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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: January 1, 2013
  • Run Time: 672 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B009L2EW5W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,371 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Walt Whitman called Lillie Langtry the essence of poetry. James Whistler confessed that even he couldn't capture her beauty in a painting. And George Bernard Shaw declared her intelligent, daring, and independent. In a BAFTA-winning performance hailed by critics, the incandescently beautiful Francesca Annis (Madame Bovary, Reckless, Cranford) portrays the acclaimed British actress and courtesan from the blush of youth to still-glorious old age. At a time when society expected women to be docile and demure, Lillie posed for celebrity endorsements, conducted her own business affairs, and paid her first husband to keep his distance. Even more scandalously, she openly entertained a string of lovers among Europe's elite, including the very married Prince of Wales all while managing to win the respect and admiration of his wife. With its splendid cast and exquisite production elements, Lillie vividly captures the complex woman who became one of the most infamous figures of the Victorian age.

Customer Reviews

I will be replaying this one over the years to come.
F. Behrens
Because Lillie lives to be a very old woman, viewers are given an honest glimpse of the Victoria Era through the span of her life.
E. Hornaday
In addition to a great story line and fantastic acting, even the costumes and sets deserve a mention.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

135 of 135 people found the following review helpful By E. Hornaday on December 15, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Quite simply, one of the best BBC Classic TV Miniseries ever produced. Filmed in 1978 and to be released in a four-disc DVD set, the miniseries stars the brilliant Francesca Annis (Tommy and Tuppence, etc.) as Lillie Langtry, one of the most famous and infamous courtesans/ladies of the Victorian age.

In an era when women were to be seen and not heard, the unforgettable Lillie broke every taboo without a backward glance. The series chronicles her long life, and in so doing presents one of the best portraits of Victorian England ever filmed.

We watch Lillie as a young tomboy, grow to an awkward adolescent, a stunning woman, and a beautiful old woman. Each stage of her life is portrayed perfectly by Annis, the makeup transforming her body while her awesome talent transforms her character development as Lillie.

Lillie is one-of-a-kind, a calculating woman of immense presence, grace and substance. Unfortunately, she becomes trapped in a loveless marriage, but she devises her own way to cope.

Taking full advantage of her beauty, Lillie deliberately attracts as many as a dozen lovers and admirers including the married Prince of Wales and notorious Oscar Wilde.

As her husband slowly drinks himself to death, she relies on her looks, wiles and self-assurance in the London Society of the 1870s to embark upon a sensational career as a marginally talented actress.

With guile, Lillie creates a truly unique life of the courtesan, eventually gaining prestige by going on the stage and touring America many times over.

Throughout her life she endures financial ruin and scandal, yet maintains her celebrated lifestyle. Because Lillie lives to be a very old woman, viewers are given an honest glimpse of the Victoria Era through the span of her life.

As with every BBC miniseries dealing with period stories, the acting, staging, filming and music is all well above top notch.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By F. Behrens HALL OF FAME on January 25, 2008
Format: DVD
"Masterpiece Theatre" was originally designed to show dramatized versions of great classics or of historical periods from England's past. "The First Churchills" led the way and many a great adaptation of a novel or a biography has followed. (Alas, a lot of junk was soon considered "masterpieces" and the glory of the series faded.) Among the best of them was the 13-part miniseries titled "Lillie," and it is now available in a boxed set of Acorn Media DVDs. Grab it!

Part of the plot of the 1940 film "The Westerner" is concerned with Judge Roy Bean's infatuation with an English actress named Lillie Langtry. That character shows up in "Lillie" just once but memorably, but the scene does raise the question of how just another pretty face could so become the rage of England and America without its owner having any other particular talents (they say her acting was amateurish at best)--except an iron will to get what she wants and a high degree of intelligence.

As played by Francesca Annis, whose own good looks make the story believable, Lillie suffers an early disillusionment when she marries Mr. Langtry (brilliantly played by Anton Rodgers) because he is a "gentleman" (= an utterly useless person) with a yacht. Then she quickly realizes he has far less fortune than she thought and even less understanding of how a wife should be treated (after their wedding night, he spends the rest of the day in town). In the years that follow, although she becomes the mistress of the Prince of Wales (Denis Lill) and of several other men, Langtry doggedly refuses a divorce--and his end is possibly just what he deserves or rather a bit more than he deserves.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By John D. Cofield TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 13, 2008
Format: DVD
Lillie is another fine British mini-series from the 1970s, which seems to have been the heyday of the genre. It depicts the story of Lillie Langtry, the Jersey Lily, most famous beauty of the age. Francesca Annis was born to play the part, with her flawless complexion and beautiful hair evoking Langtry at her magnificent peak. The series traces Lillie's life from girlhood on the island of Jersey, when she was already a beauty, through her unfortunate marriage to Edward Langtry, a weak man whose dissipations destroyed him, to her days as a Professional Beauty in London Society and mistress to the Prince of Wales. If the series stopped there it would be enjoyable enough, but the story gains additional depth by going on to depict Lillie as an actress in Britain and America, showing her to have been a sharp businesswoman. The final episodes show her in decline and end with her literal last few breaths. Throughout the series we see not only Lillie's career but those of many other important artists, politicians, and royals, ranging from King Edward VII through Oscar Wilde all the way to William Gladstone. Lillie is a lot of fun, with room for quite a bit of real history and drama, too.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Michael T. Starnes on November 13, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I watched this on television when I was but a very small child. I remember waiting for it weekly to come on Masterpeice Theatre and that it was hard to get the television to myself to view this series. Francesca Annis left an impression on me that I have never forgotten. This item has been on my wish list for YEARS and I am overjoyed to see it available again! I just viewed it again for the first time, as I was able to purchase a previous version through an Amazon Marketplace seller. It holds up, despite the years since its' release, due in large part by the magnificent cast, lavish sets, and strength of Ms. Annis' stunning performance. I cannot recommend this highly enough! I rated it a four only because of the strange age makeup they used on Ms. Annis, which does not hold up to the rigors of HDTV and seems to change from frighteningly plastic, to ghost white, to almost normal. The serious lack of any real extra bonus features is also a minus. I could not stop watching this until I had viewed the entire series again. Anything that will hold your attention this long and this well is a wise investment. The life of Lillie Langtry was an amazing epic journey that any woman would have traded places with her for, and it is brilliantly executed in this series! You can even stay in the home that the king had built for her to this day and visit the original saloon named after her, in the town re named for her in Texas! Facinating Character Subject? A crass understatement. Buy it and live the life of a poverty to princedom real life story!
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