Cadfael: St. Peter’s Fair

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

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Plot: What’s it about?

Brother Cadfael (Derek Jacobi) might seem like just another monk, but he is much more than that, without a doubt. His mind is sharper than a tack and whenever a mystery is present, he is often able to crack it without much hesitation. This time, Cadfael has been called in to investigate a pair of murders and while the case looks simple at first glance, he believes there is much more than meets the eye. The victims were merchants on a visit during a local festival, who happened to upset some of the other merchants, which is not a wise idea. The two men soon turn up dead and while the other merchants seem to be the main suspects, Cadfael thinks this is a more complex matter and as such, decides to take a much closer look. As always, Cadfael is prepared to turn every stone to discover the truth, but in this case, he might uncover a most lethal find…

Acorn Media has released another volume in the Cadfael series, which was a popular staple of Mystery! on PBS, with good reason. Derek Jacobi (Gladiator, The Pallisers) stars in the lead role and does a terrific job time & again, bringing real depth to the part in each episode. Jacobi is usually joined by a skilled supporting cast, though some episodes have better casts than others, of course. This installment is St. Peter’s Fair and it has some good elements, which combine to form a very solid episode. I wouldn’t call this the best from the series, but it is very good and stands as one of the better ones, to be sure. I really like the premise in this episode and while the details could have used a little work, I think it all pans out well enough in the end. The writing is above average and really picks up at times, including a satisfying ending, if you ask me. As usual, Acorn Media has given this series a solid treatment, all things considered. The materials have some age behind them and don’t come off as pristine, but this is about the best we can hope for. I recommend this release, as well as the others in the series, without the slightest hesitation to those interested.

Video: How does it look?

St. Peter’s Fair is presented in a full frame transfer, as intended. This series has some years behind it and that shows at times, but this is a more than decent presentation. The material shows some signs of wear, but nothing too serious and in the end, the flaws never detract too much from the experience. I do think this looks a little soft and worn, but the material never dips too low in quality. The colors and contrast remain more than stable, but don’t look too sharp, due to the problems with the source materials. All in all, a better than expected visual treatment, given the materials involved and what not.

Audio: How does it sound?

Not a whole lot to talk about here, a pretty basic stereo mix that covers the bases, but little else. The audio is a little dated at times, but remains solid from start to finish, with no serious problems to discuss. The vocals seem to be crisp enough and always at a proper volume, so dialogue is never hard to understand at all. At the same time, music and sound effects come through at the intended volume, so it all sounds very good here, if a little limited due to the stereo nature. Even so, I doubt anyone will be let down and given the nature of this material, it sounds terrific. This disc also includes English captions, should you need them.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes a brief audio interview with Derek Jacobi, some talent files, and a production scrapbook.

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