The Norman Conquests (1977/Acorn Media DVD)
C†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: C-†††† Episodes: B-
sounds like a work set centuries ago, The
Norman Conquests British TV mini-series from 1977 is actually a smart
adaptation of Alan Ayckbournís play about the interaction of several couples in
dealing with love, sex and adult situations.†
It is presented as a trilogy here (Table
Manners, Round & Round The Garden,
Living Together) presented as three
telefilms (over 3 DVDs) and holds up very well as a portrait of dysfunction
surviving any supposed growth from the counterculture era.
is the title character, who is having an affair with his sister-in-law Annie
(Penelope Wilson), which surfaces when Reg (Richard Briers) and Sarah (Penelope
Keith) show up to help Annie out with taking care of their bed-ridden
mother.† Tom (David Troughton) is
interested in Annie, but she is not interested in him at all.† Normanís
wife Ruth (Fiona Walker of Schlesingerís Far
From The Madding Crowd) goes through the roof when Sarah hears about this
and the battles are on.
could have quickly slid into stupidity, childishness or formula remains pretty
consistent throughout and though it is not the greatest work I have seen on
relationships, it is one of the better and more honest ones.† Each character is well developed enough and
it is worth going out of your way for, especially if you are interested in
mature subject matter.
X 1 on the episodes come from the best materials left from the original
professional analog PAL taping, with flaws that include video noise, video
banding, PAL cross color and even some tape damage.† They have tried to fix this up, but it is
still too soft and problematic.† The Dolby
Digital 2.0 Mono is also a generation or two down, but fares better.† The back cover has a disclaimer about this,
but this is still very watchable, well directed and well shot.† Extras include background on the trilogy and
a text biography on author Ayckbourn.
-†† Nicholas Sheffo