60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2009
I haven't yet seen all of the 9 films in this collection, but most of them. The transfers of all I have watched are quite good. It is easy to turn off the Korean subtitles and watch with English ones if preferred (as I do for non-American English dialogue), or with none at all. Lean was a wonderful director, in any genre he chose -- broad comedy (Blithe Spirit, Hobson's Choice), classic adaptations of Dickens (Great Expectations, Oliver Twist), drama (The Sound Barrier, This Happy Breed)...Some of these are not easily available elsewhere, at least in no-region/region 1 format. I have been looking for an excellent transfer of Blithe Spirit, for example, for a long time. It is shameful that the only modern transfer available in the US at this time is this Far-Eastern import, but luckily it is done much more than adequate justice here. I highly recommend getting this box set; you won't be disappointed if you enjoy classic films (especially at a cost of $8 or so per disc). One more thing -- the compact packaging is greatly appreciated as well.
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2009
David Lean's work collected here is showcased very well. We see his character studies and adventures, his vision of classic Dickens novels, and his light touch with comedy. I was unfamiliar with several of the films in this collection and was particularly bowled over by Hobson's Choice with Charles Laughton, a broad farce deftly handled.
The collection's packaging has only Korean liner notes, and subtitles are available in both Korean and English, but the films themselves are as made - all in English. I purchased this to obtain Blithe Spirit, which I could not find anywhere else at the time. The other works included are equally valuable and worthwhile, including the supplementary background material about David Lean's approach to film making from several of the skilled behind-the-scenes pros who worked with him.
Highly recommended for collectors of the finest directors in film.
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2009
For me, this is an excellent deal: English Language subtitles on NINE very good transfers of David Lean movies at a good price. My wife and I are very satisfied with the entire set. I believe several of the movies aren't available with captions or subtitles anywhere else: Madeleine, The Sound Barrier, This Happy Breed, and The Passionate Friends.
I am pleased with the quality of this Korean import. I was afraid it would be substandard, but it is fine.
The only flaw I've noticed is actually humorous: It claims to contain "Blithe Spirits." Of course the movie itself has the title correct, "Blithe Spirit." :-)
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2010
This set, at $5 - $6 per film,is an incredible buy. It is more than worth the price for the three Noel Coward items alone. Two of the lesser known Lean films, Maleleine and The Passionate lovers, are very good as well. The video transfers are good, even when viewed on a fairly large LCD TV, upscaled to 1080i. The only slight problem is color variability at a few spots in the Technicolor films - but this may have been in the films themselves. Do not be put off by the Korean source. It is easy to remove the Korean subtitles either using the menu or the subtitle button on your remote. The packaging is very compact. This is a good thing, except that one of the discs came off the hub in shipment and was moderately scratched. However, it played well.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2010
I was so happy to find these David Lean titles abailable, especially those not currently distributed in the USA that have been on sale for $70+ each (Blithe Spirit). All movies are as produced and the Korean subtitles can be shut off in the options on each DVD; and the Korean descriptions on the box don't really matter. At $6 per movie, this was a steal.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2009
This collection, imported from South Korea can only be obtained from sellers; the Amazon version, Centenary Collection was issued in UK and plays only on Region 2 players. Either collection gives ample opportunity to David Lean fans to know some of his "lesser" earlier works. Aside from the best known (like Brief Encounter and Great Expectations) some, like Madaleine are not available in video-tape or DVD in the United States. That and The Passionate Friends are very much worth watching and knowing about. And you do not want to miss The Sound Barrier, an exciting minor epic that also deserves a Criterion nod. Lean was a first rate director, whose early work has been generally neglected, aside from a few masterpieces mentioned. Should you wish to know his opus in its entirety, try this collection (it does omit his first film, In Which we Serve), if you cannot obtain the UK edition. Obviously copies of copies, the DVDs are not in pristine state,in fact, some are rather poor, but they are watchable, and, should you not know Korean, the dialogue and subtitles are also given in English. Despite their second rate quality, these discs still give not only unexpectedly good entertainment, but offer a chance to know more about the director who was to captivate international audiences with his unequalled five epics for several more decades.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2012
