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185 of 188 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 35th Anniversary Set satisfies objections of past releases
Cut scenes return, alternate openings provided, SUBTITLES available, and picture is as fine as can be provided from the 1976 epic. A booklet provides accuracy data & a genealogical tree that is a remarkable value for keeping the characters straight through the 78 year time period. The 35th Anniversary Edition is the set to own, by JOVE.

100s of reviews inform...
Published on February 3, 2012 by Harold Wolf

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something of a Disappointment
Unless my memory of the long-ago PBS broadcast is slipping, this edition has been visually censored. Fortunately the performances are still excellent, especially Derek Jacobi, Sian Phillips and Brian Blessed.
Published 13 months ago by Patrick J. Furlong


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185 of 188 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 35th Anniversary Set satisfies objections of past releases, February 3, 2012
By 
Harold Wolf "Doc" (Wells, IN United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: I, Claudius (35th Anniversary Edition) (DVD)
Cut scenes return, alternate openings provided, SUBTITLES available, and picture is as fine as can be provided from the 1976 epic. A booklet provides accuracy data & a genealogical tree that is a remarkable value for keeping the characters straight through the 78 year time period. The 35th Anniversary Edition is the set to own, by JOVE.

100s of reviews inform you of the content: An insatiable quest for power among Roman Emperor generations makes the story compelling. It's full of dastardly evolution. The Claudian Dynasty BBC spectacle filled with incest, base perversion and murder perpetrated within the royal family but presented with the historical humor of the 1930s Robert Graves novels. Augusta thru Nero, a plague of Roman Emperors, is a story supposedly told through the buried family story written by Claudius, exposing truth and sinister acts within the outlandish and intrigue filled generations. The film version includes the Graves' toga-talking slang, made a TV epic through the masterful writing of Jack Pulman. Through Roman period sexual twists (nudity, violence, and content warnings are correct throughout) viewers find humor in bizarre conduct, and jocular dialogue.

Aligning with stellar writing was casting. Derek Jacobi shines as perfect here as he did as Cadfael. Augustus (Brian Blessed) & wife, Beautiful, evil Livia by Sian Phillips (Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy), & her son Tiberius (George Baker -Ruth Rendell Mysteries). Add Claudius' mom, Antonia by Margaret Tyzack (Cousin Bette, Forsyte Saga). Caligula by John Hurt, Sejanus by Patrick Stewart (Star Trek), Nero by Christopher Biggins (Poldark), Narcissus (John Cater -Duchess of Duke Street), Ian Ogilvy (Upstairs, Downstairs) are a few more recognized. There is more.

SUBTITLED Episodes total 668 minutes, plus 104 more if you view the alternate episodes.
Episode 1: A TOUCH OF MURDER-Rome 24-9 BC (BCE). Original PBS alternates are 1: A Touch of Murder & 2: Family Affairs.
2: WAITING IN THE WINGS 3-5 AD (CE)
3: WHAT SHALL WE DO ABOUT CLAUDIUS? 9 AD
4: POISON IS QUEEN 13-14 AD
5: SOME JUSTICE 19-20 AD
6: QUEEN OF HEAVEN 23-29 AD
7: REIGN OF TERROR 30-31 AD
8: ZEUS, BY JOVE! 37-38 AD
9: HAIL WHO? 40-41 AD
10: FOOL'S LUCK 41-43 AD
11: A GOD IN COLCHESTER 47-48 AD
12 OLD KING LOG 54 AD

ALL BONUS has SDH SUBTITLES:
The booklet and 2 alternate episodes mentioned.
"I, Claudius": A Television Epic -2002, 74 min behind the scenes
"The Epic That Never Was" -1965, 71 min documentary of a failed B/W 1937 film adaptation staring Charles Laughton.
12 min Jacobi film interview from 2010
36 min Cast/Dir favorite scenes

