Glittering Prizes, The (1976) DVD
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Six plays by Frederic Raphael which follow a group of Cambridge students from the 1950s to the mid 1970s.]]>
Top Customer Reviews
The production is first-rate and the acting is uniformly excellent, but the heart and soul of The Glittering Prizes are its scripts, the product of novelist and screenwriter Frederic Raphael. Anyone who has ever seen the films Darling or Two For The Road will immediately recognise his style. Always articulate and revealing, sometimes cynical, occasionally hopeful, quite often so truthful that it hurts - the sort of drama that you find yourself thinking about for days or weeks afterwards. I first saw the Glittering Prizes on PBS in the late 1970's and have been waiting ever since to see it again. I'm amazed how some scenes and even bits of dialogue have stayed so fresh in my memory, while other parts I had completely forgotten. It's great to see it all again.
Raphael has always said that the main character of Adam Morris, brilliantly played by Tom Conti, is not autobiographical, but the facts and similarities suggest otherwise. At first, we expect this entire series to be his story, but soon a fascinating array of other characters slink their way onto center stage. In fact, Conti's character only appears at the very end of Part Two and is not in Parts Four and Five at all.Read more ›
The principal character is Tom Conti in his prime, one of the finest if least known British actors today. He plays a secular Jew with a chip on his shoulder, who goes to Cam engaged to a childhood sweetheart (also Jewish). Always ready with a repartee at once sharp yet funny, he easily enters a group of actors who become friends for life, or so they think. He falls for a strikingly beautiful fellow student, who is critical of the theatre crowd but supportive of his artistic ambitions, and experiences his first personal tragedy.
Each episode then focuses on different members of the group, jumping ahead 5 years or so, in vivid snapshots that never feel rushed but actually add up to very complete portraits. They drift apart, some make it very big, while others find their lives stalled by alcoholism, failed relationships, and career complications, including selling out. All the time, the nucleus of their experience is having been undergraduates at Cambridge, which serves as a crucial reference point in their lives and a source of career network. It is beautiful, often sad, and always interesting. You really feel like you get to know them.
It is not perfect. Some of the scenes are too long - one is a bizarre interview with a "visionary" architect and another is a 1960s student protest bit - and some of the transformation of characters makes little sense.
Warmly recommended. If you wonder what it is like to enter the Oxbridge (or any) elite, this is the film for you.
Although you may not fully comprehend some of the stories at first viewing, you find yourself thinking about it and taking another look, sometimes rethinking it, and sometimes just plain 'getting'. It would be interesting to have another episode set in the current period when the original group has retired. A well worth series to own.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Due to work, missed a couple of episodes when this aired on BBC 2 in 1976 and had rather forgotten about it; but thanks to Amazon's 'also purchased' feature found it. Read morePublished 16 months ago by They
Acting is especially fine in the grand tradition of British theatre, Dec 21 2014
Verified Purchase(What's... Read more
I HAD SEEN "THE GLITTERING PRIZES" FIRST TIME AROUND IN THE 70'S ON PBS, AND IT HAS WITHSTOOD
THE 40 YEAR HIATUS. Read more
Now, I saw this originally on PBS in the late 1970s. I was a teenager then. So it is possible that my memory is playing tricks on me. Read morePublished on March 24, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Why has this amazing television series been almost totally forgotten? I can't say enough about the brilliance of Tom Conti's acting and the series'high level of writing and... Read morePublished on November 2, 2012 by Gun Moll
Glittering prizes is essentially a portrait of a small slice of intellectual life in Britain in its darkest political and social hours in the 50s through to the dawn of Thatcherism... Read morePublished on August 27, 2011 by B. Buchanan
Fredric Raphael's account of a group of Cambridge undergraduates affiliated with a student theatre troupe, both during their college years and in the twenty-five years thereafter,... Read morePublished on February 6, 2011 by Jay Dickson