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  • Bleak House [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Bleak House [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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3 used from £32.93

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details) Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

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Product details

  • Actors: Anna Maxwell Martin, Denis Lawson, Carey Mulligan, Finn Morrell, Gillian Anderson
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Colour, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: BBC Warner
  • DVD Release Date: 28 Feb. 2006
  • Run Time: 510 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (274 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CEXG0U
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 398,366 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Bleak House


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,
--This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

130 of 131 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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157 of 162 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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72 of 76 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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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Mar. 2006
Format: DVD
I waited to get this on DVD rather than watch the half hour chunks on the TV. I know it was screened like that to reflect how it was originally published in serial form blah blah but I like to get settled in!
Anyway, I wholeheartedly recommend it. Its true to the novel and contains the usual array of Dickens' grotesques, complex plotting and social commentary - but this version is fast paced, beautifully acted and completely absorbing. Some of the characters get on your nerves (eg dripping wet Ada and wearying Lady Dedlock - although you'll fall in love with Gillian Anderson in the role despite wanting to give her a good slap and a double espresso!)but thats just a feature of the book. The characters are obviously of their time and act in ways frustrating to us now.
Its got some of the best villians I've seen for a long time (Charles Dance and Phil Davis both brilliant)and the central female character (Miss Emmerson? can't remember, must be going senile) is played superbly. She gives hope to many a plain girl as despite being disfigured by smallpox she still has the men falling over their feet to get her. Lots of lovely cameos as well and Johnny Vegas is brilliant as a fat, illiterate, alcoholic. Who'd have thought he could play illiterate.
On top of all that it looks fantastic and the settings, costumes etc fully satisfy all us period drama lovers.
Buy it, take the phone off the hook and settle down to 8 hours of wonderful TV.
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