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The Jewel in the Crown (25th Anniversary Edition)

Tim Pigott-Smith , Geraldine James    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 44.99
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Frequently Bought Together

The Jewel in the Crown (25th Anniversary Edition) + A Passage to India (Collector's Edition, 2 discs) Bilingual + Far Pavilions
Price For All Three: CDN$ 86.55

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Product Description

Product Description

This acclaimed adaptation of Paul Scot's masterpiece, The Raj Quartet, is filmed on location and re-creates the turbulent period when British colonial rule in India came crashing down. The memorable cast includes Dame Peggy Ashcroft and Charles Dance. This 25th anniversary edition is the ultimate version for collectors and new fans of the classic saga alike!


The Jewel in the Crown, adapted from Paul Scott's Raj Quartet novels, tells the story of the final years before India gained independence in 1947. It is rare for a filmed adaptation to successfully preserve the richness and complexity of a great novel, but this epic miniseries succeeds both as personal drama and historical panorama.

In 1942 Daphne Manners, a naive young woman newly arrived in the town of Mayapore, befriends Hari Kumar, an Indian-born journalist who has spent most of his life in England. With his dark skin and educated English accent, Hari feels like an outsider wherever he goes, but Daphne understands his plight and they become romantically involved. Their developing relationship is jealously observed by local police chief Ronald Merrick, a man haunted by his own demons. When the lovers are attacked in the gardens of the ruined Bibighar palace and Daphne is raped, Merrick seizes his opportunity, pins the crime on Hari, and has the young man jailed. Distraught, Daphne flees to her aunt's home in Kashmir, where she dies giving birth to a half-caste child. The focus then shifts to Sarah Layton, a young Englishwoman who becomes fascinated by the story of Daphne and Hari, and who will have her own encounter with Ronald Merrick.

The events in the Bibighar gardens become a symbol of the violent struggle for Indian independence, and other symbols--Daphne's bicycle, a length of butterfly lace, a picture of Queen Victoria on an Indian throne--appear and reappear, linking people and events. This helps to give coherence to the plot even as it spans five years and expands to include many characters whose lives intersect in complex and unexpected ways.

