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31 Reviews
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93 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Childhood revisited
I was reading "The Owl Service" on holiday in Wales (1978) when, as a total coincidence, I first saw this series. At the time it seemed otherworldly and slightly confusing to an impressionable 13 year old boy. The phrase "She wants to be flowers and you make her owls" has haunted me for 30 years. Finally I can see it all and appreciate that which I was too young to fully...
Published on 6 May 2008 by G. Thomas

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Recommended - with reservations
It's many years since I read Alan Garner's books, and I had never seen the Granada television series before, so I was pleased to find that it was available. On the whole I enjoyed the series, but for several reasons I've only rated it as 3 stars.

Firstly, I did not feel that Alan Garner sucessfully translated his book into a screenplay - or perhaps it was that...
Published on 17 April 2010 by Anthony Green


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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent DVD release..., 2 May 2008
This review is from: The Owl Service - The Complete Series [DVD] (DVD)
For a show that hardly anyone has heard of which hasn't been transmitted for 20 years, Network have put together a surprisingly nice DVD package for the series. It contains:

*The six episodes (split over two discs) with picture and sound as good as can be expected.
*A Granada TV documentary on Alan Garner from 1980.
*A booklet that details (well) the making of the show, and also features modern interviews with Gillian Hills and Raymond Llewellyn, finished off with a review by film critic Kim Newman.

All in all, it's a surprisingly well put together DVD release for a show that was, and is, unlike any other.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A long awaited release!, 28 April 2008
By 
Dark Paths "Dark Paths" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Owl Service - The Complete Series [DVD] (DVD)
This television version of Alan Garner's The Owl Service (adapted by the author) is a haunting masterpiece with fantastic performances, and great locations. Fans of the book will find all the key elements intact, and well represented, while newcomers will marvel at the peculiar quality the series exhibits, even after all this time. Not to be missed by any classic TV fans.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant TV Drama deserves a better DVD treatment, 1 Jun 2009
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This review is from: The Owl Service - The Complete Series [DVD] (DVD)
From the first time I saw this series, at the age of nine, I never, ever forgot about it. Despite it being one of the first shows Granada TV ever produced in Eastman colour, the original broadcast was in black and white, which actually added to the eeriness of the entire piece, but it was great to finally see it how the writer and the producers had originally intended and the atmosphere of the story is enhance rather than diminished.

Thirty years later, having watched the DVD my opinion remains unchanged. Other reviews here have provided a synopsis so I won't repeat that here, suffice to say that 'The Owl Service' is one of the most original, intelligent, absorbing and atmospheric ghost stories I've ever seen. While naturally, some of the dialogue and elements of the dramatic methodology come over as dated, this was 1969 after all, the performances generally come across as fresh and absorbing and the claustrophobic setting of the Welsh valley is satisfactorily spooky, providing the perfect backdrop. The word 'masterpiece' is too often bandied around these days, but if any production deserves to be regarded as such, then this is surely one of them.

In light of that, I'm a little disappointed by the treatment it's been given on this DVD, having waited so long for its release. I would have thought that a restoration of the 16 millimetre frames might have been in order as the negative has been damaged here and there and it's a bit distracting, which is why this review is only 4 stars, not 5. Perhaps, given the running time, a full restoration would have been too expensive, but it's a shame to be honest. I'd also liked to have seen a few cast and production- crew interviews as part of the extras and perhaps a production commentary track. That said, there is a suitably strange interview with the author Alan Garner, who also worked first hand on the TV production and a booklet that's a wealth of information concerning the casting, film schedule, location shoots and general anecdotes. There's also the inclusion of a PDF apparently, but I haven't had time to check that out yet. Given the amount of time that's passed I suppose I should be grateful that there's a DVD release at all. Those familiar with the production, such as myself, will be thrilled to have it and if you haven't seen it before, buy a copy, skin up, sit back and enjoy the weirdness.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Recommended - with reservations, 17 April 2010
By 
Anthony Green "cascode" (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Owl Service - The Complete Series [DVD] (DVD)
It's many years since I read Alan Garner's books, and I had never seen the Granada television series before, so I was pleased to find that it was available. On the whole I enjoyed the series, but for several reasons I've only rated it as 3 stars.

