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The Name of the Rose
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Product Description

Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 09/27/2005

Jean-Jacques Annaud's The Name of the Rose is a flawed attempt to adapt Umberto Eco's highly convoluted medieval bestseller for the screen, necessarily excising much of the esoterica that made the book so compelling. Still, what's left is a riveting whodunit set in a grimly and grimily realistic 14th-century Benedictine monastery populated by a parade of grotesque characters, all of whom spend their time lurking in dark places or scuttling, half-unseen, in the omnipresent gloom. A series of mysterious and gruesome deaths are somehow tied up with the unwelcome attention of the Inquisition, sent to root out suspected heretical behavior among the monastic scribes whose lives are dedicated to transcribing ancient manuscripts for their famous library, access to which is prevented by an ingenious maze-like layout.

Enter Sean Connery as investigator-monk William of Baskerville (the Sherlock Holmes connection made explicit in his name) and his naive young assistant Adso (a youthful Christian Slater). The Grand Inquisitor Bernado Gui (F. Murray Abraham) suspects devilry; but William and Adso, using Holmesian forensic techniques, uncover a much more human cause: the secrets of the library are being protected at a terrible cost. A fine international cast and the splendidly evocative location compensate for a screenplay that struggles to present Eco's multifaceted story even partially intact; Annaud's idiosyncratic direction complements the sinister, unsettling aura of the tale ideally. --Mark Walker

Customer Reviews:

  • Monks, Murders and Mysteries.
    _The Name of the Rose_ is an extremely bizarre movie based on an Umberto Eco novel set at a Benedictine monastery during the 1300s. It even has an appropriate subtitle: "They believed in God but traded with the Devil." William of Baskerville (Connery) is a Franciscan intellectual traveling with a young novice Adso (Slater) who visits a Benedictine monastery to prepare for a debate between Franciscan brothers and the Catholic Church's papal emissaries regarding the status of the Church's immense material wealth. While at the monastery, a series of seemingly inexplicable deaths have been centered on a controversial, potentially heretical Greek text of Aristotle. Several monks have turned up dead in mysterious circumstances and the officials in charge of the monastery attribute the casualties to the presence of the Devil. The Holy Inquisition is brought in to investigate while Br. William (like his namesake Sherlock Holmes) attempts to piece together the puzzle to find out why the monks are dying off and to gain access to the mysterious book. Ensuing is a conflict complete with a hunchback, witch-burnings, a peasant uprising and a battle with a blind monk in a towering inferno. This movie does its best to present its subjects in a very unsavory light in its setting at an actual medieval abbey. Although it is a horror/mystery thriller, the movie even has its humorous moments especially in its depiction of the ultra-superstitious and dogmatic life and mindset of the dark ages....more info
  • Very creepy, entertaining film with Sean Connery
    This is a dark, creepy, mystery movie in which the writer didn't get too far out there with the plot. Often in films like this, the writers make the ultimate mystery solution incredibly complicated and unrealistic. This film, on the other hand, is just complex enough to make it intriguing, while still scoring high on the realism index.

    As much as I liked this film, I will say that Sean Connery is one the key reasons. Without him, the film would probably lose a star. This is one of his best performances. F. Murray Abraham is also at his best, as the incredibly evil inquisitioner. Christian Slater is not bad. The other actors in the film seem to have been found from a traveling freak show or they had the best makeup artist ever. What an odd looking bunch!

    The film doesn't over-do the gore and depicts very little violence. Torture and murder typically happen off screen. The Catholic church definitely gets a black eye here. All of the monks and clergy (aside from Sean C.) are shown as being at least 3 of the following: evil, ulgy, sexually active (straight and gay), and generally very dumb. However, I like to think that a lot of that is due the the century (14th) that the mystery occurs in, and therefore things were much more primitive. Still, Catholics may be offended if they're not already desensitized by every other film that features Catholic clergy.

