102 of 106 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2006
This long awaited series is now finally on dvd.It has been available in the U.S for some years.The story about Englands greatest Queen was only available in the U.S region 1.Strange!But...the waiting is over!I am from Holland and a Tudor fan for more than 20 years,and I must admit it:This series is problably the finest ever made concerning English history.Glenda Jackson plays the role of her life.Magnificent is the only word for it.The costumes are great.Someone has looked carefully too the portraits of Gloriana(the Armada Portrait for example,just look at the embroideries,also the Pelican portrait)Leicester looks alike,the Earl of Essex shows much resemblance too the portrait.The person who arranged this all did his homework.The acting is of the most superb level.When you are in to Tudor History you know who is entering the room immediately!The authenticity in such series is very important.That is why the music should be played by early music experts.When I saw the first part I said to myself:The music sounds very authentic......1971...David Munrow!And was I right!Absolutely wonderfull!Look at the gailliard dances!I am an expert on this subject and have seen no mistakes concerning the historical facts.The way she dies,the Armada attack in 1588,the fact that Mary's head is only severed after 3 blows,the wig and the dog hiding.Perfect detail!Also the quality of the remastering is great!The image is as it was when it was made without loss.So Tudor fans worldwide:this is THE series about Gloriana,buy it and enjoy!Endlessly!
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2009
The many pleasures of this series are a tribute to the attention to detail which the BBC lavished on its historical dramas in the 70s. Driven by a sensational performance from Glenda Jackson in the title role, Elizabeth R tells the story of England's most extraordinary monarch with wit, grandeur and great intelligent. The scripts are faultless in their attention to the complexities of Elizabethan speech patterns and their dedication to presenting events in as faithful a way as possible. Elizabeth I presided over a highly dramatic period in English history, and her own personal journey from bastardised second daughter to Gloriana was quite remarkable - "all human life is there".
All this is well-thumbed material for novelists and film-makers, but Elizabeth R is of a particularly high order. The main factor in its success besides the wonderful scripts is the phenomenally high quality of the acting throughout, which owes much more to the tradition of the English stage than to Hollywood glamour. In fact, the drama feels rather more like a play than a movie, especially with its admittedly basic sets. This, however, does nothing to dampen its effect, and with Jackson's brilliant portrayal at the helm, this is probably the finest historical drama I have ever seen.
68 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on 28 March 2006
When this series of six one and a half hour plays was made the artistic (genre) model for the BBC was theatre; Today it is cinema. Therefore what this series provodes is theatricality of performance and a focus on psychological perspectives in the characterisation. Glenda Jackson is Elizabeth I. She is totally magnetic in the lead role. She is lavishly costumed and has a wonderful array of supporting actors.
The scripts for each play were penned by different authors, who were the best of their day. The historical accuracy is not compromised for the sake of artistic licence.
A brilliant series; simply the best (along with I Claudius) the BBC ever produced.
59 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2006
This series has been an all time favourite of mine. In fact, such a favourite it is, that I wore out two copies each of the three VHS videos that this series was previously only available on in this country.
Naturally, wanting this series in an immaculate Digital version (DVD), I was incredibly angry to find that it was available to America and Canada (NTSC), but not here in PAL! And as far as I could tell, never was. I spent a few years constantly harrassing the BBC over this matter, emailing them regularly to express my disappointment and asking every time when it was going to be released.
Whilst I wouldn't presume to take any kind of credit now that we have at last got our PAL edition, I like to think my moaning didn't go ignored.
So, do we have what the Americans and Canadians had all these years? No, we don't. This edition is totally devoid of any special features. I do know the NTSC version as was did have them, so why not us too? Again, we are short changed.
Despite this slight let down, I am still more than happy to have such a glorious series, with the superlative acting of Glenda Jackson featured large. (Why on earth such a consumate actress would give up the profession to go into parlaiment, I have no idea.)
Whilst this series is well known for it's historical accuracy, it is still innacurate in various ways (for obvious reasons of script and time contstraints). So don't expect to get a true history lesson from this series. That said, it is the surest telling of the events of her (Elizabeth I) reign, and in the most gripping fashion.
Glenda Jackson's performance outstips any previous or subsequent depiction of Elizabeth I (including that of Cate Blanchett), so buy this series and be utterly entranced by the vision you will see. The lack of special features notwithstanding, this series still merits a full five stars.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2010
One of the very best BBC historical dramas, delighted to see it out on dvd.
The cast and writing are beyond reproach and within the limits of the BBC budget for any complex production this one does a great job.
