On Richard the Lionheart (1996)

Book coverThis videocassette is part of a series called The History Makers which came out right before the Internet blew up. I only have one of them, this one, although the Friends of the Library Book Sale is this week, so if I get into a real frenzy on Saturday (half price day), I might pick up others for fifty cents each. But probably not.

The video runs about 45 minutes and features four actors portraying Richard, an English poet, an…. Arab poet? Turkish poet?, and Saladin who appear at intervals to recite passages from their respective historical documents. The rest of it is a narrator, well, narrating the life of Richard over stock imagery that looks only slightly better than a Renaissance festival. It has less content than, say, a Teaching Company/Great Courses series and only slightly more, maybe, than a ten minute YouTube video with quicker cuts and the possibly same stock footage.

I knew enough about Richard I to know that Sean Connery’s portrayal of him in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was flattering. He ruled over people with whom he could not converse and spent most of his time campaigning and crusading, looking at England as a source of funding rather than as his people. So I didn’t get much out of it.

But when they were planning it all out in 1994 or 1995, they were targeting people who did not have streaming broadband connections to YouTube or Khan Academy or the Hillsdale College courses online. Maybe they were advertised on the History channel or other cable stations that appealed to the aspirationally academic set. Or in the backs of magazines, perhaps. Maybe the target audience appreciated them more than I did.

Buy My Books!
Buy John Donnelly's Gold Buy The Courtship of Barbara Holt Buy Coffee House Memories

1 thought on “On Richard the Lionheart (1996)

Comments are closed.