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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Play > History > Royalty > Assassination > Gay > Politics > Homophobia > Edward II (1969/BBC DVD)

Edward II (1969/BBC DVD)


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



In recent years, Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II has not only gained momentum in the face of Gay Civil Rights against the Neo-Conservative era, but in Derek Jarman’s amazing 1992 film of the play.  However, there are other interpretations and the landmark 1969 BBC version with Ian McKellan in the title role is finally out on DVD and it more than holds its own against the Jarman version by simply remaining powerful and by more than just offering the first man-on-man kiss in the history of the network and British TV overall.


The story is about the title ruler over 400 years ago who has a queen, but really longs for his male lover Galveston (James Laurenson from the TV version of State Of Play), but haters behind the scenes plot his fall and will use everything from lies to homophobia to achieve it.  The results are a grim torture and infamous murder that still resonates and was even truncated in Mel Gibson’s problematic Braveheart, but we’ll leave that for you to discover.


The 1.33 X 1 image is shot on analog PAL videotape and looks good for its age, though there are flaws, but the production has some fine costumes and stage design that also hold up better than expected.  Considering the age of the tape, it looks good.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound is also good for its age, though slightly distorted here and there.  The combination is very watchable.  The only extra is a very interesting program called The Marlowe Inquest about how the author of the play died a supposed barroom brawl, but there may be something more to it because his authorship of this very play may have cost him his life.  It runs 90 minutes.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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