Customer Reviews


26 Reviews
5 star:
 (12)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (7)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sumptuous, thought-provoking film
I first saw this film when it was released in the early 1990s and I only bought the DVD after recently reading Virginia Woolf's book on which the film is based.

Tilda Swinton excels as Orlando, and Potter's film will give you so much to talk about. One thing I picked up on from re-visiting it is that Charlotte Valandrey's character (Princess Sasha) from the...
Published on 29 July 2010 by ArtsEater

versus
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars well made, but the book is much better. buy both.
This is a beautiful film, well directed and acted. If I hadn't read the book I would probably have given it 4 stars. It was filmed in Russia, what a pity! Throughout the pages of Virginia Woolf you fill such a vibrant London, expecially in the last part of the novel. The cold Russian winter has such a stong white light and it helps you imagine the Great Frost, during...
Published on 6 Feb 2006


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sumptuous, thought-provoking film, 29 July 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Orlando [DVD] [1992] (DVD)
I first saw this film when it was released in the early 1990s and I only bought the DVD after recently reading Virginia Woolf's book on which the film is based.

Tilda Swinton excels as Orlando, and Potter's film will give you so much to talk about. One thing I picked up on from re-visiting it is that Charlotte Valandrey's character (Princess Sasha) from the 1500s and Billy Zane's character (Shelmerdine) from the 1800s reflect Orlando's sex change from a man to a woman - but in reverse. That is, Princess Sasha (who is Orlando's lover) appears reincarnate as Shelmerdine (who is also Orlando's lover) later in the film. The characters of Sasha & Shelmerdine look so alike in the film despite their different sexes.

The 'Making Of' documentary as well as the interviews with Sally Potter which came with my DVD are really excellent and are well worth watching. They shed so much light on why Potter made the film in the way she did as well as highlighting the catalogue of problems she experienced when making it.

One negative comment I have is that a lot of the humour from the book is lost in the film. I laughed out loud at various points in Woolf's book (I never realised she had such a dry/wicked sense of humour!) - but there are few laughs in the film. But this is a minor quibble. Overall 'Orlando' easily gets 5 stars from me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sally Potter's Orlando - An interesting and successful adaptation., 12 May 2011
By 
Mr. J. HARRIS (England.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Orlando [DVD] [1992] (DVD)
I shan't talk about the story of Orlando in this review, as a story review more properly belongs to Virginia Woolf's book. For the rest of the review, I shall assume my reader's familiarity with Orlando's general plot. However, I shall say here that, despite the film's many merits, a prior reading of Orlando is close to essential for full enjoyment and appreciation of this film. Although in my opinion, completion of at least one reading of Orlando ought to be an essential requirement of life!

As you may have noticed, I approach the film adaptation of Orlando with pre-existing bias. I love the novel and I love its tale. I bought the film primarily out of interest in how such an unusual story might be adapted for film. I didn't, however, hold particularly high hopes. Sally Potter's Orlando was a delightful surprise, as it does an excellent job of bringing Orlando to screen. First, Potter ditched a considerable amount of Woolf's original material. Considering the novel's length and complexity, this is a fully justified decision. It would have been impractical to film the novel as it stands (especially with the small budget this production had). However, this is the primary reason I recommend reading the novel prior to watching the film. The novel's ephemeral, yet somehow stark, beauty is diluted somewhat in the film, but more importantly it becomes incredibly confusing for the 'virgin' viewer. I first watched the film with a friend who (despite having an English degree) hadn't read the book - she found it a very enjoyable film despite, although largely incomprehensible. In addition to taking material out, Potter invented a sequence for the end of the film which sees it finish in the modern day (or at least the 1990's, which were contemporary with the film's release) instead of ending where the novel did in the earlier part of the 20th Century.

To cope with the vast time period covered by the film (300 years, from 1600-1990), Potter utilises intertitles. Periodically, a word will flash up on the screen to describe the section we are moving into (eg. "POLITICS" when Orlando goes abroad as an ambassador). This is followed by a year flashing up, which helps the viewer keep track of the story's chronology. The system works very effectively by breaking up the film into discrete sections which are easy for the mind to grasp. In addition, each time period has a distinct colour scheme and visual presentation, as well as considerably differing costume.