    The mystery itself is a good one that should keep you guessing. Sean Connery is the only logical person in the movie, and he is your tour guide toward the solution. I enjoyed the film, as I think most will. Just manage your expectations, as this is a good film, but not one of the great ones. ...more info
  • Very good movie
    The movie so excellant. The actors were believable. The story was great....more info
  • A dark gripping tale - a 12th century murder in an abbey

    Through the narrative of Adso (Christian Slater) at an old age, he recalled the enigma about the death of a young monk, illustrator Adelmo, in an abbey which took place at his youth. His then teacher, the intelligent William of Baskerville (Sean Connery), lent his previous onerous experiences to lead the investigation. Through the dialogue with his teacher, Adso learnt how wisdom, combined with acute observation and a wealth of knowledge, could eventually unravel the intriguing mystery. Sean Connery was superb; he was worldly and convincing as the wise teacher just as Christian Slater was young and innocent. The teacher was as shrewd as Sherlock Holmes but he was as loving and understanding to his prot¨¦g¨¦ as he possibly could. They made a fine couple.

    The creepy darkness and secretive air evoked by the whole film is visually enhanced by the abbey on a snowy mountain, the awesome library towers, the road that winded its way down the mountain and many strange images. The cast of the strange monks was so well chosen that they still leave vivid images in my mind after more than 20 years since I first saw it. The abbot, the old Venerable Jorge, the blind prophet Ubertino, the black Greek translator Venantius, the fat self inflicting assistant librarian Berenger, the stony libarian Malachia, the hunchback Salvatore.

    Apart from the murder mystery, Bernardo Gui (F. Murray Abraham, Amadeus) of the Inquisition represented the power which brother William was up against. The whole film evokes the thrill of discovering a dark secret in such dangerous waters, an era and hierarchy that even brother William could barely survive with all his wits. It also accentuates the essence of the mentor tradition in that era, building up a continuum of knowledge through William, then through Adso and so on.

    What the movie lacked - lush colors - it more than made up for with its mix of danger, mystery and colorful portrayal of hideous human nature. It paid off handsomely to use unfamiliar faces for the mysterious characters; a wide pool of talents to choose from rather than limited to the existing big box office guarantee. A suspenseful tale back to its basics, with no frills (no overpowering special effects, computer animation and stars), it excels at the captivating story plot, wonderful cast and acting. A truly successful adaption of the Umberto Eco's novel, in spirit at least.
    ...more info
  • Great period film and more entertaining than the novel.
    Umberto Eco's novel, of the same name (which the script was pretty closely derived from), is a tedious, bloated, manuscript, that can't decide whether it's a murder mystery, a treatise on the state of European and the Catholic Church societies and politics of the early 14th century, or just a way for Eco to show off what a great scholar he is, and how proficient he is in latin. (If you read the book, have an Latin-English dictionary handy - or just skip a lot of paragraphs and/or pages, as I eventually ended up doing.)
    The film, on the other hand, is a marvelous murder mystery, set in a prosperous abbey in northen Italy in 1327. The atmosphere is dark, the production design, costumes and make-up, excellent. The cast is international and they all deliver. I highly recommend this film.
    ...more info
  • The Middle Ages come alive!
    Definitely a great mystery and one of my personal favorites, The Name of the Rose, brings to the screen the adaptation of Umberto Eco's book about a series of crimes that are committed in a remote Benedictine monastery in Italy during the fourteenth century, at a time when Western Europe is making the transition from the Dark Ages to the Renaissance Era.
    The movie does a GREAT job of presenting us with the eerie feeling of being isolated in a dreary Catholic medieval monastery. The viewer actually feels that they have been transported to medieval Italy and are actually present among the characters, seeing what they see, feeling what they feel, sensing what they sense.
    The director successfully conveys the sense of hopelessness at the hands of the clergy and especially the Holly Inquisition. Moreover, one clearly sees the firm grasp that the Catholic Church had on the local population telling them what to do, when to do it, and how to it. All knowledge censored in an effort to prevent people from questioning and challenging the authority and the teachings of the Church. Ancient Greek philosophy, even drama, and in this case comedy were kept under lock and key.
    Sean Connery, Christian Slater as well as the rest of the cast's performances are outstanding, making this movie one of the best of its kind. The actors' incredible talent and chemistry clearly shows, thus providing a film that can be watched over and over again.
    The setting, the plot, the acting, the dialogues, and the costumes are all wonderful!
    A great movie indeed!
    As for the previous "bashful" reviewer's comments, who is offended by human nudity, they are not even worth elaborating on... A shame really......more info
  • One of my favorite films
    In spite of a story that is, ultimately, formulaic; there is very much to like in this movie and it is that rare film I enjoy revisiting from time to time.

