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P.D. James: The Essential Collection (2008)

Roy Marsden , Susannah York , Andrew Grieve , Gareth Davies  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

List Price: $149.98
Price: $77.55 & FREE Shipping. Details
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DVD 15-Disc Version $77.55  

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P.D. James: The Essential Collection + P.D. James - The Murder Room
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Product Details

  • Actors: Roy Marsden, Susannah York, Gemma Jones, James Faulkner, Tony Haygarth
  • Directors: Andrew Grieve, Gareth Davies, John Davies, John Gorrie, Herbert Wise
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 15
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Koch Vision
  • DVD Release Date: August 5, 2008
  • Run Time: 2075 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00199PPCO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,185 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Hailed as Britain’s "Queen of Crime" by critics and fans alike, P.D. James is one of the most celebrated mystery writers of all time. Her first novel, Cover Her Face, introduced the world to the brilliant and poetic mind of Scotland Yard’s Adam Dalgliesh. Audiences have been captivated ever since!

From the diabolical to the macabre, this "essential collection" presents nine critically acclaimed P.D. James film adaptations on 15 discs – each starring Roy Marsden in a compelling Adam Dalgliesh Mystery. Includes: Death of an Expert Witness, Shroud for a Nightingale, Cover Her Face, The Black Tower, A Taste for Death, Devices and Desires, Unnatural Causes, A Mind for Murder, Original Sin


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
193 of 197 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A nice collection - but not complete September 12, 2005
By ECS
Format:DVD
This collection provides a good illustration of the way British TV drama has changed over the years. The first five mysteries (Death of an Expert Witness, Shroud for a Nightingale, Cover Her Face, The Black Tower & A Taste for Death) each comprise of six 45-minute episodes although the episodes are sadly joined together in these DVD presentations.

These serials were made between 1983 - 1988 and were shot fairly cheaply, on videotape as opposed to film, which was quite uncommon at the time. As a result, they appear a little cheap, but the upside was that books could be dramatized in a more drawn-out fashion and the characterisation (one of James' great strengths) could be fully brought out on screen.

The last three adaptations (Unnatural Causes, A Mind to Murder & Original Sin) were made between 1992 - 1996 and were shot on film as opposed to video tape. As a result these later adventures look much more modern and slick. However the additional expense of making these films mean they are much shorter and there is very little by way of characterisation compared to the earlier stories.

These film 2-hour dramas are the norm now, for British detective shows - as I say it is an interesting barometer of the way that TV drama has changed in the UK over the years.

The Black Tower is excellent and certainly my favourite of the earlier adventures. Art Malik and under-rated actors John Franklyn-Robbins & Richard Heffer excel in their guest roles.

Original Sin fares the best of the later adaptations, being slightly longer than the other two (145 mins as opposed to 100) and directed very nicely.

The major disappointment with this set is that it's not "the complete works".
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60 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars PD James collection September 23, 2004
By ECS
Format:DVD
This collection provides a good illustration of the way British TV drama has changed over the years. The first five mysteries (Death of an Expert Witness, Shroud for a Nightingale, Cover Her Face, The Black Tower & A Taste for Death) each comprise of six 45-minute episodes although the episodes are sadly joined together in these DVD presentations.

These serials were made between 1983 - 1988 and were shot fairly cheaply, on videotape as opposed to film, which was quite uncommon at the time. As a result, they appear a little cheap, but the upside was that books could be dramatized in a more drawn-out fashion and the characterisation (one of James' great strengths) could be fully brought out on screen.

The last three adaptations (Unnatural Causes, A Mind to Murder & Original Sin) were made between 1992 - 1996 and were shot on film as opposed to video tape. As a result these later adventures look much more modern and slick. However the additional expense of making these films mean they are much shorter and there is very little by way of characterisation compared to the earlier stories. As I say it is an interesting barometer of the way that TV drama has changed in the UK over the years.

The Black Tower is excellent and certainly my favourite of the earlier adventures. Art Malik and under-rated actors John Franklyn-Robbins & Richard Heffer excel in their guest roles.

Original Sin fares the best of the later adaptations, being slightly longer than the other two (145 mins as opposed to 100) and directed very nicely.

The major disappointment with this set is that it's not "the complete works".
Read more ›
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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars problems, but the collection is worth the price August 2, 2005
Format:DVD
As another reviewer noted, the collection is defective, with the last disk of "Death of an Expert Witness" wrongly recorded. However, "Original Sin" is present and correct in my set. Having said this, and assuming this is a defect common to every copy of the The Essential Collection, the balance of the programs are excellent and remind us how effectively P.D. James' writing transfers to the small screen, and how well Roy Marsden plays Adam Dalgliesh, surely one of the more complex and interesting characters in english detective fiction. All of the characterizations are excellent, with England's endless collection of character actors called in to do wonderful duty peopling these stories.

