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Old Curiosity Shop (2007)

3.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Old Curiosity Shop, The (2007)(DVD)

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

Special Features

None.

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, Noëlette 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: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001PU8MZO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,827 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Old Curiosity Shop (2007)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Charles R. Baker on 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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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, Zoë 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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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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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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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 wonderful also. It was not; Nell was miscast (the actress was far too old), the ending was changed, characters were unrecognizable from the book, in short, the whole thing was a thrown together mess. If you just read one chapter from the book, you will do yourself more good than sitting through this production.
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Okay. Nell and Quilp in the 1995 Disney version were better, and after listening to a 23 hour audio book of the tale this movie disappointed but okay for a watch. Aftee the BBC version of Bleak House and Little Dorrit, or the version of David Copperfield with Daniela Radclilffe, was slilghtly disappointed by the lack of charm or emotion.
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I strongly suspect Charles Dickens would be disappointed too. This film really let me down. It takes far too many liberties with the plot. The story has been changed so much in this film that it may as well carry some other title. Toby Jones does a superb job, but everyone else leaves you longing for better talent.
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I was surprised that I liked this version. I couldn't see Derek Jacobi in his role. I should have known better. He was magnificent!! MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better than Peter Ustinov. Toby Jones also made a much better Mr. Quilp!
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