    Why? Since I read the book first, it never has been about the who-done-it for me.

    The highlights are Connery's performance and the wonderful atmospherics. I judge a historic book or film successful if it gives me a believable sense of how people in that time and place experienced their world. At that, this film succeeds very well.

    In part, this is because we see everything through the eyes of a teenage boy (Christian Slater), who is recalling the events as a very old man. There is a wonderful scene early in the film, when Connery and Slater's characters first arrive at the abbey, where we get a feeling for both the wonder and terror Slater's character experiences as he sees the Abbey's majestic chapel as well as its parade of horribles for the first time.

    This film is a masterful adaptation of the book. I can't imagine how it could have been done better. However, as with many movie adaptations of popular novels, there are small details you will miss if you haven't read the book.

    For example, Brother William and virtually every other character has a history, which is known in whole or part by some or all of the other characters. For 14th century monastics, it's a small world.

    The movie is still perfectly understandable without the viewer knowing that history, but the movie respects those viewers who have read the book by making the characters act in a way that is consistent with their backstory....more info
  • Just a warning for families . . .
    Families & others who have moral standards should at least be forewarned that this movie has graphic sex scenes, with full nudity, etc. Wish I'd been warned....more info
  • "It's The Work Of The Devil" : A Medieval Murder Mystery
    Some books just aren't worth the trouble to read. And no, I am not referring to Joyce's "Finnegan Wake." This film, "The Name Of The Rose," is based on the novel by Umberto Eco. And while I have never read the novel, I found the film to be very good and intriguing. It is not too often one finds themselves viewing a murder mystery taking place in the Middle Ages. One of the main appeals that this film had for me was how I actually felt the dread of living in this time period: An era of ignorance. And although that was not the case throughout ALL of Europe, in the film this is given full weight--as it is during the time of the Inquisition. And for the student and non-student of history, we all know just how bad these fellows were.

    The films narrative takes place in Northern Italy, at an isolated 14th century monastery. Monks are mysteriously dying. But why? Is there an evil presence lurking in the monastery? Or something closer to home? Enter the films main protagonist, Brother William of Baskerville (Sean Connery) who is an enlightened monk. He has already been vilified by the Inquisition once before, and the experience of having to deal with the Inquisitors is not lost on him. Yet, he is an intelligent and logical thinking monk, and his attempts to get to the bottom of things on why the monks are dying may bring him on a collision course with these dreaded Inquisitors. And most notably, the main Inquisitor (F. Murray Abraham).

    Brother William's assistant Adso (Christian Slater) gives a very good performance as a young man who is following in the footsteps of his mentor. And it is with his narration in the beginning of the film, that the viewer is given a snapshot of a past event that is now being spoken by an aged Adso. I really liked the scenery in this film, it really goes well with the film, as one actually feels they are witness to this time period. Brother Williams search for the truth behind these mysterious deaths--using his intelligent mental faculties and reason, has put himself in jeopardy. For these traits of his are the very gifts that may bring the Inquisition down on him, and brand him as a heretic.

    Sean Connery reminded me of a late 19th-century Sherlock Holmes [ala Jeremy Brett] in this film. His fascination with books, and uncovering the truth causes him to lock horns with the Chief Inquisitor (F. Murray Abraham). The film itself is very atmospheric in its visualization of what 14th-century Italy might have been like. There are flaws, however, I am willing to overlook them, as the film itself is a very good film. The character actors are all very good in their roles: Especially the Benedictine Monks. Further, actor Ron Perlman gives an excellent performance as a simpleton who once belonged to a now branded heretical cult. Perlman's performance and the film reminded me of the Carlo Ginzburg books "Night Battles" and "The Cheese And The Worms" which I highly recommend along with this film. [Stars: 4.5]...more info
  • Who wanted us to believe in what?
    Great cinematography allowes full inmersion in the part of history that is kept unknown: A monastery in the Middle Ages. A male world. They decided what we are going to believe nowadays. For 1000 years they wrote what we were suposed to read today. Umberto Eco's novel and the movie are very eye-opening. ...more info
  • Not a Nice Place to Visit
    This is the famous Umberto Eco book become a fairly well-received movie. But I found "The Name of the Rose" hard to watch and hard to become involved with for several reasons.