Creatively, the film is similarly successful. The imagery Potter has created is consistently both beautiful and stunning throughout the film. The lavishly presented costumes and sets are perfectly tuned to the material being presented and come across as both authentic and attuned to the nuances of each scene. From Orlando's slashed silk doublet amidst the tapestries and gold tableware of his mansion in the sixteenth century, to her battered motorcycle jacket and the dust sheeting suffocating the mansion's twentieth century incarnation, every scene is perfectly pitched.

Much of this has to do with the excellent cast performances in the film, headed by the inimitable Tilda Swinton as Orlando. Swinton's performance is simply sublime and demands to be watched rather than described. Quentin Crisp appears as Queen Elizabeth I and does such a convincing job that I didn't realise Elizabeth I was played by a man until I began to watch the extra features.

Speaking of which, the features on this two-disc set are rather good. Sally Potter's feature on the making of the documentary was very informative and I was both intrigued and pleased by the inclusion of one of the film's press conferences on the second disc.

My recommendation is that anybody who has read and enjoyed the novel "Orlando: A Biography" ought to watch this film. If you are interested in the film, I really do stress my recommendation to read the novel first, but nonetheless recommend the film. Sally Potter has produced an intelligent and sensitive adaptation, which manages simultaneously to be very watchable and provide good entertainment value. This two-disc set, in addition, is well-presented with worthwhile extra features.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... because this is England, everyone pretends not to notice, 1 May 2011
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Orlando [DVD] [1992] (DVD)
No lover in the world ever wrote a valentine more exquisite than Virginia Woolf's tribute to her lover Vita Sackville-West, "Orlando."

And few movie adaptations are as coyly, exquisitely lovely as the 1992 movie adapted from that book, a magical-realism tale about a perpetually youthful, charming hero/ine who traverses three centuries and both genders. Tilda Swinton has the right combination of androgyny and intelligence to perfectly embody Orlando, and director Sally Potter gilds and perfumes every set and costume.

Orlando (Swinton) was born a young aristocratic man in the time of Queen Elizabeth I, and when the dying monarch visited his home she became his new court favorite. She also bid him, "Do not fade, do not wither, do not grow old."

And Orlando did as she said. With the death of the queen and his father, Orlando's passionate, curious personality attracted many women -- and during the Great Freeze he fell in love with Sasha, a mercurial Russian princess (Charlotte Valandrey) who enthralled him, but left him as he ice began to thaw. Bereft of true love, he devoted himself to poetry and entertainment.

But then he's assigned to be an ambassador to Constantinople, and something strange happens -- while a bloody revolution rages, he sleeps for a full week... and wakes newly metamorphosed into a woman. With the same mind and soul but a female body, Orlando sets out on a new life of poetry (befriending Pope!), sex and legality, stretching all the way to the twentieth century -- when she finally finds peace.

"Orlando" is a treat for the senses, filled with showers of gold dust, luxuriant flowers, pale sunlight, golden sands, cities veiled in ice, dark rivers, snowy forests and mist-filled hedge mazes. It feels like Sally Potter took Woolf's beautiful book and sprinkled it with roses, gold and crystals -- and it just adds a suitably magical atmosphere to a already unreal story.

The center of all this is Swinton, who plays Orlando in both incarnations, and she's utterly brilliant. Her androgynous features and slim body mean she can pass for both a man and a woman, and she manages to carry both genders off beautifully -- she captures gangly boyish grace, sleek femininity, and a sort of chummy male attitude with equal skill.

And she captures Orlando's elusive personality. Her Orlando is all puckish charm, sweetness and unleashed passion -- even to the audience. While watching a street performance of "Othello," he glances at the camera and whispers, "Terrific play!", as if we're trailing after him over the centuries.

And as I mentioned, Potter does a brilliant job with a very difficult book, sticking faithfully to most of Woolf's novel and adding a shimmering, silken atmosphere to it. There are lots of beautiful scenes that could have stepped out of a Pre-Raphaelite painting, and she deftly handles the passing centuries by having Orlando sprint through walls of mist. The ending is slightly different from Woolf's novel, but it has the same pleasantly timeless, thoughtful quality -- the only downside is that weird freaky angel thing. WHAT was that about?

