Eight years later, Jack's fixation with the cathedral leaves him little time or energy for anything else, while Aliena's fixation with the distant Earldom of Shiring has married her to Alfred, a man ...
As a result of his journeys, Jack has learned how to fulfill Tom Builder's dream of a cathedral filled with light. Aliena tracks Jack by following the trail of his carvings. Waleran offers Philip a ...
Princess Maude seems to have gained the upper hand having defeated King Stephen on the battlefield and taken him prisoner. However, her brother, Gloucester, has been taken prisoner by the other side,...
After the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey, his secretary, Thomas Cromwell, finds himself amongst the treachery and intrigue of King Henry VIII's court and soon becomes a close advisor to the King, a role fraught with danger.
A novelist's life ricochets from 1920s Paris to '50s New York and '80s London. Along the way he meets Ernest Hemingway, Ian Fleming and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor - the exiled British king and his mistress Wallis Simpson.
The Pillars of the Earth is set against a backdrop of war, religious strife and power struggles which tears lives and families apart. In that time, there rises a magnificent Cathedral in Kingsbridge. Against the backdrop, love-stories entwine: Tom, the master builder, Aliena, the noblewoman, the sadistic Lord William, Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge, Jack, the artist in stone work and Ellen, the woman from the forest who casts a curse. At once, this is a sensuous and enduring love story and an epic that shines with the fierce spirit of a passionate age. Follett masterfully weaves these stories through political turmoil of 12th century England, creating a relevant and viable world for today's audience and for generations to come.Written by
When asked about her sex scene, Hayley Atwell said: "Nude scenes can be very liberating. I feel very human. This is me, with all my little imperfections." See more »
Prior Philip is referred to by several characters as 'Father', 'a Priest' and a character at one point goes to make Confession to him.
In actual fact Philip was a monk and never a priest, so should have been referred to as 'Brother' not 'Father'. Also, in Catholic ritual only priests can hear confessions. Monks cannot. See more »
Grand, thrilling epic respectful to its source material
Ken Follett is one of the most brilliant novelists of modern times. His stories immerse and engage the reader into worlds so real that it seems possible to step into them.
"Pillars of the Earth" is one of his most popular books. Originally published in 1989, it gained a cult following through word of mouth then achieved even greater prominence when Oprah discovered it just a few years ago.
Tandem Productions and Tony and Ridley Scott took the risk of adapting the sweeping historic novel into a miniseries. The novel is such an intricate spiderweb of lust, revenge, and triumph of an iron will that the mere act of adapting the screenplay for sound-bite and short attention span 21st century viewers was a daunting challenge.
The makers of "Pillars of the Earth" succeeded in what seemed like an impossible challenge. They have followed the novel's plot entirely,making minor tweaks and changes for the sake of exposition and moving things along.
The two hour premiere manages to thrust the viewer into 1100s England and reveal the complicated origins of the civil war with the ship burning and the crisis related to heirs of the throne. A monk overhears a plot to overthrow the king and tells his brother, who tells an archbishop, and the brother becomes a prior by helping the archbishop become elevated to bishop.
Why is that detail important? The new prior, Phillip, has decided to rebuild his cathedral by making it a "compass to God" and this event becomes central to the story "Pillars of the Earth." While wars and strife erupt around it, the beautiful cathedral rises from an English meadow.
The special effects and art direction masterfully create the grimy, gritty world of 1100s England and the stark contrasts between privileges of royalty and serfs wallowing in the mud beside the hogs they keep. Public executions and dismembering are commonplace as one plot change involving the deposed Earl Bartholomew of Shiring (portrayed aristocratically by Donald Sutherland) tears at the heart.
While the novel relied on straightforward storytelling, the miniseries offers deftly executed, haunting flashbacks to establish the mysterious Ellen's role in the dirty laundry of Percy Hamleigh and Archbishop Waleran's past. Her husband had been mysteriously executed around the time the ship burned. Ellen's son Jack, who is portrayed as an artistic savant, becomes a force in building the cathedral.
King Stephen also plays a larger role in the miniseries. His father portrays a ghost in his dreams in a manner similar to Hamlet, creating a torturous tumult of inner conflict in him. Best of all, Ian McShane as the absurdly evil Bishop Waleron Bigod explodes from the screen with a voice that booms like a thunderclap as he progresses from one dirty deed and double cross to another.
Eddie Redmayne as Jack Jackson, one of the central characters of the story, deserves special mention for his deft portrayal of the sensitive but strong character. Rufus Sewell as Tom Builder also shines, especially during one early intense scene where he forces the nasty William Hamleigh to pay him and his helpers despite being out-armed.
Some viewers may blanch at the changes involving the relationship between William Hamleigh and his mother, Regan. Even a casual review of the works of Shakespeare reveals that incest ran rampant through royalty during the middle ages, so the plot detail is historically relevant and manages to create additional atmosphere and tension.
Overall, the television miniseries should thrill the fans of the novel. Even the opening credits contain a clever, metamorphosing animated sequence and a stirring dramatic musical score punctuates and accentuates the grandeur.
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