These are priceless old movies, at least two of which (Blithe Spirit and Madeleine)are hard to find anywhere else. The transfers are first-rate, the picture quality excellent, and the sound as good as one can expect from old British films. Ignore the silly people who said they are in Korean or Japanese. The edition is from Korea, so the liner notes are in Korean (not Japanese), but the movies are in English and are clearly labeled in English. They have Korean subtitles, but every DVD player has a button on the remote for turning off the subtitles. These are wonderfully satisfying movies.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2012
...thanks to "wherehouse deals", where I picked this lovely 'used' set up for $47, free S/H, "missing shrink wrap". Actually, the appreciation should go to whomever returned this set -likely due to foreign packaging, eek!- as all discs ARE new, not a speck on them. Just watched "Brief Encounter", and was quite impressed with video quality (very nice/clean), audio, and ENGLISH subtitles. And oh yes, the audio is in English as well. I do enjoy Criterion restores, but this set of individual titles would set me back a pretty penny (IF available! See above 'editorial review': prices are not far off.). As stated by others before, all 9 titles (including "Passionate Friends", which isn't part of above item description) are listed (in English and Korean) on well designed and constructed box. Slim cases are identical in their artwork, but have English titles/specs/special features on back (film description in Korean only). The case spines do NOT have English titles. IF you can live with these 'abysmal' packaging anomalies (hey, not everything is marketed first for the American consumer), I believe you will be rewarded with a rich legacy of film. Getting back to "Brief Encounter": pop disc in, old timey -but polished- menu screen comes up, and choose options as necessary. The film picture that accompanies menu screen is quite old looking (for effect), but is not indicative of actual film, which appears well restored (for comparison, see trailer!). This title also has interesting 25 min. documentary, though set features overall appear spare. No matter, a superb deal in my book! Final note -and pardon the ramble-, this set is "region ALL". (and have just received set, and watched B/E only. Will update if any glaring issues arise!)
**2/3/12 UPDATE** Finished watching all titles. Simply glorious, such quality filmmaking! ALL have great picture/audio, all have accurate subtitling (even occasionally spoken foreign languages are included!). Extra features: some trailers, and 'making of' of "Oliver Twist" and "Brief Encounter" (true, a bit limited, but the FILMS are what matter!). CANNOT recommend this set high enough!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2013
David Lean DVD Collection Box Set [9 Discs, Import, All Regions] (Oliver Twist /Great Expectations / Blithe Spirit / This Happy Breed /Brief Encounter /Madeleine /The Sound Barrier /Hobson's Choice) (2010)
First, notice when you read ANY review, but especially those posted for this DVD set, the line beneath the reviewer's name that begins with, "This review is from:". It will tell you EXACTLY what product is being reviewed (barring any mistakes made by the reviewer himself). Using this caveat, notice that the three reviews for this set that were posted in 2004 were for a DIFFERENT set.
Amazon has a tendency with movies and books to combine reviews for different formats of the same film/book. For example, a book sold in the hardcover format will probably have many reviews for the paperback version of the same title. Sometimes this will skew the ratings as the paperback version may not be as rugged as the hardcover version. This is somewhat the case with this DVD set.
The ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) for this set is B001LU2V78. This DVD set contains:
- Oliver Twist
- Great Expectations
- Blithe Spirit
- This Happy Breed
- Brief Encounter
- The Sound Barrier
- Hobson's Choice
- The Passionate Friends
You should know before you buy this set that it apparently was produced to be sold in Korea. The markings on the outside of the slip case are in both Korean and English, contrary to comments made by some earlier reviewers. Each of the interior cases within the slip case is labeled with the film's title in both English and Korean. The description of the film on the interior case is in Korean only. Each individual disk is labeled primarily in English with a small bit of Korean (the title, I presume) on the disk label.
