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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Masterpiece: Wolf Hall' [Blu-ray]
(Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis, Claire Foy, et al / 3-Disc Blu ray / NR / 2015 / PBS)

Overview: England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the King dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years and marry Anne Boleyn. The Pope and most of Europe oppose him. Into this impass steps Thomas Cromwell: a wholly original man, a charmer, and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people, and implacable in his ambition. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph?

Blu ray Verdict: This wonderful drama just held me spellbound from the opening sequence to the closing shots of the first episode. Mark Rylance (himself not too dissimilar in appearance from Cromwell's actual looks) was just mesmerizing, from the moment he appeared he held me in thrall. The atmospheric lighting, the scenery, the period clothing, all a wonder, but the acting! It was a genuine privilege to see something that will be talked about for years to come.

I felt I was there, in the dark recessed corridors of power, with betrayal lurking around every dark corner. Thomas Cromwell is such a fixture in our national DNA it was almost scary to see him bought to life, but he, along with Henry, laid the foundations for a Britain that was sure of its own identity and purpose. I know I will view this for many years and never title of the many nuances and shadows. Wonderful, simply simply wonderful.

Having now viewed the entire series, spread out here on 3 discs from PBS' Masterpiece Theatre series, all I can say is that it is a masterpiece (no pun intended!). I felt drawn in to the dark intrigue around the investigation of Anne Boleyn, and her execution scene was without doubt one of the most realistic and best acted scenes I have ever seen. The BBC, so often getting it wrong with their own brand of political correctness, got this bang on the money. I just wish I could keep saying more and more great things about this show - but enough is enough, as I'm sure you now get the point.

FYI: Did you know that actor Mark Rylance has stated that the codpieces on the otherwise historically accurate costumes were made smaller at the request of PBS - who felt that American audiences might be offended! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Go Behind the scenes of Wolf Hall from the history and design to the people and politics (25 mins.)

www.PBS.org





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