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Ghost Stories from the BBC: Lost Hearts / The Treasure of Abbot Thomas / The Ash Tree (DVD)

Simon Gipps-Kent , Michael Bryant , Lawrence Gordon Clark    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
Price: 10.13 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Ghost Stories from the BBC: Lost Hearts / The Treasure of Abbot Thomas / The Ash Tree (DVD) + Ghost Stories from the BBC: The Stalls of Barchester / A Warning to the Curious [DVD] + Ghost Stories from the BBC: The Signalman / Stigma / The Ice House (DVD)
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Product details

  • Actors: Simon Gipps-Kent, Michael Bryant, Edward Petherbridge
  • Directors: Lawrence Gordon Clark
  • Format: Dolby, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 17 Sep 2012
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0083HHT10
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,282 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Ghost Stories from the BBC: Lost Hearts / The Treasure of Abbot Thomas / The Ash Tree (DVD)
Films by Lawrence Gordon Clark

As a Christmas treat in the late 1960s and 70s, the BBC produced adaptations of ghost stories based on the works of M R James, the Cambridge academic and author of some of the most spine-tingling tales in the English language, which were broadcast to terrified viewers in the dead of winter. This was a tradition that was briefly revived by the BBC between 2007 and 2010.

LOST HEARTS (1973)
When recently orphaned Stephen (Simon Gipps-Kent) goes to live with his uncle he is troubled by two terrifyting child spectres whose mischievous acts lead to a blood-curdling revelation. Based on a gory tale by masterful ghost story-teller M R James, Robin Chapman's dramatisation is a spine-chilling piece of atmospheric television which features a superb performance by Joseph O'Conor as the erratic uncle

THE TREASURE OF ABBOT THOMAS (1974)
Pride comes before a fall in John Bowen' adaptation of M R James' tale of a treasure hunt with a sticky end. Michael Bryant plays The Reverend Somerton whose self-assured intellectual arrogance masks a naked greed.

THE ASH TREE (1975)
Enlighted eighteenth-century nobleman Sir Richard Fell (Edward Petherbridge) inherits more than he bargined for when he comes into possession of a stately home dominated by a sinister old ash tree. David Rudkin's (Pendar's Fen) nuanced adaptation of M R James' short story about malevolent witchcraft features Barbara Ewing (Torture Garden, Brass) as the sorceress.

Special features

  • Introduction to Lost Hearts by Lawrence Gordon Clark (2012, 11 mins)
  • Introduction to The Treasure of Abbot Thomas by Lawrence Gordon Clark (2012, 11 mins)
  • Introduction to The Ash Tree by Lawrence Gordon Clark (2012, 8 mins)
  • Fully illustrated booklet featuring newly-commissioned essays by horror writer Ramsey Campbell, Alex Davidson and Dick Fiddy

UK / colour / English language / DVD9 / Dolby Digital mono audio (320kbps) | Region 2 DVD

Product Description

United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Booklet, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: As a Christmas treat in the late 1960s and 70s, the BBC produced adaptations of ghost stories based on the works of MR James, the Cambridge academic and author of some of the most spine-tingling tales in the English language, which were broadcast to terrified viewers in the dead of winter. This was a tradition that was briefly revived by the BBC between 2007 and 2010. These adaptations, which have a subtlety and style all of their own, have been a major influence on many contemporary British horror filmmakers and have come to be some of the most sought after British TV titles of all time by their legions of eager fans. Volume three in the BFI's BBC Ghost Stories features the DVD premiere of three M.R. James stories directed by Lawrence Gordon Clark: 1973's Lost Hearts, 1974's The Treasure of Abbot Thomas and 1975's The Ash Tree. ...Ghost Stories - Volume 3 ( Lost Hearts / The Treasure of Abbot Thomas / The Ash Tree ) ( Ghost Story for Christmas )


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A high point for the series 29 Jun 2012
By downkiddie TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The BBC's "Ghost Story for Christmas" arguably peaked in perfection here, with "Lost Hearts" and "The Treasure of Abbott Thomas" being spine-tinglingly good adaptations, with "The Ash Tree" not quite so successful, before giving up on M.R. James altogether in subsequent years, instead doing Dickens and then original stories.

"Lost Hearts" is wonderfully atmospheric. The cinematic production (like all these stories it was made on film on location, not videotape in the studio), the country house location and atmospheric folky music suit the story wonderfully. It's sometimes criticised for getting too gruesome too quickly (the titular "Lost Hearts" are quite literal), which goes against James's slow drip terror. The quality of the production does more than compensate for this however.

"The Treasure of Abbott Thomas" is possibly my favourite of all the productions. Michael Bryant is superb as the protagonist. Shopping channel presenter Paul Lavers appears as his young sidekick, together they make an effective on-screen team. The story is padded out slightly with non-Jamesian subplots, but on the whole this captures the spirit of M.R. James perfectly and is cracking television. Indeed, moving the action to a cathedral city in England from Germany and altering the ending makes it even more Jamesian than the story, if that's possible!

