Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle New Edition - Sgt. Pepper Shop now Shop Women's Shop Men's

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: DVD|Change
Price:£16.28+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 31 May 2015
The recent release of a feature film version of Vera Brittain's classic autobiography Testament of Youth (1933) has provided the opportunity to re-assess this 1979 BBC television version. Whatever merits the film version has the earlier one offers an altogether more satisfying adaptation of the book. With its four and half hours playing time, against the film's less than half that length, it provides a much more detailed depiction of Vera Brittain's life before, during and after the First World War, upto the year 1925. It also has the considerable advantage, over the film, of portraying in some depth the close friendship that the author formed with her fellow writer and political activist Winifred Holtby. The latter's own tragically short life was quite memorable in itself, culminating as it did in the posthumous publication of her great populist novel, South Riding. But the heart of Testament of Youth lies in Vera Brittain's often grim experiences as a volunteer nurse during the war and the nearly unbearable loss of four young men in her life - her brother, her fiancé and two close friends. These experiences form a microcosm of the horrors and appalling waste of lives that the war brought. The production makes compelling use of archive footage of the carnage of the Western Front and of a 'voice over' (by Gary Watson) reciting some of the war poems by Wilfred Owen, among others. Above all it benefits greatly from the wonderful central performance by Cheryl Campbell, a performance to match that of Dorothy Tutin, as Sarah Burton, in the television version of South Riding. She is ably supported by the rest of the cast, in which Joanna McCallum (daughter of Googie Withers) makes a wholly believable, even loveable, Winifred Holtby. Although some viewers nowadays may find this version too drawn out and even slightly dated it wears its years well. The Special Features do not add up to much, with no filmed material, but the technical quality is satisfactory.
0Comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 22 April 2017
Just bought this so I can watch it again after so many years. When the BBC first screened this it made me go out and buy the books. You'll need a box of tissues to hand for both. They are so affecting. Everybody should read these books and we must never forget our history. It will stay with you long after you've watched it or turned the last page of Vera Brittains brilliant memoir.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 21 June 2010
I saw Testament of Youth whilst a university student on a dodgy black and white portable TV with dreadful reception. I had read and reread the book from the age of 12 and loved it. The tv series was faithful to the book and did not disappoint. I had waited all these years hoping it would be repeated on TV and had written to and emailed the BBC on several occasions to ask if it would be made available on video, and later on dvd, to no avail. I was so pleased to see that finally my and many others wish had been granted. Watching the series again after all these years is just as vivid and emotional and as desperately sad as it was the first time. It is well made, beautifully acted, particularly Cheryl Campbell as Vera. I hope that a yet younger generation than me will watch this, read the book and understand a little more what our grandparent and great grandparents generation suffered, but also to rejoice in the life force that was Vera Brittain, a role model for women both then and now.
11 Comment| 125 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 May 2017
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 30 April 2017
very happy
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 25 July 2010
I have waited, literally, YEARS for this to be available on DVD ( even on VHS, which I would have gladly bought, it has been "going" for mad prices quite beyond my means)

The whole thing is one of the saddest experiences i have ever encountered. Originally, in 1979, and then when it was repeated by the BBC sometime in ( I guess ) the 80s, when linked to one of the anniversaries of WW1, it moved me immensely and the affect now is not one jot less. Yes, some of the scenery is clearly "cardboard", yes some of the acting is decidedly laughable, especially Vera's parents, and Roland Leighton's hairstyle is a pretentious joke, and it all looks every one of its 31 years age, but Cheryl Campbell on her own is utterly magnetic, sensationally beautiful, utterly convincing and carries the whole thing on her own.

I, quite genuinely, cannot think of a sadder and more poignant and more simply beautiful, series in the history of the BBC in my lifetime. The fact that it is a true story makes it even better ( or worse, depending how you look at it )

I cannot recommend this highly enough
11 Comment| 75 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 August 2010
This series stands among the very best ever made for television. It is one of those entirely perfect creative partnerships when acting, script, direction, photography, casting and editing have all combined to present an insight into a world long lost to us.
The tragedy of the war years of 1914 - 1918 does, and should, haunt us and will grieve future generations. This story, based in fact, is a vivid re-creation of that mindless slaughter. For Cheryl Campbell, as Vera, it is the role of her life and she plays it beautifully, capturing the passion, eagerness and intelligent humour of a young woman determined to remake a world in which she has so little control. Her journey, from vivid, fresh faced schoolgirl, to a grief wounded woman facing the post war world with courage and determination, is a true tour de force.
0Comment| 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Superb 1979 TV production of Vera Brittain's memoirs (5 episodes).
Opening in 1913, where Vera, as only daughter of a well-to-do Derbyshire family, is in opposition to her traditional parents in wanting to accompany her brother to study at Oxford, the narrative moves on to the outbreak of War. Vera's brother, her fiance and their friends join up, and Vera sacrifices her hard-won university place to nurse the wounded. The horrors of the war are brilliantly evoked, in snippets of contemporary film reel, and readings from the war poets, as well as the images of life in a field hospital.
The narrative finishes in 1923, including Vera's friendship with writer Winifred Holtby, whom she meets on her return to Oxford, and the fledgeling careers of the two women.
Cheryl Campbell gives a superb portrayal of Vera, supported by a convincing cast. Perhaps the slightly dingy sets of the 70s make it feel a trifle dated in production now, but the acting is first class - we've had two evenings' brilliant (and very sad) viewing.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 August 2010
I read this book as a student nurse and so was delighted with the BBC production. I have been waiting for it to come out on DVD and it has delighted me as much now as it did before. I believe it should be recommended reading for all student nurses. It tells the story of the first world war through a different perspective
Thank you Amazon for my pleasure
0Comment| 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 July 2010
Testament of Youth , starring Cheryl Campbell as Vera Brittain,is quite simply superb.
This very moving and affecting true story became a bestselling book when the series was shown originally, and no wonder. Vera Brittain's struggle to get a university education in the face of opposition from her father, and the subsequent devastating effects of World War 1 are skilfully told. It would take a hard heart not to be moved by this, and Cheryl Campbell is superb as Vera Brittain. I can't understand why it has not been made available before on DVD.
Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys biography, or who is interested in the First World War. The book is well worth reading too.
Vera Brittain was the mother of Shirley Williams, Baroness Williams of Crosby.
0Comment| 73 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)