Jude The Obscure (BBC/Koch)
C Sound: C+ Extras: D Episodes: B
so many works of literature we do not hear enough about and a combination of so
much new media, electronic media and snobbery amongst too many in the book
world make the situation worse. Often,
there have been fine adaptations of many seminal volumes, but even those
adaptations have been often lost to time and even the actual physical masters
are gone, missing, misplaced or even destroyed.
The BBC has a huge wealth of great adaptations and a 1971 mini-series
version of Thomas Hardy’s Jude The
Obscure finds its way to DVD 35 years after its debut.
controversial book is about the title character (Robert Powell, in a terrific
performance) who is a stone carver, but does not like caste or class systems
and spends so much of his life trying to break free of it. He is a good man and the desire is extremely
understandable, but he has the luck of Barry Lyndon as everything he does
backfires. Later, he makes some decisions
that do not even make any sense, but you still sympathize for him
throughout. In some ways, he seems
doomed, but it is as much an observation of his life as critique of a world
that itself may be doomed. This two-DVD
set has all the 4.5 hours in their original, separate parts and each one builds
on the previous one. Several of these
BBC programs have arrived via Koch Vision and this might be the strongest one
X 1 image was shot on older analog PAL video and still shows some impressive
style considering the limits of the format at the time. That makes watching the program more
involving. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
sounds a little better, but too shows its age.
There are no extras, but this was a big surprise and is worth your time.
- Nicholas Sheffo