One of my favorites.
Atheen M. Wilson | Mpls, MN United States | 08/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I truly enjoy a murder mystery of the classic who-done-it type, and the Brother Cadfael series is absolutely perfect. The author Ellis Peters (Edith Pargiter, 1913-1995), like Agatha Christie, Nagio Marsh and Dorothy Sayers, was popular during the early to mid-20th Century and wrote prolifically during that time. There are some 20 Cadfael books. Athough the writer is not an historian, she is remarkably well researched and has a genuine feeling for life during her character's time period. The Potter's Field is one of my favorite murder mysteries. The tale is unique and the book is absolutely not to be missed. The film makes it come even more alive. The setting of these stories is 12th Century England, a period of particular turmoil. Henry I had died without a legitimate male heir, and he had designated his daughter Matilda as his successor, binding his nobles by oath to support her. Although many of them did, including her very able half brother, an illegitimate son of Henry made an Earl by his father, many of them threw their support behind her cousin, Steven. Matilda, or Maud as she is referred to, was a granddaughter of William the Conqueror and no push over herself. She fought her cousin from a base in coastal France, where the family held land in fief of the King of France and where marriage alliances had placed her as wife of Geoffery, the Duke of Anjou. With her Norman support in France and her loyal factions in England, she made enough of a threat to Steven's rule to ultimately obtain a guarantee of succession to the English throne for her son Henry, ultimately Henry II. Until that time, warfare turned most of England into a battle ground and life for everyone a matter of ceaseless uncertainty. Added to this was the rancour still apparent in the social divisions between the largely Saxon population and their Norman rulers. The fall of the Saxon monarchy was only a hundred years previous and hostility still existed. The different orders of society: nobleman, servant, military man, tradesman, artisan, abbott, monk, and priest are carefully wrought to produce a period piece with more detail and clearer dialogue than a Shakespearean play. It would be a wonderful way of introducing young people to history. Cadfael, the central character of the series, is a Dominican monk and herbalist, and Dereck Jacobi is the perfect personification of him. He has a presence which suggests strength, wisdom, and compassion. Unlike most of the other brothers, Cadfael had spent most of his life in the secular world where he participated in the crusades, had adventures, fell in and out of love, and took his order after finding the ways of the world wanting. He comes from a different culture, that of Wales, and sees that of England through an outsiders more objective eyes. His experience with life and the motives of men and his keen awareness of detail makes him the perfect sleuth, and when murder is committed, the civil authorities are more than willing to have him clear things up for them. A young woman's body is found buried in the field of a potter. She is identified as the wife of the potter who had abandoned her because he felt he'd been called by god to enter into the monastic life at Shewsbury. In attempting to solve the crime, Cadfael discovers a grim secret kept by three people one to the cloister, another in quiet pain, and another to his grave.The film is authentic, Brother Cadfael engaging, and the mystery captivating. An enjoyable way to spend a little time."
Twist of fate.....
Dianne Foster | USA | 07/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE POTTER'S FIELD tells the story of a craftsman, a potter by trade, who decides to take up the cowl and join the brotherhood of Cadfael's monastery. Problem is, the potter is married, and his poor wife objects loudly that she does not know how she will survive if he leaves her. She cannot take another husband and she cannot tend the farm on her own without him. The potter's calling is so strong, however, that he "puts off" his wife and takes his vows. A year later, the potter's wife has disappeared, the potter has become a monk, and the monastery has assumed ownership of the potter's field. One day, a monk is plowing the field for the spring planting when he uncovers the body of a young woman. Curiously, the body has been laid out according to Christian burial practices, but in unconsecrated ground. The manner of burial indicates a person of faith buried the body, but were they faithful or was this a careful attempt to cover misdeeds? Who is the dead woman? How did she die? Was the death accidental, a suicide, a murder? Could the dead woman be the missing wife? If so, did the potter kill his wife? A year before the body was found, a traveler spent several nights in the potter's deserted house. Some say he had a companion. Could she be the victim? And, what roles did the overlord and his wife play in this drama? The overlord left for the Crusades about the time the potter's wife disappeared? Cadfael is soon called in to solve one of his most challenging puzzles. This story stars Mel xxx, who played Adam Dalglish's girlfriend for a while, and more recently played as the 'Daughter of the Regiment' in a Hetty Winthrop adventure, and the mother of Art Malek's slain mistress in a 'Second Sight' PBS mystery."
Did not brother Ruald have a maid with hair as dark as this?
mirandathetempest | Burringbar, NSW Australia | 09/07/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A good potter of the town finds himself called to God ,and so decides to abandon his former life and enter the abbey.Behind him he leaves a distraught wife ,who begs her husband not to leave.Material provisions she shall have,but no longer the passion a happy marriage can provide,nor is she free to marry again.One year after Ruald joins the monastry a young womans body is unearthed in the former potters field.Could this be Rualds missing wife?
This is a highly enjoyable episode of the Cadfael series.It explores the emotional effects of one mans decision to change the course of his life,for better or for worse.The repercusions of his actions will affect not just his wife,but also his landlords family,to whom Rualds wife turns for help.I can highly recomend this film ,it is a very moving ,superbly acted,well filmed movie.It will take you back to 12th century england brilliantly."