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4.7 out of 5 stars
My Family And Other Animals [DVD][1987]
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66 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2008
I too had been hoping for this release, having read several of Gerald Durrell's books and also having been most disappointed by the recent release, with Imelda Staunton. This is so beautifully filmed (no wonder the BBC Natural Hisory Unit were involved) that my memory of it as a sun-filled oasis before a hard week at work was not disappointed, as 20 year-old memories so often are. The performances of every family member, and those closely associated with them, were memorable. Surely Brian Blessed was born to play Spiro? Hannah Gordon is an excellent Mother: warm but slightly eccentric, tossing a whole scorpion (mercifully dead) into one of her culinary inventions. I am resisting singling out the rest of the family for praise but a mention must go to young Gerry, played by Darren Redmayne: a most convincing Gerry, obsessed by nature, together with his mentor Theo (who I think of every time I say "as you know..."). Do watch it, whether you remember the original or not!
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 4 November 2004
This fantastic TV series is based on episodes from the late Gerald Durrel's autobiography of his childhood years on the Greek isle of Corfu.
I watched by chance on Danish television and was immediately smitten by the laid-back atmosphere and happiness which shines across every frame of the film. Actually not much goes on during the series but Hannah Gordon, the vastly underrated Scottish actress, and Brian Blessed manage to positively epitomize the very characters whom they play, namely the mother (of Gerald) and Spiro, the Greek handyman. Life seems uncomplicated and beautiful and the scenery is absolutely magnificent.
Having watched this I set about getting hold of all of Mr. Durrell's wonderful books and till this day all of them, but most notably "Family...." remains one of my absolute favourites. Every time I read it I vividly imagine the TV series which certainly ought to be released on DVD as it depicts an important chapter of Mr. Durrel's life.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2010
The DVD of 'My Family and Other Animals' was just as completely delightful as I had remembered.
Anyone who has been to Corfu will know what a wonderful island it is and this series, with its
evocative music and fabulous photography conjures up the smells and sights of this beautiful place.
Darren Redmayne's stunning performance as the 11-year-old Gerald Durrell is superb - the whole
family and the ebulient Brian Blessed as 'Spiro' make this a most happy series to watch. The
background to Gerald's enduring interest for natural history is very much illustrated - maybe a
little too much for the squeamish, but set in this vibrant location - oh, you almost feel you are there.
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81 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2006
I had been hoping for some time that this adaptation would be released on disc but was irritated to find that certain memorable sequences have been cut from this version. Viewers will miss the humour at the Greek customs of Mother Durrell's bag being retained, of Margot in full cry from an upper window, of some of the eccentricities of Larry's artist friends. Also a surrealistic scene of the family eating of a table in the sea and the conclusion has been docked of references to the political tension in Europe in the late 1930's. Still most of the film has survived intact and all the chief performers turn in first class performances.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 28 April 2009
Excellent is all i can say & so cheap.
The other reviews give more details & i cannot add to them other than saying to me this longer, original version is better than the shorter Imelda Staunton version.
Well done Amazon for offering this at such a low price.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 27 May 2011
I greatly enjoyed the book of this title and remember (but not too well) the original TV series. The series did not quite have the magic of the book but it is brilliantly filmed and the characters a well-portrayed. Hannah Gordon is brilliant as 'mother' and Brian Blessed gets into the role of Spiro. The spirit of Corfu in the 1930s is well captured and the wildlife photography superb (especially remembering when this was filmed). If you want a nice, relaxing video that the whole family can watch, with no sex (well, the animal engage in a bit), and no violence buy this and enjoy it! If only some modern TV series were this good!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
I remember my wife and myself watching this series when it was originally broadcast and thinking how enchanting it was. We often spoke of it and my wife often said rather wistfully she wished it would be repeated. Imagine my delight when I discovered it was available on DVD. I bought it for her birthday and she was thrilled to receive it. We sat down to watch it with some trepidation in case it was not as good as we remembered it. I am pleased to say we were not disappointed. It was funny, amusing, entertaining, beautifully acted, informative, and evocative. My wife especially liked the theme music of this enchanting series. I can highly recommend this extremely cheap DVD set.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The set contains all 10 episodes: 1-6 on disc 1 and 7-10 on disc 2 but needs careful navigation of the disc Menu:

To select an episode, first go to the Menu and then select 'Episode Selection'. The next window will allow you to select Chapters within Episode 1.
To select a different Episode, highlight the > (right arrow) seen to the right of 'Main Menu'. This will take you to Episode 2, and the various Chapters within that Episode.
To move between Episodes, select the < and > (left and right arrows) found next to 'Main Menu'.

I hope this helps you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2009
This is a delightful series, based on fact, of course. The more I watch it, the more I rate it alongside "La Gloire de mon Père" and "Le Château de ma Mère", for, like the films of Marcel Pagnol's boyhood, it so magnificently evokes a time long gone. And it provides so many smiles and laughs, and perhaps some tears.

The landscapes of the island of Corfu are more green and luscious than those of Pagnol's Provence, but both provide beautiful backdrops for the activities of somewhat eccentric families and the childhood of exploratory boys. "My Family" has the additional glory of rocky coastlines and glorious seascapes, not to be missed.

Yes, I know, the Durrell family were well off financially, and this story is not at all typical of families in the 1930s. But what's wrong with enjoying the idiosyncrasies of a good humoured and delightfully dysfunctional middle class family?

Brian Blessed is excellent as the Greek taxi driver, Spiro, who takes them under his wing. There are just two occasions when we hear the full power of his famous stentorian voice. Hannah Gordon gives an understated but insightful portrayal of the somewhat scatty mother. I'm not sure whether or not I prefer her to Imelda Staunton's portrayal in the other, shorter filmed version of the story. Darren Redmayne is very good as the boy Gerald, although I suspected in a couple of sequences that he needed just a little more coaching in the delivery of his lines. There are, however, some beautifully observed exchanges, such as those between him and the naturalist, Theodore, who takes him under his wing for a while. As another reviewer has implied, you'll quietly smile every time you hear someone say: "As you know..."

These exchanges are sometimes the skilful work of the screenwriter in adapting the original wording of Gerald Durrell's book. Some characters and sequences have been omitted, and others expanded, with no loss to the delightful tale.

And let's not forget the maggenpies, the dancing pigeon, the pregnant mantis, and the scorpions.

The background music is lovely, too. It is in some ways reminiscent of the well known music used in "Picnic at Hanging Rock, though without the quivering menace.

The whole thing is enhanced by remarkable footage from the BBC Natural History Unit.

Anyone who has, like me, worked with gifted children will find a lot more of interest in this series, too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 April 2014
This DVD series is just so captivating and lovely. I read the book in my teens & watched the series which is one of my all time favourites. Having rewatched it recently I have to say I still love it. Gerald Durell's childhood memories in the 1930's on Corfu before it was overwhelmed with tourists is just idyllic. You feel the warmth of Corfu, the fascination of Gerald's love of insects & creatures and of a close, fun filled family life. It made me want to visit Corfu. The actors in the series are super, love Brian Blessed, as' Spiro' what a character he plays. In my opinion this series warms your heart, transports you there and reminds of of your own childhood memories. Sentimental but super
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