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The Charles Dickens Collection, Vol. 1 (Oliver Twist / Martin Chuzzlewit / Bleak House / Hard Times / Great Expectations / Our Mutual Friend) (1999)

Paul McGann , Keeley Hawes , Gareth Davies , Lawrence Gordon Clark  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

Price: $69.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

The Charles Dickens Collection, Vol. 1 (Oliver Twist / Martin Chuzzlewit / Bleak House / Hard Times / Great Expectations / Our Mutual Friend) + The Charles Dickens Collection, Vol. 2 (David Copperfield / The Pickwick Papers / The Old Curiosity Shop / Dombey and Son / Barnaby Rudge) (Slim Case) + The George Eliot Collection (Middlemarch / Daniel Deronda / Silas Marner / Adam Bede / The Mill on the Floss)
Price for all three: $136.37

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Product Details

  • Actors: Paul McGann, Keeley Hawes, Dominic Mafham, David Bradley, Anna Friel
  • Directors: Gareth Davies, Lawrence Gordon Clark
  • Writers: Alexander Baron, Andrew Davies, Arthur Hopcraft, Charles Dickens
  • Producers: Betty Willingale, John Harris
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Warner
  • DVD Release Date: September 6, 2005
  • Run Time: 1920 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009PVZMS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,959 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Charles Dickens Collection, Vol. 1 (Oliver Twist / Martin Chuzzlewit / Bleak House / Hard Times / Great Expectations / Our Mutual Friend)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Includes:
  • Oliver Twist (1985) (two-sided disc)
  • Martin Chuzzlewit (1994) (two-sided disc)
  • Bleak House (1985) (two-sided disc)
  • Hard Times (1994)
  • Great Expectations (1981) (two-sided disc)
  • Our Mutual Friend (1998) (two-sided disc, 16x9 widescreen)
  • Bonus program: The Signalman: classic Dickens ghost story starring Denholm Elliott
  • Bonus program: "An Audience with Charles Dickens: Sikes and Nancy": Simon Callow re-creates the author's most famous public reading
  • 30-minute documentary examining the Victorian society reflected in the novel and the film of Our Mutual Friend
  • Behind-the-scenes promotional teaser for Our Mutual Friend

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

As can be clearly seen from the care lavished on these six BBC adaptions of Charles Dickens' novels, the British love their Dickens! And why not--Dickens is ideally suited to television, with his elaborate but vigorous plots, each a compendium of comically odious personalities (and one or two nice folk, just to keep things from getting too awful). Actors dig into these meaty roles with zeal, delighting in the hairpin turns from macabre horror to sweet sentiment. The more popular (and most frequently adapted) of the books at hand--Great Expectations and Oliver Twist--are the most conventional. The 1981 mini-series Expectations (in which young Pip learns the pitfalls of wealth through his relationship with the rich and bitter Mrs. Havishamand and her warped ward, Estella) is dutiful to its source but not adapted with much inspiration. Twist, from 1985, fares better; it's a zippy treatment of this tale of childhood deprivation and juvenile delinquency, and the horrors of Victorian orphanages will raise your hackles. The adaptation is capable but a little flat--still, any story where an undertaker observes, "Every tear is another shilling in the till," is clearly not lacking in wicked wit.

Fortunately, the others are considerably juicier: Martin Chuzzlewit, a lesser-known but richly satirical book, has a star-studded production from 1994, featuring Paul Scofield, Tom Wilkinson, Pete Postlethwaite, and Julia Sawalha, among others. The wealthy Martin Chuzzlewit, deeply suspicious of all mankind due to being hounded by greedy, grasping relatives, threatens the happiness of his ward Mary and his namesake grandson. In addition to the sterling and energetic cast, Chuzzlewit has outstanding production values, as does the 1998 version of Our Mutual Friend, which goes to great lengths to evoke the textures of life in Dickens' London. The mysterious death of a man about to inherit a great fortune sets in motion a complex plot that intertwines two love stories (it's one of Dickens' most romantic works), social scheming, and murderous obsession. The names aren't quite as famous (such as Paul McGann, Timothy Spall, Anna Friel, and Keeley Hawes), but the performances are top-notch and the script is particularly dynamic.

