Six Centuries Of Verse (1984/Athena/Acorn Media DVD)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C+ Episodes: B
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.
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.
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