||DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO
A&E has released “THE LAST KING: THE POWER AND THE PASSION OF CHARLES II.” From
its opening sequence, featuring Charles II witnessing the execution of his
father, only to become drenched with his blood, before arising from a nightmare,
we know we’re not going to be viewing a drama concerned with historical
accuracy. However, one should expect “some” historical accuracy, and there’s
virtually “none” to be found here! Charles’ extroverted, sexually driven, and
alcohol bent, behavior, has been thoroughly documented. But, “THE LAST KING”
would have viewers believe he was a dour, Camus-like existentialist, concerned
with politics as much as philosophy. The cast isn’t bad, but only Diana Rigg
stands out as Charle’s cunning mother. Always exceptional, Ms. Rigg offers a
role that never succumbs to stereotype, and indeed, is the most fully realized
character within the entire film.
A brief featurette, “THE MAKING OF CHARLES II,” is included. Offering some
behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, it appears the cast and crew are
unaware of the debacle they’re making.
A&E has presented the series with its proper 1.78:1 aspect ratio, with 16:9
enhancement. It looks great. Colors are bold and there’s great depth in every
scene. Contrast is also impressive, with deep blacks and grays. Fleshtones
A&E has presented a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix. It appears the filmmakers have
attempted to make up for the film’s lack of depth with an elaborate mix. There
are layered effects, all given an effective display here. Dialogue is always
intelligible and free from distortion.