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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Literature > British TV > Mini-Series > Jude The Obscure (BBC/Koch)

Jude The Obscure (BBC/Koch)


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



There are 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.


The 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 yet.


The 1.33 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


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