Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Literature > Historic > British TV > The Shadow Of The Tower (1972/BBC DVD Set)

The Shadow Of The Tower (1972/BBC DVD Set)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Episodes: C



To capitalize on the critical and commercial success of the Showtime Network’s hit series The Tudors, BBC has decided to release The Shadow of the Tower in the U.S.  The program is a prequel to 1970's The Six Wives of Henry VIII and the 1971 series, Elizabeth R, which are all included as part of The BBC Tudors Collection - a review of which can be found at the following link:





In The Shadow of the Tower, insanity and drama awaits all in this mini-series, which is the most direct telling of the Tudor's story out of the three series.  While some of the acting is good, I found most of it to be rather wooden, and the atmosphere of the production overall to be stuffy.  I can't say that I'm a fan of the sensationalized approach that is seen on the modern equivalent, The Tudors - which I find to be over-sexualized and too soapy - but this older version didn't strike a balance between pure history and good storytelling that I was all that fond of either.


Extras include an informative 24-page booklet with production notes, while the discs include The Tower of London: The Innocent – a black and white forerunner to this program that was run in 1969 and is 50 minutes long.  This is also where James Maxwell can first be seen as Henry VII, a role which he would return to for this series.  We also have Hooray Henry!, a historical examination that focuses on the transition from Richard III to Henry VII, hosted by historian Dai Smith.


The 1.33:1 image on the show was shot in professional PAL analog videotape with some outdoor footage in 16mm.  While it does show flaws and reveal its age, this was still shot with professionalism.  The lighting, locations and decent production design combine in a way that allows the look to hold up better than it might have otherwise.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono has been cleaned up the best it can be and fares slightly better than the image at times.


History buffs might prefer to check out some documentaries concerning this topic instead, as this telling won't appeal to everyone.  Those who are aware of what they're in for, however, should be quite pleased not only with the show's content, but with the nice presentation and extras that the BBC has lavished upon this set.



-   David Milchick


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com