Retribution and romance....
Dianne Foster | USA | 12/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ellis Peters wrote 20 books about her hero Brother Cadfael. THE LEPER OF ST GILES is an early book in her series, and the DVD film is a faithful account of her story, first broadcast on PBS Mystery series. Sir Derek Jacobi plays Cadfael, and a host of other fine British actors fill the remaining roles. The Cadfael films were shot in Eastern Europe, and early episodes are the best because Peters served as a technical consultant (she died before the filming was completed).Cadfael's exploits are generally set in the tumultuous years 1130-1150 when the Empress Maud and her cousin Stephen were fighting for the English throne. However, in THE LEPER OF ST GILES, the key to a current mystery lies in the period some 40 years before when Cadfael and other young men took up the cross for Christ as participants in the the First Crusade. In this book/film we learn more about those times and how Cadfael came to his current vocation.St Giles is a way station outside Shrewsbury where the Benedictine monks of the local abby minister to the physical and spiritual needs of the Lepers. In the Middle Ages, people were terrified of Leperosy, a disease that showed up in Europe following the First Crusade to the Holy Land. Because the disease was so contagious and horrible, lepers were not allowed to enter settlements but confined to way stations maintained by the church. Moreover, lepers were ordered to wear little bells or carry them and ring them when the approached others.One day, an old leper shows up at the Leper Hospital of St Giles. He is tall and at one time was very well built, tho now the ravages of the disease have diminished him. At the same time as his arrival at St Giles, a young girl is escorted to Shrewsbury Abby by her kinfolk for her wedding--to an older man not of her choosing. The young man she would prefer to marry is not well enough situated for her kinsfolk, who want her to join their (her) lands with the bridegroom's lands which lie adjacent to their own. As was the case in many of these arranged marriages, the bottom line overshadows feelings.The day of the wedding the bridegroom is discovered dead. He had been out riding in the early moring hours and apparently his horse stumbled and he was thrown and his neck broken--or was he. Of course, Cadfael discovers evidence of foul play, but who would want the man dead? Immediate suspicion falls on the young affinanced woman's illicit lover. Did he do it? If not, only Cadfael can unravel the mystery and discover many things including the identity of the mysterious leper of St. Giles."
A huge Cadfael fan from Oz
mirandathetempest | Burringbar, NSW Australia | 01/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is probably the nicest, most romantic episode of the series. It is almost to clean cut for a medievil piece, but is nonetheless very well presented and extremely watchable. Derek Jacobi is faultless as the good brother, and the rest of the cast is also strong. Lots of mystery, murder and great sets, with an ending that will tug your heart strings. Also fantastic gregorian piecies sprinkled throughout. A must if you love cadfael, or a brilliant place to start your collection. When introducing friends to the wonderful Cadfael series,I start them on this film.It never fails to hook them !!."
The Best of Ellis Peters
Atheen M. Wilson | 11/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Leper of St. Giles reflects Ellis Peters at her very best in the Cadfael Series. I found the story interesting and even better when viewed a second and third time. (I have seen the video four times ) I am a retired teacher and have taught medieval history at the university level. The video captures the atmosphere of medieval monastic life showing, as do all the others in the Cadfael series, the elegant, but flawed, character of each individual protrayed, starting, of course, with our hero, Cadfael, brilliantly protrayed by Derek Jacoby. Moreover the mystery unfolds in layers starting with a villianous beating of the leper near St. Giles where Cadfael and other Benedictines go to care for the lepers. Then the story procedes to the discovery of two murdered bodies while also including a bit of romance, intrique, and plenty of action. I especially appreciated the quiet talk and spiritual tone between Cadfael and the Leper of St. Giles. The climatic scene is so startling I felt electricity and a kind of awe in the beauty of the moment."