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The Old Curiosity Shop (2009)

Derek Jacobi , Toby Jones , Brian Percival  |  NR |  DVD
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Derek Jacobi, Toby Jones, Sophie Vavasseur, Gina McKee, Adam Godley
  • Directors: Brian Percival
  • Writers: Charles Dickens, Martyn Hesford
  • Producers: Andrew Benson, Andrew Lowe, Gareth Neame, NoŽlette Buckley, Rebecca Eaton
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 5, 2009
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001PU8MZO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #201,627 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Old Curiosity Shop" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Arriving in the wake of the BBC's sweeping Little Dorrit, ITV's The Old Curiosity Shop feels like Dickens lite (in the U.S., both productions aired as part of PBS's Masterpiece Classic). Fourteen-year-old Nell Trent (Becoming Jane's Sophie Vavasseur), one of the author's best-loved creations, lives with Grandfather (Derek Jacobi), a compulsive gambler. When he fails to make good on his debts to the gluttonous Daniel Quilp (Toby Jones), the moneylender takes over his shop and threatens to make Nell his servant, so she and Grandfather flee to the Midlands. Back in London, Quilp conspires with Dick Swiveller (Geoff Breton), a naive associate of Nell's brother, who also hopes to benefit from their return. With a price on their heads, the duo accepts help from kind strangers, like Mrs. Jarley (a delightful Zoë Wanamaker), and dodges predatory characters, like puppeteer Mr. Codlin (The Office's Martin Freeman). With the entrance of the mysterious Jacob (Adrian Rawlins), the story shifts into procedural territory. Jacob has the means to help the fugitives, but he'll have to catch up with them before poverty takes its toll. If Jacobi and Jones bring the requisite intensity to their parts, Vavasseur struggles to make Nell sufficiently empathetic, and a narrative that tries to do too much in too little time robs the ending of its intended impact. Filmed on location in atmospheric Ireland, this downbeat version of The Old Curiosity Shop is hardly a waste of time, but a more expansive interpretation would've served this material better. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

Based on Dickens classic novel The Old Curiosity Shop tells the tale of Little Nell Trent (Sophie Vavasseur) who lives with her doting grandfather (Jacobi) in his London shop. It is a magical place, filled from wall to wall with dust-laden treasures, known as The Old Curiosity Shop. Grandfather keeps his nocturnal gambling activities a secret, borrowing heavily from evil, profiteering loan shark Daniel Quilp (Jones). When he gambles away what little money they possess, Quilp seizes the opportunity to take possession of their beloved shop. It seems Nell and Grandfather are left with only one option - to escape. The pair fall in with a number of colourful characters, some villainous and some affectionate, on the run from Quilp and his band of misguided money seekers, including Nells own wastrel brother Freddie (Dick) and his gullible friend Dick Swiveller (Breton).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 61 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An insult May 11, 2009
Format:DVD
The product description above should read, "VERY, VERY LOOSELY based on Dickens' classic novel." Almost everything about this production is wrong and the screenwriter and director should be ashamed of themselves; they have done a terrible disservice to those of us who love the novel and to those who have not yet read it and will mistakenly believe that this DVD tells its story. The worst crime commited by those involved in this travesty is the creation of a "happy ending" to make our hearts ache a little less. What idiotic rubbish! Please, spend your money on a copy of the book, read it, and cry your eyes out; as Dickens intended you to do.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not So Bad, Not So Great Dickens Adaptation January 27, 2011
Format:DVD
ITV's new adaptation of "The Old Curiosity Shop" centers on the heroine Nell Trent living with her grandfather. They are forced to flee his Old Curiosity Shop, however, when the gambling grandfather (who thinks he is doing that for her loving granddaughter) is heavily in debt to Daniel Quilp, who, it is suggested, wants not just the shop, but something else. While Quilp chases them, a mysterious lodger at the attorney Samson Brass's is also looking for the missing daughter.

Considering the meandering nature of the storytelling in Victorian novels, "The Old Curiosity Shop" (2007) is surprisingly faithful to the original book of Charles Dickens (published in book form in 1841). That is a good thing, to be sure, but there is something missing in the new adaptation, something like sense of humor.

Sophie Vavasseur ("Becoming Jane") plays the heroine Nell Trent (or "Little Nell") though she seems much older than she should be. Almost adult, I would say, which makes her suffering less poignant. Toby Jones ("Infamous") as Daniel Quilp is not very convincing, either, compared with Tom Courtenay in the 1995 adaptation. He makes the role too serious, and his turn as the "villain" lacks the Dickensian humor, which is essential to some of the comic scenes of the novel, including the famous line about his "Aquiline" nose.