The only fault I found was the close ups show the latex masks used for make-up technique typical of the 1970s period. But remember, quite advanced in 1976.
An epic that will never be out of style. And cut or reduced scenes are restored.
Even for previous owners, this may be worth a new purchase.
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118 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars None of the Users who gave this set a score of "1" have ever seen it. The Acorn has been remastered., February 5, 2012
By 
Leonard Norwitz (San Jose, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I, Claudius (35th Anniversary Edition) (DVD)
Both picture and sound quality are much improved over the previous Image sets. The content is as complete as is possible to get, minus the absence of the Alistair Cooke Intro's which were part of the Masterpiece Theatre presentations, but not the BBC. Subtitles are included, but the sound is so clear and natural that unless you are hearing impaired I doubt you will require them. Unlike the Users who feel inclined to write about something they've never seen, I have in fact seen an advanced review copy.

I wish there was some way to have Amazon disallow comments from people who have no acquaintance with the product they write about, but such is the way of things - for now.
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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 35th Anniversary Edition 'I, Claudius' rules!, April 23, 2012
By 
K. Reynolds (Norfolk, VA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I, Claudius (35th Anniversary Edition) (DVD)
SINISTER MUSIC plays and a viper slithers across a Roman mosaic. It's the opening credits of "I, Claudius," a historical series of the Roman Empire based on the novels by Robert Graves. Uneasy lays the Caesar who wears the laurel crown and everyone around him. Snakes are everywhere in this 1976 BBC production starring a young Derek Jacobi in his signature role as Claudius, John Hurt as nephew Caligula, and Si‚n Phillips as the remarkably evil Livia, Claudius' grandmother, and they are fascinating.

It was Emmy nominated for Outstanding Limited Series and Direction in a Drama Series for Herbert Wise; it won for Art Direction in a Drama Series. The series influenced modern filmmakers and has become a part of our own pop culture. David Chase modeled Tony Soprano's manipulative mother, Livia, after - guess who - Livia of "I, Claudius." And, like Tony, no one has a more miserable rise to power than Livia's son, Tiberius (George Baker). Ridley Scott references Claudius in "Gladiator," when Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) cruelly persuades his sister to betray Maximus (Russell Crowe).

Originally presented in the U.S. on Masterpiece Theatre in an edited format, this 35th Anniversary Edition from Acorn Media is a treat. The film is uncut, providing an extra 10 minutes for a 98-minute combination of episodes one and two. More scenes never broadcast in America are scattered throughout. The new material shows more violence and nudity amidst the story of four Caesars of the Julio-Claudian dynasty: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius, who was followed by Nero (We get to meet him near the end of the series). Theirs is a history of murder, madness, adultery, betrayal, incest, child rape (it was considered bad luck to murder virgins), cannibalism, infanticide and patricide - a terrible part of Roman history, and definitely not standard TV viewing in the `70s.

It's nothing like HBO's "Rome" or "Game of Thrones," but "I, Claudius" is powerful storytelling without overdoing graphic images or profanity. Suggestion is more than enough. A childhood illness leaves Claudius with a limp, partial deafness, and a palsy that makes him twitch and stammer. Ridiculed and reviled by his family, there's nothing wrong with his mind. Claudius exists as an inconvenient shadow, putting him in a position to observe the most private family secrets. History and law become his favorite subjects as he writes his hush-hush family history.

It's been years since the series has been available in a decent format for home viewing. Acorn posts a disclaimer on each disc: "Due to the age of these programs and the improved resolution that DVD provides, you may notice occasional flaws in the image and audio on this DVD presentation that we were unable to correct." The DVD picture is grainy and soft. Makeup and wigs used to age various characters look theatrical; however, complexions are lifelike, showing pores, stubble and freckles. Roman costuming and sets shine; we can see so much more than in earlier presentations. Aside from the memorable opening theme by Wilfred Josephs, the traditional TV mono soundtrack focuses on the sharp dialogue. It comes through clearly along with infrequent sound effects. The only thing I miss is Alistair Cooke's introductions and epilogues that brought in additional historical facts, making the culture become even more alive.

