Sunday, August 12, 2012

Book Review - The Story of the Costume Drama


The Story of the Costume Drama

DVD 2-Disc Set (5 episodes)
Distributor: Acorn Media Group
ASIN: B007TSV4HE
Release Date: July 2012
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: August 11, 2012

Real television. Not reality television - real television! This DVD brings back all the memories of the most iconic television shows, movies and miniseries that we all wish would be on all stations at all times of the day in order to step away from an age that seems to be filled with nothing but Real Housewives and silly competitions.
This DVD set is all about the Brits - the ‘best of the best’ when it came to the BBC - and offers clips, interviews, backstories, behind-the-scene looks and a history of images that are still embedded in our minds. Remember Jeremy Irons in Brideshead Revisited? Not only was this one of the most romantic and best-written tales, as well as the first that actually opened the door to ‘gay’ characters, it was also a story that offered pure sophistication, stunning locales and fashion that the world absolutely fell in love with.

From The Adventures of Robin Hood (the first show that was ultimately aimed at young boys who wanted to be heroes); to the only ‘soap opera’ that was beyond impressive, Upstairs, Downstairs, which offered a look at the separate worlds of the wealthy and their servants - these costume dramas were unforgettable.

The DVD takes a look back at when the costume drama changed; when it suddenly turned into something that the world swooned over. Yes, that was Pride and Prejudice, when Colin Firth (Mr. Darcy) stepped out of a lake and became the sexiest man in television history. Viewers also receive ‘nuggets’ of information such as the fact that vicars changed the time of church in order for people to run home and watch The Forsyte Saga on television - one costume drama that spawned a national debate.

These shows offered lessons in deportment and etiquette, while at the same time breaking through boundaries where television was concerned. There’s also a focus on actors who entered into the world of costume drams to show they were far more than their popular roles. Example: Gillian Anderson gave a stunning performance in Bleak House in order to come out of the shadows of ‘Scully’ and the highly popular X-Files. My Boy Jack was another, which was a stunning costume drama where Daniel Radcliffe showed the world that he was an award-worthy actor as he dropped the boy wizard persona to give a powerful performance.

This fantastic DVD also includes interviews with the people who made these dramas truly shine, as well as the directors who worked hard in order to make them unforgettable. From Helen Mirren who could never be outdone when it came to English royalty to Keira Knightley in Doctor Zhivago to an exploration of I, Claudius as well as Moll Flanders, which was the first to truly focus on a passionate female who lived life by her own rules.

Beyond fascinating, this DVD allows you to sit back and see the romance, beauty, stunning locales, and unbelievable costumes that all came together to make BBC the absolute ‘masters’ of the miniseries’ and shows we will always love!

Quill Says: Truly captivating, this DVD collection is not only a must-see, it’s a must-buy!