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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wholly convincing and unsentimental, 22 Nov 2004
By 
Pismotality (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys [DVD] (DVD)
This superb three part series, written by Andrew Birkin in the 70s, uses a wholly convincing and unsentimental combination of documentary evidence and imaginative reconstruction to explore the psyche of the Peter Pan playwright JM Barrie.
Ian Holm is unforgettable in the central role and overall there is a sense of decency, and an absence of sensationalism, in this attempt to give shape to the complex and painful story of this unusual man's emotional needs. I haven't seen the recent movie covering similar ground so can't make comparisons although it's worth mentioning that Birkin says he realised his originally intended one-off drama would compromise the complexity of Barrie's character and held out for a three part series (would the Beeb be as flexible today?). Once you've seen Ian Holm, it's certainly difficult to imagine a better performance: Nico, the last surviving brother was, apparently, "undone" when he first watched Holm as "Uncle Jim."
Incidentally, Nico wrote angrily to a newspaper when a columnist referred to Barrie as a closet pederast - he thought Barrie was incapable of "stirrings in the undergrowth" for anyone - but what the series delicately suggests is that simply being the focus of Barrie's emotional needs could itself be a considerable burden, whatever the comforts or bribes - holidays, gifts - in its wake. The moment I remember most vividly from first watching the series is when Barrie, having frightened off a friend (read: rival) of the adult Michael, is reciting from his play Mary Rose and we see a look of wry amusement on Michael's face, not unmixed with affection; but we've also been given enough material by then to make sense of Michael's later fate.
Overall, this is a fascinating story told superbly well with an astonishing central performance - witness the moment Holm as Barrie learns of the death of one of his "boys" at the front, or his reaction to his wife's intention to divorce him. The earlier scenes with Barrie and the children alone, for which no documentary evidence exists, wrote themselves, according to Birkin, and they are extraordinary. And given the mass of unecessary, anecdotal commentaries on so many DVDs, it's also a relief that no one is talking over those scenes or any others - watch them and engage with them yourself, as Nature intendeded. Birkin speaks in a short, separate piece to camera about the genesis of the project.
A minor point: it might have been useful also to include Andrew Birkins Without Walls piece on Barrie from some time in the 80s or 90s, but I can't remember how much that might have duplicated what he has to say today.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paul Sutton's bunk review, 29 Sep 2007
By 
Andrew Birkin (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys [DVD] (DVD)
Paul Sutton's "review" vis-a-vis the technical stuff is utter bunk - and I should know as I wrote "The Lost Boys" and was involved in the DVD transfer. The trilogy was remastered from the BBC's original 2" video tapes, which in turn included exterior sequences shot on 16mm, as was the custom in the 1970s. The American/NTSC version came out after the UK/PAL version, not before, and as for stating that "the picture quality is a long way short of the old one on the old VHS tape" this too is claptrap since the trilogy was never released on tape!
I suggest Paul Sutton stops writing defamatory remarks about things he knows nothing about.

[In order to post this rebuttal, I fear I had to rate my own efforts, so naturally gave them 5/5!]
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never Never land, 14 Nov 2006
This review is from: J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys [DVD] (DVD)
The tragedy of this series is that it could not be made today in this ghastly politically correct world.

It is superb of course just as the other reviewers say. Holm's acting is simply stunning. But then there isn't a weak actor in the production. The boy actors are excellent. The reconstruction of the period is perfect.

It's remarkable to reflect on the success of Peter Pan at the time and since. Despite Disney doing their best to ruin the story. That a new production is now being performed, speaks wonders for the storyline.

This story could only have developed because of the relationship between Barrie and George. And this is wonderfully brought out in the series.

That the man had such a strong relationship with all of those boys, his inability to handle his marriage, the platonic relationship with the boys' mother - all highlight the fact that Barrie was a classic paedophile.

I'm certain that Nico is right when he wrote that there was no sexual relationship at all. But true paedophilia doesn't subscribe to this anyway. Only the so called paedophilia as trumpeted by the revolting News Of The World etc associates this with child molestation.

I regard this as a must see. Made at a time when quality was uppermost in the minds of the BBC. And it deserves to be watched to have one exposed to the complexity of the man Barrie and the true nature of paedophilia.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE REAL PETER PAN, 5 Feb 2005
This review is from: J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys [DVD] (DVD)
This story is warm, funny, tragic and heartbreaking.
J.M.Barrie WAS the REAL Peter Pan, a little boy who yearned for a lost childhood that he never had, now grown old in a man's body that he never came to terms with.
His love of children was an extension of his own child-like self.
The present day cynics who try to paste a sexual overtone onto this story show themselves as misguided and misinformed and were rebuffed by the surviving brother who was adamant to J.M's totally innocent love of the children.
Ian Holm gives his greatest performance as J.M. Barrie, he is heartbreakingly lonely. Although lorded as a writer and living an affluent lifestyle his world is without joy.