Aside from that, there are hours of extras to enjoy. "`I, Claudius:' A Television Epic" has interviews with series director Herbert Wise, writer Jack Pulman, Jacobi, Hurt, Phillips, Baker, and other members of the outstanding cast. Each one notes how hard it was to get started because the material was so controversial. Brian Blessed, who plays Augustus, says, "In two weeks of rehearsal we were dreadful ... We were all right, but we just couldn't do it. So they got Jack Pullman in and he said, `I know just what you're going through ... I couldn't write it until I thought of the Mafia.'"

Phillips had a hard time playing the malevolent Livia; she wanted to find incentive for the character. "I love the contrast of comedy and horror, which goes right through `Claudius,'" Wise says in the feature. "I told her, don't justify it - just BE evil!"

John Hurt, who puts Caligula through his paces in a magnificent performance, says, "When I first read it, I couldn't believe the world could be led by a lunatic of this nature - and I passed on it." Because the episodes were to be filmed in a fragmented timeline, Wise decided to have the cast party before shooting began. Hurt attended, met everyone, and feeling the "electric atmosphere," changed his mind.

Like a few other films ("Angel Heart," "The Poltergeist Trilogy," "Apocalypse Now"), there was talk that the show was cursed; you'll hear about that in the "Television Epic" feature. But, the claim gets more backing in "The Epic that Never Was," a bonus about a 1937 film adaptation that was to be directed by Alexander Korda, starring Charles Laughton, Dame Flora Robson and Merle Oberon. The 71-minute feature is slow-moving and portentous in the grand, B&W Old Hollywood Way, but there's meat to be had here.

Then there's a 12-minute interview with Derek Jacobi by American writer/producer Mark Olshaker in 2010, and a great, 36-minute "favorite scenes" discussion with Wise and the cast, best viewed after watching the episodes. An eight-page booklet by Jennifer Coggins compares "Fact and Fiction in `I, Claudius,'" along with a genealogical chart. Among other items, she points out that Graves got some of his material from Suetonius, more a notorious scandal monger than historian. "That's something like getting a history of the 20th Century from the archives of the National Enquirer," my historian friend, Thomas Edsall says.

Thank goodness Graves did use other resources.

Still, there's no disputing "I, Claudius" keeps us on the edge of our seats - for multiple viewings. HBO has just announced that they're teaming with the BBC for a re-make. But that's a story for another time.
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75 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The reviews are NOT for the new ACORN release!, March 20, 2012
By 
Hargreaves (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I, Claudius (35th Anniversary Edition) (DVD)
WAIT! All of these reviews, plus negative comments, go back to 2005, 2000, and refer to earlier, cut versions, or the 2-disc, squeezed one!

They do NOT refer to the new Acorn Media, reg.1, release on FIVE DISCS, due out on March 27, 2012.

Acorn includes the extended original episodes 1 and 2 and wonderful special features, e.g. THE EPIC THAT NEVER WAS, introduced by the superb British actor Dirk Bogarde plus other extras, such as the Derek Jacobi interview, an 8-page booklet, etc.

I, Claudius was a fascinating series, and its seems that Acorn Media is doing justice to it.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still great after all these years, April 2, 2012
By 
Divascribe (San Antonio, TX) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: I, Claudius (35th Anniversary Edition) (DVD)
I had great memories of seeing "I, Claudius" when it premiered 35 years ago, but it was with some trepidation that I ordered the newly released version. Sometimes a work doesn't live up to the memories, especially with the improvement in filming techniques since the 1970s.

