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Through the Shadowlands (2004)

Joss Ackland , Claire Bloom , Norman Stone  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

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Through the Shadowlands + The Life and Faith of C.S. Lewis: The Magic Never Ends
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Product Details

  • Actors: Joss Ackland, Claire Bloom, Rupert Baderman, Rhys Hopkins, Alan MacNaughton
  • Directors: Norman Stone
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Vision Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 6, 2004
  • Run Time: 73 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002US528
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,691 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Starring Joss Ackland and Claire Bloom. Winner of over a dozen prestigious awards including the International Emmy for Best Drama and two British Academy Awards.

He cried out, "Where is God when I really need him?" This film is about the agonizing spiritual crisis of C.S. Lewis when his wife died from cancer. The love, grief, pain, and sorrow were so shattering to Lewis that his basic Christian beliefs, magnificently communicated in his many books, were now called into serious doubt.

But he picked up the pieces and moved out of the depressing "shadowlands," realizing that "real life has not even begun yet."

Includes 90-minute television version and 73-minute abridged version.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
197 of 199 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly Illuminating "Shadowlands." April 20, 2006
"Shadowlands" (or "Through The Shadowlands," as it's frequently called,) started as a stage play, became this extroidnary BBC production, then a severly edited American video, then an American theatrical feature starring Anthony Hopkins, and then a book. Obviously, this story's impact resinates and remains powerful through different interpretation and versions. This presentation stands above all of them, though.

This DVD includes BOTH the full length 90 minute BBC version, as well as a worthless 73 minute version, which was released on video in the states for "Christian" markets. Regretfully, that abridged 73 minute video is what most people in the US mistakenly think is the "original BBC" movie. That jumpy and truncated version was done without input or approval from the director, Norman Stone, and aparently exists solely because someone wanted all alcohol and smoking removed. Therefore, scenes of Lewis discussing his beliefs with skeptical Oxford dons are gone, because the professors are holding cigars and brandy. The Christmas Holiday scenes are also cut because there is wine on the dinner table, etc, depriving the viewer of significant and pivital elements of the tightly constructed story and character development. The releasing studio's "justification" for the chopped up version was that it could be used for church classes or discussion groups becuase it's shorter. However, it only saves 15 minutes, which certianly doesn't justify the tremendous loss to the narative.

Josh Ackland's portrayal of Lewis is relentlessly engaging to watch. Lewis' brilliance, confidence, and joy, with intellectual and spiritual pursuits is completely brought to the screen.
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Method Attempting To Get Through The Shadowlands September 21, 2006
"The very man who has argued you down, will sometimes be found, years later, to have been influenced by what you said." - C.S. Lewis

This movie was made before the Anthony Hopkins/Debra Winger version of "Shadowlands". It's pacing and presentation are clearly more British, more BBC. I appreciated that even though the movies are similar in length, follow the same plot, similar scene progressions, and use identical dialogue at times - this version acted the same dialogue differently. It's wonderful to see the same material interpreted in good ways. And this movie adds different dialogue. Including the following:

C.S. Lewis: "I never knew what I was supposed to say. What do you say when your mother is dying?"
Joy: "There's nothing like dying to make you realize you're not in charge."
C.S. Lewis: "Yes there is. Loving someone does that too."

The story is about facing mortality. Or said another way, facing the loss of life, where the loss is losing the interactive life force of another person you love.

C.S. Lewis is speaking with a professor colleague when C.S. Lewis is doing all he can to fight Joy's cancer. C.S. Lewis, using all his tangible & intangible efforts (the best doctors, the best hospitals, prayer, becoming learned on the medical conditions, etc.), is powerless to effect positive health restoring change for Joy. And the professor says, "I've never seen you really want something before. I was wondering what you'd say if you didn't get it."

In Joy Gresham, C.S. Lewis found someone who had not only considered atheism, religions, & diverse politics intelligently and independently, but he also found someone who understood & interpretted him uncommonly well. C.S.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Anthony Hopkins did indeed "sleepwalk" his way through the American version. One got a sort of sanitized love story which was, as another reviewer said, oblivious to the identity or character of C.S. Lewis.

