Episodes: The Lion's Cub, The Marriage Game, Shadow of the Sun, Horrible Conspiracies, The Enterprise of England, Sweet England's Pride. This magnificent 6-volume collection recounts the epic life and times of the remarkab... more »le Elizabeth I in a cycle of 6 plays. Won multiple Emmy Awards.DVD Features:
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 11/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a superb BBC miniseries, or "cycle of six plays", with extraordinary acting and most of all, a script that is a marvel, which uses original documents and the writings of Queen Elizabeth I as its source, making the story, so full of intrigue and drama, for the most part very accurate. My favorites are the monologues, spoken with such power by Glenda Jackson, whose performance is a treasure. The cast that surrounds her is also wonderful, and often having a physical similarity to the historical character (with kudos to the make-up department). There are so many reasons to buy this fantastic DVD package, which may seem expensive but is actually an excellent value. For historians this is a must, and anyone who appreciates great English theater will be delighted. The quality of the film is also exceptional, with an exceedingly clear picture and audio.
I bought it to prepare for a portrait of Queen Bess, and was enthralled by the detail of the costuming; what amazed me was how the fashion changed during the queen's forty-four year reign. It was a time rich with culture and style, with the emergence of Shakespeare and other great writers, and the queen loved clothes and jewelry, and surely set the trends. The music by David Munro also adds to the atmosphere, and the sets have an authentic feel. This is a brilliant production, and total running time is 540 minutes.
The DVD "extras" are terrific, are the entire content of the 4th disc, and should perhaps be viewed before the film, for full appreciation of the history. The "extras" are: 1: A lengthy interview with Glenda Jackson 2: An interview with historian Alison Weir 3: "Elizabeth I", an A&E documentary with commentary by various authors and historians, and marvelous imagery to illustrate it. 4, A: Glenda Jackson reads documents. B: Portrait Gallery (there is an error here, where the portrait of Robert Dudley is actually one of Sir Francis Drake). C: Historical Sites, including the queen's tomb, palaces, etc. 5: Behind the scenes, with a Who's Who of the cast. "
THE WOMAN WHO WOULD BE QUEEN...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 09/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Masterpiece Theatre, six play series of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England is magnificent. Written by six different playwrights, they are uniformly excellent. Glenda Jackson reigns supreme in the role of Elizabeth I.
While the production values are not high, that is because these plays were part of a televised series for which there were budgetary constraints. The shift from indoor sets to outdoor scenes is awkward, as it entails a switch from tape to film. The stage makeup is noticeable, as the lighting is harsh and glaring. Although the sets are a stark and dreary backdrop, the costumes are sumptuous and gorgeous. More important, the acting is, at all times, superlative.
Elizabeth I is played to perfection by Glenda Jackson. She has set the standard by which all others who seek to reprise this role will be judged, and she is the linchpin around which the entire six play series revolves. She begins the series playing Elizabeth as the young woman who would be queen, waiting upon the whims of her sister, the Queen Mary, and trying to survive the political intrigues and plots which surround her and threaten her very existence. The threat dissipates upon Mary's death, though it never disappears, and she becomes Queen of her beloved England.
As the series progresses, one sees her mature and resist the overtures and attentions of would be husbands, preferring, instead, to be married to England. One sees the development of her political and diplomatic acumen, as she sublimates her personal desires to become the greatest monarch, male or female, England has ever known, The Virgin Queen.
Each one of the plays has its own unique story to tell about Elizabeth and is a first rate drama that segues seamlessly into the next. The supporting cast is superb. All in all, this series provides a fully absorbing, historically accurate drama. It is through Ms. Jackson's insightful and commanding performance that one is able to understand why Elizabeth I was responsible for ushering in England's golden age."
Lawyeraau | 05/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All right - there are flaws in this series. One wishes the BBC had the budget of that purple travesty, Blanchett's ELIZABETH. Then, too, there are unintentionally funny moments for the Tudor aficionado, as Gloriana conversationally employs remarks culled from speeches to Parliament she would not make for years. And I'm not crazy about Vivian Pickles as Mary of Scotland. Too shrill.
