on 9 November 2004
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.
on 15 February 2003
The costumes are sumptious, the political rivalries as the young jostle to oust the old superb but above all, there is Glenda Jackson's masterly portrayal of the Virgin Queen. We see her at her finest hour as the Armada is defeated by the winds as much as English seamanship, we see her struggling to maintain her hold on a world that is moving on without her. Her struggle to balance the country's books and her ultimate failure are portrayed in her inability to pay her sailors. Glenda Jackson's portrayal is so convincing that in those final hours, as Elizabeth stands, refusing to give in to death, we can see how it probably was.
There are many fine performances and at the end you really feel what the country must have felt as, after 44 years, life changed completely. Many of the speeches portrayed were actually spoken and somehow, you feel Elizabeth herself would not have been displeased by this series.
There are far more dramatic portrayals on the market, but for something which has the ring of authenticity, this is the series to choose.
Perhaps our current world leaders should buy this so they could learn some lessons from history...
on 29 April 2005
Further to the previous review, not much more can be said. The acting, the costumes, the sets are all EXCELLENT. If you want to see what Queen Elizabeth I and her times were really like, then watch this.
Particularly worth keep an eye out for is the dreadful treatment of the English fleet after the destruction of the Spanish Armada and how Elizabeth dealt with the near bankrupcy of England at the time.
I would have given this wonderful work 5 stars, but the for the following fact: It's about English history and one of it's most admired monarchs, it's filmed in England by the BBc, funded by the British taxpayer and has only been released in the USA on region 1!!!!!! WHY????? Copme on BBC, look to your own first!
on 26 May 2005
The only word for this is sumptuous. From the first class acting from a galaxy of Britain's finest actors, to Glenda Jackson's stunning performance in the title role, to the glorious costumes and lavish sets...this dramatic depiction of a slice of English history has never lost its gloss and sheen or become tired and stale through the years. As fresh, intriguing and enticing now as it was when it was first shown.
It could teach today's film makers a thing or two.
on 17 March 2001
HAVING SEEN THE HENRY THE V111 SERIES WHICH I THOUGHT WAS BRILLIANT,I,VE SINCE BECOME FASCINATED BY ENGLISH DRAMA (PARTICUALLY FACTUAL)ELIZABETH R IS LIKE A NATURAL ADDITION TO HENRY V111 AS THE CHARACTERS ARE LOYAL, PLOTTING AND TWO FACED WHICH MAKES COMPULSIVE VIEWING, ROBERT HARDY AS ROBERT DUDLEY IS A GREAT PERFORMANCE AND I THOROUGHLY RECCOMEND THIS SERIES TO ANYONE WHO LIKES GREAT ACTING!!!!