REVIEW: The Hollow Crown: Wars of the Roses: Henry VI Part 1

While William Shakespeare’s early history plays have often been derided in comparison to his later material, modern adaptations can take them to a higher, more exciting level – as, indeed, appears to have occurred with the first installment of the new series of The Hollow Crown.

Henry VI Part 1 is the play being adapted for the screen here – and, while the script largely adheres to the original, Shakespeare-penned dialogue, right down to the historically authentic language, a few tweaks here and there to the writing and an array of excellent performances provide a great lift.

REVIEW: The Hollow Crown: Wars of the Roses: Henry VI Part 1
Universal Studios Home Entertainment

So, at the center, we’ve got Tom Sturridge, who easily convinces as the naïve but good-natured title character and fifteenth century English king. Also compelling are the exchanges between Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins as, respectively, Humphrey and Eleanor, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

Ultimately, this first episode – there are another two in the series to go – is a slow burner, but eventually ignites in spectacular fashion. Furthermore, it can be yours on Blu-ray or DVD from June 21 – we’d definitely urge enthusiasts of both Shakespeare and the historical period of the Wars of the Roses to pick it up.

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