84 Charing Cross Road [DVD] 
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A story about love and the love of books, 84 Charing Cross Road features Academy Award(r) winners Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins in stellar performances. Helen Hanff (Bancroft), a feisty New York writer, mails a letter to a small London bookshop requesting some rare English classics. Frank Doel (Hopkins), the reserved English bookseller, answers her request, beginning a touching and humorous correspondence that spans two continents and two decades. Hanff's aloof British demeanor, but their mutual love of books forms a bond that deepens with each passing year. Their intimate, richly detailed letters draw us into their lives as Helen and Frank share theirdreams, hopes, sorrows and joys - and, in doing so, develop a lasting and extraordinary friendship.
Helene Hanff (Anne Bancroft) and Frank Doel (Anthony Hopkins) are lifelong friends who never meet in 84 Charing Cross Road, a unique comedy-drama based on a true story. Hanff and Doel are separated by 3,000 miles of ocean and joined by a passion for old books. Their relationship begins when New- Yorker Hanff orders a copy of Pepys' diary. Doel, as polite and soft-spoken as Hanff is loud and overbearing, fields the request from the titular book shop in London. For the next two decades they correspond without ever actually sitting down for tea and crumpets.
Director David Jones (Betrayal) does a reasonably good job of goosing a movie about something as un-cinematic as letter-writing, and the stars have fun chewing scenery on both sides of the Atlantic. The model for this kind of bittersweet relationship is David Lean's Brief Encounter, which, not coincidentally, is glimpsed here when Hanff steps out for a rainy-day matinee. --Glenn Lovell, Amazon.comSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Hopkins and Bancroft share a film highlighting both of their genuine personas.
Like Hopkins in "Shadowlands" and "The Remains of the Day," we see him in full glory, as a quiet man of grace and sophistication.
He owns the English bookstore, and Bancroft's character mails him a request for a book. Correspondence and a relationship begins. Contently and confidently married, Hopkins responds as an older brother might, and the two grow to cherish each other despite the distance.
As they care for each other, and slowly, their local friends and family become aware, we see how love transcends the sea. Neither character has an agenda, and this left me feeling a little less cynical about the world around me.
Like so many of today's e-mail- and chatroom-only friendships, they learn to appreciate each other, though knowing only the other as they choose to describe themselves.
This isn't a story about books or bookstores, despite the honest representation of their demeanor and personality. Any booklover knows the search for a book, and the texture of a bookseller's knowledge and connection with his books.
This is a movie about the depth, trust, and love of one unexpected relationship. Book lovers will enjoy the context, and good friends will smile knowingly.
The movie is based on 20 years of actual correspondence between New York author Helene Hanff and Frank Doel, the manager of a small London book store. Hanff's in-your-face New York energy and candor are what make the exchange meaningful to viewers. Hanff is a $40 a week script reader as the movie begins but has an affection for British nonfiction that leaves her frustrated with a lack of out-of-print titles in New York. Seeing a small advertisement in The Saturday Review, she writes to Marks & Co. in London (located at 84 Charing Cross Road) asking with trepidation for used books that cost less than $5 each and requesting specific titles.
The movie handles this distance relationship by alternating between receiving and sending correspondence and revealing little bits of the daily lives of those involved. At the core, however, is always a shared passion for books and good writing. The two styles of communicating could not be more different: Hanff doesn't edit her inner thoughts when writing, and Doel is proper and reticent.
The correspondence and relationship take an unexpected turn when Hanff learns how little fresh food English people are allowed during post-war rationing but how cheap it is to send some from Denmark. With a good heart, she sends off a first package . . . and then fears she may offend by having sent a ham to people who keep kosher.Read more ›
I first visted Marks & Co bookshop in 1955 at 84 Charing Cross Road to hunt a copy of T.E Lawrene's
narrative "Seven Pillars of Wisdom", the gentleman there at once set to work to establish if any copies where available.
Within a few minutes of running though the efficient records I was told , yes a very early copy was in stock So from the bowels of their store came this copy used but in mint condition!.by the now famous!"Lawrence of Arabia", it weighed in at a hefty 2 kilo a fine Hard back edition by Jonathan Cape,The kind gentlman called Frank assured me it was at least a Second Edition ,posibly a First !.
84 was one of my early adventures into the world of clasic books and and so in this modern Hi Tec
world at the age of 88 years the Computer is my new world of adventure & travel , I now live on the historic Islands of Malta.
Just a few days ago I was searching for a book(Long out of print) entitled "The travels of a Victorian Photographer" written by an ancestor of mine 'Francis Frith!. So this being the 21st Century and me being in Malta I turned to the internet and the Aladines cave of <www.amazon.co.uk >
Just imagine my amazment & delight when I spotted the name "84 Charing Cross Road Books" flash upon my monitor!
Yes the name now a company based in Hertfordshie HAD got the book I wanted!!. So to return to the Film based upon Hellene Hanff's story I just had to get right up to date and aquire the DVD version of this wonderfull film with Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins.
While I stll love my books I must confess my little black mouse IS an added tool that leads me
around the world of books and delightfull movies.
Eric.Frith. Malta GC. November 3rd 2010.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Don't pay attention to the horrible dvd cheap cover! It's a very beautiful and moving story, with great characters (Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins are magnificent! Read morePublished 4 days ago by Pekaho
Lovely, amusing film - really enjoyed it. Great actors. Bancroft plays an America Jewish woman who seeks specialist old books. Read morePublished 2 months ago by EAP of B
A little masterpiece, a must see!!!!! Miss Bancroft touches perfection.Published 2 months ago by Miguel Angel Romero Dorado
84 Charing cross road arrived on the due date and in very good condition it is a delightful film of more mannerly days it is a calm and relaxing film taken on both sides of the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Michael McNamara