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4.2 out of 5 stars132
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 28 July 2014
Pay attention or the 70 plus Amazon reviews will screw you up. If you enter "A Year in Provence" you are offered three different versions. Do not buy the brown-cover 1992 version - it's cut: 238 minutes. Do not buy the 1993 blue-cover version: it is cut too: 240 minutes. Many of the review complaints refer to these. Buy the Original Broadcast Version, at 360 minutes, which is not cut.

The problem is that the same 70 reviews appear under each of the versions. It's a pity Amazon can't get it right.

It's a great series.
66 comments|57 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This video set is one of those rare birds -- an adaptation that is better then the original book. Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence is good, but the screenplay made a few important changes that made all the difference.
The addition of a wife for Mayle is the main difference. While Mayle has a wife in the book, she fades so far into the background as to be virtually invisible. I see from the dedication in the book that her name is Jenny, but since the screenwriter had to create a wife out of whole cloth here, he gave her a new name as well -- Annie. The addition of Annie and the casting of Lindsay Crouse make all the difference.
Another difference was to subtract ex-spouses and grown children, which serves to streamline the story. Peter in the film is somewhat more short-tempered and loud than Peter in the book, but this makes a nice contrast with Annie. And who is going to make himself out to be a blowhard in his own book, after all? The rest of the story is much as Mayle wrote it.
This set has become one of our family favorites. We borrowed the public library's copies several times, then finally bought our own and watch it at least once a year. It's broken down into twelve 30-minute chapters, one for each month. You can watch it in half hour chunks or 90-minute doses, a whole season (and tape) at a time. The chapters stand alone, but are also threaded together to make a real story. In fact, the story comes together so neatly, that one suspects that although these episodes may really have happened, perhaps they happened over a period of several years, or in a different order. Still, some of the best non-fiction writers out there are novelists at heart.
The acting and the scenery in A Year in Provence are just great. The French characters are played by French actors and speak no English in the film. Since the Mayles are learning French, they are able to translate for us and it doesn't seem awkward.
There you have it: entertaining writing, good acting, gorgeous scenery, and a free French lesson thrown in.
33 comments|67 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 February 2010
I saw this pleasant adaptation of the Peter Mayle book many years ago on television and thought it quite good. The book, as is usual, was better (more nuanced, detailed, etc) but the adaptation I thought worked. This disc, however, does not work. This is a "shortened version" and is, quite simply, awful. I would have never purchased this had I realized that this was an abridged version. Many characters and story lines appear out of the air, and then some disappear as quickly. I sat down to watch this with my wife thinking it could be something that we could both like. We were both sorely disappointed and, in fact, she chould not begin to follow what was going on and who was who in this extremely choppy "short" edit. I would say, avoid at all cost and find a complete full-length version. John Thaw and Lindsay Duncan give enjoyable and often very quietly funny performances that deserve to be seen as intended. I do not believe I saw anywhere mentioned when I purchased this disc that this was a modified or edited version and I am clearly not very happy with my purchase. I hope to find a complete version of this to share with my wife. Better luck next time, I guess.
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on 17 February 2014
The listing describes this as the "complete series" at 370 minutes. What I got was a 238 minute abridged version that only barely resembled the original. They cut out parts that were then referenced later in the programme, so we were left confused about who people were and what they were talking about. Fortunately I had seen the proper full version years ago and could explain what was going on to my fellow viewers, but if you hadn't seen it before you would have struggled to follow the finer details of plot that are, after all, what made the book so popular.

Absolutely not worth the money unless they start sending out the full version as promised!
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on 27 May 2011
there is little to say here, other than the brilliant work has been hacked to bits in some editing suite and something like a third of the original footage is missing from this version. I can't recommend it on this basis and suggest buyeys seek alternative versions. However those who do buy the unmolested version I am sure will not be disappointed as its well written and John Thaw, as far as i'm concerned, never did anything bad and is well supported by Lindsey Duncan and a host of French supporting actors, all shot in a superb location
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on 10 December 2003
I have the series on v.h.s. from the original time it was out on tv and have watched it several times, but this d.v.d version has been edited by an idiot, lots of important bits are cut out so anyone watching for the first time will wonder sometimes what the characters are talking about, i shall stick to my old v.h.s copy.
11 comment|57 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 25 May 2007
When A year in Provence first hit the TV screens , the reviews by so called critics were lukewarm to say the least. Viewing statistics plummeted throughout the series and ended up being watched by a handful of diehards. If the above info was correct , I can only imagine that the backbone of the british viewing public has been totally brainwashed into only watching what the critics recommend.

This series is one of the finest productions that the media industry has ever produced. John Thaw and Lindsay Duncan are superb ,as are the multitude of French actors / Actresses. My particular favourites are Mon Collumbarnie (the plumber) and M Marcel (the Postman) .

The scenery is gentle and relaxing as are the charming villages.

The storyline of a diary of french life during one year is well constructed and easy to follow.

The motto of the series : move to France and enjoy life.
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on 15 March 2013
the length is listed as being the same as the other version that I did purchase. Which means that this is also a heavily abridged version. Unfortunately this means that anyone not already familier with the story will sit befuddled wondering who many of the characters are and where they came from. Characters drop in and disappear without their story arc making any sense or all too often even being completed. This is really too bad as the original is very enjoyable, good hearted, pleasant, and at turns a bit sad, and often quite funny. Really very good. This version on disc should be avoided. Please do wait until someone clever goes back and releases the complete A Year in Provence on disc. Which is BTW 6 hours long (12 episodes each of 30 mins [...]and not just shy of 4 hours long. It will be worth the wait.
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on 7 November 2012
Before starting this review, I have to say I haven't read the book, so I have nothing to compare it with. I know this is now dated, by 20 years surprisingly,

Gently done, and amusing from beginning to end, 'A Year In Provence' is a look into the lives of a couple abandoning their 'safe' lives in London, and moving to the beautiful countryside of the Auvergne to do up a farmhouse. Twenty years ago, this may have been something of an unusual undertaking but now so many have done it, it is something you have to put into perspective when watching this.

The English couple's interactions with the locals are as charming as the locations. It isn't an epic story, but more of a memoire - a diary. John Thaw is on form, as one would expect. In fact the acting of all carries this series to the success it is.

I'm a little puzzled by the omission of the Chants d'Auvergne, sung by Leslie Garett, that are included on the soundtrack CD, but that do not make any appearance that I can hear, in the series. Was it a copyright issue or something? They would have been perfect to accompany some of the beautiful views.
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on 25 April 2014
Absolutely brilliant. I've got the 2 disc version on region 1, but it's not as clear a recording as this new one. Also, the original BBC single disc version had been cut---read butchered, by an editor with no imagination, that until you see the uncut two disc version, you realise how much is missing. My advice, get this two disc new release, a bottle of red, preferably French, un-plug the phone, tell everyone you're away on holiday, pull the curtains and slip away to Peter Mayles' Provence
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