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Ghost Canyon

'Angelique Collection'
(Michele Mercier, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2008 / LGF)

Overview: Based on the best-selling French novels by Anne and Serge Golon that captured hearts worldwide, the ANGELIQUE films chronicle the life of an adventurous heroine in the Louis XIV era. Five classic film adaptations star the beautiful Michele Mercier and the dashing Robert Hossein as her husband and true love. A swashbuckling blend of action, intrigue and passion, the ANGELIQUE films seamlessly capture the amazing life of a French country girl whose quest for love and happiness leads her from the gutters of Paris to the Palaces Versailles. 3-Disc Set Includes: ANGELIQUE, ANGELIQUE: ROAD TO VERSAILLES, ANGELIQUE AND THE KING, UNTAMABLE ANGELIQUE, ANGELIQUE AND THE SULTAN.

DVD Verdict: I seem to have known or been involved with Angélique throughout my adult life - I read the first book when I should have been studying for my A-Levels! My sister introduced me to the books - she felt I should have outgrown my beloved Jean Plaidy and Chalet School books by that age and moved onto something a little more sophisticated - she chose Angélique for me - and what a choice!

But to the films: I saw the first film - Marquise of the Angels on BBC2 in the UK with English sub-titles. I can't remember much of that other than I was so terribly excited that the books had been transferred to film and Michele Mercier did look gorgeous - seemingly Brigitte Bardot and Jane Fonda had turned down the opportunity to become the eponymous heroine. Considering BBs love for animals and political acumen, she might have paid closer attention to Angéliques life which mirrors these two avenues.

I discovered the second film in Zakopane in the Tatra Mountains of Poland where I was on holiday with a friend of Julie Christie's - yes honestly. We were out for a stroll when we saw the weather front hurtling towards us and dived into the nearest building which happened to be a cinema coincidentally showing the film - it was dubbed into Polish with English subtitles - I loved that film to pieces, especially the visual affect of the Court of Miracles and then the complete contrast as Angélique is presented to the Sun King himself by her cousin Phillipe.

Also, it has to be said that the films are visually stunning, the music score beautiful and haunting and the fact that they are now available with English sub-titles is why I am going to buy my third set of DVDs - all the others are PAL SECAM playable but with no sub-title facility. I've enjoyed these films because they are entertaining - the characters share the same names as the characters in the books - but the storylines differ to suit the needs of the time - this is no bad thing because thanks to the films the legend lives on and Anne Golon is not forgotten.

There is agreement that Desgrez [a real historical character] is portrayed as the most believable and best cast - but we perhaps forget that this is a French invention and will be viewed differently than something like the Onedin Line which is a wholly British invention [with an Angélique-like character in the form of Jessica Benton as James' sister Elizabeth].

And (again) Michelle Mercier - a truly beautiful Actress from the late Sixties era when the films were made, who was ideally cast in the title role. Her husband is played by Robert Hussein who gives an equally lifelike performance in all five films.

There are some superbly innovative ideas in the films and it has a "happy ever after" ending which is a shame because the story does continue in the New World and could have created a whole second tranche of films. It's fun,it's not serious, it's pretty to look at - see the films, then read the books! These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of just English and Spanish Subtitles.