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Bleak House [Blu-ray] [2009] [US Import]


Price: £33.93
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Frequently Bought Together

Bleak House [Blu-ray] [2009] [US Import] + Little Dorrit [Blu-ray] [Region Free] + Pride And Prejudice [Blu-ray] [1995] [Region Free]
Price For All Three: £51.33

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Product details

  • Actors: Anna Maxwell Martin, Denis Lawson, Carey Mulligan, Finn Morrell, Gillian Anderson
  • Format: Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: BBC Warner
  • DVD Release Date: 5 May 2009
  • Run Time: 510 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (263 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001P7YDA0

Reviews

From Amazon.co.uk

Andrew Davies is the king of the BBC mini-series--his skilfully adapted scripts for Pride & Prejudice (the beloved Colin Firth version) and many, many more are peerless examples of classic novels done right--cunningly edited and shaped to let all the rich emotion and sharp intelligence spill over with zip and vigour. Bleak House is no exception; it's one of the best Dickens adaptations to date. The mini-series form allows Dickens' panoramic view, brimming with eccentric characters and complex turns of plot, to sprawl out without losing an iota of suspense or momentum. Two innocent young orphans (Patrick Kennedy and Carey Mulligan) are the potential heirs to a fortune, but their fates are snarled in a monumental legal battle known as Jarndyce and Jarndyce. But the heart of the story is another orphan, Esther Summerson (Anna Maxwell Martin), whose mysterious parentage proves to be intertwined with the fate of the Jarndyce wards and the aloof Lady Dedlock (Gillian Anderson, The X-Files). Dickens' story twines through an excoriating vision of the legal system to heartbreaking domestic drama to a murder investigation to near-Gothic horror, all broken into utterly delicious half-hour segments (after the hour-long opening episode). Martin is utterly beguiling, homely at one moment and luminous the next; Anderson's grippingly eerie and brittle performance will delight her fans. But to single out anyone seems absurd, because every character--from the vicious lawyer Tulkinghorn (Charles Dance, White Mischief) to the foppish parasite Skimpole (Nathaniel Parker, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries) to the simpering clerk Guppy (Burn Gorman)--is intricately drawn, all hitting a mesmerizing balance between caricature and stark emotional honesty. Bleak House demonstrates that humour, pathos, and social criticism can all be contained in one wonderfully entertaining package. --Bret Fetzer, Amazon.com

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

126 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Budge Burgess on 12 Dec 2005
Format: DVD
Charles Dickens was a master of the English language, writing with a depth of characterisation that predated social science explanations of behaviour and describing his world in a manner so visual you wonder what he could have done with access to a film camera or two. Justin Chadwick and Susanna White, directors of this epic, 2005 BBC production had access to a camera or two, and have produced a masterpiece of television drama.
"Bleak House" was published in nineteen monthly episodes during 1852-53. The television dramatisation, in fifteen episodes, effectively replicates this. The story, which revolves around the long drawn out court case of Jarndyce versus Jarndyce, exposes the corruption and claustrophobic inertia of the Victorian legal system. Dickens's novel is a vast satire of lawyers and the deathly grip of class and status. He weaves together an epic tale with a cast, if not of thousands, then at least more extensive than other novelists would trust themselves to handle.
The television production has 45 principal characters and over 80 speaking parts. It is a mark of the quality of the original novel and of Andrew Davies's adaptation of the text that the complexity of the story grabs and holds your attention. There's satire, comedy, drama, pathos, romance, social commentary, a murder mystery, a few other mysteries, a whole world of characters and stories.
And the cast is outstanding. There's not a weak link to be seen. This is almost a who's who of the British acting profession, and everyone will have their own favourites. I'd single out several. Gillian Anderson gives a faultless performance as an English noblewoman. Denis Lawson is a wonderfully sympathetic John Jarndyce, the voice of decency.
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154 of 159 people found the following review helpful By hillbank68 TOP 500 REVIEWER on 9 Jan 2007
Format: DVD
The BBC decided to screen this adaptation initially in 30-minute episodes, two a week, like a soap. Unexpectedly this worked quite well, but more because of the excellence of the production than because of their quirky manner of showing it. Seen on DVD, when you can watch as much as you wish, it is even more powerful. The cast is astonishingly good - many famous names (Warren Clarke, Pauline Collins, Phil Davis, Matthew Kelly, Alistair McGowan, Anne Reid, Ian Richardson, Liza Tarbuck, Johnny Vegas, Timothy West) taking roles which they inhabit as if they were made for them. But the central roles, of the unfortunate litigants in the case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, the corrupt lawyer Tulkinghorn (Charles Dance, menacingly lizardy), kindly John Jarndyce (Denis Lawson) and above all Gillian Anderson as the chilly and tragic Lady Dedlock and the heroine, Anna Maxwell Martin as Esther Summerson (described in Dickens' character list in the novel as 'a prudent and wise woman and a self-denying friend') are even better. The sets are totally convincing, Dickens's huge compass of characters and events is covered entirely satisfactorily, the complicted plot emerges clearly and there are moments of great pathos and genuine dignity. But above all is is absolutely riveting (and perhaps that is why the BBC's cliff-hanging original approach was not so daft after all). Anyway, I cannot recommend this too highly. It is really wonderful.

