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Edward the King
Edward the King
Actors: Annette Crosbie, Timothy West, Helen Ryan, Felicity Kendal, Guy Slater
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family, Television, Military & War
NR     2003     11hr 20min

Edward the seventh waits nearly 60 years to become King. He wins the devotion of his people, the hearts of beautiful women and the fierce enmity of his mother, Queen Victoria. This sweeping saga covers 70 of the most tumul...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Annette Crosbie, Timothy West, Helen Ryan, Felicity Kendal, Guy Slater
Creator: Tony Imi
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family, Television, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Drama, Family Films, Television, Military & War
Studio: Bonneville Ent.
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 09/30/2003
Original Release Date: 01/01/1979
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1979
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 11hr 20min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 6
SwapaDVD Credits: 6
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

An Outstanding Historical Biography!
Tiggah | Calgary, Alberta Canada | 03/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Edward the King is a superb seventies' dramatisation of the life of Queen Victoria's son Bertie, the Prince of Wales, who went on to become King Edward VII in 1901. The series (which consists of thirteen 50-minute episodes) is actually entitled Edward the Seventh (the title was for some reason changed to Edward the King on the packaging). As for the dvd, there are no extras; and the quality of the picture/sound, although good, is not outstanding, and I don't think the series has been remastered. Unfortunate as this may be, please don't be deterred on that account; the quality is as good as one would expect from any video and it is, after all, the content and the quality of the performance that is most important.The series covers the life of Bertie from his birth in 1841 through his coronation in 1901 and concludes with his death in 1910. Though extremely privileged, Bertie had a stiflingly sheltered youth dominated by strict, controlling parents, which culminated in an all-but-arranged marriage to the beautiful Princess Alexandra of Denmark. Because of their importance in shaping the character of the young prince, Victoria and Albert (played to absolute perfection by Annette Crosbie (One Foot in the Grave) and Robert Hardy (All Creatures)) are the primary focus of the first few episodes. Victoria did not like to share her power, and her marriage felt the strain of such an inability to delegate (a situation which was not improved by her many temper tantrums!). Ultimately, however, she was persuaded to share her power with her more-than-capable husband--something which, following Albert's death in 1861, she was sadly never to do with her son. Ironically, when he finally succeeded to the throne, Bertie proved himself a very capable and level-headed ruler.Bertie (played commandingly by Timothy West) longed for responsibility in the government but, thanks to his mother, was destined for the most part to a life of idleness, which he filled libertinely with entertainment, cigars, and of course mistresses--most notably Alice Keppel and Lillie Langtry (portrayed by the beautiful Francesca Annis, who went on to reprise the role in 1979 with Lillie). As the years pass, we see Bertie increasingly in the company of his mistresses. I might just mention (for those with a particular interest in his many affaires du coeur) that his relationships are not the focus here; and certainly, the physical aspects are not delved into (ie. don't expect the gratuitous, explicit sexuality that seems to be a given in current period productions). The politics of the time are, as one would expect in any profile of a monarch, intertwined with the social and personal life of the individual, and we see over 70 years worth of prime ministers come and go--most notably Benjamin Disraeli (played by John Gielgud) and the perennial thorn in Victoria's side, William Gladstone. We also see the rise to power of the highly unstable Kaiser Wilhelm II of Prussia, the son of Bertie's eldest sister Vicky (played wonderfully by Felicity Kendal (Good Neighbours)). Because of his instability, Wilhelm is an increasingly important figure in Bertie's life.In conclusion, this is an outstanding production--one which is consummately acted by an all-star British cast, and which I'd recommend very highly to anyone who enjoys quality British period productions or to anyone with an interest in historical biography. If you've enjoyed other classic series--like Lillie, the Pallisers, or Upstairs Downstairs, for example, this one is definitely worth checking out. Highly recommended."
"The Peacemaker"
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 04/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This review refers to "Edward The King" 6 volume DVD set(All Things Family)

I must add my 5 stars to the others already here. This was truly a superb series that gave a good look at the life and times of Edward VII of England. The King who waited a lifetime to sit on the throne, and while he didn't get to rule for very long, became known as Edward "The Peacemaker", for his gift of diplomacy around the world.

The series is well written, enlightening and entertaining as well. From Edward's birth, while his mother Queen Victoria ruled England,his education, his family, his Randy ways(he was quite the playboy, even after he married) through his years of waiting quite impatiently to be King, through his sickly years and finally his death, this series brings quite an awareness of the events.

Queen Victoria ruled for more then 50 years. The first several episodes, really revolve around her. The politics and family matters while "Bertie" as he came to be called(named Albert Edward after his father), was young. The quest to have him educated in a royal manner, the scandals he created as a young man(which continued into his older years), the need to find him a suitable wife, and finally the Queen's unwillingness to abdicate, even in her old age, to let Bertie take over. He was 60 by the time he did. Even then the political figures, tried to keep him from "ruling". But King Edward, left his mark in the early 20th century by being quite astute in foreign affairs, and keeping England safe.

