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This review is from: Classic Ghost Stories of M R James [DVD] (DVD)
Seated in his comfortable library on a dark winter night, a robed `Varsity don (Robert Powell) unfolds a macabre tale. `The Mezzotint' is a most effective opening story for this collection, illustrated in a way which matches M.R. James' written description so perfectly that I had the uncanny feeling I had seen it before ...
Each of this collection of five readings is wonderfully performed by Powell in an inviting library set. Faithfully abridged from the original texts, they showcase the wide range of James' ghostly imagination - and sense of humour, a quality of his stories that may surprise viewers who have yet to enjoy reading them.
A welcome `extra', worth equal billing with the main feature, is the set of three further readings. Michael Bryant performs them in evening dress, with the air of a learned Edwardian gentleman recounting remarkable incidents to a friend in the hours after dinner. His factual style is compelling and makes the remarkable, believable.
These three tales were originally broadcast in the late afternoon for older children, but the standards are just as high. Even the subtle parting compliment of an incomplete Shakespearean quotation is present; the author allows us to take pleasure in completing it for ourselves.
This is a very enjoyable DVD which brings us close to the experience of attending some of M.R. James' legendary Christmas readings in person. It is also available in a box set with the classic TV adaptations, but if you have those already, this single DVD makes an essential addition to your collection. 5*