    For one thing, the movie is too episodic. There seem to be pages torn from its plot, just as some of the illuminated manuscripts featured in the movie are in danger of having pages torn from them or expurgated. For example, the scene that includes the quote "the name of the rose" and that might have illuminated the intended spirit of this movie - got left on the cutting room floor.

    To be fair though, this deletion might have been in keeping with Eco's own intentions. Eco said he had randomly cast about for a title for his book, one he thought would be diffusely evocative. He ultimately took his title from a classic quote that perhaps actually referred to "Rome" rather than to a "rose." Either way, the gist of the quote was, "When a thing is dead and gone, all we are left with is its name."

    True to the book, other literary references abound in the film. Sean Connery's lead detective character is from "the Baskervilles" - echoes of Sherlock Holmes. The monastery librarian is named after Jorge Luis Borges, the famous Argentine writer who was himself a blind librarian.

    However, there are just too many characters and too much ground to cover here. The viewer is jounced from scene to scene, as if being dragged up and down those long flights of stone steps in the monastery maze - those stairways that look so much like an Escher painting - those stairways leading nowhere.

    The viewer doesn't get to know any of the characters well enough. They come and go; they steal in and out of the monks' inglenooks and cubbies. And so many of them are made to appear so aggressively ugly.

    We know the 14th century was in fact probably a grimy, beleaguered time, and perhaps Annaud should be congratulated for not sprucing up the actors, for allowing the nitty-gritty of this parade of repulsiveness. But he went too far. Most of his players are so bizarre-looking, they seem to be from another planet. They actually seem as if they would have been better cast in Ed Wood's "Plan 9 from Outer Space." Annaud calls these weirdly tonsured, disproportionate faces "strong" and says he searched many countries to find just such unique, expressive faces.

    I wish Annaud's valuing of distinctively freakish faces extended to women as well. While most of the men in this film constitute a gallery of grotesques, the one woman in the film, underneath her smudging of dirt, was required to be conventionally pretty.

    The only monastery resident who, in my view, transcends the caricature of ugliness he was impressed into - is Ron Perlman's simple-minded character. His mildly quizzical, good-natured attempt to puff out the flames lapping up from the pyre around the stake - is the scene that will most affectingly stay with me from this movie.

    In summary, this film isn't for casual entertainment. It was something of a chore for me to watch - like a homework assignment. Annaud's DVD Commentary is interesting, literary and enlightening - worth the price of admission alone. But the movie itself might only be enjoyable to those who are fans of some members of this international cast or to those interested in 14th century history - its monasteries, milieu, and theological debates....more info
  • "The step between ecstatic vision and sinful frenzy is all too brief."
    The film opens in 1327, with a Franciscan monk and his young novice arriving to a remote abbey in the dark north of Italy to participate in a crucial debate between the emissaries of Pope John XXII and leaders of the Franciscan order, to decide whether the church should take vows of poverty or wealth...

    After a series of murders--attributed to the presence of a supernatural force-- that are taking place within the cold walls of the godforsaken battlement, Brother William of Baskerville (Connery) ends up undertaking an investigation to solve the secrets surrounding these unexplainable crimes... All of them bearing blackened fingers and blackened tongues...

    What follows, brings William face to face with Bernardo Gui (F. Murray Abraham), the sadistic Grand inquisitor--appointed by the Pope to hunt down and free the Church of heretics--who sees the abbey enshrouded in a terrifying mystery and the devil roaming behind every foul deed... Gui burns every last suspected devil-worshipper in the village, forcing Baskerville to uncover the truth before innocent blood is shed...