Powerfully acted, Timothy West plays the adult Bertie. He gives him not just an air of regalness, but adds a very human, and fun-loving quality as well. Annette Crosbie, wonderful as always, is Queen Victoria. Also look for Sir John Gielgud in a few episodes. The screenplays for each episode are written in a way that will draw you into every word of the wonderful dialogue. It's a great history lesson spanning nearly 70 years, and giving faces(so to speak) to all the crown heads of Europe of the time. I was amazed to find out how so many of them were inter-related through birth or marriage.

This a 6 volume set. There are 13 episodes at about 50 minutes each. 2 episodes to a disc, except for volume 6, which has 3. Each DVD is in it's own case.
I thought the transfers were very good. The picture was clear, colors vivid, jewelry sparkled, and I loved the costumes. My only small complaint might be in the sound department. The dialogue would go in and out. I set my sound to 2-channel stereo, which worked better, but at times there was still some sort of echo. It wasn't enough to take away from the enjoyment of this series, or to take a star off of my rating. It also might have been nice if there were some kind of bonus features. It is apparent that much love and work went into every detail of this program and I would have liked to seen some interviews with cast and crew.

Looks like the outside sellers have the better deal, even for a new edition at this time.

A fabulous addition to your Royal collection

Here is an all regions edition(check with sellers for dvd details):
Edward the Seventh

also recommended:

A Good look at Edward and his age
D. D Lawson | Pasadena, Calif. USA | 09/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"One of the better miniseries about King Edward,his life and his brief reign. This film also shows Britain at its height of power.
Just before it was to be drowned in blood from the two World Wars. Which effectively ended a way of life and thought never to return. Altogether a very good way to sneak a look at the Edwardian Era and life at the very top."
Good old-fashioned TV
MartinP | Nijmegen, The Netherlands | 12/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This thirteen part series does something very rare in TV: it tracks the entire life history of a single individual, seven decades in all, patiently showing all its defining events. The choice of subject did not make things easy: the vapid, womanizing Edward VII is not a very sympathetic character, though the sharpest edges have been blunted a bit in the re-telling; his marriage to Alexandra, for instance, was nowhere near as warm as it is depicted here.

The series was filmed in the early seventies. Inevitably, the execution is not up to the standards of authenticity we've become accustomed to in later years. Most of the indoor scenes (i.e., nearly all) were filmed in slightly too small, slightly too stuffy stage sets, not quite stylistically believable and with cardboard landscapes outside the windows. There is little sense of royal grandeur, and at times it feels like `Upstairs, downstairs". The eventual coronation is suggested rather than shown. Outdoor scenes do use apt locations, but look as if they are slightly out of focus. Costumes are excellent though, and faithfully follow the changing fashions.

The acting too is more of the old-fashioned stage than of modern TV, but that is not at all a bad thing. It may be overly emphatic at times - the way Queen Victoria over-articulates her words is a case in point - but it is also consistent, stylish, and quite believable. By the time we come to Albert's death, you may be as surprised as I was at the extent to which it genuinely moves you. The acting, in fact, is supremely fine, with John Gielgud as a luxury cast member doing a delicious Disraeli. But the whole thing is carried by the two female leads: Annette Crosbie as a feisty, hot-tempered yet endearing Queen Victoria, and Helen Ryan as a vulnerable, touching, somewhat child-like Queen Alexandra.

The screenwriting is very deft, but what else would one expect from Harold Pinter himself? It is quite amazing how a natural sense of the flow of time is maintained, yet without any scene ever feeling hurried. Transitions are very cleverly handled, the writer not being afraid to do an appeal on the intelligence of the viewer, something increasingly rare in TV. Necessary background information is ingeniously worked into the dialogue. That dialogue itself is surprisingly natural; only at the very end does the eulogy of the prime minister on the dead King sound as if he is talking to the camera.
The aging of characters is well-handled too, mostly; but the metamorphosis from young Edward to older Edward requires a fair degree of tolerance: the young prince turns from a frisky adolescent into a stocky middle-aged man in a matter of months. Of course, there is no good way to solve the problem of aging in a series that tracks an entire life-history; doing it through make-up would probably have been quite as bad, if not worse.

The bombastic music with its Wagner and Elgar overtones, is dated; the title tune bears an unfortunate (if not entirely inappropriate) resemblance to the final chorus of `HMS Pinafore'. Strangely, every episode is cut into two `parts', the second opening with the title image and a brief fanfare.
The series is extravagantly spread over 6 DVDs, when it would have easily fitted on 4. The image quality is variable; at times there are disturbances that make it look as if the DVD was recorded from a regular video tape. There are no extras, and there is no booklet or anything else to guide you. But all that is of secondary importance.