Bleak House, a Kafka-esque story of young innocents caught in an all-consuming, multi-generational lawsuit, cultivates a rich and potent Gothic horror; the 19th century seems like an unnerving alien world, through which lawyers and policemen stride like cruel predators. Diana Rigg is the most famous face in this 1985 production, but strong performances abound. The final component of this box set is the most curious: A 1994 version of Hard Times starring Alan Bates and Richard E. Grant, which turns this dark story--about a schoolmaster/politician who raises his children on reason at the expense of all feeling and finally reaps the bitter rewards--into a compact, theatrical feature film that's so swift it's almost jaunty. Adapted and directed by Peter Barnes (writer of The Ruling Class), it's the most stylized production of the bunch, and while lacking the depth and narrative detail of the others, it effectively cuts to the essence of Dickens. --Bret Fetzer

Product Description

In these six acclaimed adaptations of his classics we enter Dickens's vibrant Victorian London encountering the outsized comic characters social commentary epic love stories and dark murder mysteries that have made these stories so timeless.System Requirements:Length: 1920 mins Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA UPC: 794051234421

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Closed Captions??? October 8, 2005
Format:DVD
This DVD set is a great entertainment value. Unfortunately, the set advertises closed captions but my new JVC television with closed caption ability shows no closed captions for any of the titles. The BBC productions really need subtitles for the hearing impaired. For some reason they don't have a policy of adding this enhancement to their DVDs'.
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64 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At Last! June 22, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I don't know about Oliver Twist, Great Expectations or Bleak House but I have been waiting a long time for Martin Chuzzlewitt, Our Mutual Friend and Hard Times. Starting with MC: unless you watch alot of Masterpiece Theater you may not recognize any of the actors but that won't hurt the story which is well and clearly told about money, greed, family (relatives near and distant rather than loved ones), kindness, friendship, love and forgiveness. The villians are especially well portrayed - you just have to hate them. I picked up the VHS of OMF on a whim because I like Dickens and was absolutely delighted. The well told themes are similar to MC but without as much of the family connection. Again you're not likely to recognize many of the actors but who cares, the love story is every bit as good as the one in Great Expectations and with far fewer impediments to fulfillment. As for HT - on Masterpiece Theater it was introduced as Dickens Darkest story and it truly is. Don't watch this if you want a happy ending - there isn't one unless it is what happens to the school master's not to wise son and to the girl from the circus. I've never seen BH so have no opinion except I think I remember vaguely that Diana Rigg starred in it. On the whole a collection well worth the money. I haven't actually seen these in their dvd format but have purchase other dvd collections from this source and found the production values to be excellent for picture and sound quality. I only gave 4 stars because I couldn't tell from the picture if OT and GE are dvd's that have been previously released or older renditions of these classic stories that I somehow missed when they were originally broadcast.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
The Charles Dickens Collection is a DVD boxed set showcasing three popular classics by the acclaimed and popular English author Charles Dickens: David Copperfield; Oliver Twist; and Great Expectations. These British television productions are enhanced with some of the best set designed and some of the most accomplished actors British theatre has to offer. The costuming is simply outstanding, the adaptations of Dicken's novel for the screen are superb, and the DVD format brings the viewer a true "theatre in the home" experience. With a total running time of 720 minutes, The Charles Dickens Collection is a five disc boxed set would make an enduringly popular addition to any community library DVD collection -- and should be considered "must see TV" by anyone who appreciates the high production values of these timely and timeless stories.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BBC Drama Tops Again January 11, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
All these titles-with the exception of "Hard Times"-are in episode form,previouly shown weekly by the BBC.The advantage of this format is the inclusion of many more characters and side-stories than the 2 to 3 hours a movie can possibly include.Throw in superb acting and directing plus intelligent editing and each title becomes an epic in its own right.

"Hard Times", being Dickens shortest novel, is covered in one complete movie.As a bonus the set includes no less than three half hour features:[1]Simon Callow reads to a live audience from "Oliver Twist".The scene is possibly the most famous in all Dickens literature; the murder of Nancy by Sykes.[2]A dramatisation of one of Dickens ghost stories,"The Signalman".[3]A background documentary to "Our Mutual Friend",which among other things explains the origins and purposes of "dust heaps"without which parts of the story become unclear.All in all this set provides many hours[32 plus]of pleasure for a miniscule purchase price.

