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4.3 out of 5 stars
18
4.3 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 24 January 2009
Edward Bulwer-Lytton, who later became Lord Lytton, published the Last Days of Pompeii in 1834 and the novel met with instant and enduring success. In the 20th century it enjoyed many cinematic incarnations, indeed the Italian version of 1913, one of the landmarks of the early cinema, is still widely available. But only this 1984 mini-series adheres closely to the elaborate plot of Lytton's classic romance,indeed the scriptwriters have embellished it to generally good effect by introducing new plot lines and fleshing out some of the minor characters. But what makes this handsomely mounted mini-series worth watching is its extraordinarily accurate and vivid recreation of Pompeii and the Roman world. The art, architecture and fashions of the Flavian era (the late 1st century AD) are minutely recreated in such details as the towering hairstyles adopted by upper class women, or in the painted wall of the amphitheatre's arena which is no longer evident to the modern tourist as the pigments have faded away. Frankly, I'm surprised they went to so much trouble but also rather pleased. There's a pretty good cast which includes the venerable Laurence Olivier in an important cameo and the climactic destruction of the city as the populace are trapped in the amphitheatre is spectacularly well done. I'm surprised this impressive mini-series has not enjoyed greater popularity and wider distribution. This German release is of excellent quality and can be played with the original English language soundtrack (I should note that a few scenes appear to be awkwardly cut so I suspect some footage has been removed perhaps to avoid tedium.) Highly recommended, then, to all those who like me enjoy the sword and sandal genre. And if you scout around you should be able to pick up the 3 disc version at a reasonable price.

Postscript to the above (August 2012). I note that my review has been attached to the 2 disc "Choice Collection" release which I believe is an import from the US, apparently of good quality but lacking the extras on the third CD of the German release such as the documentary. As these extras are in German without subtitles, buyers may prefer the 2-disc import if they can secure it at a lower price and their DVD players are multi-region.
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on 8 August 2012
I remember watching The Last Days of Pompeii on TV when it was first shown back in the 80s and always remember it as one of the better mini-serials. Every so often I'd browse Amazon to see if a good DVD of it had been issued and one day here this was!

In some ways I was worried that seeing the programme nowadays would shatter the good memory I had of the series. I've regretted some purchases of other 'classic' series as they have not aged well and should have been left at the back of my mind. However, I really enjoyed watching The Last Days of Pompeii again.

The story is somewhat slow in places, some of the acting not the greatest (but some good) and of course the scale of the production cannot compare with today's CGI filled epics, but I sat back and watched the entire 5 hours in one evening, something I hadn't planned on doing. For a mini-series of the 80s it is an epic and the special effects at the end (I won't spoil the story by saying what happens) were as good as anything on TV at the time.

The DVD itself is the most basic you can get. Disc 1 goes straight in to episode 1, there are no menus or chapters, in fact nothing but the first episode. The second disc has a menu where you can select the second and third episode, again no chapters or anything else. Of course for the time it was made the picture format is 4:3 but I was surprised at the good quality of both the picture and audio.

In summary; if you want a fast moving CGI filled epic don't buy this DVD. If you have happy memories of this series, or want to see it for the first time, I recommend this DVD. I just wish they'd put a bit more effort in to the DVD contents. A 'making of' programme would have been a nice extra.
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on 22 September 2011
Unfortunately not the best version this fantastic TV series deserves (about an hour is missing) but at the moment still the best way to enjoy it! We will never see again on screen so much attention to details, so amazing sets and costums (check out the frescos on the walls: the 3 graces, the baker and his wife, the venus in the shell, also the temple of Isis back to its former glory, the amphitheater pratically identical to the real one...) Nowadays a series like this would just be CGI galore, unknown actors in front of green screens... (anybody saw that remake of V lately...?!!) And what a gathering of great actors, all with one goal: entertain us! (they are too many to list but special mention to the magnificent Duncan Regher!)
A must for Pompeii lovers and a must for people like me who remember good 80ies TV!
I have one wish like all the other fans out there: a beautiful box set release in a very near future!!
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on 23 March 2010
i wouldnt have minded paying the inflated price if i had got the full version at the end of it.not only is this version greatly cut down; some scenes break off abruptly in mid conversation;but the original introduction by anthony quayle has been replaced by another.i have owned a complete recording on vhs for years and it is nearly an hour longer.some scenes are missing altogether.not a good buy hopefully a more complete recording will come out one day for the moment i will continue to watch my tapes.
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on 14 April 2013
I was waiting for a long time to get this film and it hasn't disappointed. I read a review where someone felt let down because it didn't contain some scenes they remembered in the film. Luckily the scenes I DO remember are all in it. Watching it after all these years again, I didn't realise what a great actress Linda Purl was as there's not many people on film who can play a blind person realistically. Great movie. I was enjoying this so much that I ended up watching the entire two discs continuously. I didn't give it the full 5 stars as I wished my favourite characters, Nydia (played by Linda Purl) and Lydon (played by Duncan Regehr) had more scenes together. Definatley worth it.
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on 17 December 2013
I have been waiting for years for this DVD to be released in the UK. Finally after two decades I could wait no longer - even my patience wears thin eventually. Germany released this some time ago. Other than the titles you can watch the whole thing in English. Although the production does not compare to Rome from HBO this is still an amazing mini series. The cast are fantastic as are the sets and costumes. The story is far fetched but then this was made in the 80s and it shows. Think Dynasty set in Pompeii with big hair and bigger eye make up not to mention the camera close ups. This is however very enjoyable and a great escape from the drudgeries of life. Watch it on a cold and miserable afternoon. Bliss.
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on 20 August 2015
Saw this when it was screened on the TV years ago. Dates a little and some of the acting is a shade wooden but still worth re-watching.
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on 7 July 2015
Thoroughly enjoyed watching. Brought back memories of 1984 when it was first shown on TV here in the UK.
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on 19 September 2011
I was really enjoying watching this... I was 14 when it first came out and watched it with my parents but think we missed last episode! Imagine my absolute horror when on the 3rd disc we were rudely taken from a calm scene in the prison to the vulcano having erupted and then thats it... not ending credits, no last scenes of what happened to all the characters... just 20 secs of ash and rubble and back to the menu... surely even with a cut down version this is wrong... I await my ending.... disc 3 didn't even have one of the main females in it!
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on 19 January 2016
Saw this years ago was great to re watch
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