Firstly, I did not feel that Alan Garner sucessfully translated his book into a screenplay - or perhaps it was that the director/producer Peter Plummer was not able to adequately realise Garner's screenplay. The story is certainly intended to have an elusive, mystical quality, but the screenplay overdoes this to the point that essential information on which the narrative depends is omitted.

To compensate for this lack of detail in the story, episodes 2-7 each begin with a short recap of the preceeding events. In these recaps we are also given information (often vital to understanding the plot) that simply wasn't shown in the earlier episodes.

It could be that this was intentional so that the series could be appreciated both by viewers who had previously read the book, and by those who had not. If this is the case it was not a good idea, and the show suffers. It is also possible that after the series had been edited it was felt that the story was simply too disjointed for broadcast in its original form, and so the short recaps were edited in to clarify the plot.

Secondly, the acting is variable, particularly from the three teenage leads who are in most of the scenes, but it is no worse than might be expected. The production is pretty good for a TV series of the time, although the print is starting to look a little faded. The sound quality is also variable with dialogue very hard to make out in some scenes.

Overall I'd recommend the series to people, particularly adult viewers, who have read the book *recently*. In this case you'll probably judge it to be a successful and atmospheric treatment of the story. If, however, you have never read the book you will probably find the pacing and need for explanatory "recaps" to be clumsy and intrusive.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 1 April 2008
By 
HH (Sherman Oaks, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Owl Service - The Complete Series [DVD] (DVD)
Frightening, provocative, brilliant, multi-layered, inspiring, can't say enough about it, all this and remarkable Gillian Hills.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as compelling as when I first saw it, 17 April 2013
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This review is from: The Owl Service - The Complete Series [DVD] (DVD)
I watched this on TV as a teenager when it was first repeated and it had an exaggerated reality that made a strong impact on me. Seeing it again it doesn't disappoint and the additional Alan Garner interview is a good extra.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, 22 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Owl Service - The Complete Series [DVD] (DVD)
My DVD player conked out half way through but weird and true to the spirit of the great book. Recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Suspense, 15 Sep 2008
This review is from: The Owl Service - The Complete Series [DVD] (DVD)
With the screenplay adapted from his own book by Alan Garner, this TV series from the early 1970's, closely mirrors the book and a lot of the narrative has, justifiably, become dialogue. The storyline concerns the resonance of legend echoing down the ages in a remote Welsh Valley. Having only seen the original black and white broadcast what impressed me was an excellent transfer to DVD and the excitement, when watching it for the first time in colour, of realising the deliberate use of colour theme for the three prime characters, Roger (green), his step sister Alison (red)and local boy Gwynn (black)- which were the colours of the wires in a domestic electric plug at that time, that reflects one of the themes of a storyline that bristles with an electric adolescent sexual charge.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Nostalgia... (shame about the end), 10 Feb 2010
This review is from: The Owl Service - The Complete Series [DVD] (DVD)
I think I've brought down the average score with my 3 star score,
but I'll briefly explain.

I struggled with this tv series as a kid, it wasn't really for kids, it's for adults. And I always lost interest before the end.
However, in the years since, I've wondered how it ended, & decided to invest in the dvd.
And this is the only way to watch this story.

The confusing scenarios are explained at the start of the episode which follows, so you can keep up.
I even think they explain matters that were edited-out completely, from the preceeding episode !!!
(if you was a kid, watching this on a weekly basis, you was conned).

The story is clever enough, and it takes you on a mysterious journey, and it throws up lots of questions that you want answers to...
and then it fails to deliver them in the end.
(I'll not give any 'spoilers', unless you think me saying the ending is a big let-down is a 'spoiler')

Great acting from the kids (14, going on 40), particularly the posh (almost camp) boy... perhaps a big fan of Kenneth Williams?
He brings his role to life, & throws in so much humour too.

So 3 stars is still a recommendation, but with reservations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia At Its Best, 3 July 2014
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This review is from: The Owl Service - The Complete Series [DVD] (DVD)
Pure nostalgia, brilliant and highly recommended.
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The Owl Service - The Complete Series [DVD]
The Owl Service - The Complete Series [DVD] by Peter Plummer (DVD - 2008)
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