25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Worth it for The Signalman alone ...,
This review is from: Ghost Stories from the BBC: The Signalman / Stigma / The Ice House (DVD) (DVD)
In Hitch-Hiker terms, I suppose this is the fourth DVD of the James trilogy. The selection makes sense, as this volume gives you the three non M R James stories of the long occasional Christmas series. I can't comment on The Ice House or Stigma, as I can't remember whether I saw them on TV (I will have to wait until this volumeis actually released) , and my automatic preference would be the missing MR James productions, i.e. Number 13 and View from a Hill, but no matter - this DVD gets five stars purely for The Signalman. (Copies of the old release of this production are advertised at obscene prices.) Denholm Elliott excels in Dickens' story of the custodian of a lonely signalbox obsessed by - he knows not what, except that it strains to the utmost his professional conscience. Lest you find the premise fanciful, you can take this as a commentary upon the new, dreadful demands of work in the Industrial Revolution; it is also worth considering that Branwell Bronte suffered malaise through his short stint working at a station which was, similarly, deserted and at the foot of a deep cutting. (Admittedly he had a few other issues - drink, drugs, inherent instability ...) Like the performance of Michael Hordern in Whistle and I'll Come to You, we are treated to an old-fashioned British "character actor" at the very top of his form; this may be a revelation to somewhat younger viewers who have seen Elliott only as the cynical butler in Trading Places. The producer is Andrew Davies; this may be his only significant horror production, but his ability to depict human nature and emphasise angst is an additional factor in the success of The Signalman.
Stop press 1 Aug 2012 - belated release of a fifth disc, with the two remaining MRJ stories, but also all five discs as a box set.
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Initial post: 9 Jun 2012 01:08:11 BDT
William Smith says:
I bought the Dutch DVD version of Dickens' 'Dombey and Son' for £8 a while ago simply because it had 'The Signalman' as a bonus feature. I will definitely be buying these new volumes.
Any James fans should check out the excellent, ' The Complete Ghost Stories of M. R. James' by Craftsman Audio, read by David Collings.
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