"I was disappointed in this particular Cadfael video. I suppose if I hadn't read the book before seeing the video, I would have enjoyed the video more. But as it was, some of the better scenes in the book were either taken out from the movie or changed. The plotline is almost completely changed except for the villian remaining the same in both the book and the movie. The movie portrays a growing tension between Cadfael and his friend Hugh Beringar, which results in Cadfael at sword's point with the man who in the books was willing to be tolerant of Cadfael's assistance to people who chose the opposing cause in the civil war. The romance between the person Cadfael is trying to help, Emma Vernold, and the young man suspected of the murder of her uncle, Phillip Corviser, was also cut from the movie. In short, Cadfael is uncomfortably nosey, Emma's American accent is out of place, as is the tension between Cadfael and Hugh. However, this movie would probably be more appealing if you didn't know the original story."
Cadfael on Acorn Media a "bummer."
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The video and audio qualities of this DVD are appalling! Yes, the main menu is crisp and compelling, but what follows will send you scrambling for your home-taped VHS copy of the production. I have noticed similar lapses of quality in other DVD copies of great British productions (e.g., Sherlock Holmes w/Jeremy Brett). A great performance deserves at the very least a good technical effort. (Note: The A&E issues of Poirot are excellent.)"
Would the REAL Hugh Beringar please come forward?
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Everything about this episode was done well, with one exception (and I can almost see their reasoning behind the change). To take a 200+ page book and coherently squash it into 75 minutes is not easy, and the producers of Cadfael have always done a remarkable job. Of the ones I've seen, I would give them all, except this, five stars. First the good points - Emma was portrayed well and accurately, and with sympathy; the plot moved along nicely; the 'bad guy' wasn't nearly so obvious as he was in the book; the atmosphere of the fair was precisely perfect; and although we lament the lack of Aline and Brother Mark, Brother Oswin is sweet and endearing enough to pull it off and manages to get in some great moments. And of course, as always, Sir Derek Jacobi is brilliant, flawless, as Brother Cadfael.But WHAT have they done with Hugh?? I really preferred Sean Pertwee in this role (sigh), but I think McCarthy does the best he can with what's given him. This Hugh is NOTHING like the Hugh of the books - not the same character in any way. The Hugh we know and love (dearly) from the books is inveterately good-natured, good-humored, a lover of justice and grace, with a strong affection and respect for Cadfael. Even in disagreements, they would never share harsh words. Furthermore, Hugh was only 'the king's man' as a technicality - basically he was much more loyal to justice and right than he ever was to King Stephen. The Hugh of this episode is, rather, the Gilbert Prestcote of the books. But Cadfael and Sir Gilbert never became friends, nor would they, and the end result is very incongruous with both their personalities.(Also, it seems kind of odd to call somebody an 'old friend' when you've only known him for a year.)However, the dramatic tension between the two did add some excitement, and I suppose that was their reason for doing it. But the book was exciting enough without it."
avian1 | Temple City, CA USA | 09/06/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Perhaps if I had not read the book first, I wouldn't have been a little disappointed. Sir Derek Jacobi is wonderful as always as Cadfael, but I didn't like the lack of rapport between Hugh Beringar and Cadfael, the almost adversarial stance between them. I also didn't like the guy playing Hugh as well as I would have expected. They also took more liberties with the story than I liked. I really liked the book of this name, and so I was a little disappointed with it's treatment in film. It's still good and worth seeing, but it left out the romance, which is always a sweet little aspect of the novels, and didn't have as dramatic a climax to the story as the novel did. See this episode before you read the book, and you'll probably like it just fine.It has a complex plot that keeps you guessing, starting with a dispute between the town and the abbey, and leading right into a whole series of murders, with a series of suspects that keep you guessing too. A fine story overall!"
The book was better
K. Eames | Down in the valley, the valley below | 06/21/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a disappointing treatment of the Cadfael mystery St. Peter's Fair. Those familiar with the relationship between Hugh Beringar and Cadfael will find the hostility between the two in the movie version most incongruent. Moreover, the lack of romantic tension between the heroine (Emma) and the villain compromises the climax. In the book, the villain remains courtly and attentive, while in the movie he is forward and boorish. The ending is the most disappointing of all. In the book, the villain, truly ruthless and without principle save for his own interests, meets a firey fitting end at the hands of Emma. In the movie, he dies for his partisan principles in a much more pedestrian way - one more soldier killed in a civil war. Thankfully, Derek Jacobi is perfect as Cadfael. He gives his character depth, humor, and charm. He gives the show a presence it would be lacking otherwise."