Monsignor Renard 2000

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Entire first series of the ITV drama. Twenty years after taking an acrimonious leave of his family and friends in order to join the Roman church, Monsignor Renard (John Thaw) returns to his home village as parish priest. World War Two is well under way, and Nazi occupation is imminent. In addition to reassuring the locals, Renard must also attempt to repair his relationship with estranged brother Yves (Des McAleer), who resents his sibling having escaped the responsibility of running the family business.

Starring:
Michael Attwell, John Thaw
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Monsignor Renard - Disc 1 ages_12_and_over
  • Monsignor Renard - Disc 2 ages_12_and_over
Runtime 4 hours 55 minutes
Starring Michael Attwell, John Thaw, Herb Andress, Teresa Banham, Joachim Paul Assbock
Director David Wheatley, Malcolm Mowbray
Genres Drama
Studio ITV STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Rental release 11 June 2007
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Scots Lass TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 25 Mar 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This excellent 4 episode drama, set in a small French town at the beginning of WW2, was made for ITV and stars John Thaw (Morse) as Monsignor Renard - a priest returning to his hometown just as the Nazi's invade France. As he struggles to win back the affection of his estranged brother, and come to terms with his former sweetheart whom he left to join the priesthood, Renard finds himself in the role of go between for the villagers and the invading German army.

As Renard fights to keep the townsfolk safe and to solve the problems that occupation brings - girls beginning to date the German soldiers, escaped RAF men needing help, local youths determined to cause trouble whenever they can, children missing after being separated from their parents, not to mention the plight of a Jewish woman and her child - he realises that day to day life in France may never be the same.

One of the local youths (Dominic Monaghan - Lord of the Rings, Lost) in particular is cocky and taunting, but when he finaly goes to far can Renard save him? Some of the German officers are decent and wish to live peaceably with the locals - but Renard is all too aware of the tensions and must try to keep the two sides apart.

With high production values and pacey scripts, this series was perhaps the victim of the costs of making it. Only 4 stories were made. A pity, but perhaps ITV could revisit the series and recast the lead role?

For viewers who enjoyed the ordinary struggles of occupied Jersey depicted in Island at War and Enemy at the Door, Monsignor Renard is a must have series. Fans of John Thaw will welcome one of his finest acting performances in his long and award laden career.
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Volker Knopp on 27 Dec 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It has been a pleasure to watch this atmosperic and epic film about an upright French priest in occupied France in the 1940s. Setting and cast are convincing, so is the plot. And for once the Germans, Wehrmacht and Geheimpolizei, are depicted in a balanced way; even the German spoken is idiomatic and authentic! All too often Germans in British films sound artificial and as if they were short of breath. Highly recommended (I am German)!
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Iain Haines on 23 Jan 2009
Format: DVD
Like the two reviews above, I equally found this a highly fulfilling drama series which looked at life in occupied France in a different way to most series of its type, focusing on the first months of occupation rather than on the later years of open resistance.

For me the strength of the series lay not in the exciting nature of the story being told (which was nonetheless interesting) but more so in the way the story was told. For example, as the writer above correctly recognizes, there were good Germans as well as bad ones and evil French characters as well as heroic ones which made the story all the more real. It was fascinating to see that the deterioration of the relationship between the French and Germans in the small town come about not so much (just) because the Germans were oppressing the French but much more so because the nature of occupation itself made maintaining good relations between the occupied and occupier impossible, regardless of intentions (a fact all too clear in modern day Iraq). This fact is driven home in the climatic final scenes where the, on the whole fairly reasonable considering his position, German colonel in charge of the town garrison is forced to take a decision that he himself knows is wrong because that is what his superior orders him to do. The reaction of a very "human" German private further emphasizes this point.

Another part of the series that I found fascinating was the fact it looked at the first months of occupation and not the later years as most French resistance movies tend to do. This was a time when most French still didn't know how to react to the German invaders and didn't know whether armed resistance was the justified or the right reaction to have.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Munroe on 20 Jan 2010
Format: DVD
Having watched, but missed, quite a lot of the recent repeated seried on television, and when it was shown originally, when I was a proffessional DJ and out of house most evenings, it was a great treat to be able to buy this DVD set. John Thaw plays a very great part, but, for me, there was the strong sense of helplessness of the French people who watcched their town taken over by the filthy Nazi Boche. What was also hand-gripping was the complete lack of understanding, by the Nazi pigs, of why they were not welcomed and made to feel at home.
Unlike some of the reviews I found the whole set absorbing, well-acted and enjoyable. The sense of sadness I felt that, when I reached the end of Episode 4, there was no more to come. And the stupidity of the commissioning TV station to let down so many viewers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By B. Shallow on 9 Mar 2009
Format: DVD
I really enjoyed this drama series set. It describes the process that a small French town goes through with threatened occupation, the occupation itself, and the interesting tension between the townspeople and the occupying forces. It shows how good leadership can maintain an extremely volatile situation. Monsignor Renard is one of the people; he has a good-humoured friendship with the local alcoholic, his old flame and her husband, the self-serving Mayor. He is able to identify with all the townspeople and yet keep challenging them about their reactions to the German occupiers. He keeps a good line of communication open with the Germans, despite curbing their desire to dominate a people they despise and a role they regard as low status compared with being where the real action is. And yet the real action is here. How will a small insular French town cope with an occupying German force that needs to establish dominance and yet keep life flowing peacfully? This is an inspiring study of good leadership.
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