead of the whole season at once, apparently) called Sister Boniface Mysteries. A cheesy crime mystery show with some vague ties to Father Brown (according to the trailer).

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by Anonymousreply 21February 16, 2022 11:45 AM


Strange that the show tries to redeem the deadbeat of a father spending his ill-gotten gains to save the hotel in the final episode of the season, and make the wife look kind of bad when acting ungrateful towards him after what he did to her.

by Anonymousreply 22February 21, 2022 11:55 PM

I started watching this on PBS last Sunday. First ep was just so-so.

Since I have a PBS Passport, I've watched three more eps since Sunday.

And it's still so-so.

The Hotel Portofino is definitely derivative of both The Durrells of Corfu and Downton Abbey, but nearly as well-written or staged as either of these.

I'll keep watching until I can stand it no more.

by Anonymousreply 23June 22, 2022 1:47 AM

I didn't think it was that bad. I'd still do Mark Umbers

by Anonymousreply 24June 22, 2022 2:49 AM

I just watched the first episode. Setting (Croatia) is beautiful. Lots of characters introduced but it’s very flat. Anna C had very little to do. Italian policeman (?) blackmailing the owner over her love letters? With that louse of a husband, why should she care? It reminds me of that show, The Paradise, lots of people, lots of hints, none of them interesting.

by Anonymousreply 25June 22, 2022 12:43 PM

Also, it’s nothing like The Durrells. That was lots of fun with great characters and good writing, full of life. “You do realize the tide is coming in” “Yes, but it was Leslie’s idea and he doesn’t have too many of them”

by Anonymousreply 26June 22, 2022 12:47 PM

I can't stop staring at the son's ass.

by Anonymousreply 27June 22, 2022 12:51 PM

One of the daughters was such a downright cunt that the men-bad women-good argument is lost.

by Anonymousreply 28June 22, 2022 1:00 PM

Authentic period hairstyling is always iffy in even the best films but Hotel Portofino sets a new low. It looks like each actress was responsible for finding and styling their own hair/wigs however they liked. McElhone's bouffant wig would be perfect for 1964.

And too many of the men desperately need just a decent haircut.

by Anonymousreply 29June 22, 2022 1:13 PM

They probably were, I think it was a lockdown production.

by Anonymousreply 30June 22, 2022 1:18 PM

Easily 20% of each ep are mise en scene shots to impart shooting locale ambience but do not advance the story.

by Anonymousreply 31June 22, 2022 1:27 PM

The writing is truly sophomoric, banal, and far-fetched. The actors are doing the best they can with it.

by Anonymousreply 32June 22, 2022 1:34 PM

Hilarious how Anna Chancellor is costumed in Victorian frocks as an elderly dowager and yet still has her lovely auburn locks.

by Anonymousreply 33June 22, 2022 1:58 PM

Oliver Dench has a hot ass, what else do we know about him?

by Anonymousreply 34June 27, 2022 12:57 AM

So, should I watch?

by Anonymousreply 35June 27, 2022 4:08 PM

Bear in mind it is very old fashioned story-wise - it reminds me of 1970s English tv dramas - but the scenery is remarkably stunning to make it worth it.

by Anonymousreply 36June 28, 2022 6:19 PM

Having been to Portofino, I could tell that much of the show was not filmed there. Except for the drone footage, the streets, etc. looked like Croatia.

by Anonymousreply 37June 29, 2022 4:35 PM

Sure, the story and character developments are paint-by-numbers simple, basic, and twee. But, gosh, the scenery is divine. It's something you can endure when you have run out of "All Creatures Great and Small", "The Durrells", "Bridgerton", and "Downton Abbey" twee entertainment.

by Anonymousreply 38June 29, 2022 5:03 PM
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