The Noël Coward Collection

The Noël Coward Collection

DVD - 2007
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Noël Coward is the definitive playwright of the early 20th century, contributing a robust repertoire of brilliant material. Playwright, actor, composer, and irrepressible socialite, Coward charmed high society in both London and New York during his heyday, and his work continues to charm audiences today with its urbane wit, sly humor and distinctive style.
Publisher: [S.l.] : BBC Video : BBC Worldwide Ltd. : 2 Entertain : Distributed by BBC Worldwide Americas ; Burbank, CA : Distributed by Warner Home Video, c2007
Edition: Full screen
ISBN: 9781419857997
1419857991
Characteristics: 7 videodiscs (ca. 1183 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in

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d
djaf
Aug 13, 2016

The most interesting part, for me, were the interviews with Noel Coward. I found much of the acting awkward and distracting. However, I'm glad I watched the set; it was a real education.

MB1224 Dec 03, 2014

Unfortunately what is offered is not the complete set but the last three discs in the series (5, 6 and 7).

s
swyckl
Apr 03, 2013

Funny. Witty. Many stories. Unexpected twists & turns in the stories to surprise you & keep you interested. Some video & some audio. I enjoyed this series.

b
BertBailey
Jan 14, 2013

This is an excellent collection of Noel Coward made-for-TV stories and plays. About half what I've seen has been top-rate, and as for the rest it was a matter of not being in the mood - at least to an extent. What I've watched and so enjoyed were "Me and the girls," with Tom Courtenay, and "Mr. and Mrs. Edgehill," with Ian Holm and a middle-aged yet still youngish Judi Dench. The two others I've viewed but decided to pass on were more theatrical than cinematic productions. xx "Me and the Girls" is particularly affecting and rather ambitious in sweep. It includes a few recognizable songs, reminding us that Coward kept company with Cole Porter and almost no others in composing top-drawer material that to this day stands up well. Above all, it’s got an excellent script; no small wonder, being based on a Coward story. No doubt this plot, about a song-and-dance artist with wit and of considerable complexity, is partly autobiographical. The troupe do not ham things up, as might so easily be done, and things are handled with restraint. xx It's a wonder Coward was given so much rope with the subject and got away with it - although "given" probably sounds like a naive word choice; no doubt he had to swim upstream aplenty. It's amazing how ahead of the game the Brits were to much-ballyhooed fare such as "Brokeback Mountain," which made such a fuss about gay relations (and so very coyly) -- although no doubt this 80s adaptation is more explicit and took liberties with Coward’s work, given changes in mores since his day. Still, the subject's treated maturely and with humour, with the naturalness though hesitancy that the subject deserves. xx This is not to say that everything in this collection is as winning. Some productions are set in drawing rooms where well-dressed, highly articulate characters exchange banter and pleasantries while the usual intrigues develop. Some of this was tedious to me, especially when peppered with such turns as: "Thanks fearfully. I should love to" ...in response to an offer of a drink, if I recall correctly. (That's a direct quotation: I kid you not). xx As for drawbacks, the only one I can think of is that my copy's missing its booklet, so I'm left to choose from the 9 DVDs without a clue as to which production I’ll find. Still, taking them at random has so far been rewarding. That said, some items are set in drawing rooms, as mentioned, while others are not just set outdoors, but required exotic locations ("Mr. and Mrs. Edgehill" has South Seas settings). So the many productions seem to have varying provenances, and I’m not well acquainted with the sources, which are not of a piece -- as, say, you’ll find with the "Bertie and Wooster" series. xx One or two sets are only so-so, but that’s more than compensated by some highly competent main players; at least those I’ve named are good, and often brilliant in this fare, even if some supporting parts may fall a bit short here and there. Production values are good for the mid-1980s, while not lavish. The DVDs have close captions for the hearing impaired, which is unusual for Brit made-for-TV fare that harks even to the recent 80s. xx So, if you have an ear for a sharply-crafted script, strong plots and Masterpiece Theatre-type fare, don't think twice.

PrinceBishop Dec 05, 2011

Although "The Vortex" is beginning to show it's age and this production is a trifle flat, the production of "Hay Fever" is utterly delightful. The entire cast is a treat to watch with Penelope Keith outstanding as the ever theatrical Judith Bliss. A must for aficionados of Noël Coward, and wait till you see the costume that Patricia Hodge is almost not wearing.

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