Derek Jacobi. Brother Cadfael makes some disturbing discoveries while trying to solve the apparent murder of a young woman. Color/75 min/NR.
The first Brother Cadfael mystery to be released on DVD, The Virgin in the Ice
captures all of the elements that make these adaptations of Ellis Peters's novels a perennial PBS favorite. The performances and sets bring 12th-century England to vivid life (although the series was actually filmed in Hungary). Derek Jacobi portrays Cadfael with a quiet authority and just the right edge of world-weariness one would expect from a Crusader turned monk. His search for two missing children and for the band of outlaws who brutally beat one of his fellow monks turns up intrigues and surprise twists that make this episode a captivating human drama as well as an expertly crafted mystery. From frictions within Shrewsbury Abbey to the ongoing war between Queen Maud and King Stephen, The Virgin in the Ice
plunges viewers fully into Cadfael's world and all of its unexpected joys and perils.
The DVD includes several minutes of audio comments by Derek Jacobi about taking on the role and the appeal of Cadfael. Other special features include biographical information about Ellis Peters (a pseudonym for Edith Pargeter), a production scrapbook of behind-the-scenes photos, and English captions for the hearing-impaired. --Larisa Lomacky Moore