BBC Shakespeare DVD 5 Pack Comedies Giftbox Set William Shakespeare loved to laugh. One need look no further than to explore his gift for dramatic humor in his great comedic plays. The BBC Shakespeare Comedy Gift Box gi... more »ves us five of the best of Shakespeare's plays performed by great actors and the best British directors. The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, & As You Like It. The actors include: Helen Mirren, Richard Pasco, John Cleese, Michael Hordern, Warren Mitchell, Gemma Jones and many more. The list goes on.....the laughter runs deep. DVD brings out the luster of the periods sets and the audio crisply delivers the voices of the past. English subtitles have been added to give the viewer the luxury of reviewing the crisp dialogue (when needed). Programs in this Comedy Giftbox Set includes: The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice,& As You Like It« less
"I have not seen this item but I wanted to know what was in the pack, when I found out I thought other people needed to know too!
Hence this "review"!The BBC site shows the contents to beAs You Like It (1978) Stars Helen Mirren, Brian Stirner and Richard Pasco. Taming of the Shrew (1980) John CleeseThe Tempest (1980)Starring Christopher Guard, Michael Hordern. A Midsummer Night's Dream (1981): features Helen Mirren and Peter McEnery, Pippa Sward, Brian Clover and Phil Daniel. Merchant of Venice (1980): Starring: Warren Mitchell, Gemma Jones."
Five More Of The Ambrose Series!
Richard R. Carlton | Ada, MI United States | 09/12/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the BBC series marketed by Ambrose Video that many colleges and libraries have purchased (see ambrosevideo.com). These DVD packages are a very good deal because the original videos are prohibitively expensive (although I broke down and purchased several of the plays that are simply not available on any other media - when was the last theater run you saw of Cymbeline, Henry VIII, or Troilus And Cressida?). The 37 play VHS series is still >$2,500, the DVD series ~$3,000, selected 5 play sets on DVD $150, and individual plays around $100. The series was remarkable in that it actually included all 37 plays in full with a solid set of players (many famous) who worked hard at maintaining as much historical accuracy as possible, but especially with the verbiage.
This set makes a total of 15 of the plays now available at reasonable cost on DVD. There are 3 five play DVDs now available as follows:
Romeo & Juliet Hamlet Macbeth Julius Caesar Othello
Henry V Richard II Richard III Henry IV, Part I Henry IV, Part II
As You Like It The Taming of the Shrew The Tempest A Midsummer Night's Dream The Merchant of Venice
The Comedies Series has some of the best, so it is well worth the expense. The problem is that many of the scenes are less than sparkling....it's very much like watching the filming of the series of plays instead of watching a movie or TV version.....even the Bard himself would have struggled to keep the life in them with no audience. Sometimes the effort for accuracy actually shows in some of the acting. You have to give the various troups credit for sticking to the goals of the series, but realize that it is done with some sacrifices to the thrill and magic at some points.
What I like about the BBC series is the hard-to-find plays.....like All's Well That Ends Well, Coriolanus, Cymbeline, Measure For Measure, Henry VI, Henry VIII....it's nice to see the whole Wars Of The Roses historical series with the same troup.
Here is the information on each play in this series (as given by Ambrose Video):
As You Like It Shakespeare at his sunniest, posing serious questions in the most lighthearted tone. Is there a natural difference between a Duke's daughter and a commoner? Are men really stronger than women? Or is it just society's role? Some of these characters briefly discard the roles they've played, while others adopt new one. All learn something about themselves. Stars Helen Mirren, Brian Stirner and Richard Pasco. Running Time: 150 minutes.
The Taming of the Shrew This comic confrontation between the sexes is one of the most frequently-staged plays. Its sparkling wit and rich characterization are matched with an outstanding cast. John Cleese, of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers gives a portrayal of Petruchio that wins unanimous critical acclaim, praised as "an object lesson in serving Shakespeare to a present-day audience. ? Running Time: 127 minutes.
The Tempest A dramatic romance, weaving fancy and realism into a plot that speaks to audiences today. This timeless stage is set on an enchanted island, where an exiled Duke and two young lovers encounter the occult, finding good and evil in their own natures. Starring Christopher Guard, Michael Hordern and more. Running Time: 150 minutes.
A Midsummer Night's Dream Three plots intertwine: the entangled love affairs of Demetrius and Helena, Lysander and Hermia, the comic performance of a "play within a play" by the tradesmen of Athens and the antics in fairyland of King Oberon and Queen Titania. The strong cast features Helen Mirren and Peter McEnery, Pippa Sward, Brian Clover and Phil Daniel. As the New York Times states "they are all accomplished performers, but the director has given the extra dimension of using them brilliantly in terms of television." Running Time: 112 minutes
The Merchant of Venice The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare's most famous comedies. It has become most celebrated for its captivating villain, Shylock. Blending tragedy and comedy, this play presents contrasts and ambiguities. The complexity lies in the character Shylock. Is he a villain, a buffoon or tragic hero? Starring: Warren Mitchell, Gemma Jones. Running Time: 157 minutes "
A Tragedy of Comic Proportions
D. Harper | United States | 09/15/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While this is a wonderful way to purchase some of the BBC gems that are so HARD to find at a reasonable price anywhere...and while they have picked some very good titles... the fact that they left out what is simply the best version of Twelfth Night that has ever been produced is simply tragic. Felicity Kendal was fabulous as Viola and the rest of the cast was fantastic. I have finally been able to find this brilliant play at Documentary Video in a DVD version, but it's really sad that, in what is otherwise a wonderful collection of plays, they left the best on the cutting room floor."
Quality Control Poor
Jennifer Frick-Ruppert | Brevard ,NC | 06/02/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The plays are excellent, exactly as I had hoped and remembered from the original TV broadcasts. My set, however, arrived with a defective copy of "The Tempest." Although the disc was free of mars or scratches, ACT III is corrupted and unplayable on any of several machines. Despite Ambrose's assurance that they will replace damaged discs, my emails have gone unanswered."
Wonderful, but the best are absent
A. B. Greenwood | United States | 11/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am overjoyed that these fine performances have finally been released at a reasonable price (I was beginning to suspect that those holding the rights wanted to suppress their distribution); however, I am disappointed that the three most amusing, accessible, and perhaps best performances in this series are absent from this collection: Twelfth Night, Much Ado about Nothing, and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Merry Wives is by far the funniest of the comedies produced in this series, and although there have been recent productions of the other two plays, the performances in this series are superior in both cases. If five plays had to be chosen for this collection, the three mentioned above should have been chosen in favor of The Tempest, Midsummer Nights Dream, and As You Like it. Perhaps these will be released in a future collection. In spite of this, I would whole heartedly recommend buying this collection of fine performances."