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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Historical > England > England, My England (1995/Kultur)

England, My England (1995/Kultur)


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



Tony Palmer’s 1995 production of England, My England is the long, but surprisingly engaging tale of the English composer Henry (Harry) Purcell (Michael Ball) and how he became an important composer and how Charles II (Simon Callow, Amadeus) figured into this.  The John Osborne/Charles Wood screenplay is always lively, smart, detailed, interesting, flowing and does a good job (like the costumes, production design and locations) of bringing the 16th to 17th Centuries to life.


That is not easy, as so many such productions seem to be clueless, drag and often feel like they were made before Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon (1975) with their pretentiousness.  Though this film is not up to the Kubrick film, it does not try to imitate either and the result with the mostly unknown actors is a nice surprise finally out on DVD and deserving of rediscovery.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is nicely shot by Director of Photography Nicholas D. Knowland, but the image quality suffers in detail, dept and some Video Black issues.  Worse, this looks like it was shot 1.66 X 1 and cut off slightly to fit the HDTV frame.  At least color can look good.  The PCM 2.0 Stereo sound shows its age, but is clear enough to enjoy and richer than it would be in Dolby’s compressed Digital format, which helps the Purcell music conducted by John Eliot Gardiner.  There are no extras, but this film deserves them.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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