Evelyn Waugh's classic novel of romantic yearning and loss became the universally acclaimed television serios that viewers on both sides of the Atlantic wished would never end. Set between the wars amid the fading glory of... more » British Empire and great family fortunes, Brideshead is a story of youthful illusions, of exquisite earthly beauty and of divine grace. Starring Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews and featuring Diana Quick, Sir John Gielgud, Claire Bloom and the incomparable Laurence Olivier in an Emmy Award-winning performance.« less
"Through my own connections, I was able to obtain this item a month before its street date so you all get to know what you're getting.The Brideshead DVD Box Set, while not perfect, is indeed excellent and I'll explain why.As is increasingly the case, the actual disc carriages are part of a three leaved slide-out assemblage which folds up and then is stored in a case, just like with the Godfather DVD Box Set. These case formats are an excellent way to fight piracy and look great but are not the best in in terms of long term box preservation as cardboard and photo-printed cardboard will degrade. This release of Brideshead is the 660 minute version of the mini-series and I believe this is the longest and most complete version ever released!The episode menus and scene selection are pretty, functional and fairly rudimentary, nothing exceptional here.A little booklet with some director's commentary and info on Evelyn Waugh and the episodes is included.There are no real DVD Special Edition type extras save for a brief but comprehensive written film/DVD production summary, info on Castle Howard, a cast/production team bio (Aloysius has his own entry and a hysterically funny news interview with the director about him), and some photography taken while shooting. There are regrettably no interviews with the cast or production team, no director's commentary, and no deleted/extended scenes, though since we've all been forced to endure the butchered Home Video verson this as full as full can be version is in a sense full of them. There are no theatrical trailers or television spots.Image quality is good and one thing that's mentioned in the production report is just how painstaking the video/audio restoration really was and how VERY lucky they -- and we -- were to be able to find the original film master in England and then clean it up. Once again, and this is becoming a great joke in the film community, a US company picks up the distribution/restoration rights to a foreign country's film treasures and then releases the best version ever made outside the market it originated in. We did it to the Japanese with Macross and we did it to England with Brideshead Revisited.This version of Brideshead looks better then the original did when it first came out for reasons explained on the DVD. The video and audio restoration was very good given the age and condition of the original film master. It's a little grainy here and there but that would have been tough to avoid. They should have spread this out over more discs for the most optimal compression ratios and resulting images but you'll not be disappointed with the results.If this title sells as well as it should, perhaps the American company that obtained and restored it can do a Special Edition version. For now, after all these years, Brideshead is where it belongs, on DVD and in my collection."
The finest film made for television that I have ever seen.
Russell Fanelli | Longmeadow, MA USA | 11/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Brideshead Revisited is the finest film made for television that I have ever seen. It is true to Evelyn Waugh's great novel. After watching this movie I bought the book and liked it as much as the videos. For those viewers who like to read, if you enjoyed the film you are almost certain to love the book.
After reading the novel, I viewed the tapes a second time and discovered that the movie was even better than I first thought.
What makes this video series great? The performances by a top flight cast are superb and the story is compelling. Jeremy Irons plays the part of Charles Ryder, an artist in search of his soul. His paintings are technially brilliant, but something is missing from them. An eccentric friend characterizes Ryder's work as full of "charm," and this evaluation is true -- the paintings are stylish, but soulless.
Anthony Andrews brings to life Ryder's Oxford college friend, Lord Sebastian Flyte, a spoiled aristocrat trying to break free from the influence of his dysfunctional family. Claire Bloom is his mother, Lady Marchmain, separated from his father, Sir Lawrence Olivier, Lord Marchmain. Bloom is cool, calculating, and condescending. When young Sebastian becomes an embarassing drunk, she seems pleased to attempt to reclaim him from social and spiritual destruction.
Somewhat later in the film Ryder realizes the destructive nature of Sebastian's relationship with his mother. Ryder subverts her wishes by giving Sebastian money for alcohol and then Ryder makes a break with the family when his gift of money to Sebastian is discovered by Lady Marchmain, who confronts Ryder with her muted, yet terrible anger.
Sir John Gielgud is brilliant as Ryder's disinterested father; we come to understand why Ryder lacks Sebastian's heart. Ryder grew up unloved and uncared for and he spends the rest of his life attempting to overcome his disabilty. His marriage to his first wife ends in divorce and he then falls in love with Lady Julia, Sebastian's sister. In the end Ryder's coldness, aloofness, and disdain for religion, something Julia and Sebastian hold dear, cause their breakup.
