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Brother Cadfael - Leper of St. Giles

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

When a fat old baron and a beautiful, wealthy orphan are to be wed at the abbey, all of Shrewsbury turns out to see the unlikely pair ride into town. While she throws money to lepers by the road, he strikes out at them with his whip. Cadfael investigates when the baron is found dead after ominously riding off on the eve of the wedding.

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From the opening scene in which a young bride and her baron groom ride into Shrewsbury, it is clear their marriage (arranged by her guardians) is ill-fated: she throws money to the lepers gathered by the side of the road, while he lashes out at them with his whip. The couple's personality differences are not the only factor dooming their union, however; the next morning, the groom turns up dead. Suspicion immediately falls on the baron's squire--the bride's secret lover--who only makes matters worse by running off. But Brother Cadfael's years of experience have taught him never to accept the obvious solution unquestioningly, and he soon discovers that the victim had a secret life as well.

Sir Derek Jacobi brings a wealth of compassion to his portrayal of the medieval monk; Cadfael's reminiscences and philosophical exchanges with the other characters are among the most memorable scenes in this 77-minute adaptation of Ellis Peters's novel. While it is not one of the more gripping mysteries in the series, like the other episodes, it is a poignant study in human nature as well as a beautifully produced historical drama.

DVD extras include an audio interview with Derek Jacobi in which he shares amusing anecdotes about the challenges of playing a 12th-century monk, an Ellis Peters biography and book list, and a production scrapbook of behind-the-scenes stills. --Larisa Lomacky Moore


Special Features

  • Ellis Peters biography and booklist

Product Details

  • Actors: Derek Jacobi, Sean Pertwee, Peter Copley, Michael Culver, Julian Firth
  • Directors: Graham Theakston
  • Writers: Edith Pargeter, Paul Pender
  • Producers: Neville C. Thompson, Stephen Smallwood, Ted Childs
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: March 27, 2001
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000056C0P
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,561 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Brother Cadfael - Leper of St. Giles" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on December 9, 2000
Format: DVD
Ellis Peters wrote 20 books about her hero Brother Cadfael. THE LEPER OF ST GILES is an early book in her series, and the DVD film is a faithful account of her story, first broadcast on PBS Mystery series. Sir Derek Jacobi plays Cadfael, and a host of other fine British actors fill the remaining roles. The Cadfael films were shot in Eastern Europe, and early episodes are the best because Peters served as a technical consultant (she died before the filming was completed).
Cadfael's exploits are generally set in the tumultuous years 1130-1150 when the Empress Maud and her cousin Stephen were fighting for the English throne. However, in THE LEPER OF ST GILES, the key to a current mystery lies in the period some 40 years before when Cadfael and other young men took up the cross for Christ as participants in the the First Crusade. In this book/film we learn more about those times and how Cadfael came to his current vocation.
St Giles is a way station outside Shrewsbury where the Benedictine monks of the local abby minister to the physical and spiritual needs of the Lepers. In the Middle Ages, people were terrified of Leperosy, a disease that showed up in Europe following the First Crusade to the Holy Land. Because the disease was so contagious and horrible, lepers were not allowed to enter settlements but confined to way stations maintained by the church. Moreover, lepers were ordered to wear little bells or carry them and ring them when the approached others.
One day, an old leper shows up at the Leper Hospital of St Giles. He is tall and at one time was very well built, tho now the ravages of the disease have diminished him. At the same time as his arrival at St Giles, a young girl is escorted to Shrewsbury Abby by her kinfolk for her wedding--to an older man not of her choosing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "mirandathetempest" on January 9, 2002
Format: DVD
This is probably the nicest, most romantic episode of the series. It is almost to clean cut for a medievil piece, but is nonetheless very well presented and extremely watchable. Derek Jacobi is faultless as the good brother, and the rest of the cast is also strong. Lots of mystery, murder and great sets, with an ending that will tug your heart strings. Also fantastic gregorian piecies sprinkled throughout. A must if you love cadfael, or a brilliant place to start your collection. When introducing friends to the wonderful Cadfael series,I start them on this film.It never fails to hook them !!.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Atheen on July 25, 2002
Format: DVD
I enjoy a good murder mystery and the Brother Cadfael series is just that. The Leper of St Giles was one of my favorites of the 20 mysteries by Ellis Peters, because it captures much of the flavor of the period. Cadfael, the central character of the series, is a Dominican monk and herbalist, and Dereck Jacobi is the perfect personification of him. He has a presence which suggests strength, wisdom, and compassion. Unlike most of the other brothers, Cadfael had spent most of his life in the secular world where he participated in the crusades, had adventures, fell in and out of love, and took his order after finding the ways of the world wanting. He comes from a different culture, that of Wales, and sees that of England through an outsider's more objective eyes. His experience with life and the motives of men and his keen awareness of detail makes him the perfect sleuth, and when murder is committed the civil authorities, in the person of under sherif Hugh Beringer, are more than willing to have him clear things up for them. When a young girl is forced by her guardians to wed a wealthy but disagreeable nobleman, the young squires of the latter attempt to help her, only to become mixed in a murder. One of them is framed for it and arrested, but flees his captors. Aided by one of his fellow squires, he eludes apprehension only to be accused of a second murder, that of the young girl's guardian. It looks like curtains for the young man, until Cadfael takes on the case. Probably the most enjoyable part of the film is the byplay between the nun Alice and Cadfael. Like the latter, Alice had lived a full life prior to taking her orders and is not naive to the ways of the world. She appears again in The Rose Rent, and is one of my favorite characters. The Leper of St Giles is a thoroughly delightful film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 27, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
The Leper of St. Giles reflects Ellis Peters at her very best in the Cadfael Series. I found the story interesting and even better when viewed a second and third time. (I have seen the video four times ) I am a retired teacher and have taught medieval history at the university level. The video captures the atmosphere of medieval monastic life showing, as do all the others in the Cadfael series, the elegant, but flawed, character of each individual protrayed, starting, of course, with our hero, Cadfael, brilliantly protrayed by Derek Jacoby. Moreover the mystery unfolds in layers starting with a villianous beating of the leper near St. Giles where Cadfael and other Benedictines go to care for the lepers. Then the story procedes to the discovery of two murdered bodies while also including a bit of romance, intrique, and plenty of action. I especially appreciated the quiet talk and spiritual tone between Cadfael and the Leper of St. Giles. The climatic scene is so startling I felt electricity and a kind of awe in the beauty of the moment.
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