I needn't have worried. "I, Claudius" is still gripping entertainment, sometimes tragic, sometimes humorous and always interesting. Yes, it does come across more like a stage play than a movie, and if it were done now it probably would be closer to HBO's "Rome" series, with more sex and gore. But you don't need to see everything to know what's going on. The empress Livia is still manipulative and an "evil woman," to quote Claudius as he looks back on his life. Augustus, seen toward the latter part of his reign, is as crafty as ever, but still no match for his wife in that regard.

Claudius, seen as a fool by most of his family because of his physical disabilities, is smart enough to survive, and become emperor, by playing the fool and not being seen as competition to Caligula and others. Since the imperial family had a habit of doing away with those who threatened them, this was an important skill.

This version also has a disc with more than three hours of extra features, including the making of the series, an interview with star Derek Jacobi and favorite scenes of the cast and director.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New 35th anniverssary dvd set with new special features..., January 5, 2012
By 
V. K. Manglaveras (thessaloniki, greece) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I, Claudius (35th Anniversary Edition) (DVD)
"I, Tiberius claudius drusos nero germanicus who friends and...I'm about to write the strange history of my life"

2011 is the 35th anniversary of the greatest historical accurate tv series ever made.
I CLAUDIUS is a real masterpiece and is dedicated to all fanatic roman empire fans covering the history of the ancient roman empire from 24 BC the 7nth anniversary of the actium battle to the year 54 AD when nero ascended the throne as the last blood-related successor of augustus.
This series is based in grave's novels I CLAUDIUS and CLAUDIUS THE GOD and many of the situations which are described in the series happened indeed as they are confirmed by suetonius among other historians of that age.
The portraits of augustus, tiberius, young nero, aggrippina, agrippinilla, drusila, sejanus, macro, vipsania, marcus agrippa, livia, julia...etc...are presented in an excellent way. John hurt is THE REAL CALIGULA and derek jacobi is an excellent claudius.

This new dvd set has the complete 13 episodes in 4 discs. disc 5 has all but one new special features which were unavailable until now.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

NEW : DOCUMENTARY : I CLAUDIUS: A TELEVISION EPIC. A LOOK BEHIND THE SCENES...74'
DOCUMENTARY : THE EPIC THAT NEVER WAS...71'
NEW : TWO EXTENDED EPISODES : EPISODE 1, 52' // EPISODE 2, 52'
NEW : A NEW DEREC JACOBI 12' INTERVIEW
NEW : ACTOR'S FAV SCENES...34'
NEW : AN 8 PAGE BOOKLET : Fiction or reality ?

All in all this is a must have. I wish the series would continue with prequels and sequels covering in the same way THE WHOLE THOUSAND YEARS OF THE UNITED EMPIRE FROM THE TIME OF THE PUNIC WARS UP TO LATE 9NTH CENTURY AD WHEN IT'S UNITY (What have remained after the disastrous events of the 5th - 7nth centuries) FINALLY BROKE UP.

PS.

Don't forget the new series remake which HBO undertook to create by next year...
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one star? seriously?, April 10, 2012
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This review is from: I, Claudius (35th Anniversary Edition) (DVD)
I'm shocked someone would give this classic one star! Now that acorn media and Amazon listened to their customers and added special features, interviews, and remastered it for DVD format, it's perfect! Perhaps the other reviewer also doesn't like the other classic BBC and PBS productions. No accounting for taste, I guess!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Seried -- Best Show Ever in SD, July 12, 2012
By 
G. Smith "Time Traveler" (Arlington, Virginia, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I, Claudius (35th Anniversary Edition) (DVD)
I've been watching "I, Claudius" ever since it was first broadcast on PBS way back in 1977. I loved it from the first moment of the first episode and I still love it. In my opinion, it is the greatest television program ever originally broadcast in 420i resolution. It also ages particularly well -- I have watched it often enough to very nearly have it entirely memorized, but I still enjoy it immensely.

This new release has an additional special feature to the Image DVD set I purchased previously, and it also includes the original two-hour Episode 1 as it was broadcast first by the BBC in 1976 (PBS split that first episode into two parts -- the American version is 13 episodes, the British only 12. This set includes both versions).