With a huge cast and breathtaking location photography, The Jewel in the Crown was an enormous undertaking when it was made in the early 1980s. Twenty years later it has lost none of its power, and it remains one of the best films ever made for television. --Simon Leake --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jewel in the Crown Nov. 30 2008
While the story is excellent, the picture and sound are terrible on dvd. Obviously it was decided to issue this on the cheap! Additionally, this seems to be a truncated version - continuity is hard to follow, some significant characters just disappear and new ones appear with little background.There have to be significant parts cut out because someone decided they were not essential. Despite all this, I still recommend people get it because the story is so good and helps our understanding of history and the world today
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Excellent series - Appalling digital transfer May 16 2003
Heed Spoffo's warning.
While the series itself is wonderful and certainly worth owning, I have NEVER seen a worse DVD transfer. Even my seedy Madacy Entertainment copy of Fritz Lang's 1226 "Metropolis" is of higher quality. The visuals are fuzzy and grainy at the same time, and there are severe block artifacts everytime the screen gets even slightly dark. All scenes shot at night or in the darkness are almost unwatchable because of the visual noise.
The sound seemed alright to me at first, but then I turned the volume up a bit and found that there is a kind of low-pitch static, like machine noise underneath the vocals and music.
Please buy the VHS tapes - and let A&E know that this is simply unacceptable!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece Desecrated by DVD July 25 2003
By A Customer
I replaced my VHS version of "The Jewel in the Crown" with the new A&E DVD version and now wish I'd left well enough alone. Unlike most DVD transfers, this one was a gigantic step down in technical quality. The sound mixing was off in most of the episodes, obscuring dialogue and necessitating constant fiddling with the sound level. This series is a sterling example of television at its best, but for now watch the VHS version. For those wanting a refresher on the political events and people alluded to by characters in "Jewel in the Crown," I'd recommend first watching "Ghandi," which portrays the politcal situation played out during that time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Story, terrible transfer July 18 2002
This DVD set is a real heartbreaker!
The Jewel in the Crown is absolutely one of historic the highlights of "quality" television. An absolutely arresting story. Wonderful script, wonderful acting, etc. I can't add anything on that count to the reviews already here.
That makes the TERRIBLE quality of the DVD transfer all the more disappointing. This set has literally the WORST video quality I have ever seen on a DVD! Murky, muddy picture with visible scratches and dirt on the film. The soundtrack is a little better. On my home theater setup it sounds like its coming over a half-decent clock radio. Seriously, the picture looks like they took an old VHS tape of the show and just ran it through a disc burner.
No, I don't expect blockbuster quality from an 30-year old BBC film, but I would have expected something more like the recent DVD set of Elizabeth R, which is quite watchable.
Sadly, this is almost surely the only DVD we'll ever see of this marvelous series. I'm going to rent the old tapes of this. They might easily be better. If not, I guess this is what we're all stuck with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fabulous series, poor quality reproduction June 19 2003
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I recall being rivited to the screen when this series was first broadcast. I bought the books and enjoyed them as much as the series, not only for the tragic love story played out against the backdrop of World War II and Indian independence, but also just for the author's writing ability. Recently I re-read the books and ordered the videos. The series is just as wonderful as I remember, everything about it is engrossing. However, the quality of the videos is poor, the sounds of music and background noise often drowning out the speakers, and sometimes the outdoors scenes seem too bright, overdeveloped. I ordered the videos because I read a review that said the DVDs were poorly produced. I don't know what to suggest to anyone who wants to order this series, I guess the choice is between poor-quality videos and poor-quality DVDs. It's still worth it to me, because I am really enjoying the story, however if I hadn't recently read the books, I often wouldn't be able to understand the dialogue due to the poor quality sound reproduction. Read the books first and then watch the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The tawdriness of the British Raj June 14 2003
Format:VHS Tape
I find it ironic that the beginning of each episode of "The Jewel in the Crown" begins with footage from the 1911 Durbar near Delhi. The 1911 Durbar symbolizes Britain at its imperial apogee, just begin things began to come apart at the seams. More importantly, the durbars portrayed the British Empire as the British wanted to see it: a benevolent empire, mighty & indestructable, bringing order and civilization with it wherever it went.
The reality, of course was much different. As the British withdrew from the various imperial possessions, they left behind a mixed legacy, and nowhere was this more evident than in India, where the religious antagonism between Hindu & Muslim continues to be felt today, almost 56 years after independence.
"The Jewel in the Crown" follows the final years of the Raj, 1942 to 1947. The story unfolds at wonderfully relaxed pace, as principal characters enter & depart, to be replaced with other characters. Some of the important characters, such as Guy Perron, are ones the viewer will not even meet until the 10th episode.
The two characters that are the driving force behind the story are Hari Kumar, an Indian given an upper-class public school education in England, and Ronald Merrick, a lower class police officer. Both are men who simply do not fit in, and are abundantly aware of it.
Kumar is an Indian with English sensibilites; he knows nothing of Indian culture and initially can only speak english, but is regard by the British as simply another damned Indian. He struggles to find his place in an environment where the British expect that all Indians should know their place.
Merrick, on the other hand, is a "grammar-school boy" (as he constantly reminds people) who has great talent, ability, and ambition.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars love it
it was great series, wonderful story, enjoyed it very much
Published 1 month ago by Allyson Denford
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An all time favourite of mine..Watched originally on TV and wanted to have a copy to keep.
Published 3 months ago by Roberta Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this movie
Loved this movie. Amazing locations and good storyline. Faithful to the books. Enjoyed every minute. Costumes were accurate, acting was very good I thought. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Brian Talty
5.0 out of 5 stars The Jewel in the Crown is a Jewel
This 1984 Granada television production, is an exquisitely detailed mini series covering the emotion, passion and politics of India during the succession from British rule. Read more
Published on June 12 2011 by Ruth Tonon
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story
This is a Great Story. Well told, beautiful scenery and describes the history behind India's Independence from the UK from both sides. Read more
Published on April 25 2011 by Jim Zimmerman
4.0 out of 5 stars Class conflicts in India
I think this is a very well-done series, showing the social changes that were going on at the end of the British rule in India. Read more
Published on Dec 4 2010 by Margaret R. Laidlaw
5.0 out of 5 stars As absprbing as the book
I had just finished reading The Jewel in the Crown when I started to wathch this set of videos. The story was fascinating. Read more
Published on Dec 2 2010 by Livvy
5.0 out of 5 stars Jewel Viewing
Very satisfying viewing experience especially if you like period pieces, India, British productions or History. Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2010 by M. White
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I expected!
Fabulous epic story - A must see if you are at all interested in the history & life in India during the Raj era. Excellent!
Published on Oct. 23 2009 by Valerie J. Cite
4.0 out of 5 stars Long Sad Story With An Unhappy Ending
Very involving drama circulating around a number of characters in the last years of British rule in India. Read more
Published on Oct. 14 2003 by Icepick
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