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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The author is a genius
Excellent. As a substantial bonus there is a separate disc of Bennett reading/performing Telling Tales-one of his autobiographical works which was new to me and in turns very funny and very moving . All in all an essential purchase for anybody interested in the author and/or good acting.
Published on 28 Feb. 2008 by Mr. John Crompton

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great writing and acting, rubbish DVD
For some of it the video is out of synch with the sound, which is absolutely unforgiveable and ruins one's enjoyment of it. I refer in particular to Thora Hird's performance. That is the only thing wrong with it, but it ruins it.
Published 14 months ago by Bottom Inspector


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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The author is a genius, 28 Feb. 2008
By 
Mr. John Crompton (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Talking Heads - The Complete Collection [DVD] (DVD)
Excellent. As a substantial bonus there is a separate disc of Bennett reading/performing Telling Tales-one of his autobiographical works which was new to me and in turns very funny and very moving . All in all an essential purchase for anybody interested in the author and/or good acting.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Talking Heads, 12 Jan. 2010
By 
T. Walton "Old Tom" (Norf) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Talking Heads - The Complete Collection [DVD] (DVD)
I have enjoyed these monologues since they first appeared on TV. I could never aford the video collection.
I saw one 'Waiting for the Telegram' over Christmas and was spellbound by it. As a result orderd this collection on DVD.
Excellent value for the best female actors this country has produced.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating and very moving, 23 Feb. 2010
This review is from: Talking Heads - The Complete Collection [DVD] (DVD)
This is a wonderful set of monologues, brilliantly crafted and superbly acted. They are funny and touching, many will move you to tears as well as laughter. All stand up to repeated viewings.

My favorite is probably the Maggie Smith piece "A Bed Among the Lentils" where she runs the gamut from world-weary resignation to snide disdain to moments that choke me up just to think about. Thre's an amazing bit right near the end where her lips quiver ever so slightly, her eyes do something I can't describe and her voice barely trembles - you know she's crying on the inside and trying to maintain a facade. Superb acting!

The whole set is of this caliber, though. Patricia Routledge (who I associated with rather broad comedy due to Violet Bucket) does some truly marvelous work here too.

The pieces are all quite rich - there's always some starting premise to draw you in, but unsuspected layers gradually emerge and by the end of each monologue you've witnessed a fully fleshed-out story with well-rounded characters and surprising relationships. The sheer artistry of Bennett's work here is amazing (it reminds me a bit of Ruth Draper)

In addition you get Telling Tales - some wonderful autobiographical stories from Bennett himself - all at a bargain price.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Fantastic !, 7 Oct. 2008
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This review is from: Talking Heads - The Complete Collection [DVD] (DVD)
I have these on VHS but don't have a video-recorder anymore so I decided to buy them on DVD and watch them again and they have lost nothing as the years have passed. One disc is only in 4:3 ratio, which shows the age of the content, but Julie Walters and Patricia Routledge's performance soon makes you forget that. I think this is some of Alan Bennet's best work and would recommend it to anyone
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars subtle, sensitive, superb, 9 Jan. 2010
By 
Roman Holliday "jevb" (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Talking Heads - The Complete Collection [DVD] (DVD)
I had seen some of the first series of Alan Bennett's "Talking Heads" when they were broadcast in the late 1980s on public television here in the States. They made quite an impression on me, particularly Maggie Smith in "A Bed among the Lentils," and I had always wanted to see them again. I had never seen the second series. Seven of the twelve were produced in New York a few years ago and I was fortunate enough to see them performed by the likes of Christine Ebersole, Frances Sternhagen, and Lynn Redgrave. When I discovered that they were available on DVD in Britain but that I would not be able to play them on my US equipment, I ordered an inexpensive international DVD player just in order to be able to watch them. The "Talking Heads," along with the poignant "Telling Tales," which I had just read, definitely stand the test of time. They are powerful, poignant, and amusing-- Bennett's unique blend of comedy and drama representing epitome of sophisticated entertainment. I don't buy many DVDs but the combination of astute writing and masterful performances in these collected short pieces invites multiple viewings. My only quibble is the sparse packaging: I wish there more notes. I also purchased "Alan Bennett at the BBC" and look forward to viewing and reviewing the various films. I fail to understand why the brilliant Mr. Bennett isn't better known in this country. Long may he live.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slices of Life, 17 Jan. 2006
By 
R. W. Rose - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Talking Heads - The Complete Collection [DVD] (DVD)
Once again a tour de force from the master playwright. Alan takes us from the depths of despair to peals of laughter within the same story. He has an uncanny knack for phrasing and making the most of everyday utterances. The stories are bleaker than in the first series but each one is a masterpiece.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing collection, 20 Dec. 2012
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Talking Heads - The Complete Collection [DVD] (DVD)
This 3 DVD set combines author Alan Bennett's wonderful 6 part series of monologues for the BBC called "Talking Heads" which
aired in 1988, the sequel of another six monologues done ten years later, called (not very imaginatively) "Talking Heads 2", and a
series of short monologues performed by Bennett himself about his youth, called "Telling Tales", which aired in 2000.