The DVD's play in English. That is, all the dialog by the actors is English. The DVDs default to Korean subtitles when you start them up. You will have to turn the subtitles off in the disk menu if you don't want to see them. English subtitles are also available on the disks.
All of that was to try to alleviate any concerns you may have regarding the furor of some reviewers (who, apparently, didn't actually play any of the DVDs) over the Korean. It's not an issue.
Amazon's Product Details notwithstanding, all of these movies except for "This Happy Breed" and "Blithe Spirit" are Black and White. I could not verify that these DVDs are region-free, but they do play fine on players set for the USA.
So far, I have watched only "Hobson's Choice" and "Oliver Twist" from this set. Both films are outstanding. I had seen the made-for-TV "Hobson's Choice" with Sharon Gless, Richard Thomas, and Jack Warden years ago and really enjoyed it. When I searched for a copy, I couldn't find that one and bought this set. That turned out to be very serendipitous, since this set is truly a gem.
If you are looking for that more modern, made-for-TV version get it here:
If you want to buy only the David Lean "Hobson's Choice", which is included with this set and which stars Brenda de Banzie, John Mills, and Charles Laughton get it here:
Hobson's Choice (The Criterion Collection)
While "Hobson's Choice" alone is an excellent movie, for only twice as much money you can buy this set and get the other eight films as well.
Other reviewers have commented on how wonderful these films are, but recognize that they were made from 1944 through 1954. Don't expect high-definition or surround sound. If you have realistic expectations of a DVD transfer of a film from that era you will enjoy many very nice movies, all of which were made prior to Hollywood's fascination with sex, violence, and foul language.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2011
A great film transcends the time in which it was made. So it can be said quite simply but with the greatest emphasis about this collection of director David Lean. These 9 films cover in my opinion Lean's best efforts. With the exception of Lawrence of Arabia, there are none finer in his creative history. Whether it is the sex appeal and double entendes of "Blithe Spirit" that illustrate marriage and discord are timeless issues and humour can be offered without crude language or conduct and still leave one chuckling at our own fraility and silliness or the sorrow of love lost by any means in "Brief Encounter, The Sound Barrier", and "In Which We Serve" which is a sorrow timeless in it's truthfulness, Lean outlasts even the talented new directors of right now...this very moment.
I for one am beyond disgusted by the films of the last 20 years or so. While some are indeed good, most gain their audiences and great fortunes through shameless gore and equally shameless and pointless vulgarity. Frankly, I would think any director of such items would not wish this to be his or her legacy when they are dead and gone.
As so we come back to David Lean, dead now for 20 years, but having left all of us a collection of films which will live for as long as we as a society watch films. They are timeless. All made no later than the mid 1950's, they still capture those very things we humans care about or dream about or even obsess about. They capture our longings and fears without gimics or special effects or gore or bad language. Yet such as in "Madelaine" or "Oliver Twist" these are not stories for children. These are for the most part films for adults as they deal with grown up subjects. Ask yourself if you can bear to watch, for I still cannot, the brutal beating to death in "Oliver Twist" of a harlot and a poor dog. Lean does not turn away nor deal lightly with the unpleasant side of life. In "Madelaine" which I am watching again today, see if you know whether or not she murdered her lover. I still, nor can society, cannot answer one way or another that question. Lean caught that in film forever; this doubt. Palpable doubt. Brilliant. Merciless killing. Brilliant.
He was a genius. Perhaps the best filmmaker we will ever see. These 9 films represent what he was and how he saw things. A master story teller in every sense of that word. And most of all, timeless. These stories are timeless. People will see these 9 films for the first even 100 years from now and still marvel at the stories he has left us. Very few other directors will be able to say that.
The David Lean Foundation cleaned these 9 films up for this release. I hope you can find good copies. PAL versions in my opinion are the best and are available here and elsewhere with a little computer exploring. But buy these films. Share them with other film lovers you know.
And to David Lean, whereever you are, thank you.