4 August 2010 | angelofvic
A fine and entertaining biographical miniseries about Alexander the Great
This excellent and entertaining miniseries is devised in a way that gives both maximum entertainment and maximum information.
For each major segment, James Mason, as narrator standing in the desert monuments of Greece, sets the stage by giving essential historical background and overview.
Then, we are treated frequently to a sort of posthumous gathering of the principal players in the drama: Alexander's parents, friends, colleagues, cohorts, and adversaries come together under a banquet tent and hash out old memories, for good or for ill. Their divergent viewpoints on the events of Alexander's life, and their squabbles back and forth over how he, and they, were treated, provide plentiful further details about the great man's life and times.
Finally, in the third layer of exposition, each sub-segment then goes directly to the events themselves, and the salient episodes of Alexander's life are covered in detail in narrative fashion -- from his birth and childhood, through his extraordinary education, adolescence, training, rise to power, ascendancy, rule, and eventual death.
There are many fine performances in the miniseries: Julian Glover as Philip of Macedon and Jane Lapotaire as Queen Olympias are excellent sparring partners as Alexander's parents. Nicholas Clay has a regal bearing as Alexander. Michael Williams is quite intriguing as Aristotle, Alexander's tutor. Ian Charleson is apt as Alexander's closest friend and finest general, Hephaistion. Robert Stephens is the venal Persian prince Darius. I have to say the finest performance is by Jane Lapotaire, who seems to dominate the proceedings and more or less puts all men in their place as Alexander's fiercest protector and staunchest defender.
To sum up, you will learn a lot and be vastly entertained by this wonderful historical entertainment piece.