Then he meets 'his lost boys' to whom he becomes by degrees, playmate, guide and father figure until the world he contsructs, his 'NEVERLAND' gradually is invaded by the real world and begins to unravel with tragic consequences.
A memorable experience.......film making at its very best.
If you want to be uplifted and touched.... buy this series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars classic 70s drama if dull setting, 9 May 2014
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This review is from: J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys [DVD] (DVD)
Saw it at the time but didn't recall how dull it was (no soundtrack doesn't help) but a great record of a sad great story and Holm is good as are the boys. Andrew Birkin's commentary very welcome, and his book a great integral part of the whole story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lost Boys, 14 Dec 2013
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This review is from: J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys [DVD] (DVD)
This film is a masterpiece in its own right, superb acting throughout by all, I remember seeing the series on TV for the first time and was hooked then
It portrays the period beautifully with such tenderness and guaranteed not to leave a dry eye
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In Defence of Paul Sutton, 12 Jan 2007
By 
Paul R. Sutton "Paul Sutton" (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys [DVD] (DVD)
Dear Andrew, sorry to have upset you. The film is marvellous and your book should be on everyone's shelf. My review was of the DVD released in America, which I bought (because it had a better cover) because it was released much later than the DVD released in England (early DVDs were DVD-5s, later DVDs are DVD-9s and should be higher quality). The picture quality of the American discs is shockingly bad. It is certainly transfered into NTSC from a PAL source, so the picture 'ghosts' whenever there is movement. It is not nearly as good as the VHS copy I recorded from television. Naturally I sent the disc back and posted a warning to customers to stop them from being ripped off. I don't have a copy of the disc released in the UK. I bought a copy for a friend, who watches DVDs on an old analogue portable TV, and he's happy with it.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes Words Are Not Enough, 18 Feb 2008
By 
F. S. L'hoir (Irvine, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys [DVD] (DVD)
How does one entitle a review of a television drama series that is so absorbing and thought-provoking that one cannot possibly describe it without becoming mired in the platitudinous swamp of review-speak? As true as the words "hauntingly beautiful," "brilliantly scripted," and "splendidly acted" might be, they nevertheless fall flat in respect to "The Lost Boys." Similarly, the words "subtly nuanced performance" sound cheap in respect to Ian Holm's remarkable portrayal of Sir James Barrie. Nor can words do justice to Maureen O'Brien, Ann Bell, Tim Pigott-Smith, Anna Cropper, and the dozen or so boys of different ages who portray the five Llewellyn Davies brothers.

The story centers on a paradox of words and loss of words. Ironically, Barrie, who writes hundreds of thousands of words in his plays, his books, his letters to his adopted family of five boys, cannot express himself in actual words either to them or to his wife. Partly because of his failure to communicate, his desire to protect those he loves results too often in loss. The title, "The Lost Boys," is particularly poignant, since it connotes far more than the evident allusion to Peter Pan. It connotes not only loss of youth, loss of friends, parents and children, but also loss of innocence embodied in the loss of an entire generation of young men in the Great War that was supposed to end all wars. In the final estimation, the title connotes the most poignant loss of all: the loss of something imagined that never existed, nor ever could exist.

I must say that I am impressed with Koch Vision--the NTSC distributor (of which I had not previously heard)--although they might want to rethink the plastic double-carrier of the two DVDS, one hinge of which was broken. The Box names the actors in letters that one can actually read, and the DVD has an enlightening interview with the author of the script. Each episode is a riveting hour-and-a-half long. The costumes and settings are magnificent; and now I have sunk once again into the Swamp of Critical Platitudes!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great video, 1 May 2013
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This review is from: J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys [DVD] (DVD)
This is a typical 70s drama. it is very wordy and quite slow by today's standards but is extremely well acted and the emotional elements are exceptionally expressed. The DVD is high quality, having lost none of the sound or visual attributes over the course of time. Recommended!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, poignant drama, 6 Sep 2012
This review is from: J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys [DVD] (DVD)
This is done beautifully with Ian Holm superb as the tormented, complex Barrie. In the more recent movie, Johnny Depp played Barrie and the accent wasn't bad and the film wasnt a disaster. But Barrie's character was light years removed from the romantic, handsome Hollywood star.... Compare that with Ian Holm's racking cough, his unsentimental portrayal of a sentimental man... As for the charge of pederasty... Birkin leaves it ambiguous, confused and complex... As perhaps it was for Barrie himself.... He certainly loved the Llewellyn Davies boys and it was that love that inspired Peter Pan....
Reviewed by Antosha Chekonte
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J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys [DVD]
J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys [DVD] by Andrew Birkin (DVD - 2004)
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