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Henrik Ibsen Collection (Hedda Gabler / Ghosts / Little Eyolf / The Wild Duck / The Master Builder)

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Product Description

Henrik Ibsen Collection (DVD)

The Henrik Ibsen Collection features ten star-studded BBC productions of Ibsen's most famous plays, together in one six-dis box set. Considered the father of modern realistic drama, Henrik Ibsen is one of the most important playwrights of all time. His plays attacked the values of the Victorian society in which he lived and were considered scandalous during his lifetime. Yet many of his themes are thoroughly modern today. The Henrik Ibsen Collection features stellar casts in Ibsen's best-known works, including Ingrid Bergman and Michael Redgrave in Hedda Gabler, Judi Dench and Michael Gambon in Ghosts, Anthony Hopkins and Diana Rigg in Little Eyolf, Denholm Elliot in The Wild Duck, Sir Donald Wolfitt and Leo McKern respectively in two extraordinary productions of The Master Builder, and much more. It's a quintessential part of any theater lover's library.

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The Henrik Ibsen Collection is simply astoundingly comprehensive. This compilation of BBC adaptations of Ibsen's work--plays essential to the dawn of modern theater--features television versions of nine of Ibsen's major plays (with two different versions of The Master Builder, with the arrogant architect played in 1958 by Donald Wolfit, then in 1988 by Leo McKern), with an additional seven of Ibsen's plays (including some rarely performed early works) presented in radio versions, along with an intriguing play about Ibsen, A Meeting in Rome, concerning the Norwegian dramatist's relationship with the bitter Swedish playwright August Strindberg, author of Miss Julie. But the collection's true value lies not in its completeness; these productions are never less than sturdy and some are grippingly dynamic, thanks to skillful direction and powerhouse casts. The tightly edited 1962 version of Hedda Gabler stars a magnetic Ingrid Bergman as the volatile heroine, fantastically paired with Michael Redgrave (The Importance of Being Earnest) as her mediocre husband and Ralph Richardson (The Fallen Idol) as their predatory family friend, his eyes glittering with lust for Hedda. Juliet Stevenson (Truly Madly Deeply) perfectly captures both the flightiness and the earnest passion of the Victorian wife of A Doll's House (though the script could have stood some editing for television). The blazing eyes of Patrick McGoohan (The Prisoner) drive the title character of Brand, a clergyman who destroys his own life through inflexible rectitude. In Little Eyolf, Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs) and Diana Rigg (The Avengers) claw at each other as they suffocate in their unhappy marriage. The most visually striking production is Ghosts, starring Judi Dench (Iris), Michael Gambon (The Singing Detective), and Kenneth Branagh (Shackleton); this creepy tale of incest, adultery, and disease oozes Gothic claustrophobia. In some respects, Ibsen hasn't aged well. Many of the particular repressions and injustices he attacked have fallen (though often replaced by subtler forms), making some of these plays seem strident and overwrought. But the modernized adaptation of An Enemy of the People easily shows how hypocrisy and greed never go away--no stars here, just the sheer force of people acting out their worst instincts. And only someone heartless could remain unmoved by The Wild Duck, with a simple but devastating performance by Jenny Agutter (Logan's Run) as a girl watching her family destroyed by an intruder's idealism. Though Ibsen died over a hundred years ago, his plays still pack a punch. --Bret Fetzer


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Denholm Elliott, Ingrid Bergman, Michael Redgrave, Judi Dench
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 24, 2007
  • Run Time: 1996 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000PAAK5U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,607 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Henrik Ibsen Collection (Hedda Gabler / Ghosts / Little Eyolf / The Wild Duck / The Master Builder)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 71 people found the following review helpful By J. Lamarre on November 6, 2007
Because one of the earlier posters asked, the titles included in the set are "Brand", "A Doll's House", "Hedda Gabler", "The Wild Duck", "Ghosts", "Little Eyolf", "An Enemy of the People", "The Lady from the Sea" and two versions of "The Master Builder." Also included are the following plays in radio versions: "Peer Gynt", "The Pretenders", "Emperor and Galilean", "The Pillars of Society", "Rosmersholm", "John Gabriel Borkman", "When We Dead Awaken" and "A Meeting in Rome" by Michael Meyer (a play about a meeting between Ibsen and August Strindberg).
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Camp on May 1, 2009
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Henrik Ibsen Collection (Hedda Gabler / Ghosts / Little Eyolf / The Wild Duck / The Master Builder)

