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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Poetry > Art > TV Mini-Series > Six Centuries Of Verse (1984/Athena/Acorn Media DVD)

Six Centuries Of Verse (1984/Athena/Acorn Media DVD)


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



Poetry is a tricky thing.  It can be great and has always been innovative, even with offshoots and as part of other art form (music lyrics, for instance), but sometimes it can be annoying and has its limits no matter how good.  Sir John Gielgud hosts Six Centuries Of Verse, a documentary mini-series from that does a stunning job of covering poetry history, influence and as art form over 16 half-hour shows covering the period the title suggests very thoroughly.


The thing that has most appreciated about the show is the amazing cast of actors who bring the works to life with some exemplary readings of these classics, including Julian Glover, Lee Remick, Ian Richardson, Cyril Cusack, Peggy Ashcroft, Nicholas Gecks, Gary Wilson, Brian Coburn, Gerrard McAuthur, Ralph Richardson, Stacy Keach, Isla Blair and Anthony Hopkins.  Gielgud also proves to be as amazing as any of them in stunning deliveries that will surprise you.  That makes this one of the few programs on poetry to date, but one of the greatest that will ever be made.


The 1.33 X 1 image was shot in 16mm film and these copies look pretty good for their age, even with some softness, detail limits and flaws on the prints used.  Still, it looks good throughout all the episodes and better than you mighty expect.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also not bad for its age, but has some compression and fidelity limits.  Extras include a booklet inside the DVD case, text on the lives of poets and text on the actors who do the on-camera readings.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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