    As always, Connery lends dignity, intelligence as the acute and prudent monk who has knowledge, both of the human spirit and the wiles of the evil one... Connery plays his role with gusto...

    Newcomer Christian Slater plays Connery's faithful sidekick, Adso, the youngest son of the Baron of Melk who sure does like to watch his master at work... One night--expressing fear and confusion-- he gets feminine carnal delights from a peasant girl, 'a creature that rose like the dawn, was bewitching as the moon, radiant as the sun, terrible as an army poised for battle...'

    For a moment, Ron Perlman steals the show as the heretical hunchbacked monk named Salvatore who is ugly yet phenomenal... His scenes with Abraham are stirring...

    "The Name of the Rose" is atmospheric, but disturbing at many levels... Some might say, contradictory, leaving plenty of twists and turns unresolved and unexplained, but the film was a smash hit in Europe... Annaud succeeds in capturing the claustrophobia and panic of being truly lost in the menacing, creepy Dark Ages... ...more info
  • Midaevel Mistery - Great Cast - Great Cinemetography -Great Story
    The only drawback is the flow of the story. It is a wonderful dark and realistic look at the period. The author of the original story (book) is a professor of midaevel history so this is quite accurate. I recomend this movie highly for those that saw Caedfile and want a more realistic gritty representation of the times. Great cast. Great Cinemetography and Great Story. If the story flowed in a more compelling manor I would have given it a 5 star rating. That is a small quibble. I recomend it highly....more info
  • The Name Of The Rose
    I have been looking for this movie for 2 or more years. I have seen them on VHS but wanted it on DVD. It is an excellent movie that you want to watch over and over. There is a good love scene in the movie and is very unexpected to an unsuspecting subject. The plot has twist and turns in it and that is what makes it a movie you want to see several times. This movie has all the elements, greed, lust, deceit, politics, and oh yes more than several deaths. Was it murder, if so, who did it? Each time I watch the movie I see something that I missed which helps to fill in the blanks and makes it a wonderful evening of entertainment. ...more info
  • A Winner in Every Way
    I have seen this fine film 5 or 6 times and each time I see something new and fascinating in it. Umberto Eco's novel was a complex story to adapt to a major film, and this was done with skill and intelligence by Andrew Birkin, G¨¦rard Brach, Howard Franklin & Alain Godard. The idea of such a tragic murder solved with only the tools of the time is nothing short of brilliant. I am wondering how much the BBC television series "Cadfael" with Derek Jacobi is based on this motion picture. Both are superb in their own way.

    If you enjoy a film with mystery, brilliant performances, gothic photography and magnificent art direction, you will enjoy this masterpiece. Be warned, however... you will require an attention span. This is not a film kids will understand....more info

  • What monks do in their spare time
    I'm a huge fan of Umberto Eco's novel and this is a near perfect film adaption. Sadly, it's also one of the most under-rated. Sean Connery gives his last truly great performance as Brother William, F. Murray Abraham is chilling and even Christian Slater manages not to annoy. If you've never read the book then it needs to go to the top of your reading list. It's one of the greatest mystery novels of this past century. The DVD is Great too, lots of cool special features for a price that won't strain your budget. Well worth picking up if your into atmospheric who-done-its, gothic horror, or mediaeval ickiness....more info
  • Unforgettably wrenching
    It takes a special film to draw a modern viewer into a story about a monastery in the Dark Ages. Well, this is a very, very special film, in my mind the highlight of Sean Connery's spotty post-Bond film career.

    Connery stars as an investigator who has fallen into disrepute, and who is now mentoring a young monk played by Christian Slater. They have been summoned to a monastery to solve a series of murders. We find this isolated place populated by the castoffs of society, faces whom we would find ugly by modern standards and who seem to all be hiding something.

    As the story unfolds we are struck by the pecking order in this odd hierarchy and the unblinking exposure of how these sometimes pious, sometimes lost souls eke out an existence in a male-only closed society. The secrets and the revelations are equally chilling and fascinating.

