Cadfael: The Virgin in the Ice

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

As he is a man of much wisdom, Brother Cadfael (Derek Jacobi) must often use his skills to solve mysteries, such as murders and disappearances. He now resides within Shrewsbury Abbey as a most dedicated monk, but at one time he was a warrior in the Crusades, a much different image than his current position, of course. But he has once again been asked to intervene in a case, as a woman has been found dead, frozen with the chilling waters of a brook. The woman was a nun and the two children she was caring for have vanished, somewhere within the close woods, but no one knows just where at this time. Now Cadfael must work to locate the kids before someone else does, perhaps the same person who sent the nun to her frozen grave. At the same time, he finds himself working to clear the name of a novice and battling his own past, which means he has to deal with, to say the least. Can Cadfael put all these issues to rest and come through with the truth in all three cases, or will this all prove to be too much, even for him?

As seen on the PBS series Mystery!, the series of Cadfael mysteries are terrific and since they’re now on DVD, I’ve decided to take a look at the available episodes. In this session, I viewed The Virgin in the Ice and while I wasn’t that impressed, I still found it to be a decent enough piece of work. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by the novels and some of the other installments, but this one just fell short for me, even if still enjoyable. As usual, the feature was well made and offers good traditional mystery elements, but it just didn’t click with me for some reason. I liked the first time around however, so I think fans of the series and genre should give it a spin. I just don’t think I’d want to see it again, especially when other episodes offer more of what I’d like to see. But there’s a lot to like here, from the excellent costumes to another solid effort from Derek Jacobi (The Day of the Jackal, Molokai: The Story of Father Damien), who once again hits his stride with ease. As such, I am giving this a warm recommendation to those interested, although the episode fails to live up to the standards of the series.

Video: How does it look?

The Virgin the the Ice is presented in a full frame transfer, which preserves the film’s intended aspect ratio. The image looks sharper than on television, so I think fans should be pleased, but this is not a flawless edition. As was the case with the televised version, the image looks soft and shows muted colors, but not an extreme degree, so no serious complaints. A few small issues just seem to surface now and again, but nothing that ruins the experience, not by any means. The colors do look a little bland, but this is intentional to an extent and since contrast is level handed, I think it all balanced out in the end.

Audio: How does it sound?

This series is fueled by dialogue and little else, so the included stereo option seems more than up to the task. The music sounds clean and as rich as possible, while sound effects come through in decent enough form as well. The dialogue is the meat of the mix however, so I am pleased it sounds so crisp and well balanced here. This sounds sharper than it did on television, though some flaws can be traced to the source material, but nothing serious. This mix might not put your system through the paces, but it handles this material well enough. This disc also includes English subtitles, which are always to have on deck.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes a brief audio interview with Derek Jacobi, some talent files, and a selection of still photos with the production scrapbook.

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