The Moonstone [DVD]
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Originally broadcast in 1971 this detective drama series is based on the hugely popular novel by Wilkie Collins. Starring Robin Ellis and Colin Baker, the plot centres around The Moonstone, an Indian treasure given to Rachel Verrinder (Kathleen Byron) as an 18th birthday present. It has been stolen from a temple in colonial India and a number of misfortunes have followed it into the hands of Rachel. The Moonstone goes missing and the plot follows the various attempts to secure its return to the rightful owners.
Based on the 1868 classic British detective novel The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, this 1972 BBC drama is a period piece that seems almost theatrical thanks to its thespian delivery, scarcity of background music, and intent focus on character development. While the pace is leisurely and the dialogue sometimes difficult to discern, the story is most intriguing: A stolen Indian jewel makes its way to England and its curse threatens to destroy Rachel Verinder and her entire family even after it is stolen from the Verinder home. The best detectives fail to resolve the case and the repercussions ripple for many years as the plot twists and turns, love ebbs and flows, anger and deceit roil, and mysticism and science vie for supremacy. Featured talents are Robin Ellis, John Welsh, Basil Dignam, Vivien Heilbron and Peter Sallis and DVD extras include a Wilkie Collins biography and cast filmographies. --Tami Horiuchi
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Top Customer Reviews
In the good old days of Sunday Teatime Classic serials, a piece of yellow cut glass was more than sufficient to play the title role of 'The Moonstone'.
Remember that these things were usually in five or six episodes, a week apart. That meant they had to have something about them to pull the audience back after a whole seven days' distractions. And back we flocked.
'The Moonstone' is a good corking yarn with an intricate plot and some excellent characters. Vivien Heilbron, Robin Ellis, and Martin Jarvis turn up trumps - with a lovely supporting cast of familiar faces: I have always liked the late Anna Cropper as an actress. There was something mysterious about her, and she is perfect as Roseanna Spearman, the hump-backed servant with a dark secret.
This studio-based '70s production has the usual hallmarks of good design and lighting, and the whole has a great sense of atmosphere, aided by the sometimes grainy 16mm footage of the exteriors.
Have this and enjoy it. It offends nobody, and it's good spooky family viewing. It's a reminder that not everything has to be condensed into a rapid-fire 90-minute lavish 'special' to make excellent telly.
Sometimes when a work is described as 'dated' it is a great compliment because some of the old productions produced with older technology are much better than more recent versions. It reminds me of the story of two men who were standing near the base of the Great Pyramid in Egypt. 'I don't see the point of it,' said one. 'Go back a few hundred yards and look up,' retorted the other, 'And you'll be able to see point of it well enough. It's right at the very top.' Lots of viewers will love this version of Wilkie Collins famous yarn. Not only has it not spoiled the written version, if anything, it has improved upon it. It's a good buy and I thoroughly recommend it.
Specifically, there was "The Moonstone," Wilkie Collins' long and twisting Victorian tale that is considered the first mystery novel in the English language. And the 1972 miniseries adaptation is a pretty faithful one, interlacing a love quadrangle with a mystery about a stolen diamond said to be cursed -- while it slows down somewhat in the middle, it's a pretty suspenseful little story.
After ten years in continental Europe, Franklin Blake (Robin Ellis) returns to England to bring his cousin Rachel Verinder (Vivien Heilbron) her eighteenth birthday present: a massive diamond called the Moonstone. It was left to her by her vile uncle, possibly as a malicious act -- three Hindu priests are lurking nearby, hoping to reclaim the sacred gem stolen from them long ago. Everyone except Rachel really wants the diamond split up, so it will no longer be a danger.
At the same time, Rachel is being wooed by two men -- the somewhat irresponsible young Franklin, and the prosperous but less attractive Godfrey Ablewhite (Martin Jarvis). And a timid, lame young maid named Rosanna (Anna Cropper) has fallen desperately in love with Franklin (though he's completely oblivious to this).
Then after a dinner party, the Moonstone vanishes, leaving a smudge on a newly-painted door as the only clue. It seems that only someone in the house could have stolen it. But it doesn't turn up in any police sweeps, the priests have alibis, and Rachel flatly refuses to let Sergeant Cuff (John Welsh) investigate further. She also refuses to speak to Franklin again.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very well acted, and kept close to the book. The atmospheric music was a bonus.Published 1 month ago by AmazonFan
Old mini-series. Its' age is showing in the quality of the film. But this is a quite faithful rendering of the book and if you liked that, as many people did, then buy this. Read morePublished on 11 Dec. 2013 by Humphrey J. Jansz
Pretty faithful to the novel. Not at all dated. Nicely-paced plot development. Authentic settings, and good acting that avoids being melodramtic. Read morePublished on 19 Aug. 2013 by 'Fountain Pen'
I've watched this twice now and it was entertaining both times. The quality is very 70's it could use a remaster, but it wasn't too bad. Read morePublished on 28 Sept. 2012 by Thedogsownme
The trouble with this version is that it is about 40 years old, and it shows.
It looks like a film of a play. Compared with other dvds it looks and sound old-fashioned. Read more