Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Brother Cadfael Set 1 |
One Corpse Too Many / The Sanctuary Sparrow / The Leper of St. Giles / Monk's Hood
Actors: Derek Jacobi, Michael Culver, Julian Firth, Mark Charnock, Terrence Hardiman
Directors: Graham Theakston, Sebastian Graham Jones
Genres: Television, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Acorn Media Release Date: 01/06/2004 Run time: 300 minutes
Similarly Requested DVDs
In some ways, still the best series
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These early episodes aren't as well produced as the later ones: the same actors keep reappearing in minor roles, the dialogue is sometimes jarringly anachronistic, and -- even in the 12th century -- a well-off young man like Hugh would own more than one tunic! But, as a deep-dyed Ellis Peters fan, I think in some ways these are the best of the whole series. The writers adhered more closely to Peters' plots, while in later episodes they tended to emphasize the sensationalistic aspects of the stories and downplay Cadfael's analytic skills and grasp of human nature. The actor who plays Hugh, Sean Pertwee, is in my opinion far better in the role. In the books, Hugh is intelligent, guarded, and has a well-developed sense of irony; Pertwee conveys these qualities well, while his successor kept reminding me of Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties! Also, his rapport with Cadfael is more convincing: compare, for example, the scene in which the two examine the body in "The Sanctuary Sparrow," with (say) their scenes together in "St. Peter's Fair."
My favorite is "One Corpse Too Many," which is well cast throughout (with a delectable Aline -- I wish they'd brought her back in later episodes! -- a suitably slimy Giles, and the sexiest villain you'll see in a month of Sundays) and well written: the complicated "who did what to whom" in the stable episode was easy to follow, and I think the final scene was even better than Peters' original. "The Sanctuary Sparrow" was also well done, although I wish they'd used a less robust actress for the maidservant: in the book, she's frail enough to be physically intimidated, while this lady looked perfectly capable of rescuing herself! "Monk's Hood" was generally a good translation of the book to the screen, although the writers (especially in the Welsh scenes) occasionally succumbed to the impulse to overstate a point. While "The Leper of St. Giles" is also competently done, they lost me early on when the young lovers, alone at last, start playing tonsil hockey: there's a LITTLE more to their relationship than teenage lust!
The producers assembled -- and kept together throughout the series -- a thoroughly capable cast in the secondary roles. The two abbots are well done, especially the CEO-type Radulfus; Prior Robert and his loyal sidekick Brother Jerome are perfect (the latter is more brisk than in the books, but he's got the character's sneering self-righteousness down to a "T"); Brother Oswin is brilliantly done; and Hugh's Sergeant is suitably loutish, even if his chain mail bears a haunting similarity to Spandex. As for Derek Jacobi's Cadfael, I couldn't ask for a better. Although he remarked in Amazon.com's interview that he felt he was too large for the role, he PLAYS it as a man who handles situations with his wits and skill rather than physical dominance. And he well depicts the character's complexity: a man of the world who's dedicated himself to an austere monastic life but sometimes heeds the pull of his old one, and whose values are so deeply ingrained that he'll break the monastic rules rather than see injustice done. I found the entire TV series good fun, but these episodes spoiled me for later ones."
C. A. Luster | Burke, VA USA | 01/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great series of DVDs! I love detective series and this one is excellent. Along with the wonderful detective stories it takes place in medieval times several years after the Crusades. Brother Cadfael, pronounced Cadfile, is played by a superb actor, Sir Derek Jacobi. Some may know him from the series "I, Claudius", or the movie "Dead Again" or any number of other roles.
Cadfael is a monk in an order in the village of Shrewsbury. The mysteries he encounters involve murder or mayhem over inheritance, love, jealousy, and property. Often there are interesting characters that seem involved with the case that are but not in the way we suspect. The sheriff Hugh Beringar, played by Sean Pertwee in this set does an exceptional job as well and is often helpful to Cadfael in pursueing the cases.
The stories in this set involves a variety of mysteries that Cadfael unravels with the assistance from a gamut of people of the times. Cadfael has led and interesting life which we get a peek at with each episode. Even if he was just a monk that cares for the ill using herbs from his garden it would be enough, but there is much more to him. It was hard not to sit through a marathon of watching the set because they are so engrossing. I had not seen any of this series until I bought this set on a whim. After seeing it I immediately ordered the next three sets.
The set is excellent and includes Bios, Background on stories, and much more. The picture and sound quality are first class. I highly recommend buying this set. Fans of movies like "The Name of the Rose" or BBC series like "Sherlock Holmes" with Jeremy Brett, or even TV series like "CSI" will probably enjoy it."
This is an excellent series, a true treat
Stephen Allen | 04/18/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I has seen all the movies up to the fourth series, and have read all the books from Ellis Peters (the Cadfael author) that my library has. This series is as true to those mystery books as possible with their budget, and the result is stunning. They combine action, romance, sublety, and a medieval setting as true as the health department will allow. The movies maintain a true feel for the era, the mental mindset, and the suspicions/beliefs of the times. Derek Jacobi's skill as an actor are what brings Cadfael to life, and he hold nothing back in excellent after excellent episode. In only one episode have I been able to figure out the ending before all the clues are pieced together. My only criticism (and it is very minor) is that the actors who portray Hugh Berringer have changed several times. All have been very good in the role, but the first should have stayed. All in all, this series is well worth the expense, and is a real treat for the mystery movie lover (and historical period buff, the recreationists, the, well everybody I know anyway)"