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Helen Mirren at the BBC (The Changeling / The Apple Cart / Caesar and Claretta / The Philanthropist / The Little Minister / The Country Wife / Blue Remembered Hills / Mrs. Reinhardt / Soft Targets)

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Helen Mirren at the BBC (DVD)

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Long before The Queen, long before Prime Suspect's DCI Tennyson, Helen Mirren was honing her craft with a cast of literary characters on par with the great actresses of all time--all in teleplays for the British Broadcasting System. This boxed set is both a treasure trove of English language classics, well known and obscure, and a brilliant window into the building of the talent and career of Mirren, starting as a young, Gwyneth Paltrowesque ingénue. The five discs feature costume dramas from just about any period of English history imaginable. Teleplays include versions of The Changeling, The Apple Cart, Caesar and Claretta , The Philanthropist, The Little Minister, Miss Rhinehart, Soft Targets, and other, shorter presentations.

Among the gems are The Changeling, shot with lush production values and a leisurely, very British pace. Mirren is Joanna, a young lass already torn by love and commitment, and Mirren is riveting even as a cherubic youngster. ("I adore Jacobean tragedy," Mirren says of this play in the commentary--and who doesn't?) In Bernard Shaw's The Apple Cart Mirren doesn't appear until nearly an hour into the play, but is compelling as a wily mistress type: "You are as slippery as an eel," she tells her ne'er-do-well companion, "but you shall not slip through my fingers."

The set is as compelling for the appearances of other actors who costar with Mirren, including a young, tormented Ian Holm in Stephen Poliakoff's Soft Targets. Not to be missed are the interviews with Mirren, including Helen Mirren Remembers, which gives a great overview of the set, and how she grew into the splendid actress she later became. "You're going to be very exposed" in front of a camera, she says--and that's the true delight here for all Mirren fans. --A.T. Hurley


Special Features

  • Includes: The Changeling (1974), The Apple Cart (1975), Caesar and Claretta (1975), The Philanthropist (1975), The Little Minister (1975), The Country Wife (1977), Blue Remembered Hills (1979), Mrs. Reinhardt (1981), Soft Targets (1982)
  • Helen Mirren Remembers: exclusive newly recorded interview
  • BBC talk-show host Michael Parkinson interviews Helen Mirren in 1975

Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 19, 2008
  • Run Time: 811 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0011FDVK4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,099 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Helen Mirren at the BBC (The Changeling / The Apple Cart / Caesar and Claretta / The Philanthropist / The Little Minister / The Country Wife / Blue Remembered Hills / Mrs. Reinhardt / Soft Targets)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

98 of 99 people found the following review helpful By J. B. Malone on January 9, 2008
Format: DVD
In regard to the previous review by Donald J. Lloyd, this set is indeed offered differently in the US and the UK. Unfortunately, neither is a complete set. The US set (5 discs; 13 hours and 31 minutes; 9 titles) is missing:

A Midsummer Night's Dream (TV Movie Dec 13, 1981)
Cymbeline (TV Movie Dec 20, 1982)
The Hawk (Theatrical Movie released Dec 10, 1993)

all of which are in the UK set.

However, the UK set (6 discs; 17 hours; 11 titles) is missing:

Soft Targets (Oct 19, 1982 Episode of TV Series Play for Today)

Both sets contain:

The Changeling (Jan 20, 1974 Episode of TV Series Play of the Month)
The Apple Cart (Jan 19, 1975 Episode of TV Series Play of the Month)
Caesar and Claretta (TV Movie May 9, 1975)
The Philanthropist (TV Movie Oct 29, 1975)
The Little Minister (Nov 2, 1975 Episode of TV Series Play of the Month)
The Country Wife (Feb 13, 1977 Episode of TV Series Play of the Month)
Blue Remembered Hills (Jan 30, 1979 Episode of TV Series Play for Today)
Mrs. Reinhardt (Oct 30, 1981 Episode of TV Series BBC2 Playhouse)

The UK set may be ordered from Amazon.co.uk for about USD$60 plus shipping but it is PAL format, Region 2. A viewer in the US will need a multi-format, multi-region DVD player.

The only title currently available individually is The Hawk (VHS edition available at Amazon).

Helen Mirren is currently one of the most accomplished actors of the last 30 years. Anyone interested in her acting performances over the 20-year period of these titles will not be disappointed. It should be noted that an earlier 1968 Theatrical Movie of A Midsummer Night's Dream is also available separately at Amazon. This is an excellent production and, in addition to Helen Mirren, has performances by Diana Rigg, Judi Dench, Michael Jayston, Ian Holm and Ian Richardson.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By EPluribusUnum100 on February 22, 2008
Format: DVD
Dennis Potter fans stateside should take note that this is the first US release of BLUE REMEMBERED HILLS in any form here. You could order a PAL version from the UK for $40 PLUS shipping (part of the Dennis Potter Collection), but now you can get this important work AND all these other great Helen Mirren performances for $60 in this box set. I don't miss the Shakespeare plays offered in the UK version of this set (I already have them as part of BBC Shakespeare sets)and the Poliakoff Soft Targets is a great bonus. I get a duplication in Apple Cart (which is part of the BBC Shaw set), but still, this new Mirren set is a GREAT VALUE!
Now let's hope BBC get off their bums and issue the Harold Pinter and Tom Stoppard plays they have in their vaults BEFORE the tapes completely disintegrate!
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Donald J. Lloyd on January 7, 2008
Format: DVD
If the shown info is correct, this is not the complete set as issued in England. The England set has 6 discs and runs 17 hours, whereas this US one is 5 discs and runs only about 13 1/2 hours. I don't know why this is so, but an addition $20 would have made the US set worthwhile. Who wants an incomplete set?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Miller on March 8, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
These are interesting for a fan of Helen Mirren. The works show her in early roles, so are interesting to compare to her more recent roles. They are not the most interesting of works themselves. I'd recommend her later roles over these if a person is limited in the number to purchase.
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my mother is a big Helen Merrin fan, as well as myself. i watched this before i gave it to her for her B-Day. it is very good & she loved it. so if you know anyone that has a thing for Merrin, this a great gift. i will never forget her performance as Morgana in John Boorman's quintessential version of Excalibur (1981).
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Helen Mirren at the BBC (The Changeling / The Apple Cart / Caesar and Claretta / The Philanthropist / The Little Minister / The Country Wife / Blue Remembered Hills / Mrs. Reinhardt / Soft Targets)
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