    Ultimately the Inquisition gets involved, with the icy F. Murray Abraham heading the way. Wouldn't you know, FMA has a personal vendetta against Connery, and we see first-hand why the Inquisition earned such a bad name for itself. Wrapping a witch hunt inside political motives with personal agendas, well, somewhere God got lost in that little venture.

    Somewhere along the way is an incomprehensible romance, and that's the way romance should be for these men who have sworn to shun romance forever, favoring instead a life of cloistered prayer, study, work, obedience, and obeisance. I too will never forget she who was known as The Rose....more info
  • The Middle Ages come alive!
    Definitely a great mystery and one of my personal favorites, The Name of the Rose, brings to the screen the adaptation of Umberto Eco's book about a series of crimes that are committed in a remote Benedictine monastery in Italy during the fourteenth century, at a time when Western Europe is making the transition from the Dark Ages to the Renaissance Era.
    The movie does a GREAT job of presenting us with the eerie feeling of being isolated in a dreary Catholic medieval monastery. The viewer actually feels that they have been transported to medieval Italy and are actually present among the characters, seeing what they see, feeling what they feel, sensing what they sense.
    The director successfully conveys the sense of hopelessness at the hands of the clergy and especially the Holly Inquisition. Moreover, one clearly sees the firm grasp that the Catholic Church had on the local population telling them what to do, when to do it, and how to it. All knowledge censored in an effort to prevent people from questioning and challenging the authority and the teachings of the Church. Ancient Greek philosophy, even drama, and in this case comedy were kept under lock and key.
    Sean Connery, Christian Slater as well as the rest of the cast's performances are outstanding, making this movie one of the best of its kind. The actors' incredible talent and chemistry clearly shows, thus providing a film that can be watched over and over again.
    The setting, the plot, the acting, the dialogues, and the costumes are all wonderful!
    A great movie indeed!...more info
  • Holmes and Watson in midevil times
    While a bit slow moving, this midevil thriller was quite good despite its flaws. The flaws, I think, were brought on by the fact it occured in midevil times and the world is a very, very different place. Still, this was a great movie in its challenge to the subject matter and the thinking of the time.

    Sean Connery plays William of Baskerville who has recently arrived at a remote abbey with his young novice Adso, played by a young Christian Slater. Some strange events at the monestary have the others convinced that they have been touched by the devil, in that some monks have met some mysterious ends. In a midevil Holmes and Watson crime solving (if Connery's moniker is not the dead give away then what is?), William determines that these monks did not meet their ends so easily and that there is a very human force behind their deaths rather than the work of the devil. Eventually representatives from the Inquisition come and single out the odd or trouble makers, in the traditional witch hunt mentality.

    The make up jobs they did on the monks are reason enough to give it such high marks (have you ever seen such ugly people on screen?!), but this movie succeeds in that it tackles such a foreign world to us. Imagine living back then with only a small percentage of the popultion literate, having people really believe in witches and the forces of the devil having a direct effect on their lives, and without modern technology. The movie portrays how monks lived in religious communities very well from their spiritual needs to their mundane. This might seem odd to movie goers, but it was a truly unique experience....more info
  • Now I remember....
    Now I remember why I watched this movie 3 times when it was first released years ago. Of course, Sean Connery played his role as "Sherlock Holmes in a robe" superbly. And Ron Perlman was stupendous! This is a good story made into a good movie. My only grouse about the DVD is that it was edited at the ending..where the narrator says "I never knew the name of the rose"... But still, it is a good buy, this!...more info
  • The Name of the Rose
    One of the better mysteries I've seen in a while ...more info
  • Waited for years for this DVD, and worth it!
    I fell for this movie when it came out, and subsequently read the book. I have been waiting and watching for the DVD, hoping for a good quality version, with a fun director's commentary. You get them, both! This is a dark film, about a tumultous and difficult time--with a compelling murder mystery to solve. The attention to period detail is excellent (with one exception, which the director admits!). Of course, shortcuts are made because the density of the book cannot be captured in a 2-hour movie. But adherence to the themes of the book is excellent overall. Booklovers and historical fiction fans should enjoy this. I recommend a nice, dark, red Italian wine to go with it!...more info