Graeme Yardley[Christchurch,New Zealand]
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dickens Package 1 June 26, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This collection is an embarassment of riches. Each story is divided into several episodes which take time to view and absorb. So far we have only viewed "Bleak House" and "Our Mutual Friend". Both are excellent and capture the steamy world of Dicken's London. I think I am constantly amazed at the attention to detail that the Brits recreate in historical drama. And of course there is the wealth of character playing for which Britain has always been famous. A really excellent series.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure enjoyment ! January 17, 2007
Format:DVD
I am a big fan of the classics English literature and especially Dickens. He is simply the genius. In my humble opinion no other English writer can be even compared with him.

And to watch this BBC dramatization is a great pleasure too - it is true Dickens - bright and sparkling on the screen as he does in every one of his books.

If you are the newcomer to the world of his books - watch the movies and be encouraged to go for reading then. You will never regret.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good Dickens sampler November 20, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This DVD set features adaptations of three of Dickens' most popular books: David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, and Great Expectations. They were shown a few years ago on PBS' Masterpiece Theatre. Some of the fine actors include Daniel Radcliffe, Sam Smith, Ioan Gruffold, and Charlotte Rampling. They are (for the most part) faithful recreations of the original stories.

A possible good alternative to this item would be the Charles Dickens Collections 1 and 2, which contain more programs, but they are on the double-sided DVD's. Those sets are now greatly reduced in price and contain at least one of the dramas in this set (David Copperfield with Daniel Radcliffe). If you already purchased this set and want more adaptations, the dramas in the larger two sets are available separately. However, this set has excellent quality DVD's with great sound and picture, which may be an advantage since some reviewers of the larger collections found the technology of the programs to be somewhat lacking in quality.

You will have to buy A Christmas Carol separately, but there are many movie versions of it available. The dramas in this set are from Dickens' three most appealing books besides the story of Scrooge.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Was given as a gift and was enthusitically ...
Excellent. Was given as a gift and was enthusitically received.
Published 26 days ago by Mark
5.0 out of 5 stars Merry Christmas Everyone
Tiny Tim and Christmas Past and Ebenezer and all your favorites are waiting for you to sit down and cry along ................
Published 5 months ago by Jafe in Fort Worth
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Movies are all excellent. Such a fantastic gift to give and receive. Highly recommend.
Charles Dickens is the best. You can't go wrong with this set of DVDs.
Published 9 months ago by Trinity Rose
2.0 out of 5 stars I would not recommend these movies!
Wasn't what I thought it would be. Not like Oliver or Nickolas Nickleby. Even though they were Kind of eerie these are to dark and sinister. And always ends sadly!
Published 10 months ago by glenda s. dickens
4.0 out of 5 stars Charles Dickens series Vol 1
If the BBC presents it, it is bound to be good. Of the 6 books in this series, 5 were excellent, but one seemed to need more lighting and we had difficulty following the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Roma Milner
4.0 out of 5 stars For Lovers of Dickens
This set contains six TV movies of Charles Dickens novels that first aired on PBS in the mid 1980s thru the 1990s. Dickens is one of the greatest novelests in world literature. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Tony Marquise Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Dickens Collection dvds
I just love Charles Dickens stories especially the relatively recent versions BBC has produced. Rich quality and great productions! Wonderful!
Published 17 months ago by joyce1
5.0 out of 5 stars The Charles Dickens Collection vol 1
The product is excatly what i expected and is what I wanted to buy. I think it is a good value as well.
Published on September 1, 2009 by Robert J. Kadwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I am certainly glad that the BBC didn't give us "high paced" cut-down versions of Dickens' novels--as one Amazon reviewer suggested would have improved these. Read more
Published on July 19, 2009 by Roger Long
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good!
I'd rate this product higher if Closed Captioning were available. Also, at least one of the programs (Oliver) is rather "old," and looks & feels dated due to how it was filmed or... Read more
Published on July 11, 2009 by Tee17
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Subtitles?
Yes, please inform.
Dec 7, 2009 by Stephanie |  See all 2 posts
I hate 2-sided disk. Be the first to reply
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