It would certainly be helpful if Amazon could figure out how to deliver a correctly-recorded version of "Death of an Expert Witness" and someone's quality control is clearly out of whack. However, the collection is well worth its price even if defective, and (worst case) you can buy "Death of an expert witness" separately.

Now why the producers chose to replace Marsden in "Death in Holy Orders" (not included in this set) is a mystery in itself but his replacement does do an adequate if not exceptional job.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Koch Vision presents "P.D. JAMES: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION" (1983-1997) (2075 mins/Color) -- Phyllis Dorothy James, Baroness James of Holland Park, (born 3 August 1920) is an English author of crime fiction, under the name P. D. James, and is a life peer in the British House of Lords --- Hailed as Britain's "Queen of Crime" by critics and fans alike, P.D. James is one of the most celebrated mystery writers of all time --- Her first novel, "Cover her Face", introduced the world to the brilliant and poetic mind of Scotland Yard's Adam Dalgliesh --- Audiences have been captivated ever since

From the diabolical to the macabre, this "essential collection" presents nine critically acclaimed P.D. James film adaptations - each starring Roy Marsden in a compelling Adam Dalgliesh Mystery.

Over 34 Hours of Heart-Stopping Suspense - Includes a collectible 19-Page Booklet, featuring an interview with P.D. James.

9 MYSTERIES ON 15 DVD'S AS FOLLOWS:
"Death of an Expert Witness" (8 April 1983)
It begins with the discovery of a murder of young girl --- However, this is not the focus of the novel, but rather is used as a method to introduce us to the staff of a forensic laboratory, the background of this mystery --- The actual murder of Dr. Lorrimer, an experienced expert witness, is only discovered in the second section of the book. It is quickly established that only people associated with the lab would have the opportunity or the knowledge to commit the crime, which allows the detectives to focus their attention.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Warning
UNCAPTIONED! Otherwise an excellent portrayal.Companies should
Know that their market is getting older and this is now more important. Read more
Published 1 month ago by CWM
2.0 out of 5 stars Packaging From Manufacturer
I have no idea if the dvds are good or not! I cannot get them out of the pkg.! Was this designed by a person who never uses this type of product? I cant get them loose. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Cinda R.
3.0 out of 5 stars I like P.D James
I have chosen this rating because it is too bad that there is no closed captions.
Otherwise I would rate with 5 stars. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Tanya
5.0 out of 5 stars The best.
What does one need to say. P.D.James is really one of the top mystery writers and with
such good productions and cast , absolutely first class.
Published 7 months ago by GORGRI
5.0 out of 5 stars Essentially Terrific
Haven't looked at it yet, but very excited to do so. Love this Dagliesh...Hope to purchase more in this series!
Published 7 months ago by Dee
5.0 out of 5 stars Dalgliesh can ask me to walk anywhere with him.
Talk about laid- back. This detective gets to the bottom of the crime with a high-octane mix of brain power common sense and an extraordinary knowledge of human weaknesses. Read more
Published 8 months ago by elizabeth carmack
5.0 out of 5 stars P.D. James: The Essential Collection
Those movies that we have watched in this series are excellent! We highly recommend them to get an insight into the British countryside and culture! Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Marsden Amiable in P.D.James
An excellent depiction of P.D.James' work. Caught between being upper class hero cop and gritty 70s hero, Roy Marsden walks a fine line between them with elegance and style. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Venise Alstergren
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent mystery
This is an excellent series. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good mystery. I highly recommend it.
Published 9 months ago by C. Holliday
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of Dagleish!
My Husband and I just love the British mysteries and since broadcast TV shows so few of them now days we have to buy them to enjoy them. We love to watch them over and over.
Published 9 months ago by Dana L. Packman
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Defective Copies of P.D. James - The Essential Collection
Hi. .Go to ebay, Newbury Comic Store ,select used dvds' read description o The essential pdJames dvd. Lists the problem you had. Might help. Regards, Handsomejack
Jun 18, 2008 by GIACOMO NERRONE |  See all 2 posts
P.D. James vs. Midsomer Murders
The two series are very different. P.D. James mysteries are serious. The Midsomer Murders are rather tongue-in-cheek with bodies piling up like firewood. Both are very enjoyable with good stories.
Sep 11, 2009 by N. Nichols |  See all 2 posts
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