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Civilisation: The Complete Series [DVD] [1969]

4.7 out of 5 stars 161 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Kenneth Clark, Nicholas Blake, William Devlin, Ronald Lacey, Eric Porter
  • Directors: Michael Gill, Peter Montagnon, Ann Turner
  • Format: PAL, Colour, Full Screen, Mono
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: 2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 18 April 2005
  • Run Time: 670 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00077284C
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,491 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Kenneth Clarke's eloquent and deeply personal documentary series exploring the cultural heritage of the western world, from the collapse of the Roman Empire until the birth of modernism, was groundbreaking television when first broadcast by the BBC in 1969. With its use of exotic locations, and its engaging presenter with his idiosyncratic style, it influenced much of what was to follow. Progressing from the cultural effects of feudalism in medieval Europe to the birth of the Renaissance in fifteenth-century Florence, from revolutionary politics in France after 1789 to the growth of materialism in artistic and scientific discourse, Clarke did not just examine 'art', but wanted to reveal the spiritual and humanistic motives behind its creation. Includes all 13 episodes.

From Amazon.co.uk

A major piece of television documentary making that’s been allowed out of the archives, Civilisation: A Personal View was first screened on BBC2 in 1969, having been in production for several years beforehand. Its ambition was clear from the off, giving that it was aiming to chart the history of Western philosophy, culture and art since not far off the dawn of time. What’s most remarkable, though, is just how well it did with the task in hand.

Civilisation: A Personal View was presented by the late Kenneth Clark, an art historian, and the programme was commissioned under the watch of David Attenborough. And across 13 episodes, it’s an engrossing piece of work, that remains as relevant and interesting today. Inevitably, the format is nowhere near as groundbreaking as it once was, which is unsurprising given that it established a template that many chose to follow. But the breadth and depth of the content, distilled with real skill by Clark, is what made it one of the most talked about, and popular, television series of its day.

And how lovely it is that the entire show has been remastered in high definition. Originally for the rebroadcasting of the entire series on BBC Four, Civilisation: A Personal View has now found a home it never expected to have on Blu-ray. The added clarity, appreciating the age of the source material, is a real and unexpected bonus, and Civilisation: A Personal View may just prove to be one of the most interesting and vital Blu-ray releases of the year. An astonishing piece of work. --Jon Foster --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Other reviewers had already written about the content and I shall not embark on that. Technically speaking, I have both DVD and Blu ray and I can assure that Blu ray is much superior: it's not only a matter of definition, but the colours are much better. The DVD version has images with a kind of yellow tone while the BR has a much natural tone, far more relaxing to watch. The artifacts are reduced (but not completely eliminated) in BR compared to DVD but the audio is similar (a mere mono). To me, Blu Ray well worth the extra cost and it's the best choice for new customers and even old customers might think about an upgrade if they really love the series
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I can remember watching this on a B/W TV on a Sunday afternoon while I was growing up. I was as enthralled then as I am now. Kenneth Clarkes' excellent narration will forever be etched in my memory and so too is the vibrant imagery that can now be enjoyed in all it's glory on Blu Ray.
A transcendent piece of documentary making which at the time was intended to demonstrate the capability of colour TV but which goes soo much farther than that. This is history as it should be taught. Treat yourself and your family to this masterpiece of television. Blu Ray is a must. You'll not find many better ways to spend £20. Simply a must.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
A famous BBC arts documentary from the late 1960's on western civilisation. IMHO it has never been surpassed and is itself evidence of Civilisation. I'm reminded of Johnson's famous comment "....when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life..." When you are tired of this series.......
PS This Blu Ray edition is worth acquiring keeping in mind the improvement in image quality.
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Absolutely wonderful viewing and a pleasure to revisit a decent language in use by Sir Kenneth. Deeply impressed by the quality of the BBC production about 50 years ago or more.
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Like the parson's egg. Good in parts.
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The first disc is faulty
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Excellent if a little dated overview of culture in the last 2,000 years. It is very mainland Europe focused but that is probably inevitable given Kenneth Clark's area of expertise. Standing rigid in front of the camera is rather passe but he does, mostly, manage to avoid the impression that he is reading his lines. The focus is, as one would expect, on art and sculpture, and it is interesting to see how differently they were presented forty years ago, but then tourist pressures were much less then. Take your copy on holiday! Excellent for those long wet days.
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The Civilisation series was undoubtedly a significant production at the time - an attempt to educate a mass audience with the sort of tuition that you would only encounter at a major university. Nowadays it would not be attempted on that scale. It is idiosyncratic but all good lectures are and that is what you attend lectures for - not just for the material but for the lecturer's interpretation. As such the series has a value that is as important today as it was when first presented. As a reference tool to the history of art it is just as useful as a written source and certainly more entertaining.
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