BBC Tudors Collection (The Shadow of the Tower / The Six Wives of Henry VIII / Elizabeth R)
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Disc 1 opens with "The Crown in Jeopardy," the episode that introduces Henry Tudor (James Maxwell) in his victory over King Richard, and the lovely Elizabeth of York (Norma West), both of whom star in the remaining episodes. While Queen Elizabeth gossips with her sister about Henry's desire to marry her, Henry Tudor is securing his position against knights around the country who are plotting, just after his crowning, for hostile takeover. The following episodes, "Power in the Land," "The Schooling of Apes," and "The Crowning of Apes," describe Henry and Elizabeth's marriage and pregnancy, and the ways Henry united England, often controversially, by imposing taxes, banning private liveries, and holding public executions of anyone accused of treason. Disc 2's episodes "Serpent and the Comforter" and "The White Hart" are highlights, covering first the merger of church and state during the Tudor reign, and then showing the Tudors' hard-line approach to punishment for oft-accused treason. In "Serpent," a priest is threatened with being burned at the stake for heresy simply for alleging that the church is corrupt, implying that a new era of reason and logic is in the air. In "White Hart," Henry VII decides whether or not to behead his council member, William Stanley (Robert James), for treason. The last half of the series, from episodes like "The Fledgling" to "King Without a Face," focuses on two main plots, the first being Henry and Elizabeth's childrearing and their efforts to marry off their son and daughter in the interest of forging Scottish and Spanish alliances. Secondly, extreme dramas ensue surrounding those "pretenders" like Perkin Warbeck (Richard Warwick) who claim to be the true heir to the throne, while the real boy, the Earl of Warwick (Christopher Neame), has his own problems to deal with. In all, this sweeping period drama allows one to imagine what life was truly like during this turbulent time. It depicts Henry VII with an equal blend of villainy and heroism, giving him a well-rounded character thanks to James Maxwell's excellent performance. There's never a dull moment in the shadow of London Tower. --Trinie Dalton
THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII: A British television series originally broadcast on CBS (and rebroadcast on PBS) in America in 1971, The Six Wives of Henry VIII remains a painless way to learn something about royal history and its impact on the political and religious landscape of England. Keith Michell stars as King Henry VIII, who assumes the throne as a boy after the death of his older brother and inherits the latter's Spanish betrothed, Catherine of Aragon (Annette Crosbie), as well. Growing up and increasingly complicated in personality, with an ever-growing appetite for elusive happiness as well as power and food, Henry maneuvers (and is maneuvered by) forces around him to break from Rome and create the Church of England, in part to accommodate his wish for a divorce.
Each story of the king's successive brides takes up an entire episode in the series. Dorothy Tutin plays the doomed Anne Boleyn, Anne Stallybrass is Henry's favorite, Jane Seymour, Elvi Hale is Anne of Cleves, Angela Pleasence is Catherine Howard, and Rosalie Crutchley plays last-in-line Catherine Parr. A very large and fine supporting cast adds intrigue and extra layers of tragedy to the proceedings, especially John Baskcomb as Cardinal Wolsey, Wolfe Morris as Thomas Cromwell, and Ralph Bates as Thomas Culpepper. Each 90-minute episode was crafted by a different writer, but the series holds together very well under Keith Michell's dazzling performance as the despicable if sympathetic Henry, whose emotional arc over many years and losses is something to see. --Tom Keogh
ELIZABETH R: Glenda Jackson is majestic in the six-video miniseries from the BBC, Elizabeth R. Covering the entire reign of Elizabeth I, from her struggles with her half-sister Mary just before being crowned as queen to her death in 1603, the series profiles the life of the Virgin Queen in detail--and with historical accuracy--not possible in the as beautiful, but much shorter, theatrical release, Elizabeth. Religious conflicts, her struggle over the execution of her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, battles with Spain, court politics, and of course her flirtations with Robert Dudley (portrayed as an almost-comical fop by Robert Hardy) and her decision to remain unmarried are just some of the highlights of this magnificently costumed and finely acted piece. Jackson skillfully captures the capricious moods and incredible intellect of the queen who defied the pope and the conventions of the time as a strong-willed woman, and characters from textbooks--Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Walter Raleigh, King Phillip II--come vividly to life. Elizabeth R (and for those not in the know, the "R" is for "Regina") is a splendid melding of history and entertainment, and as thorough as this series is, you will still long for more. --Jenny Brown
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The play about Henry VII was very slow. I did not like it. The Six Wives of HenryVIII was superbe and so was Elizabeth.Published 4 months ago by Gliglu
Series collection (three of the very BEST on tv, in the early 70s) arrived on time and undamaged.Published 4 months ago by David A. Gonzales
was not what we were looking for.....my mistake didn't read the item good enough before buying.Published 5 months ago by Rich
THIS IS MORE OF A THEATER MOVIE,THAT,S IF YOU LIKE PLAYS THEN YOU WILL ENJOY THIS...Published 7 months ago by Linda Morris
It was wonderful to see these three superb BBC series from the 1970s again. The excellent 'historical commentary' option makes a second viewing well worth while.Published 8 months ago by They
I've bought this collection to have my home Tudoriana (which I am fan) complete.
My favorite is "The Shadow of the Tower" (1972) with the great James Maxwell as... Read more