Acorn Delivers Array of Excellent and Gritty British TV Crime Dramas
By: Ellis Nassour
Acorn Entertainment, the go-to distributor of iconic Brit TV series, continues to deliver the goods when it comes to classic and gritty TV crime dramas and other fine chestnuts.
First out of the gate in early August, is the Blu-ray debut of Oscar-winner Alex Guinness in his BAFTA-winning role as understated and sly "Circus" spymaster George Smiley in John le Carré’s riveting, intriguing, but quite dense Cold War spy drama, Smiley’s People, the 1982 sequel to the equally-riveting Tinker Tailor Solider Spy [also released by Acorn]. His performance is considered one of the crowning roles of his career. Filmed on location in London, Paris, Hamburg, and Berne, the two-disc/six-episode package co-stars Eileen Atkins, Michael Byrne, Curt Jurgens [his last performance], Bill Patterson, and Siân Phillips [forever remembered for I, Claudius] as Lady Ann Smiley. Beryl Reid has a brief cameo.
There’s over an hour of bonus features, including deleted and extended scenes, an interview with le Carré, and more. The series, co-written by le Carre and John Hopkins, was nominated for three Emmys, including miniseries, actor, and director [Simon Langton].
In anticipation of the late August release of the seven-disc/nine episode Prime Suspect: The Complete Collection, starring Dame Helen Mirren in one of her first fully-clothed roles, and one which she played to the hilt, Detective Jane Tennison [winning an Emmy], comes the addictive Trial & Retribution: Complete Collection [18-disc set, 22 feature-length episodes] by Prime Suspect creator Lynda La Plante. David Hayman stars as DCS Mike Walker. The series takes viewers into the gritty world of crime scenes, lab forensics, police investigation, and finally courtroom drama. Guest stars include Hugh Dancy, Iain Glen, and fully-clothed BAFTA and Golden Globe-nominee Michael Fassbender [Shame; also Inglorious Basterds].
For something a bit different and in its long-awaited home video and U.S. debut is North & South [two discs, four episodes], a 1975 period romance drama romance in the vein of Pride and Prejudice and Middlemarch starring Patrick Stewart. It’s based on the celebrated novel by Elizabeth Gaskell (Cranford, Wives and Daughters) and depicts Victorian-era class warfare as society comes to terms with the "modern world" of the Industrial Revolution . Co-starring are Rosalie Shanks and veteran Brit/U.S. character actress Peggy Ann Wood.