Michael Apted's sequel to 35 Up, 28 Up, and on down, at seven-year jumps, to 7 Up. American audiences did not get in on this fascinating project -- following the lives of a motley group of English schoolchildren -- until the fourth installment, 28 Up. That may have been the optimal point to pick up the stories, just far enough into adulthood for most of the lives to have settled upon a course. The main reservations about the next installment, that it contained too much re-cap and that too little had happened to the subjects in the interim, are again applicable to this one. (Newcomers to the series are not entitled to those reservations.) Big changes, however, have come into the lives of "nice" Bruce and "mad" Neil (an audience favorite), and anyone who has seen the prior installments will want to get up-to-date. The changes, needless to say, cannot be characterized as Happy Endings. They are no sort of endings at all. 49 Up awaits. 1998.

Duncan Shepherd

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