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Wagner - The Complete Epic
Wagner - The Complete Epic
Actors: Richard Burton, Gemma Craven, Vanessa Redgrave, Laszlo Galffi, John Gielgud
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
NR     2005     5hr 0min

Over a hundred years after his death, Richard Wagner remains an enigma. His was a rags-to-riches saga with a fairy tale ending. He was loved, yet hated; admired, yet despised. He was a heroic villian who was worshipped and...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Richard Burton, Gemma Craven, Vanessa Redgrave, Laszlo Galffi, John Gielgud
Creators: Simon Channing Williams, Ágnes Havas
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Drama
Studio: Kultur Video
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 04/26/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 5hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaDVD Credits: 4
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

The mini-series IS definitely uncut on this DVD!
Volker Wehrkamp-Lemke | Osnabrück, Germany | 09/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"To make things once and for all clear: The exact running time of this set is 470 minutes. I own this set and it's totally uncut. I also taped a tv-broadcast almost 15 years ago (here in Europe they definitely aired it uncut!), so I was able to compare both formats.
It would have been the mistakingly advertised 540 minutes, if KULTUR had put every bit of repeating credits at the beginning and at the end of each episode, since those repeating credits run - believe it or not - 7 minutes for each episode. Now you could do the math: 7 x 10 = 70 minutes. And what a surprise: 470 + 70 = 540.
So folks, don't you worry anymore, this DVD-set contains every bit of the epic mini-series.
(A fan writing to you from Germany.)"
Wagner, The Complete Epic
Mark Marcus | Los Angeles, CA USA | 11/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I was fortunate to have seen a big screen presentation of "Wagner The Complete Epic" at the San Diego Opera House (nine hours in one day), many years ago. Richard Burton really captures both the vindictiveness and creative genuis of this man, whose immoral personal life is so difficult to reconcile with his amazing compositions. From his fecund mind sprang over a dozen great music dramas, culminating in the mythological trilogy "Der Ring des Nibelungen", arguably the apex of artistic expression in the western world. In addition to Richard Burton, the huge cast includes Vanessa Redgrave as Cosima Wagner, John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, Laurence Olivier, and a few opera stars who have actually sung in Wagner's music dramas, including Gwyneth Jones, Peter Hofmann, Jess Thomas, Manfred Jung and Heinz Zednik. Tony Palmer, who directed this movie, has created an epic of Wagnerian proportions."
Complete but...
Ballet Boy | USA | 09/29/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This is a marvelous look into the life of Wagner, one of the greatest musical geniuses of all time who was an absolute monster of a person, but none the less brilliant. Although I believe this an acting tour de force for Burton and the other fine actors, it unfortunately falls short in several ways. The transfer is awful. If they did anything to enhance it, it certainly doesn't show. The sound is lousy as well. With the amazing panoramic views and beautiful settings, there really should have been more care and time spent cleaning up the original recordings. Oh well...still worth seeing and the musical overlay are brilliant. 3 stars for poor transfer, 5 for the scenery, settings, music and acting"
A film no less a Wagnerian opera
Breyel | MALAYSIA | 12/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"What I enjoyed about this epic series on the life of Richard Wagner was the composer's music performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra (Wagner: Opera Scenes), Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (The Vienna Philharmonic Plays Wagner) and Budapest Symphony Orchestra (Masters of Classical Music, Vol. 5: Wagner) under the baton of Sir Georg Solti. The backdrop of political and social intrigue in the Prussian and Bavarian states of the 19th century piqued my curiosity for the history of this period as well. No less fascinating were the characterisations of the people who played significant roles in his life, including Franz Liszt, Frederick Nietzsche, Hans and Cosima von Buelow, Minna Planer, Mathilde Wesendonck and King Ludwig II.

Equally memorable were the excellent performances of Richard Burton as Wagner, Gemma Craven as Minna (his first wife) Vanessa Redgrave as Cosima (his friend's wife and second wife), Laszlo Galffi as The Swan King: Ludwig II of Bavaria, Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir Ralph Richardson and Sir John Gielgud. Richard Burton's performance is indeed superb in so far as depicting the arrogance, megalomania, amorality and musical genius of Richard Wagner.

While "Wagner" depicts a vile and self-centred man, especially with regard to the callous disregard he had for friends, wives, benefactors and peers, the film projects a balanced assessment of his contribution to the world of music and influence on German politics. On viewing "Wagner", one might actually have more sympathy for the people he used, particularly the romantic and generous benefactor King Ludwig II.

With regard to Kultur's pan and scan presentation of this acclaimed series, I concur with the previous reviewers. I wish Kulture had made a genuine effort to digitise and include some historical write-up on Wagner and the film's making. Nevertheless, this 4-DVD set is testimony to Burton's talent, the lavish sets, the detailed costumes and marvellous scenery shot in more than 200 locations around Europe.

Whether the scenes purportedly snipped from the original series make a difference is a matter of personal preference. I for one found the footage viewed on this DVD set did not disturb the overall story. However, parents viewing this with children, be warned; the film is rated 'R' for some frontal nudity and sexual situations (3 scenes). Regardless, "Wagner" is a film worth watching, if not owning.