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Pillars of the Earth

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If history is written by the victors, then the victors apparently are screenwriters with a passion for costume drama, and bring it on, I say!

I recently viewed the adaptation of Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth. Like most library dvd fans, I waited to watch it ad-free from the library. Who could resist such an all-star cast, including Canadian favorites Donald Sutherland and Gordon Pinsent and Ian McShane as the eyebrow lifting corrupt cardinal and Matthew McFayden (from the MI-5 series) as the compromised priest? As blogger Moe pointed out, this one has all the elements: romance, battle scenes, and a little mystery.

The series follows cathedral architect Tom Builder in his quest to build the first gothic cathedral with abundant light within. Swirling around him are real historical figures battling for the crown during the 12th century: Queen Maud versus King Stephen. Troops plough the priory and villagers while the higher- ups cut off or reinstate funding for the cathedral willy nilly.

This series took me back to the excellent Cadfael mystery series, set near the Welsh-English border during the same time period. See our earlier review of Derek Jakobi roles under "Spotlight" in the link menu to your left.

For these historically based series, I enjoy brushing up on history by going to our e-library on this website and searching the Encyclopedia Britannica for more information on Wales, cathedrals, or Queen Maud (also named Mathilda), for instance.

Joust For Fun

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Medieval themed movies have always been very popular. After all, there is lots to draw from--- knights in shining armour, damsels in distress, Arthurian legend, Grail quests, secret societies, dragons and maidens hearing God's voice. Let's see what CPL has to offer in this genre.

Camelot-the Lerner and Lowe musical from 1967 with Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero. Some wonderful music and songs in this. More Arthurian retelling with Merlin (Sam Neill) and King Arthur (Clive Owen).

Ivanhoe-we actually have a couple worth a look. There is a two part mini series from 1997 that is pretty good. And on order is the wonderful 1952 film with Robert Taylor, Elizabeth taylor (not related), and George Sanders. Don't miss this one. Elizabeth was never more beautiful, Robert never more handsome and George never more evil and conflicted !

Kingdom of Heaven-directed by Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Alien) so it is a little over the top, but there is enough here to keep your interest, including Orlando Bloom,Liam Neeson and Jeremy Irons.

Goofy fun with Martin Lawrence in 2001's Black Knight. I always expected them to make a sequel to this, but maybe it just didn't do well enough at the box office. I still get quite a kick out of this movie.

Speaking of goofy, it doesn't get much more so than Monty Python and The Holy Grail. Perhaps the most original reimagining of the Grail quest legend and in typical Python style, something to offend everyone.

A Knights Tale- with Heath Ledger and Paul Bettany. This is lots of fun.

Joan of Arc-we have four here to choose from, including a non fiction. Also the 1999 version with Leelee Sobieski and the 1948 Ingrid Bergman offering. And from 1928 a silent version.

We have a few documentaries on the mysterious Templars. Try either Knights Templar or The Templar Code.

And because your library has something for everyone, we also have Bob the Builders: Knights of Fix-a-lot.