Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Rumpole of the Bailey Complete 1st and 2nd Seasons|
Actors: Leo McKern, Jonathan Coy, Julian Curry, Marion Mathie, Richard Murdoch
Director: John Glenister
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Part lawyer, part detective, Horace Rumpole is one of the most colorful characters ever to approach the bench. With his brilliant mind and sly sense of humor, Rumpole's adventures behind the scenes and center stage in the... more »
Similarly Requested DVDs
An Excellent Collection
Paul N. Walton | SF Bay Area, California, USA | 08/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"HBO Home Video has done a nice job of presenting the first two Rumpole series in this initial DVD collection. The set contains twelve one-hour episodes (six per series) and the two-hour film, "Rumpole's Return". The picture is sharp overall, particularly in the indoor scenes originally recorded on studio videotape, while the outdoor scenes done on 16 mm film are as well as can be expected (the production values of the Rumpole episodes improved considerably over time. These episodes are from the late 1970s). The DVD menus are good and provide about six scene selections per episode. There are also a few extras, such as bios of John Mortimer and Leo McKern, and some information about the British legal system. I have looked forward to seeing Rumpole on DVD for several years and am pleased with this set overall. Presumably, there will be two more sets like it to complete the Rumpole collection, and I would certainly buy them too. If I could have made a suggestion or two to the people in charge of the packaging, I would have liked to have seen the collection in a hard case rather than a paper one, and I would have tried to find more flattering photos of Rumpole than those used on the outside of the box. Also, the photo used to illustrate the episode "Rumpole and the Younger Generation" is from another episode in which Phyllida (Trant) Erskine-Brown appeared (she was not in the Younger Generation). Otherwise, a good job and I hope to see the other two sets soon. [A&E has changed the packaging on these DVDs since I wrote this review. They are now in a plastic box with different photos so some of my comments are a little outdated]."
Damian Housman | Naples, Florida United States | 01/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I like to collect Rumpole videos. Unfortunately, that isn't made any easier when the video does not have the titles of the episodes. I have several Rumpole videos, but there are several sources for them, each with its own "volume" number on it. I don't want to buy videos I already own. How about a list of the episodes? If you include that, you will probably sell a lot more videos to people like me who are only hesitant because we may have them already."
O Frabjous day!
Michael D. Kelley | Leesburg, Florida | 02/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As someone else here noted, a Rumpole fan needs no urging to buy this set. For the uninitiated, however, be aware this may well be an acquired taste -- all the best things in life are.Here's a litmus test: see if you find this story amusing. A judge had before him an elderly con who's been convicted so many times they are on a first name basis. He sentences him to 20 years and the man looks up and says "But, your honor, I'm a very old man and don't have too many years left. I don't know that I can do 20 years." "Well," says the judge, "you just do as much as you can."That's one of the stories that Rumpole loves to tell, and it's typical of the kinds of scenerios this barrister finds himself facing. One of the best things about having these episodes on DVD is you can quickly skip back and reply scenes -- every single reviewing will reward you with new treats.Leo played a part written especially for him, and it's almost impossible to tell where he leaves off and Rumpole begins. The Rumpole series has never been collected in this organized a fashion before (previous releases came in a bewildering array of assorted sets that mixed years willy-nilly) and this is a perfect place to get aquainted with the most erudite and witty barrister the other side of the Big Pond. Nothing can replace Mr. McKern, but this set at least preserves his best performances for all time."
Showcases one of the most unique actors ever on TV
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 04/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Film and television has over the decades seen the appearance of a host of enormously talented character actors who have only rarely had opportunities to assuming lead or starring roles. Charles Laughton was the great exception, somehow managing a host of starring roles over the decades. But the great Bert Lahr, despite his considerable gifts, had a great stage career (including Samuel Beckett's landmark WAITING FOR GODOT) managed only one great film, as the Cowardly Lion in THE WIZARD OF OZ. Robert Newton managed a few good screen roles, including a turn as the greatest Long John Silver ever in the 1950s Disney version of TREASURE ISLAND, but for the most part cinema never found a way to incorporate his considerable but over-the-top skills. The fact is that many of our greatest character actors project a persona that is a bit too large for either film or TV. Bert Lahr had the gigantic personality of a Warner Brothers cartoon character, and there were simply very, very few film roles that could accommodate his talent.
Leo McKern is very much in this tradition of the great ham character actor whose personality outstrips all but a very few roles. No one who had previously seen him in films like RYAN'S DAUGHTER (as Ryan) or A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS (as More's prosecutor) or the legendary TV series THE PRISONER (as the best Number Two on the show) could doubt his talent. But the force of his personality and the power of his voice, as well as his short, stout build and globular face (as well as having a glass left eye as the result of a childhood accident), made him in appropriate for almost all film and television roles. He wasn't merely bigger than life: he was bigger than the silver screen and television. Thankfully, near the end of his life he managed the role of a lifetime as Horace Rumpole in the serialization of John Mortimer's Rumpole of the Bailey stories. The role is a perfect showcase for McKern's talents, and he clearly threw himself into it with all the gusto of which he was capable. It is almost impossible to imagine anyone else in this role so completely does he make it his own. To be honest, McKern is the only thing that makes these shows worth watching a quarter of a century after their first appearance. The stories are often fun, frequently clever, and the supporting cast is consistently superb, but the fact is that there have been dozens of excellent shows over the decades, and few lay legitimate claim for our attention. RUMPOLE OF THE BAILEY does lay such claim, but almost entirely because of McKern's transcendently excellent performance as the title character. Obviously, the show's writers knew this at the time, for every second of the show is structured to give McKern as fine a platform as possible for the display of his particular virtues as an actor. Whether quoting English poetry, or cross-examining a witness during a trial, or wincing under the complaints of "she who must be obeyed," or reacting to some inane comment by some absurd English judge, every conceivable opportunity is provided for McKern to boom out in that marvelous voice of his Rumpole's words.
I don't want to imply that McKern is the only good thing in the show. The scripts, largely adapted from stories by writer and sometimes barrister John Mortimer, are consistently interesting and contain a host of marvelous moments. The series is also enriched by a large and highly talented cast, including Peter Bowles as Guthrie Featherstone, head of chambers for much of the series, though his ambition takes him to many new roles; Patricia Hodge as Phyllida Erkine-Brown nee Trant, whom Rumpole dubs their chambers' "Portia; Julian Curry as Claude Erskine-Brown, whose interests in "the Law" run as counter to Rumpole's as possible; and, of course, the Peggy Thorpe-Bates, the first of two actresses to portray Hilda, "she who must be obeyed."
This is not among the greatest shows ever made, but it is certainly one of the most enjoyable and contains what is unquestionably one of the great characters in the history of TV. The cable TV network Bravo recently compiled a list of the 100 Greatest Television Characters, which was very poorly named, since it considered only American television characters. Had English shows been included, there is little question that Horace Rumpole would have occupied a prominent place on the list."