P.S. (25th. December 2009) I see Carey Mulligan, who played one of the wards of court in this production, has been nominated for a Golden Globe for her work in the recent film 'An Education' - in which she is indeed excellent.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Mr Ghostface VINE VOICE on 29 Oct 2008
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I first saw this fine series watching a friend's DVD, upscaled on a PS3 on my 1080p TV. It looked perfectly fine, and my partner and me loved it. It's a wonderful show with all-round incredible performances from every single actor. The script is wonderful and the direction and production design second to none. That's why we bought it ourselves on Blu-ray. And wow. While the DVD looked very good indeed, we could not believe just how crystal clear it looks on Blu-ray. It's quite breath-taking, and I'm not just saying that. The series is shot with vast amounts of black and a very muted colour palette, which can often lend itself to graininess when dealing with older material shot on film. Bleak House was shot with HD cameras and the results are here for all to see. Of course, technical achievements are meaningless without a strong script and convincing performances, but that's not a worry here.
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71 of 74 people found the following review helpful By A music lover on 11 Dec 2006
Format: DVD
It's a pity that one reviewer's annoyance with the release policy (see below) has reduced the customer star-rating for this series to, currently, only three stars. Perhaps awarding it five stars herewith will redress the balance a bit, because this is definitely five-star stuff.

The acting is universally excellent and a complicated plot is told with great skill and subtlety. Even if the screen version doesn't follow the story in every detail, the atmosphere is authentically 'Dickensian' throughout. The viewer soon becomes emotionally involved with the characters, not least because both caricature and sentimentality - which can be hazards with Dickens adaptations - are successfully avoided. A thoroughly enjoyable series.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dorie on 1 Mar 2006
Format: DVD
Like the other reviewers, I agree that this is an excellent dramatization. It boasts a fantastic cast, so believable in their roles that I got totally absorbed into their world. Gillian Anderson, particularly, is wonderful and extremely convincing in playing Lady Deadlock, as well as beautiful to look at. Anna Maxwell Martin as Esther Summerson, Alun Armstrong as police detective Bucket, Timothy West as Sir Leicester Dedlock are also unforgettable. There are some very interesting other faces, in some of the more minor roles, which I found perfectly cast, and which were a joy to watch because of their wonderful expressions which made their characters seem so real.
The tension of the plot is very well maintained, and there is not one moment that I found boring. Indeed,I became so engrossed that at one point I found it impossible to stop watching, as I was interested in following the developments and all the twists and turns. The turning points in the plot are very well done, while not overly sentimental, and extracted some tears. These moments particularly linger in memory when the series is over.
Not to be missed, I'd say.
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