The colors in this edition seem somewhat more vibrant, as if they were actually electronically enhanced. This is pleasant, particularly during the snake-themed titles, because the colors were largely washed out both on the VHS and first DVD releases, but whatever process they used seems to have resulted in some artifacts, most noticeably a contrasting halo around some objects on the screen, particularly noticeable in Episode 1.

And there are, of course, many other image artifacts as well, an unavoidable result of this great performance having been produced natively on video tape instead of film way back in 1976. Suffice it to say that video tape was not a very visually accurate or high resolution medium back then, and it shows. Interestingly, the quality of the reproduction varies widely throughout the series and even within individual episodes, as if the copy they used as a master may have been in less than pristine condition. The worst of these artifacts involves occasional (and it is infrequent and brief in duration, but I found it distracting) diagonal banding on some scenes. The producers of this set are quite persistent in their warnings at the beginning of each disk about the uneven quality you should expect, but I thought it should have gone without saying -- I mean, these were made from 1976 video tapes and no better source ever existed for it.

(Hey, it's better than my DVD of Ralph Bellamy's and William Shatner's 1957 "The Defenders," which was taken from a kinescope.)

This show, from the first broadcast until 2005 or so, was for my tastes the greatest television show of all time. It was only finally surpassed by HBO's "Rome," but if great theatrical acting relating a great story trumps modern and extremely high production values, it might just remain atop the whole heap to this day (although Rome was no slouch in the great acting/great story realm, either).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Waiting for, with Great Extras, April 18, 2012
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This review is from: I, Claudius (35th Anniversary Edition) (DVD)
I Claudius and Claudius the God are the sort of books that I will reread occasionally , always finding something new in them. I was disappointed when I first read the books to learn that a movie version with Charles Laughton in the lead role had not been finished. At long last, on the fifth disc of this set, we get to see a good deal of what was filmed and hear the back story of that ill fated production. It seems to me that, if they had finished and released it, our movie history would be richer. Great movies frequently have difficult shoots.

The backstory provided for this production lets us know that all was not wine and roses here either. Yet within the limits imposed by budget and moral constraints (yes, moral constraints, a little nudity and breast fondling are nothing to what is clearly written in the books) pretty much everything of importance is here. This is not meant to be an epic saga of heroism on the battlefield but a story of a man who bends with every breeze yet maintains his own sense of proportion.

I would have liked to see the conquest of Britain, elephants, acrobats and all. Perhaps the new version, made by the producers of Rome: The Complete Series will be able to provide more spectacle. I have every confidence that they will still focus on the characters, as they did in that epic.

There is enough material in Robert Graves novels for twenty series. One does not cancel out the other and I am happy to have all that is available of the first movie and this series for now. It will be watched more than once.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Acorn release will yield the best of both worlds!, March 4, 2012
By 
jrc "jrcasey" (Jonesboro, AR USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I, Claudius (35th Anniversary Edition) (DVD)
In late March 2012, I, CLAUDIUS will be rereleased to DVD, this time by Acorn Media. It is a 5 disc set. On disc one, we are treated to both the single 98 minute Episode 1 and as bonus features, the two Masterpiece Theater episodes 1 & 2, which were padded out to fit into MT's 1 hour format. The remaining episodes are unchanged. THe 5th disc contains all of the extras: I, CLAUDIUS: A TELEVISION EPIC Documentary (74 mins), THE EPIC THAT NEVER WAS Documentary about the aborted Laughton version from the 1930s (71 minutes), Derek Jacobi interview (12 min), and favorite scenes of the cast and director.

Pending more future extras, this should be the definitive release of this series on DVD.
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I, Claudius (35th Anniversary Edition)
I, Claudius (35th Anniversary Edition) by Sian Phillips (DVD - 2012)
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