That said, this is an extraordinary, magnetic, all-around brilliant piece of work. After many, many viewings, I still marvel that Glenda Jackson is not herself a scholar, so perfectly does she capture the queen we know through Neale and Camden. I carp over misplaced dialogue, but how thrilling that such research went into the project, that the writers sought to convey Elizabeth's heart and soul through her own words!
My favorite episode remains 'The Enterprise of England'. Somehow, the duel between Philip and Elizabeth, his character and concerns, her sentiments regarding him and the power he represents, the scope of England's fear and effort, are all set in human terms and flow with the grace of excellent narrative. My favorite illustration of the effort that went into this production: the actor portraying Francis Walsingham. He is a mirror-image of the best surviving portrait we have of that fascinating man. And does a superb job, too.
The whole production is a treasure. Historians have noted that the elderly Elizabeth tapped her foot in time to the music she could no longer dance to; notice this subtlety beneath the dialogue in the last part. Elizabeth wrote 'his last letter' upon Dudley's final note to her; this is fact. Watch Jackson perform this simple act, and see what this actress does with it.
This was television at its absolute best. It still is."
A masterpiece portrayal of "Gloriana, the Virgin Queen".
Lawyeraau | 06/25/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember first seeing this series on PBS when I was 12 years old. I was entranced with Queen Elizabeth I ever since. After its release on video, I've seen each part in this six part series at least ten times!! And yes, I DO have a life. Glenda Jackson is one of the greatest actresses of our time (besides the fact she earned two "Best Actresss" Oscars) . Her potrayal of Elizabeth is the pinnacle of the countless other portrayals, and believe me, I've seen them all from Bette Davis and Flora Robson to Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench. However, what is also so amazing is the historical accuracy. Of course it is impossible to have a completely historically accurate account of her life and reign since it was so complex. However, for Elizabethan buffs like myself, you can see that the writers really made that effort. This is demonstrated in the court intrigue, the actual times and places of important events, and the recoded quotes and speeches of the Queen and her courtiers. The detail also was evident in the way sixteenth century Europeans may have dressed and lived; this included the aging Elizabeth's apparence right down to her rotting teeth, false red wigs, and heavily caked white makeup. Even the actors LOOK amazingly like their painted historical counterparts. The detail, the costume, the accuracy, and most of importantly, the ACTING were superb and spine tingling. I think it is a must for anyone who is studying Tudor History or for anyone who enjoys great drama for that matter. If you love this, also watch "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" which was a precursor to "Elizabeth R". Some of the actors in "Six Wives" reprise their roles in early portions Elizabeth R."
Lawyeraau | 11/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm English and I can vaguely remember this series on the BBC when I was a child. I've heard about it, how popular it was at the time, how it was shown all over Europe and made a star out of Glenda Jackson. I have an interest in the period and a fascination with Elizabeth I, who remains one of the best remembered and admired of all English rulers in England's long history. So, I bought this DVD, although no-one seemingly can tell me why this is available on DVD and VHS in the USA but only on VHS in England!
It was well worth importing. True, the limitations of 1970's BBC production values do irritate a bit at times, but the quality of the drama - the supremely intelligent dialogue, and above all Jackson's acting really make you forget this after a short time. The reason is of course is that this belongs to a tradition that we're not so used to seeing today - the theatrical. For this is a theatre production with a camera instead of a live audience, where the dialogue, and above all the acting are made to shine and where the background is essentially irrelevent. The costumes are, however, superlative.
I really can't praise this drama enough, it's completely spellbinding. The historical accuracy is excellent, but above anything else it's Glenda Jackson's performance which is the real standout here, and moreover once you read the historical accounts you realise how astonishingly accurate Jackson's performance is - she simply *is* Elizabeth. You cannot take your eyes off her when she's onscreen - her expression of face, eyes, her voice, they all convey a myriad of things all at once.
This really is essential viewing, not only as a marvellous drama but for Jackson's extraordinary portrait of this most extraordinary woman."