Last, but not least, the filmmakers have lavished great expense on all aspects of this production. The sets are superbly created to give us a true feel for the time and place in England at the time between the great wars. The music also deserves special mention. It beautifully supports the story and is worth listening to on its own merits. It stays in the listener's mind long after the drama is finished.
Can film ever stand comparison with great literaure? The Brideshead Revisited video series answers this question with a resounding "yes"!"
No Improvement Over 2002 Acorn DVD Release
E. S. Altman | NYC, NY | 10/30/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The only difference between this set and the original Acorn DVD release of 2002 (which was beautifully done) is the addition of the "Revisiting Brideshead" documentary and outtakes. The documentary is awful; the kind of thing that trivializes the work by superficial, self-inflated explanation from literary and media "experts" of things perfectly obvious to anyone who watches the series. I don't need a media critique telling me how perfect Anthony Andrews' performance was--I watched the series and saw so myself. I don't need to be instructed about the religious and sexual tension in the story--its there if you watch it. I was hoping the documentary would be conversation from the actors and crew about the filming, but I guess that would have been too simple. In fact, the several screens of text in the original DVD release that tell the story of the filming are much more interesting. This documentary is depressing, condescending and just stupid--I would skip it altogether.
As for the outtakes, not much there. The only real outtakes are Phoebe Nichols (Cordelia) dropping a couple of "f" bombs over missed cues, Anthony Andrews flubbing a line here and there and grainy footage of the cast and crew at horseplay. Again, not worth the purchase, but certainly more engaging than the documentary.
I see no reason for this anniversary edition--stick to the original Acorn release if you can find it. Much nicer packaging too. "
A Great Work Of Art; Easily The Best Miniseries Ever Made
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 05/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Brilliantly adapted by John Mortimer from Evelyn Waugh's celebrated novel of England between the first and second World Wars, BRIDESHEAD REVISITED is easily the best miniseries ever made. Smoothly and subtly directed by Charles Sturridge and Michael Lindsay-Hogg, the twelve hour program is beautiful to look at, the cast is remarkable, and the story has amazing impact.The miniseries follows the novel closely, beginning near the end of World War II as Charles Ryder (Jeremy Irons) grows disdainful of military life, which he finds a study in futility--and then flashes back twenty years as Ryder recalls his relationship with the aristocratic Marchmain family, a relationship that begins when he becomes friendly with Marchmain son Sebastian Flyte (Anthony Andrews) while the two are students at Oxford. The miniseries captures perfectly a golden moment of youth--and then the gradual disillusionment brought by the passage of time. Like all great works, BRIDESHEAD REVISITED--both book and film--touches on a great many themes, most specifically an innocent type of homoeroticism, loss of innocence, alcoholism, adultry, and changing society; ultimately, however, the story is about spiritual values and how they survive in even the most unlikely of circumstances--and how God works through individuals in the most unexpected ways.The performances here are truly fine beyond description. Jeremy Irons has seldom surpassed his work here, and neither Anthony Andrews nor Dianna Quick (as Julia, Sebastian's sister) have ever bested their performances in this film. In addition to the three leads, the miniseries offers an incredible array of superior performances by John Gielgud, Claire Bloom, and Laurence Olivier; the cinematography and art design is flawless; and the score by Geoffrey Burgon is exquiste. Mortimer's script is remarkable in that it not only manages to recreate the novel, it also manages to capture the intangible, spiritual elements upon which the book plays but seldom directly references. A must-own work for any one who appreciates the best of the best; strongly, strongly recommended."
Perhaps the most opulent, heartfelt PBS series ever
Drewry F. Wofford III | Raleigh, NC USA | 02/20/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Evelyn Waugh's book is a magnificent testament to the power of memory and language, and I doubt any more faithful an adadptation is possible. Jeremy Irons as the seemingly detached, but always emotionally involved friend (Charles Ryder) of Anthony Adrews (Sebastian), plays one of his finest roles. The cinematography is unparalleled, and after watching this numerous times, I was compelled to visit Castle Howard, which is the "Brideshead" home. This is a video (or series of videos) to curl up with on a long afternoon and evening (its about 13 hours long), but if at the end you haven't fallen in love with Julia as Charles had, if you haven't cried for Sebastian as he tends to the down trodden Kurt, then you are missing some of the basic emotional fabric of what makes us human. Sebastian says "it's a rather pleaseant change when all your life you've had people looking after you, to have someone to look after yourself". This is a book, a story and a video that deserves to be looked at many times and looked after as well."