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Lost Empires [DVD]

Colin Firth    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
Price: 11.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Colin Firth
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: 16 July 2012
  • Run Time: 350 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007T8690Q
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,054 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

TV mini-series, based on the novel by J.B. Priestley, following the adventures of a young man introduced to the music hall circuit in the early 20th century. When Richard Herncastle (Colin Firth) is taken on as an assistant by his Uncle Nick (John Castle), a magician, he is thrown headfirst into both the glamour and seediness of life as a stage entertainer. Richard particularly struggles with women and is easily ensnared by Lily Faris (Pamela Stephenson). The series contains one of Laurence Olivier's final performances before his death in 1989.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this gem 12 Jun 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Viewing this when it was first shown on ITV gave me my first experience of Colin Firth - long before Pride & Prejudice and even before Tumbledown. At 25 he grabbed my attention and I vowed to watch out for him in the future. His performance manages to combine gauchenss with an inner strength and great charm. Much of the time he is a spectator to the main action but it's difficult to take your eyes off him. He also manages a convincing Yorkshire accent with remarkable consistency - very important given his major narrative role. Equally mesmerising (appropriately) is John Castle as his Uncle Nick, the dazzling stage magician, who combines a brutal callousness with a vulnerability this actor always brings to a part. The supporting cast is excellent, including a last TV appearance from Laurence Olivier and the production values are superb. It seems no expense was spared to create the world of Music Hall in the months preceding WW1 and it has a feel of real autenticity. Although you get over 10 hours of viewing, the pace never slackens.

Do not be put off by this being a region 1 product. Multi region DVD players are commonplace now or a conversion is easy. This is definitely a good buy.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unplublicised gem 29 Feb 2008
A soldier is killed on the Western Front in WWI. Cut to the golden age of the music hall era. Thus we are set on Colin Firth's voyage of discovery, where he meets true love, true lust, madnes, brutality, laughter and his own identity. Along the way there is the vanished world of live magic (to the amazement of an uncynical audience), bawdy comic stage acts, fabulous song and dance numbers (very faithful to the period)and beautiful women.
Colin Firth gives the first of many very assured performances of a decent, naive, handsome young man out to experience the world from a provincial backwater to the gypsy life of the music halls of Britain.
If you like handsomely mounted drama productions, with multi-faceted stories, an excellent sense of the period and outstanding performances, then buy this.
Of special note is the stunning Carmen De Sautoy. She portrays the kind of woman (beautiful, daring, assured, very intelligent and mysterious) that no man could resist. John Castle is, as always, a scene stealer - quite riveting. Sir Laurence Olivier gave his last TV performance in this - a nod towards Archie Rice's "Entertainer". Beattie Edney (whatever happened to her?) is excellent as Firth's true love - she has a gift for dancing. Can she really sing as well as she seems to?
There are no extras except a photobook. It is so unjust that this series is not available for retail in Britain - the country where it came from. Strange, as it's only been shown once on TV - and I'm certain it's never been on Cable or digital.
It's outstanding entertainment - far more so than the far more lauded and well known Brideshead Revisited
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent series 7 Jun 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I loved this when it was first shown over 20 years ago, and have never forgotten it, even though it has never been repeated to my knowledge. This DVD is a US issue, which has some cuts. A suffragette character never appears, although a photo of a scene at her meeting is included in the extras! Additionally, scenes involving Roy Barracough & Lila Kaye have been missed out. I don't know how much is missing, but there's enough to give you a good idea of the characters & story. I imagine the cuts were made to fit the US Masterpiece Theatre time-slot.

Colin Firth is superb as a (very young) hero, and John Castle is equally good as his sinister uncle. Too many other great performances to mention, and the previous reviewer is absolutely right. Highly recommended, although the full thing would be even better, hence only four stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TV Classic revisited 15 Oct 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This series is based on one of J.B.Priestley's best works and belongs to the period in the 1980s when Classic TV drama adaptations ruled the small screen. It boasts a stellar cast including Sir Laurence Oliver, John Castle,a very young Colin Firth, Brian Glover and Pamela Stephenson but is indebted to the script by the great Ian Curteis who also wrote Churchill and the Generals and Philby, Burgess and McLean.It is an accurate evocation of the lost age where the Music Hall was the entertainment medium of choice for a wide spectrum of the great British Public and follows the fortunes of a typical touring company of the time with their triumphs and tragedies, internal feuds, loves and hates. This is up there with The Forsyte Saga and Brideshead Revisited as one of the great TV Drama Series. [ASIN:B007T8690Q Lost Empires [DVD].
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For lovers of Colin Firth... 21 July 2012
By fabrice
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
...and who doesnt, here he is with the down still on his cheeks. This is something more than a costume drama. It sticks unswervingly to Priestly's text and captures its sinister sense of theatre, of things hidden behind masks. It reminds me of The Blue Angel, tragedy and humiliation under the clown's greasepaint. The narrative voice, spoken by Colin Firth is more profound than the soap opera adaptations we are accustomed to. Also I was amazed at the number of extras involved, not only the theatre audiences but the seaside crowds at Blackpool, the stations, the soldiers; and what was that ferret doing in the trench?

I thought this may have dated but oddly enough it seems to date the recent costume productions. They are too clean. Everyone seems to have been to the same tailor. This really feels like loking at Britain before the Great War. There are scruffy actors and seedy tarts and too dapper young men. There are people with big teeth and fat legs. The restaurants dont look like stage sets. It looks like paintings by Degas.

I wonder if Botox and dentistry and personal trainers have now made it impossible to present an authentic period flavour on television. Our actors are too beautiful.

Colin Firth, very serious, can't help being a heart throb. Laurence Olivier is painfully convincing. All the acting seems to me on a more professional level than anything I have seen recently as if, before our cult of celebrity, they are acting the parts and not themselves playing the parts.

Amazingly good stuff, unpredictable, gritty powerful. Please watch this.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good classic television!
I have seen this several times, and it really have the mood of the time period, and the music as well. Read more
Published 2 months ago by TraZer
5.0 out of 5 stars Enticing drama, superbly acted
Thought I'd give this a try - I didn't catch its original showing in the late '80s - as it covers the year immediately preceding the outbreak of WW1, exactly 100 years ago. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Richard Newbold
3.0 out of 5 stars A load of old theatricals!
I purchased this DVD to see the architecture of the theatres they used. Although quite dated, it served its purpose. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Mr. A. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting programme
having seen the filming of this in Crewe it was 30 years before I could see this a second time on this DVD. Read more
Published 11 months ago by stewart green
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth watching
A wonderful adaption of JB Priestly's novel. Engaging stories. Great cast, including a young Colin Firth in one of his earliest roles and a stunning performance from Laurence... Read more
Published 12 months ago by S. Young
4.0 out of 5 stars ok
alright but ttttt tttt tttt ttttt tttttt ttttt tttttt ttttttt tttttttt tttttttt ttttttt ttttttttt tttttttttt ttttttttt ttttttttt tttttttt tttt tttttt ttttttt tttt tttttt
Published 12 months ago by jan
5.0 out of 5 stars This version is playable in UK
This is an excellent recreation of Mr Priestley's book,except for the initial war scenes.It then settles down and if you love the book as I do then you will love this. Read more
Published 15 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost Empires Lost to Britain
Yet another superb British TV series which is available to American and Canadian audiences only, unless you happen to be lucky enough to own a multi region player.
Published on 29 Aug 2010 by Etta Alex
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