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Cadfael: (The Virgin in the Ice / The Devil's Novice / St. Peter's Fair)

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Frequently Bought Together

Cadfael: (The Virgin in the Ice / The Devil's Novice / St. Peter's Fair) + Brother Cadfael: Set 3 (The Rose Rent / A Morbid Taste for Bones / The Raven in the Foregate) + Brother Cadfael: Set 4 (The Pilgrim of Hate / The Potter's Field / The Holy Thief)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Feudal England comes to life in this gripping and hugely popular "Mystery"! series based on Ellis Peters' best-selling novels. Sir Derek Jacobi stars as Brother Cadfael, a medieval monk and amateur sleuth with a gift for solving murders. Series II. Three episodes, CC, 3 hours 45 min. on 3 cassettes. Web Extra: Cadfael was filmed in Hungary, where a mock abbey was built to resemble 12th-century Shrewsbury as Ellis Peters described it in her meticulously researched novels. Dame Edith Pargeter used the pen name Ellis Peters for her mysteries, and reserved her real name for her historical writing.

Amazon.com

Never tell Brother Cadfael, the medieval mystery-solving monk, your theory of how a crime "must" have been committed. "We must always be wary of 'must,'" he states. "Nothing is certain." And so attest these three divine mysteries based on the books by Ellis Peters and originally broadcast in the U.S. on the PBS series Mystery! Each feature-length episode in this boxed set is self-contained but plays against the backdrop of England's civil war between forces loyal to King Stephen and those to Empress Maud. Derek Jacobi (I, Claudius, Gladiator) stars as Cadfael, who at one point is aptly described as "an odd kind of monk." The former "soldier, sailor, sinner, and Crusader" has his faith tested by crimes of royal intrigue and baffling murders that seem to plague the neutral ground of 12th-century Shrewsbury. The best of the three, "The Virgin in the Ice," is a good introduction for Cadfael initiates. This story of "violence and cruelty" involves the near-fatal beating of a young monk, the murder of a nun, and the disappearance of two children. Viewers' advisory: one of the chapters in the scene selection menu on the DVD contains a major spoiler. The "strange difficulties" continue in "The Devil's Novice," in which Cadfael's suspicions about a recently arrived novice are heightened by the murder of the bishop's chaplain. Finally, the local merchants are revolting, and the murder of two tradesmen further mar the festivities in "St. Peter's Fair." All three episodes costar Eoin McCarthy as local undersheriff Hugh Beringar, who relies on Cadfael when murder subverts his efforts to keep the peace. A tense standoff between these two friends heightens the climax of "St. Peter's Fair." Americans have never seen a sleuth such as Cadfael, a fascinating character who is at once a man of God, of science, and even of action. You'll find few Benedictine monks so skilled at using a quarterstaff. --Donald Liebenson

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Special Features

  • Exclusive audio comments by Derek Jacobi
  • Ellis Peters materials
  • Production scrapbooks

Product Details

  • Actors: Sir Derek Jacobi
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: July 10, 2001
  • Run Time: 228 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005LB8D
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,971 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By AvidHiker on February 18, 2003
Format: DVD
... Brother Cadfael is *still* the most unique, complex, fascinating detective out there. Add to that the endlessly treacherous and intriguing setting, and you've found a winner.
The production standard is incredible; visually, it's an impressive effort and very realistic. It manages to be grand and gritty at once.
The acting is likewise superb. I could never have pictured a better Cadfael than the sterling Sir Derek Jacobi.
The only reason I gave this set four stars rather than five is that this particular Cadfael series is not my favorite of the four. All of them are worth owning, however.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. A. Luster on March 1, 2004
Format: DVD
This is one of the best sets in the series. Although I think Sean Pertwee in the first set was a better sheriff, this group of stories is incredible. We see consoling, love, intrigue, lechery, murder, highway bandits, rape, kidnapping, and a host of other acts of love and violence. Some true chivalry, an evil monk but not the one that is accused, and mysterious disappearances of people make this set great to watch. The set contains many sub stories in each story that makes them all the more interesting. We find out a piece of the puzzle in Cadfael's love life while he was on the Crusades. The set does not contain much as far as extra's but the series alone is well worth the price. The quality is comparable with the rest in the series and quite adequate.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on August 18, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
These videos are extremely well done. I learned more about the post crusade era in the Catholic Church then I would have in any history class. Derek Jacobi is a superb actor, and his talents are highlighted in these entertaining and educational videos. I would recommend these to anyone with an interest in religion, history, or science, or to any one who loves a good mystery.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Themis-Athena on September 8, 2006
Format: DVD
When the decision was made to produce for TV several episodes from her mystery series about Brother Cadfael, that 12th century crusader turned monk turned detective who has been, ever since his creation, one of the most compassionate and unusual sleuths of literary history, novelist Ellis Peters (Edith Pargeter) was not entirely happy. In fact, as the series' star, Sir Derek Jacobi, explains in the extra footage provided on the now-released DVDs, Ms. Peters had very mixed feelings about giving up her brain child and entrusting it to other people who went about cutting and adjusting everything, from the storylines themselves to the way the protagonists speak and even the Chronicles' sequence, to the necessities and limitations set by the new medium. But she eventually acquiesced and at one point promised that "the next one I write, I'll make sure it's easier for you all to film."

While the thirteen episodes that were eventually produced are, thus, not entirely true to the individual Chronicles they are based on, they are closer than many other movie or TV versions of famous works of literature. Most importantly, they maintain not only the core story lines but also the historical authenticity, atmosphere and spirit set by Ms. Peters's books in a marvelous fashion. And Sir Derek Jacobi brings both the wealth of his experience and skill and all of his own shrewdness, intelligence, sense of humor and empathy to the role of the medieval Benedictine sleuth and thus truly becomes Cadfael -- for the thousands of new fans who are discovering the series through its enactment for TV just as much as for us who loved the books before they were ever transposed to a visual medium.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 22, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
While this series has its moments, I think that overall it's not nearly as good as the first one. To me, the crucial difference was the change in the actor who plays Hugh: the first was, I felt, an excellent embodiment of Peters' complex, ironic character, while this chap was a one-dimensional Boy Scout. Also, his rapport with Cadfael was unconvincing (this may be off the wall, but I sensed that Derek Jacobi wasn't happy with the change either!). Fortunately, most of the excellent supporting cast from Series 1 reappears here, and Cadfael himself came across in all of his paradoxical complexity.
Of the three episodes, I thought "The Devil's Novice" was the best: it adhered fairly closely to Peters' well-constructed story line, the cast was generally solid (although the elder brother's fiancee was played too unsubtly: she's a flirt, not a blatant seductress!), and the various settings in which the story takes place (the rural manor house, the monastery) were vividly depicted. "St. Peter's Fair" likewise did a great job with the fair atmosphere. For about 3/4 of the way through, I thought it was a good rendition of Peters' story; but the ending was converted from a complex moral dilemma into a mere issue of partisan politics.
As for "The Virgin in the Ice," although it has memorable scenes and tells a rousing story, the writers couldn't resist "improving on" some aspects of the original story -- and blowing every one of them. (For example, why does a Syrian formulate his potions out of English herbs?) The production is generally excellent and the characters are well cast, although I felt that the actor who plays Olivier (while certainly handsome and athletic enough) lacked some of the exotic glamour of Peters' original. In general, these three episodes were entertaining and competently done, but I still prefer Series 1 in many ways.
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Cadfael: (The Virgin in the Ice / The Devil's Novice / St. Peter's Fair)
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