The two "Talking Heads" series have the same basic format; the pieces range from 25 to 40 minutes These wonderful character
sketches are very simply done. The actors speak directly into the camera, in very basic sets that look designed more for stage,
than film. No pretense of naturalistic reality here.

In the first series, there are 5 pieces for women, all performed by some of the best actresses around; Maggie Smith, Thora Hird.
Patricia Routledge, Julie Walters and Stephanie Cole. The lone piece for a male is performed by Bennett himself, who acquits
himself quite admirably. I usually think of him as a writer first, actor second, but he does a terrific and touching job performing
as well. It's especially wonderful to see Maggie Smith getting to play a character so subtle and understated. While she has always
had tremendous range, in recent years much of what she has done has been on the broader side. So being reminded of just how
powerfully quiet she can be is a treat.

In "Talking Heads 2" , once again there are 5 female and 1 male character in the group. And once again the acting is at a very
high level, bringing these works to touching, funny, and occasionally very disturbing life. This time around, the monologues
are performed by Patricia Routledge, Eileen Atkins, Julie Walters, Thora Hird, Penelope Wilton as the five women and David Haig as
the lone male voice. The overall tone seems slightly darker in this set, often dealing with loss, and in one case a daringly sympathetic
portrait of a pedophile (not that his actions are seen as less than monstrous, but Bennett still forces us to perceive the man as a human
being trapped by forces beyond his control, rather than simply as a monster).

As in any collection of short pieces the quality of the tales is variable, but none are less than quite good, and 5 or 6 are exquisite;
heartbreaking, funny, capturing the poetry, comedy and tragedy of day to day life in the way Bennett has proved himself so good at.
Some of the pieces hang on a last minute twist, but more of them are really about peeling away the layers of "ordinary" people to show
the pain and confusion under the masks we all wear.

Telling Tales is series of short stories -- about 10 minutes each -- often both funny and poignant told by the writer/actor, about
his growing-up in Leeds, in WWII and after. The pieces slowly advance from his young boyhood, confused by a war that colored
everything, yet also seemed far away, on through his start as a writer. Very simply done, Bennett quietly sits in a chair and speaks
to the camera. This set isn't as powerful or moving as the two "Talking Heads' series, but still lovely and literate. Bennett is great
at painting word pictures to capture of both the absurd humor and melancholy sadness of simple everyday life.

Overall, these unusual and potent experiments in storytelling represent an excellent use of the intimacy of television, where lengthy
close ups and simple visuals are more effective and less fatiguing than they can be in theatrical features.

If any of this sounds at all interesting to you, I strongly recommend this set as a very worthwhile investment.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 7 Feb. 2006
This review is from: Talking Heads - The Complete Collection [DVD] (DVD)
I bought this for my mum, and I've had the opportunity to hear some of the monologues while she watched it. Though I may not be well-versed in which actors were responsible, the letter-writing lady and old Doris complaining about her home help were amusing, involving and moving at the same time. The scripts were delivered with grace, subtlety and a complex understanding of the characters behind them. Encore.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent alan b, 16 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Talking Heads - The Complete Collection [DVD] (DVD)
i had seen a couple of the talking heads a few years ag, but did not realise how good they were, until i had time to actually sit down and digest alan bennetts extraordinary talent--he is just the best--everyone who admires him should have this box set which is quite simply wonderful--all the actors were good--and impossible to preference,but you cannot better thora hird-she was and always be one of the best--can make you laugh and cry at the same time--alan's input was especially good--he just makes it all look so easy--that's brilliance for you
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ordinary People, 13 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Talking Heads - The Complete Collection [DVD] (DVD)
Alan Bennett's 'Talking Heads' can be 'read' again and again. It is a triumphal depiction of the lives and woes of ordinary people - people who would never see themselves as amounting to more than the ordinary lives of their next door neighbour. People who would rate themselves as ordinary, with dull, unremarkable, every day lives,- Alan Bennett, in this classic DVD, brings them to life. I listen/watch them with deep pleasure at least once a month, probably more, and always come away satisfied and reassured that none of us are really ordinary and all of us have a story of our own to tell - though probably not with the skill of this brilliant playwright.
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Talking Heads - The Complete Collection [DVD]
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