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The Yeoman of the Guard (2012)

Alfred Drake , Celeste Holm , George Schaefer  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Alfred Drake, Celeste Holm, Barbara Cook, Bill Hayes, Henry Calvin
  • Directors: George Schaefer
  • Writers: William S. Gilbert, Arthur Sullivan, William Nichols, Noel Caplan
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Video Artists Int'l
  • DVD Release Date: September 25, 2012
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008YRL6IQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,898 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

1957 telecast has a cast led by Celeste Holm, Alfred Drake, Barbara Cook, Bill Hayes, & Henry Calvin. At the time of its airing, The New York Times praised the opulent production, which was a joy to see and hear. Contributing to the success of the telecast was the "masterful" direction by George Schaefer and Franz Allers' rich musical direction. Live telecast, April 10, 1957. 79 min.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
(10)
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Yeomen On Video September 22, 2012
Clocking in at 79 minutes, this made-for-television production of Yeomen of the Guard is clearly abridged, but at least it was done with a knowledgeable and loving hand. Fortunately the very fine cast makes up for any omissions in the score. Alfred Drake and Barbara Cook are at their finest, and the rest of the cast is quite strong. Originally produced in 1957 for the Hallmark Hall of Fame program, and broadcast live in color, all that remains is a kinescope -which VAI has done an excellent job of mastering. The sound is clear throughout, and the video is surprisingly crisp for a kinescope. Some will dislike the added speeches for Jack Point (Drake) that provide additional continuity, but they do help the audience through all of the cut sections of the book and score. Fans are still waiting for a well-produced, well-cast, complete video of this Gilbert & Sullivan masterpiece, but in the meantime this long-lost version is the best thing out there, and very much worth adding to your collection.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Television Adaptation February 15, 2013
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This is the best adaptation of a Gilbert and Sullivan opera for television that I have ever seen. Its only fault is the number of cuts, given the fact that all had to be given in 75 minutes of broadcast time. Also, of course, the original color (which I understand was impressive for its day) is now gone since only a black and white kinescope version exists. But the picture quality is more than adequate, the sound is fine, and the performances are excellent. These performers were real stars in their day, and one can see why. The production is a faithful one (given the need for cuts, which are judiciously rendered) and the performers are uniformly excellent. Upon repeated viewings, this version keeps getting better and better.
I saw this production live on television as a child, way back in 1957, and I can appreciate it more now than I did then. I have been a G&S buff for many years, and a fairly fussy one in terms of disliking tampering with the original book and music, but I found this production a memorable one that I feel many people can enjoy. This was the favorite work of Gilbert and Sullivan themselves, and the quality of the book and score shines through here. Alfred Drake is a superb Jack Point who can convey wistful sadness when needed without going over the top the way some performers of the role do. Barbara Cook had yet to achieve real fame as Marian the Librarian on Broadway in THE MUSIC MAN, and here she shows her acting ability and wonderful vocal skill.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AT LAST! January 29, 2013
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Four stars instead of five ONLY because this is not in color, and even remastered it looks a little shaky in spots.
This was either the second or the third time I ever saw G&S in any kind of performance -- I was twelve -- and moments of it remained amazingly clear in my memory for more than half a century. Having checked often through the years, I felt pure delight when it finally became available for home viewing, and I was not disappointed on seeing it again at last. Now, I recognize that Alfred Drake as Jack Point was a piece of unexpected casting; but I still love his interpretation. The Dame Carruthers and Wilfred Shadbolt come close to stealing the show. Having spent my lifetime as a G&S buff, I still feel this version works very well, and contains one new line that would be worth including in other productions. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A UNEXPECTED TREASURE April 29, 2013
The three most popular Savoy Operas in America are MIKADO, PINAFORE and PIRATES OF PENZANCE. In England they are MIKADO, GONDOLIERS and YEOMAN. I heard of this production many, many years ago and was shocked that something as
esoteric as YEOMAN would have a TV production in America. All that remained of this production were a few black and white photos in various books about TV history and the memories that people who saw the telecast.

A year or so back a CD with audio tracks of a few rehearsal pieces offered a tantalizing hint of what had been. Now a DVD of the a full kinescope has arrived. Yes, it's abridged and yes the real telecast was in color. That's the bad news. The good news is that this is a wonderful production, well sung and with nothing that would offend the dedicated savoyard. Barbara Cook is a wonderful Elsie, Alfred Drake is a robust Jack Point, Bill Hayes makes an excellent Fairfax and while Celeste Holm may not be everyone's Phoebe her performance is preserved for all to nit pick about.

I thought I would never have a chance to ever see this version. I am grateful someone had the good sense to preserve it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Non Specialists Can do G & S July 9, 2013
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Alfred Drake and Barbara Cook belong to the world of Rodgers and Hammerstein more than Gilbert and Sullivan, but they are both superb in this. It's beautifully sung and acted. The production is very much early black and white TV. G & S superbuffs may find the whole thing inauthentic, and musical theatre buffs might find it quaint. I loved it.
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