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Edward II
Edward II
Actors: Ian McKellen, James Laurenson, Diane Fletcher, Paul Hardwick, Timothy West
Directors: Richard Marquand, Toby Robertson
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
NR     2009     2hr 5min

In Christopher Marlowe's historical play, King Edward summons back his l


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Movie Details

Actors: Ian McKellen, James Laurenson, Diane Fletcher, Paul Hardwick, Timothy West
Directors: Richard Marquand, Toby Robertson
Genres: Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: BBC Warner
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 05/26/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 2hr 5min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Thank you, BBC!
Vaughan Dawson | Delray Beach, FL United States | 03/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Wow, have I been hoping against hope that this production would one day make it to DVD. I just gasped out loud when I saw it popup! I've had an old VHS tape that was taped off broadcast in 1975! Needless to say, it is very worn out by now.

If you are a fan of McKellen or great classical theater, you've got to have this. Now, if the BBC would only put out their great "Wars of the Roses" series from the 60s (those old VHS tapes are nearly worn out too!), I would be grateful forever! Thanks again, BBC! Your collections of Chekhov, Ibsen and Noel Coward were fantastic, and the fact that they are now putting out this Edward II is very admirable."
A Different Version
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 02/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Edward II"

A Different Version

Amos Lassen

Coming soon from Warner Brothers is a new and different version of Christopher Marlowe's "Edward II". Do not be confused this is not the Derek Jarman film but a film adaptation originally broadcast by the BBC. It stars Ian McKellen and James Laurenson and was filmed almost 40 years ago. The production was hailed by the critics and it caused quite a sensation in the way it portrayed the king's sexuality and it provided the first kiss by two men ever to seen on British television.
What is surprising is how modern Marlowe's play is even though in actuality it is over 400 years old. Edward had a flawed rule and that is not only because he, himself, was flawed but his reign had to deal with civil war. What ultimately turned the nobles against him was not his ineptitude to rule but his Edward's sex life. The play begins when the king's favorite courtier, Gavezton, returns from having been exiled and his open declaration of love for Edward. His decision and refusal to give his love up is what provides the heart of the play and the tragedy that follows. The film is wonderfully acted and remains contemporary. It is a wonderful look at the way modern gay cinema began.
Technical Difficulties
Thomas Yotka | Santa Monica, USA | 07/16/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Mostly well-staged and well-acted version of Marlowe's Edward II sometimes hampered by technical limitations of 1969 studio recordings: color variations and ghosting not too bad, but unfortunately the sound boom operator often misses covering the actors--the variable sound quality isn't "drop out"--just the guy holding the pole not moving fast enough.
For some reason the "Three poor men" sequence with Gaveston is trimmed in the beginning (you'll note the bad cut a few minutes in)--yet the actors names appear in the credits.
A strange "Marlowe Coroner's Inquest" narrated by Patrick Stewart is an extra.
Performances mostly 5 & Technical aspects mostly 3 = 4 overall"
Classic performance of Marlowe's masterpiece
David Cope | Grandville, Mi. USA | 10/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Christopher Marlowe's masterpiece, Edward II, is the first major English History play/tragedy in the renaissance canon, predating and providing a model for Shakespeare's Richard II and other plays of the genre (for that connection, see Charles R. Forker's magisterial introduction in the Manchester U Revels Plays edition). It's also an important work in the lgbtq literary canon, as the love affair between Piers Gaveston and his king is the first open and unabashed representation of gay characters on the English stage, and the poetry of that love affair is marvellous. The play also features a villainous cadre of Machiavellian lords and churchmen who despise Gaveston for his lower class beginnings, his and Edward's wasting of the nation's treasury, and for Gaveston's sexuality.

As a film, the play is already known to many through Derek Jarman's 1992 experimental version of it, featuring good performances by an angry, spiteful Gaveston (Andrew Tiernan)and Queen Isabella (a young Tilda Swinton). Its chief feature is a peculiar cutting and pasting of text and plotline, interlarding the play with a song performed by Annie Lennox and modern gay rights demonstrations and police brutality.

That said, the 1969 BBC Edward II starring a very young and gorgeous Ian McKellen in a filmed stage performance of the play is a wonderful surprise, a delight in every way. McKellen is more passionate, spontaneous, and utterly possessed by his role than I have ever seen him; he has obviously learned his chops, but there's a sense that this performance is 90% "going on nerves" in the best sense. James Laurenson's Gaveston is more nuanced than Tiernan's, and the film itself is less polemic than Jarman's: it focuses much more closely on the depth of their love. The supporting cast is uniformly excellent, and one should not be put off by the fact that this is a film of stage performance; the work is so good that one quickly overlooks the difficulties of transition. Costumes bring one a humorous reminder of the colorful sixties, but they aren't too intrusive, and the film quality is very good, given the fact that this is a product of that decade."