Having been profoundly moved by the BBC movie, when I went to see the Anthony Hopkins/Debra Winger thing I was disgusted. It's just a major studio going for the bucks, using the inherent pathos of the story, but not understanding it at all, or caring. The BBC version was much more focused on, and aware of, background, implications, details, etc... and it is quite likely that they actually knew who C.S. Lewis was.

And why on Earth would the Hollywood hotshots change the real story by reducing Joy's offspring to ONE son, when she had two?

They both appear in the BBC version. And so does a believable C.S. Lewis - unlike the Hollywood travesty.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Portrait of Love and Loss March 1, 2007
"C.S. Lewis Through the Shadowlands" is a beautiful love story and a sensitive portrayal of grief. In this BBC television special, we find American poet Joy Gresham (Claire Bloom) writing to C.S. Lewis in England. As they discuss ideas about mythical doors and poetry, her letters bring about an intellectual friendship. I love the part where Joy talks about wandering into the wrong houses as she is looking for a home.

When C.S. Lewis asks her if she thinks she has found a home, she says she thinks she has. It is very cute and sentimental. The story progresses from a winter of Joy's marriage dying to the full blossoming of her love with C.S. Lewis. The focus of this movie is on the relationship and nothing much is said about any of the books, except there are a few conversations where Joy shows she has a complete knowledge of the books he has written.

If you have read "A Grief Observed" or if you have an interest in finding out more about C.S. Lewis' personal life, then this will introduce you to the warmth of Joy and the caring nature of C.S. Lewis.

If you are looking for information on the life and work of C.S. Lewis, may I recommend "The Magic Never Ends." It is truly fascinating and includes a list of his 38 books and more information on books written about his life.

~The Rebecca Review
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been better
The brilliance of Lewis' medieval intellect is inspiring, but...this movie was boring.
Published 14 days ago by Black-Clad Puritan Hessian
4.0 out of 5 stars love blossoms into both deeply felt joy
A touching account of the range of emotions which are present in us all. Regardless of age and position, love blossoms into both deeply felt joy, as well as heart breaking sorrow. Read more
Published 1 month ago by D. Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film and seller
Joss Ackland and Clare Bloom are terrific—by far the better of the two videos of the same story. I am not a crier, but this one still undoes me. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Christy Wareham
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent movie, very moving. better than the Hollywood version.
Published 2 months ago by Argyl bacon
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this!
If you enjoyed The ShadowLands with Anthony Hopkins, this one will open your eyes a bit more. I can so see now how Winger, who seemed out of place, really played it just right. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Julie Lambert
5.0 out of 5 stars Though the Shadowlands, Jose Ackland (Video)
Worth viewing by anyone who has been affected by the deep pains of loss and failure, as well as by loss of loved ones through death, loss of someone's respect or loyalty, loss of a... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Cathi H. Bencken
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating peek into the life of C. S. Lewis
The story of C. S. Lewis is fascinating and leaves one with many questions about his early life. I personally enjoyed the movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger more. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Ellie
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than A.H. version.
I really liked this version, but I must say, Debra Winger was spectacular in the R.A. version. The music felt out of place and the climactic shot held for WAY too long, but the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by iamhere
3.0 out of 5 stars Fair
I had hoped this was the version with Anthony Hopkins, but nonetheless, the movie was OK, just not as good as the Hopkins version
Published 6 months ago by WTG
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting.
It is a great story. Filming shows the age of the movie. I liked the version done by Hopkins. Either way, its a good story.
Published 6 months ago by Nick M.
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does it have spanish subtitles?
No, no tiene subtítulos en Español (ni en ningún idioma). Una lástima...
Jun 29, 2007 by FET |  See all 3 posts
I found the book, "A Grief Observed," first ... then the movies Be the first to reply
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