Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Gilbert Sullivan - Favorites Collection |
Actors: William Conrad, Clive Revill, Kate Flowers, John Stewart, Anne Collins
Directors: Dave Heather, Peter Wood, Rodney Greenberg
Genres: Comedy, Television, Musicals & Performing Arts
No Description Available. Genre: Performing Arts - Opera Rating: NR Release Date: 1-JAN-2004 Media Type: DVD
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Awful. Awful. Awful.
Ranger243 | East Coast USA | 04/06/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I love Gilbert and Sullivan, but the productions in this series are so bad I winced watching them. When Captain Corcoran first appeared on deck, I furrowed by brow and said out loud, "No, it can't be." But sure enough, a check of the credits revealed that the hardy captain of the H.M.S. Pinafore actually was game show icon Peter Marshall. That claim to fame and his constant horse-toothed grin were distracting enough, but his terrible performance made watching this version of Pinafore almost unbearable. Pete should have stuck to the likes of Yahtzee! and Hollywood Squares. Frankie Howerd speaks most of his lines as Sir Joseph. That may have worked fine for Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady, but it was a deep disappointment to a diehard G&S fan waiting to hear some of his favorite songs actually sung. The cast includes a plain-looking Josephine and downright ugly (and aging) Ralph Rackstraw. I focus here on Pinafore because it is usually my favorite and was so horribly wrecked here. But the other productions in the series are no better. The choreography is consistently overwrought to the point of being downright silly. The singing, while at times good, is generally uneven. Spoken lines often are poorly delivered. The series was taped in 1982. It shows its age, and not only from the silly looking, big 70s-80s hair on all the men. The camera work is awkward, the sets invariably cheesy. In one scene in Pirates of Penzance, the camera rises from behind a potted plant in an effect reminiscent of early public access cable television. I could go on, and really I'd like to find something positive to say, but I do so love G&S, whose work here is turned into something so bad it's difficult to watch. I was going to sell my boxed set and the extra DVDs I purchased, but I would not inflict them on someone else. Save your money and invest in some of the excellent audio versions that are out there.
Is This All the G&S There Is?
M. S. Driver | Woodside, NY United States | 02/01/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a huge Gilbert & Sullivan fan since early childhood, and I am sure there is a market out there for good video productions of their operettas. This TV series ain't even close. (I only bought one of the two boxed sets.) Someday, maybe some brave producer and/or director will mount these shows in a way that will bring out their wealth of potential. We all saw how the Kevin Kline/Linda Ronstadt movie of "Pirates of Penzance" launched that show permanently into the G&S top three. I give this series two stars only because I don't think there is any other version of all the operettas out there (I doubt that the old Martyn Green Doyle-Carte Company movie of "Mikado" is available), and at least I have something to look at while listening to the music and dialogue. But I wince at Keith Michell's and Vincent Price's feeble vocalizations -- to name only two of the producers' many lame attempts to use "big names" to attract audiences, which is rather more likely to scare them away."
Five Volumes of a Flawed Series that Remain Enjoyable
Aronne | 05/16/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"For a number of the operas, the Brent Walker videos constituted my entire experience for that opera. (Now, of course, I own at least one recording of each.) There's a lot to say about this series (much of it less than sanguine, I'm afraid).
HMS Pinafore: Not half as bad as I had expected (though still bad). Frankie Howard makes little effort to stick to the script, and it shows. Peter Marshall as the Captain is acceptable, though his dancing in "Nevermind the why and wherefore" is quite painful (he doesn't have that sort of figure). Ralph was one of the redeeming factors of the production. Yes, he doesn't hit the B-flat at the beginning of the Act 1 finale, but you have to admit, he sings pretty good *and* looks the part. (To be blunt: He's in shape, taller than the soprano, and isn't too old.)
Pirates of Penzance: Dreadful. Honestly, I'd rank this one lower than Pinafore. The only redeeming factor is Gillian Knight as Ruth. The staging and choreography is overdone, and Peter Allen as the Pirate King is so bad he manages to ruin the Paradox trio, let alone the act one finale. The viewer groans every time the pirates enter...for the wrong reason.
Patience: Along with The Sorcerer, one of the best of this series. Sandra Dugdale's Patience sings fabulously and has a pretty good grip on her role (my one complaint is her costume...don't know what they were thinking there). Hammond-Stroud's Bunthorne is not first-choice (and a bit too...portly. But of course, John Fryatt as Grosvener sort of cancels him out). Ella gets some good stuff to do, particularly her business with her cymbals. Anne Collin's Jane is excellent.
The Mikado: Not the best, not the worst. Pooh-Bah, Katisha (love the goggles), and Ko-Ko are the best (in my humble opinion). I have little to say about William Conrad except he doesn't even try to sing like any other Mikado. The choreography that is present in all of these videos works better in the Mikado than in most. (It also comes across well in Patience, where aesthetic dancing is a boon.) One realizes how flat this Mikado is in some places when viewing the 1939 D'Oyly Carte video (which should have been longer), but it still holds up well enough to see more than once.
The Gondoliers: Yes, prone to incite boredom among those unfamiliar with the opera (and many familiar with it), but adequate in most areas. Keith Michell (whose best role was Robin Oakapple) doesn't exude Don Alhambra as Kenneth Sandford did in the 1961 D'Oyly Carte recording; part of this is the fact that his voice isn't that of a bass, or a more...lyric baritone. Generally good casting for such a myriad of parts. The dialogue cuts are unfortunate but necessary to fit the thing into the two hour frame (minus a few minutes for the Douglas Fairbanks Jr. intros, spurious after or during the first viewing).
Overall, this "favorites" set includes some of the best and some of the worst of the series. If I were to recommend five of the DVDs above the others, it would be these: The Sorcerer, Patience, Princess Ida, The Mikado, and Ruddigore.
I recommend even more highly using your local library to preview the series and decide if you like them before you buy. (I was able to obtain all of them through interlibrary loan and normal library services before even considering buying them.) These films are an acquired taste - I suggest that if you acquire it, do so with some of the D'Oyly Carte recordings on hand as well!"