For me "The Ash Tree" was slightly disappointing. It is another superb production with a great cast (Edward Petherbridge and a young pre-Doctor Who Lalla Ward), but the adaptation didn't quite match the original story.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More terror from the Provost 28 May 2012
By Bob Sherunkle TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:DVD
[See my review of Volume 1 for general comments on this series.]

Three more of the long-awaited best. Lost Hearts is, gorily, a literal title worthy of Poe, telling the story of an aging recluse who seeks immortality by killing orphan children. This profane brutality, of course, comes back to bite him. The Treasure of Abbot Thomas, well-guarded and hidden for centuries, is sought by a rather bumptious antiquary, well played by Michael Bryant; this production brings out James' contempt for the cocky (this story and Whistle and I'll Come to You), in contrast to his sympathy for the underdog (as in A Warning to the Curious). The Ash Tree is performed and produced well, but it is one of James' weaker stories.

Stop press 1 Aug 2012 - belated release of a fifth disc, with the two remaining MRJ stories, but also all five discs as a box set.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The treasure of MR James 30 Dec 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I first heard about these stories only recently- around october- so I thought I'd check them out. Resisting the temptation to buy the boxset-which was going for silly money on ebay with dozens of bids, I instead plumped for sensible and reliable amazon. Dipping my toes in first with 3 stories, these well written tales from the legendary MR James were written over 100 years ago yet still resonate today (like all good writing). i was too young to remember these being on (as I wasn't born when the BBC started showing these on Christmas eves in the early 70s) and am pleasantly suprised. The emphasis is on slow,deliberate build up, and compared to today's 100 mile an hour/fast cutting/fancy editing tv can take a while to get used to, but stick with it, it's worth it. I won't spoil the stories for those of you who are thinking of purchasing this dvd, but all the tales are unexpected in their unfolding. The best in my opinion is the Ash tree which stars Barbara Ewing as a witch. Well worth a tenner (or so) of any ones money. I think I'll come back to this series in the not to distant future.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ghost stories from the BBC 27 Oct 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Really creepy and atmospheric brought back memories of "A Ghost Story For Christmas".

Well acted especially Lost Hearts and The Ash Tree.

Well worth buying.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of a great series 21 Sep 2012
By Roobarb
Format:DVD
For me, this is the pick of the bunch. Three great adaptations picking up effortlessly from where the series began. Despite being a huge fan of all the films, it's The Treasure of Abbott Thomas which I watch again most often, a brilliantly acted slow-burner leading to a great underground sequence of cloying horror, and ending with a real chill. The films look great, though clearly of their time, and at long last I can finally see exactly what's going on during the creepy climax of The Ash Tree, having only ever seen it on a poor quality bootleg. Each film is preceeded by an insightful interview with director Lawrence Gordon Clarke, and the DVD is packaged with a comprehensive booklet.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A much appreciate gift 13 Jun 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This was even better than I'd expected. Along with The stalls of Barchester and A Warning to the curious it was part of a birthday gift and the recipient was delighted. it arrived in plenty of time so I was very pleased.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh such memories! 12 Mar 2014
By ***
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I remember seeing these many years ago (early 70's) as a teen and they scared me. By todays standards the ghost story plays are very tame and dated but still classic tales to entertain you at Christmas. Forty years ago or so and the Christmas Ghost Stories are still talked about in our reminiscing of times (and TV) gone by.
Still very much enjoyed but no I don't hide behind the sofa.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat spoilt by Director's interpretations.
Once again one feels that the Director could have adhered more closely to the actual story and its content - for instance the 'thing' in the well in 'The Treasure of Abbot... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Phil
5.0 out of 5 stars ghost stories
This was bought as a gift and I am pleased to say that the person I gave it to loved it
Great prompt service that I will use again
Published 3 months ago by P. Lappage
4.0 out of 5 stars Happy Memories revived.
As a youngster I frightened myself stiff reading M.R. James's ghost stories & later on enjoyed some of the televised adaptations-some lost, alas. Read more
Published 6 months ago by JM HAINGE
5.0 out of 5 stars Spooky...
I remember watching Lost Hearts as a child along with many other ghostly offerings from the BBC which sparked a life long interest in the supernatural. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Looby-Lou
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT
Well recommended. Great item and breand new. Great addition to anyones collection. A must for any avid fans. Worth it.
Published 8 months ago by J JEFFERY
5.0 out of 5 stars Ghost stories
Found quality of DVD bit iffy, dont know if because it was due to poor original film. However brilliant to see these stories again, first saw them aged 11or 12 and still worth... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Nick G
5.0 out of 5 stars ghost stories from the BBC
Brilliant, frightening, scary.....terrific
These films come from the great days of the BBC or indeed any television company. Read more
Published 9 months ago by stephen.r glasgow
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Ghost Stories
I would look forward to these annual events eagerly with baited breath , they never disappointed . I watched mouth agape , I was young ! Read more
Published 9 months ago by Rosco
4.0 out of 5 stars Christmas thriller
I always used to watch the Christmas ghost story and thought I would give it another go this year.It didn't disappoint
Published 19 months ago by c green
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