Fortunately, the freaky angel thing is the one downside in "Orlando," a timelessly sensual movie that perfectly highlights Tilda Swinton. Absolutely stunning.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dazzling, delightful, funny and critical, 15 April 2010
This review is from: Orlando [DVD] [1992] (DVD)
Orlando was the first of Sally Potter's movies to reach a large audience and almost 20 yaers on it's still relevant, funny, engaging, thought-provoking - and visually very very beautiful. If you only like to suspend disbelief and wallow in Merchant Ivory perod films, then dare to go one further and follow the incredibly stylish Tilda Swinton's journey over 400 years to find love, friendship - or just company.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Triumphant film of Virginia Woolf's historical fantasy., 14 Nov 2006
By 
Amazon Customer (Bournemouth UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Orlando [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
The Director Sally Potter creates a wondrous, illusive, highly textured world through which the androgynous Orlando moves for three hundred years as he/she writes a poem.

Orlando is a role made for Tilda Swinton and arrived with perfect timing to move her career into a different league. By some alchemy she makes the fantastical plot seem quite natural, whilst delighting us with masterly acting moving fluently from one emotion and period to another.

Nobody but Swinton with her love of the unique and the bizarre could have pulled this off, her triumph is fortunately enshrined in a truly wonderful production and cast.

The historically fantastic does not get any better than this.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sally Potter's unique gifts., 26 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Orlando [DVD] [1992] (DVD)
Love Orlando and Sally's interpretation of Virginia Woolf's book. Glad Sally brought this story to the public in her way. Sad that Virginia's life came to an abrupt end and delighted that after all those years her considerable intellect was highlighted by Sally in this artistic form. The film is visually beautiful and hauntingly nostalgic. Thought the unsual choice of Quentin Crisp as Queen Eliz.1st. worked extraordinarily well and loved Jimmy Sommervill's musical renditions which, again, were so appropriate for the reign of Eliz. 1 since women's voices were not considered suitable for musical productions of that era.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars well made, but the book is much better. buy both., 6 Feb 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Orlando [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
This is a beautiful film, well directed and acted. If I hadn't read the book I would probably have given it 4 stars. It was filmed in Russia, what a pity! Throughout the pages of Virginia Woolf you fill such a vibrant London, expecially in the last part of the novel. The cold Russian winter has such a stong white light and it helps you imagine the Great Frost, during the reign of King James I.
Orlando writes a poem which takes him 300 years to finish, but we never see him/her during its writing. When James II sends him to Costantinople, there he marries a Spanish dancer, and after his awakening as a woman, she runs away with the gypsies, with whom she can leave without trying to comform to society and experience wild nature. While returning home she has a love affair with the ship's Captain, and she feels what it is like to be a woman. Back she spends time with famous poets. She later marries Shel who leaves when the wind changes, but comes back as a captain at the end of the book! Where is this part of Orlando's story?!
I believe that if the director had had much money this film would have been much much better.
Buy it, but after watching it read the book! If you love the film you will adore the book!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I'd expect from a DVD, 5 Jan 2004
By 
NGH Garlick (Utrecht, -- Netherlands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Orlando [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
If ever a film deserved the heightened quality DVD could bring to it, it's Orlando. Every shot in the film is worth printing and framing. So it's extremely disappointing to find that there's none of the sharpness in the image you'd expect from a DVD, and certainly not from a 16x9 disc. The colours are soft; the outines ever so vaguely hazy.There are minor scratches on the print and the circular reel change spots are still visible in the top right corner, which suggests that the film hasn't been remastered for the DVD. The film looks okay and its definitely better than a video, but it's not as good as it could be. Not at all
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars exforces, 10 Jun 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Orlando [Blu-ray] [1992] (Blu-ray)
5 stars for the actual film but only 3 for this Blu-ray edition. It isn't as sharp as it should be on this disc as it seems the same quality as the DVD version.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Intriging Exploration of Gender, 23 April 2003
This review is from: Orlando [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
I would highly recommend this cinematic marvel, based on the Virginia Wolfe novel rumoured to be based on a lesbian crush Virginia had on the character behind Orlando. Orlandos' adventures run from the reign of Queen Elizabeth (superbly played by Quentin Crisp) to the present day. During this time he explores love, hate, gender, war, death, life, and in the most beautiful scene a complete transformation from male to female. The film develops the book into a witty, intriging, entertaining and immensly beautiful tapestry of great film making.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Orlando [DVD] [1993]
Orlando [DVD] [1993] by Sally Potter (DVD - 2003)
Used & New from: 17.99
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews