Customer Review

223 of 231 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection, 5 Dec 2005
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This review is from: The Shakespeare Collection [DVD] [1978] (DVD)
I recommend this collection highly to all Shakespeare lovers. Ever since I've received it, I've watched one play almost every night,and I've enjoyed very much the plays I've seen so far. It is great to have the entire collection, and not just a few plays, and even though there are edits and inevitable directorial interpretations, I feel these productions are more faithful to Shakespeare than some cinematic endeavours we've been used to, if only because the relative barrenness of the settings is more historically faithful to original practices and thus more attention is paid to Shakespeare's language. For in language, both spoken as well as body language, is where the power of Shakespeare's drama lies, and this is very evident in the BBC productions. Having said that, I will add that a lot of attention has been paid to settings and costumes.
Casts of wonderful actors make the characters really come alive. Jane Lapotaire is wonderful as Cleopatra and as Lady Macbeth, Anthony Quayle is a memorable Falstaff in the two parts of Henry IV, Tim Piggott Smith captures Hotspur perfectly in the same, Jon Finch looks exactly as I've imagined the usurping Bolingbroke to look, the 14 year old Rebecca Saire is a superb Juliet, the plebeians in Julius Caesar resemble contemporary tradesmen and speak in a sort of delightful Cockney accent. These are just a few examples from the plays I've had time to watch so far. Crucially, I was delighted to see the actors do the roles in different ways than the cinematic productions often condition us to think about the characters. For instance, look out for Juliet's nanny in the BBC production as opposed to that in Zefirelli's film.
It is also interesting to see some very well known British actors, a mix of Shakespeareans like John Gielgud and Derek Jacobi, along with more popularly known actors such as Bob Hoskins, Brenda Blethyn, Anthony Hopkins or Clive Swift.
All 37 DVDs come in slim cases, there is also a little brochure with some stills from the productions, an introduction which I found quite interesting, and details about the date, director, and cast of each production. It all comes in a beautiful box, which is a joy to behold. Yes, the top flap on mine is also torn, it seems to have happened to everyone, and the top and bottom of the Antony and Cleopatra slim case was also broken, but I wouldn't exaggerate. It's hardly reason to fault the entire collection. The DVD's themselves are fine, and of excellent quality.
In sum, the collection is very worth investing in, and I'm very glad I bought it. I dare say it is a must for any lover of Shakespeare and something that will stay with you for many years to come.
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