Glenda Jackson carries the lead role well and cannot really be compare to the more recently made films , IMO this series is far superior in every respect.
This is not one to watch and never look at again this is a series which can be enjoyed time and time again , no regrets in spending money on it a great reminder of what BBC does so very well.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2006
It's been 35 years since "Elizabeth R" was made and still it's as brilliant a drama as the day it first appeared on the BBC. I think the reason that it's such a great series is that it has the right balance between politics and emotional drama. One compliments the other, and it shows the enigma that was Elizabeth I - the brilliant politician and queen, but also a romantic and perplexing private woman.
Lots of other dramas shy away from politics and focus purely on the characters' personal lives, often in a very soapy, immature sort of way. "Elizabeth R" on the other hand, is right in there. The drama starts with the young princess Elizabeth finding her servants arrested in the middle of the night, and herself implicated in a treasonous plot with Sir Thomas Seymour - the uncle to her half-brother the King. With a natural skill for survival, the princess overrides the scandal and keeps her head. The danger intensifies when her catholic half-sister Mary, whose jealously and suspicion are always simmering beneath the surface, succeeds to the throne. The whole country is forced back to Catholicism, while the guns are out for Elizabeth on all sides and she has to use every bit of wit and cunning to stay one step ahead in the game and outwit her adversaries. This is real life and death stuff and the stakes are high. I particularly loved the first episode with its deadly atmosphere and triumphant ending. The other episodes in the series are equally superb, focusing on the high drama and politics of Elizabeth's reign.
But what makes the drama and what carries it way beyond its years are the strong performances, and at the centre of those is the amazing Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth I. Carrying a 9 hour drama is a big feat, yet Jackson does it easily because she has everything that makes a cool, kick-ass heroine. In a drama full of danger and conspiracy, she rises to the occasion magnificently, and mixes equally all the forcefulness, cunning and charm that you imagine Elizabeth I would have had. While Jackson rules the roost, the whole supporting cast is very strong, cool performances are particularly noticeable from Ronald Hines as William Cecil and Robert Hardy as the Earl of Leicester. I really liked Basil Dignam as Archbishop Gardiner (he was a chilling adversary) and loved Margaretta Scott as Catherine De Medici.
"Elizabeth R" isn't the most expensive production ever made, and it has its limitations in terms of being filmed on tape, studio sets, etc. But what makes the series worth having is its devotion to character and historical accuracy, the emphasis to which can be seen in the script, the authentic costumes and settings, and the performances, Almost every part in the story is played to real perfection by some of the country's best character actors. This drama really succeeds in evoking a feeling of another time and place. It's a showcase of classic writing and real talent, an absolute TV gem.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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This is my all-time favorite portrayal of Elizabeth Tudor, perhaps one of the greatest women to have ever lived. Glenda Jackson acts the role so well, one begins to believe in reincarnation. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Jackson was a trained Shakespearian actor, therefore, adding the glamor of Shakespearian oratory to the equally impressive story of Elizabeth. Why not--since they are both integral parts of the English renaissance.
I believe this movie captures the feel of the times and the personal and political crises that Elizabeth faced, with tremendous accuracy. Historically this movie appears to be completely accurate in its factual representations, something that cannot be said for "Elizabeth and Essex" (Bette Davis) or "Elizabeth" (Cate Blanchett).
Worth watching again and again.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 5 July 2007
Having seen three other portrayls of Elizabeth, I believe this one to be the best. You wont find any of the others as close to being historically acurate as this is. The casting is excellent, and Glenda Jackson plays the part of Elizabeth superbly. Bare in mind this BBC series was first transmitted in 1971, so don't expect modern effects, amazing scenes or great battles. If your interested in the history and what is believed to be the truth, you won't need the modern effects of film & television to leave you amazed by this adaptation.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 10 March 2008
Made some decades ago, and long before Ms Jackson's career in politics got underway, this set has the true power of good TV. The costumes are magnificent, the dialogue spectacular and exceptionally well delivered and each 'playlet' masterfully conveys the key historical issues, intrigue and conspiracy. Ms Jackson truly IS Elizabeth R and the sets, made for TV, add to, rather than detract from, the drama by their plainness. Anyone who wants a brief introduction into the life, times and reign of our greatest monarch should definitely watch this- they just don't make them like this anymore, sacrificing great acting for splendid scenery instead.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 2 December 2013
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An excellent Elizabethan drama series starring Glenda Jackson as the virgin Queen. Glenda Jackson is a consummate actress and in this wonderful series she is on top form, with a great supporting cast and high production values . Highly recommended.