Supporting actors fare much better. Adam Godley as Sampson Brass, ZoŽ Wanamaker as Mrs. Jarley and Charlene McKenna as "The Marchioness" are all very good, giving subtle nuances to roles that could easily become caricatures. The production designs and the photography are all respectable.

This is not a bad adaptation, but I am not still sure why they had to make another film based on this book.

(According to IMDb, the film's running time is 120 minutes, but my DVD copy from BBC America says its feature length is "approximately 93 minutes.")
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great cast, not so great editing... June 13, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I loved the new version -- except I feel that they cut way too much material. I'm guessing BBC concentrates on one major period drama in a given year, and remakes several other "short" versions of other works. Case in point: Jane Austen's works done in 2008: 1 substantial (Sense & Sensibility) and other very lacking works (Mansfield Park, etc.). That's too bad.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful film, depressing story. September 12, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I am a huge fan of Charles Dickens, but this is not one of my favorite novels of his. This adaptation is beautifully filmed and the acting is good; however, this is one of Dickens' darker tales with an honest look at human frailties and an unhappy ending.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good actors wasted March 2, 2012
Format:DVD
It's a shame to do this to Dickens and to pour great talent into a wasted effort. This just aired again recenly. "Butchery" is the word that first comes to mind.

The Shop has never been considered one of Dickens best but it does have his usual cast of characters, plot twists, and tugs on your emotions (in this case an extra dose of bathos in the form of Nell).

The bathos is about all you get in this condensed version, as you might guess by the running time. Dickens's stories need time to unfold and isn't that leisurely unfolding of a tale what we expect from MPT productions? We've been robbed. The movie follows (err, rushes through . . .) the middle path of the story line, with enough substance to build the main characters and never mind anything else -- what is the story of Nell's father? Who was the guy with the parrot that took up one whole shot unexplained and was never seen or hinted at again?

It's not that you can't watch and enjoy this. Derek Jacobi, Toby Jones and ZoŽ Wanamaker are always a pleasure to watch. But if what you like about Dickens (or most any writer, for that matter) are the layers of the story, and what you want is a masterful presentation of that story, you'll find this falls very short of your expectations, even if they are not great.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Old Curiosity Shop November 3, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
My husband and I did not think this particular version of "The Old Curiosity Shop" was too worthwhile. The film was dark and hard to see and some of the acting was not to our liking. Just our opinion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Worth Your Time--Maybe the Book is Better September 17, 2011
Format:DVD
Let me first say I am a fan of Dickens and a fan of BBC productions like this. Although I haven't read The Old Curiosity Shop, this DVD version was enough to convince me to skip the book. Even compared to other Dickens' works, the story here is overly dark, morbid and depressing. As for the production, the cinematography was fine as well as the casting. Unfortunately, there was not enough character development to make me care or sympathize with the main characters as they experienced tragedy after tragedy at the hands of a very creepy villain. The end came as a relief. Recommend you skip this one--maybe the book was better.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A heartwarming adaptation
A heartwarming adaptation with superior actors. It both warmed and broke my heart.
Published 1 day ago by Zacha
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of Time
I was very disappointed in this movie. First of all, do not expect this movie to follow the book. Great liberties have been taken with the story and the ending has been completely... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Ron Barger
4.0 out of 5 stars this story...
...has a terrible ending. Dickens likes to show the seamy side of old England, but he usually comes up with some sort of ending that is pleasing for someone. Not here.
Published 11 months ago by SUSAN RITTER
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from the BBC
You know how they say that the sins of the parents are visited on the children? Well, here it's the sins of a grandparent visited on the grandchild. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Noni
5.0 out of 5 stars Dickens put his foot down!
What I like best about the Old Curiosity Shop was what the author himself did. When this was written, it was issued in serial numbers, meaning Dickens would issue chapters at a... Read more
Published 20 months ago by L.K Mas Mea
3.0 out of 5 stars More Interesting Although Loosely Based in Literature
I liked this movie.

The pacing is fast compared to the book, yes parts are left out...I'm okay with it. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Bri
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
I strongly suspect Charles Dickens would be disappointed too. This film really let me down. It takes far too many liberties with the plot. Read more
Published on August 9, 2012 by Deborah L. Wiles
1.0 out of 5 stars A Heart of Stone
With apologies to Oscar Wilde, one would need a heart of stone not to laugh at this travesty of a production. What on earth were these people thinking? Read more
Published on July 11, 2012 by Queequeg
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Poor Adaptation
A friend of mine told me they are going to be showing this again on PBS. Don't waste your time. After a very good Bleak House, I thought that "The Old Curiosity Shop" would be... Read more
Published on February 19, 2012 by William Schroeder
3.0 out of 5 stars Curiosity Shop
I do love Charles Dickens. I think he was a genius, a remarkable writer. However, This story is so very sad. Read more
Published on October 30, 2011 by Kathryn M. Swartz
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