Monday, March 30, 2009

DVD : Shakespeare’s An Age Of Kings

Shakespeare's An Age of Kings


Has anybody seen this BBC collection?  I saw it referenced in the Boston Globe this weekend and had to go hunting for it.   From the production description:

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.

From what I can gather this was a 15 part series originally broadcast back in the 1960’s(?) that has been pieced together to show the progression of kings from Richard II, through the Henries, concluding with Richard III.

I’m just now noticing that it is not even out yet, still a pre-order.  That would explain why the Globe was talking about it all of a sudden.  But there are customer reviews, and they are glowing.  Has anybody seen the contents, perhaps in their original form?


Theophrastus said...

It's funny you should mention this because I just blogged about it (linking you, by the way) this morning.

A long article appeared on this release in the New York Times; the author recalls the series from his youth.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Like the NYTimes reporter who wrote about it last Sunday, I saw it as a kid when it first aired and it made a huge impression on me.

I've been waiting all these years for it to be released, and even went to the extent of an email correspondence with the BBC a few years ago in the hopes of arranging a screening on a visit to London. (In vain.)

This isn't just a "pieced-together" series. The plays are all directed by one man, who sees and cast them as a continuum. The actors get to play their roles across more than one play -- e.g., Robert Hardy as Prince Hal in Henry IV one and two, and then as Henry V, Paul Daneman as Gloucester in Henry VI 2 and 3, and then Richard III, etc.

It may be early television, but many subsequent BBC Shakespeare productions don't come close to it.