A wonderful collection of definitive performances of great plays, unobtainable in the U.K. 8 radio plays included. These performances by casts including Michael Redgrave,Judi Dench, Anthony Hopkins, Diana Rigg will never be bettered. Beautifully spoken and understood. The producers really know their Ibsen and bring out all Ibsen's subtle ironies and nuances. Alas, the BBC do not produce such great plays any more: very wise for any true theatre-lover to grab this collection while it is available. I have been studying Ibsen for 40 years; these productions are the culmination of my `Ibsen experience'. I know all the plays intimately; very few moments in these productions jar. Faithful period detail and costume: characters and background look convincingly `Victorian': contemporary productions (which are rare anyway) invariably make Hedda, Nora, Gina etc. look as if they've just walked in off the streets of New York or London, let alone Oslo. Seeing them actually prompted me book a Eurostar train to Oslo to visit the Ibsen Museum. Michael Meyer translations are relatively faithful: again, contemporary versions make the language much too chatty and contemporary.
Richard Camp, Brecon, UK.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Peregrine Reader on July 30, 2007
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I am impressed with this collection. The older versions of the plays hold up very well and are as vital as the later productions. The acting is magnificent - an impressive array of talent. Also it is a great bargain!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Calicokid on October 17, 2007
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This aural and video collection of Ibsen should be in the collection of all who treasure the theatre experience. All the performances are very fine. Any collection that contains even such a truncated version of HEDDA GABLER with Bergman, Richardson, Redgave and Howard needs no further endorsement. Be ready for some memorable drama.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Storly VINE VOICE on October 13, 2011
Some of the other viewers have described the excellent productions of "Ghosts", "Hedda Gabler", and "Brand", and I agree with them wholeheartedly, but I must say that this collection also contains my very favorite version of "A Doll's House", which, to my knowledge, is not available anywhere else except in this collection. Juliet Stevenson plays Nora so naturally, allowing the character to slowly emerge for the viewer, just as I think Henrik Ibsen intended. Ibsen's intentions aside, she is definitely the Nora audiences deserve. Beautiful! Brilliant! She has never really received the recognition she has deserved, and her performance in this film proves it. The other works are admirable, most of them stunning, all of them worthwhile, but I must say "A Doll's House" came to life for me as never before, thanks to some great performances. Bravo!
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Alan Montgomery on May 4, 2007
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I can't vouch for all 6 plays, but the Ghosts is quite wonderful. In stars a younger Judi Dench as Mrs. Alving (brilliant), Natasha Richardson (radiant as the daughter of the "drunk"), Michael Gambon (pre-Dumbledore days) as a first - rate vicar, Freddie Jones (of Dune and Elephant Man) as the father of Natasha Richardson, and a very young Kenneth Branagh as the son. The cast lives up to their star status.

Assuming the other plays are that well done (I think I actually saw Little Eyolf), it is a wonderful introduction to my favorite dramatist.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robq on February 19, 2009
I am very pleased with this collection. The performances are outstanding and the discs are loaded with extras, including a full 2.5 hour radio broadcast of Peer Gynt with Grieg's music. The price is also unbeatable. However, I am always amazed that Ibsen gets loads of attention while Strindberg (a better writer and dramatist) gets hardly any. Perhaps it's because he was branded a sexist. True, he had problems with women; but anyone who knows A Dream Play and many other works would conclude that this brand is too simplistic to warrant such a dismissal. Aside from this, I really have a great admiration for Ibsen. Included in this collection are his greatest plays. Ghosts is his best tragedy. Ibsen proved that he could present a dark and disturbing work without violence or death. It is also a major condemnation of social zombies, who are concerned more with the herd than with each other's individual needs. Even though I liked A Doll's House, I enjoyed Lady from the Sea better. Here, the stereotypical gender roles are not as noticeable, and the character development takes on a more primary concern. The Wild Duck is his most heartbreaking play, showing the tragic results from neglecting children. Similarly, Little Eyolf deals with the neglect of children. This tragedy takes a close second to Ghost with its strong sense of devastation that condemns the surviving characters to a gloomy existence. All in all, it is a very nice collection, but I sincerely wish BBC would honor Strindberg as well.
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