Robertson Davies commented, "The drama may be called that part of theatrical art which lends itself most
readily to intellectual discussion." There are truly few more enjoyable pastimes than being transported to a distant time
and surrounded by breathtaking castle views and lavishly costumed characters. Period films in particular have gained recognition and popularity in recent years, exemplified in the resurgence of screen adaptations of the works of Jane Austen, Henry James, E.M. Forster, and William Shakespeare. So why do modern audiences, who live in the dizzying age of cell phones, fax machines, and the Internet, resonate with films depicting bygone eras? Perhaps we yearn for the innocence and gentility of the past. Period films, many of which are adapted from literature, tend to present more developed and complex characters than the slick, one-dimensional heroes of the modern blockbuster. Without the need for dazzling special effects and complicated action sequences, period dramas are free to explore the deeper issues of life that are often lost in our age of mass e-mails and fast-paced lifestyles.