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The Hollow Crown: The Complete Series (2013)

Tom Hiddleston , Ben Whishaw , Richard Eyre , Rupert Goold  |  NR |  DVD

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Product Details


Special Features

- The Making of Richard II - The Making of Henry IV - The Making of Henry V - The Making of a King

Editorial Reviews

From executive producer Sam Mendes (Skyfall, American Beauty) comes a stunning adaptation of four of Shakespeare’s most celebrated history plays: Richard II, Henry IV (Part 1 and Part 2), and Henry V. Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons (The Borgias), Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers), and Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) in his award-winning role as Richard II star in this epic tale of three kings, their battle for survival, and the rise and fall of a dynasty.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
179 of 186 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another triumph from BBC and the Bard! August 6, 2013
Richard II - 5 STARS.
Perfect acting, incredible story, gorgeous costumes, beautiful cinematography. By far the best of the four, and mostly because of an electrifying performance by Ben Whishaw (Cloud Atlas, Skyfall). I asked myself why I hadn't seen Whishaw more often! His performance as Richard II is towering, electrifying, chameleon-like, moving, disturbing, delicate, multi-faceted, and most of all, brilliant. A phenomenal performance, and worthy of much praise indeed.

The supporting cast more than holds it's own: Patrick Stewart (always great, but sadly he leaves the narrative rather early), Clemence Poésy (a great, underrated French actress), David Suchet (reliable as ever), and Rory Kinnear (Who's Bolingbroke "bursts with valour and courage").

But let us give credit to where credit is due. Shakespeare...was one damn fine writer!

BEST SPEECH (delivered gloriously by Ben Whishaw):
For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings;
How some have been deposed; some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed;
Some poison'd by their wives: some sleeping kill'd;
All murder'd: for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court...

...

Henry IV Part 1 - 4 STARS.
Jeremy Irons is one of the finest Shakespearean actors to ever live. His Henry IV is a sharp contrast to Whishaw's Richard. Richard is pious, noble, weak-hearted, and entirely eligible to be king. Henry is strong, prepared, diligent, hard, and a usurper. And there you see the problem. Richard was the rightful king, yet he was not a good ruler. Henry was a traitor, banished by Richard, yet it was he should sit on the throne of England.
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89 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Within the hollow crown... keeps Death his court. September 12, 2013
Shakespeare's historical plays can be a tough sell -- after all, they are political dramas that most modern people don't know much about.

But "The Hollow Crown" is up to that challenge, bringing to life Shakespeare's famous historical tetralogy ("Richard II," both parts of "Henry IV" and "Henry V") with an all-star cast and beautiful direction. The backgrounds are lush and the direction is powerful, but the real credit here goes to Tom Hiddleston, Patrick Stewart, Ben Whishaw and Jeremy Irons.

In "Richard II," a feud between Henry Bolingbroke (Rory Kinnear) and Thomas Mowbray (James Purefoy) leads to a duel... which is interrupted by King Richard II (Whishaw). Instead, the king banishes both men, and snatches the inheritance of Bolingbroke when his father (Patrick Stewart) finally dies. The nobles grow angry, and Bolingbroke begins to build a rebellion against his cousin -- with tragic results.

The story then skips about twenty years into the future for "Henry IV." King Henry IV (Irons) -- formerly Bolingbroke -- is troubled by brewing wars with Wales and Scotland, as well as the sudden rebellion of the fiery "Hotspur" Percy.

He's also not too happy with his son Hal (Hiddleston), who spends his time frolicking with thieves and pranksters, especially the corpulent Falstaff (Simon Russell Beale). When the Percys revolt against the king, Hal is given the opportunity to prove himself a worthy future king, and sets out to battle, with Falstaff beside him.

Finally, "Henry V" follows the new young king as he disarms assassination plots and prepares for the Battle of Agincourt. As he prepares to conquer France, Henry V grapples with his new responsibilities and seeks to find out what his men think of his rule.
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86 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom Hiddleston? July 2, 2013
Verified Purchase
**********EDITED TO ADD: Well, the man's immense popularity has had an effect; Mr. Hiddleston is now listed first on the cast list (at least as it displays on my pc.) ******************************

I'm fairly stunned that the product listing doesn't mention Tom Hiddleston, considering the importance of his role as first Prince Hal and then King Henry V in the Henriad (hint: that would be three of the four plays in this package.) His performance was lauded by critics and awarded by public acclaim. Not to mention the guy rules Tumblr. In other words: huge fan following.

For more context, his well-remarked other roles in recent years include significant appearances in productions such as BBC period piece Return to Cranford (with Dame Judi Dench), Spielberg's War Horse, Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, and..oh yes...as Loki in Marvel's Thor and The Avengers movies.

Presuming that this package contains the same material as that in the BBC product available in the UK, then I do highly recommend the set to both folks who appreciate Shakespeare and folks who appreciate the performers involved. The production values are high, the acting top-notch, and of course the source material cannot be faulted.

Keep in mind that these are non-stage productions, Shakespeare as real life, and the directors had their own takes on how the plays should be framed. There is generally good consistency throughout the Henriad, even with two directors, but certain scene choices and dialogue deliveries may not be what you are used to seeing/hearing. Still, a joy to own and watch in HD.
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English subtitles or SDH
I was wondering the same. According to the PBS online store (shoppbs [dot] org), there are English subtitles.
Oct 14, 2013 by eee |  See all 2 posts
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