Monday, June 21, 2010

A Monkey Mini Series Report

I remember watching this when it first aired way back in 1970:
I remember watching parts of it with my mother and that things I remembered most were the music and the hats the women wore. I checked out the DVD version from my local library recently and I tried to watch it again.

I made it through Henry's first wife and part way through his second before I gave up. I didn't stop watching it because the show was bad, in fact it's all quite good, the acting, the music, the direction. Nope, those things didn't put me off, what put me off was the super shitty sound quality.

They shot this series in the late 1960's when it was a badge of honor to see how cheaply one could make a BBC show, witness the Dr. Who's of this era. They did the same thing with this show. Everything was shot on a sound stage, which is not bad in and of itself, in fact that kind of thing forces the actors and all involved to be creative. But the thing about this production is that when they shot this series they evidently could not afford a boom microphone and all the mics were attached to the TV cameras. And that means that the further you are from the camera, the harder it is to hear you, which means I had to constantly turn the volume up and down and gawd help you if you had the volume up when Keith Mitchell as Henry VIII launches into one of his actorly bellowings.

I suffered through the first episode because of this woman:
If you watch British comedy or drama then you're familiar with the lovely Annette Crosbie. She's been in all kinds of shows and ever since I began really appreciating BBC stuff she looked like she does in the above photo. I was used to her as an older woman so it was kind of jarring to see her when she was a young smokin' hot actress:
She was fantastic in her episode. She played Henry's first wife Catherine with a quiet dignity that has rarely been matched and she looked very hubba hubba while doing it.

And as Henry's second wife Anne Boleyn, Dorothy Tutin was just okay in the first episode but when she got her own episode, she was fantastic.
However by the end of the Anne Boleyn episode I had had enough of the sound problem and I gave up on the rest of the series. Perhaps one day if we get a TV that allows me to equalize the sound of productions that were made on the cheap, like this one was, then I'll watch the rest.

Based on what I saw, I recommend this series but beware the sound fluctuations, they'll drive you batty.

1 comment:

kirby said...

I remember watching that in high school History and English classes, and you're right about the sound fluctuations. Some slacker would always jump up from his nap when the king started bellowing.