Shakespeare's An Age of Kings (Richard II / Henry IV / Henry V / Henry VI / Richard III)
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In this fifteen-part inventive series based on William Shakespeare's history plays, the turmoil, power, mystery and frailty of the English crown in the medieval ages is laid bare in epic style. This series originally aired as live broadcasts and was recorded on film. Starring Sean Connery, Julian Glover, Eileen Atkins, Robert Hardy, Angela Baddeley, Judi Dench and John Warner.]]>
Top Customer Reviews
Shakespeare, I can honestly say I've generally found the connecting
factors of his history cycle (Richard II to Richard III, with three
Henrys in between) somewhat elusive. This series has resolved quite
a multitude of misunderstandings I've had about these plays. To see
the whole cycle performed chronologically, with all the same actors
playing their designated roles throughout, gave me an appreciation
for these works that no actor (or basic Bardophile) should be without.
Many are familiar with Henry V or Richard III because of their past
cinematic incarnations, and some have only a perfunctory knowledge
of characters like Hotspur and Falstaff. This series, as dated as
it is, serves as a wonderful introduction. And what a treat to see
this cast! Many of them were (some still are) legendary performers
of the London stage who, because they never carved out a niche for
themselves in films (either American or British) are unknown outside
the realm. This series may be the only document available of their
incredible talents. Others of course, are more well known. To see
a pre-James Bond Sean Connery as Hotspur, or Judi Dench in her young
ingenue phase as Katherine of France (not to mention character actor
stalwarts like Julian Glover, Geoffrey Bayldon, and George A. Cooper)
is just so much gravy on an impeccable meal. An additional note for
those who may have difficulties in viewing and accepting this material,
is the on-screen English subtitle option that allows you to view the
Shakespearean text as its being spoken. And any qualms about length
are eased by the fact that the series is broken down as originally
broadcast - in 15 (mostly) one-hour segments. It's like viewing an
episodic Shakespearean historical soap opera. Perfect for students!
While the newer BBC set looks somewhat higher budget, this older one generally displays more gravitas. Perhaps I'm a tad antiquarian, but classical music buffs will understand the difference between a terrific modern recording vs. some of the better older recordings when conductors could put the fear of G-d into the players to deliver an extra "sweep" that is not possible today. In this "Age of Kings" set, the actors convey a long familiarity with their roles and deliver a dramatic "sweep." Here is old-school, flamboyant confidence.
It's a shame the recording technology used was so unnecessarily primitive, but had they done it right you wouldn't be getting 16 hours of fine Bard for $35.
The cuts are well planned, so the stories unfolds quite gracefully.
Most of the plays are presented in two 65 minute segments, rather than act-by-act. The sub-titles are very helpful for modern viewers.
This set is well worth it even if you never get to the Henry VI plays.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm still on the first disk, and it's possible my overall view might change. Nevertheless... though I'd like to give "AK" * five stars, there are two major problems. Read morePublished 27 days ago by William Sommerwerck
It is impossible for me to state how much I love this particular collection. I had decided in middle age to finally try to tackle Shakespeare. This, for me, was high adventure. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Francis C. Donnelly
A fantastic collection of Shakespeare production with memorable performances by some very famous and wondrous actors.Published 3 months ago by Teja McDaniel
I bought this pckage of Shakespeare's Kings because I collect Shakespeare in multi-imedia. Checked a few titles and was happy to find this Shakespeare was fresh and new to me. Read morePublished 6 months ago by The Bard William Shakespeare
OK, it's Shakespeare: always enjoyed for his language and all other brilliant aspects of his plays. And I think that this series is well produced. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Barbara Carson
I purchased this DVD maybe 5 or 6 years ago but never gave a review, (I noticed I paid about $20 more than the present price but that's OK). Let me state first off, that still... Read morePublished 10 months ago by JCMiami
this in black and white but I love the subtitles. Come and see Sean Connery (very young) as the hothead hotspur.Published 11 months ago by Robert Leutwiler
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