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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 14 July 2010
I saw this edition of Great Expectations first when I was 10 and have never forgotten it. Now in my 70's I found that the young Pip, Estelle and the frissons of fear of meeting the convict in the graveyard, hadnt lost anything with the passage of time, also the slight deception of the older Pip & Estelle who lacked the magic of their childhood versions. Jo was one of the most superbly acted parts, his simple dignity evokes a little tear of sympathy. The print was as clear as a bell. Oliver Twist was good too, Alec Guiness an excellent Fabian (he was also superb as the pale young gentleman in Great Expectations). This a grimmer story tho with a happy ending. I loved seeing both. Havnt seen the third yet.
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on 19 July 2011
An outstanding collection of 3 classic British films of Dickens stories. David Lean's Great Expectations starring Sir John Mills, and featuring Alec Guinness, Finlay Currie and a very young Jean Simmons, is the definitive depiction of the story and is very close to the book.Similarly Lean's Oliver Twist is the yardstick by which other film versions are measured. The more modern version of Tale of Two Cities brings together a collection of phenomenal British Actors, including Dirk Bogarde, Donald Pleasance, christopher Lee and Dorothy Tutin. The incredible price for the collection is gob-smacking and meant that the offer was too good to resist. A must for lovers of classic British drama.
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I have a problem with Dickens: his characters are too Manichean, either wholly good or wholly bad. The same can be said for this collection of British movies based on adaptations of his works, but in this instance all three movies are (almost) wholly good. The DVD set was initially purchased by me primarily for my collection of Dirk Bogarde movies, but having watched all three films more than twice, I conclude that this is a fantastic selection. Each film (using the Amazon criteria) merits four stars, but in this instance the whole is greater than the parts and merits five.

The oldest feature here is David Lean's `Great Expectations' of 1946 in its BFI restoration. It has a fantastically atmospheric production design. Its only misfortune for me is that I had already seen Charlotte Rampling play Miss Havisham: anyone else playing this role is going to be an anticlimax. For this disc, the only extra worth listing is the stills gallery.

David Lean repeated his Dickens triumph two years later with probably the most renowned `Oliver twist' ever seen on film. Another BFI restoration, its opening shots of extreme weather and his brilliant use of dramatic shadows makes the film a masterpiece of its day. The extras include a contemporary casting appeal by Tony Wager (who played the young Pip in `Great Expectations'); some good production stills; and a twenty-four-minute documentary from 2000 in which various members of the production crew provide some background information. (It's a shame the late John Howard Davies does not appear.)

`A Tale of Two Cities' of 1958 was directed by Ralph Thomas. In his biography of Bogarde, John Coldstream described the star's part as Sydney Carton as one of those that boosted his sex appeal, "that transformed him from `put to bed' to `take to bed'." There are, though, problems with this film that cannot be gone into here, but it is nevertheless imaginatively put together. Thomas apparently deliberately shot it in black and white, but I wonder if the 4:3 screen ratio is original: there is no reference to this being a BFI restoration. Anyway, the disc comes with written biographies of Bogarde, Thomas, and Dorothy Tutin; lots of excellent still shots taken behind-the-scenes; and another twenty-four-minute documentary from 2000 in which Thomas, Tutin, and Christopher Lee appear.

All in all this is a fantastic selection that is entertaining on so many levels and is equally good value for money for any student of the cinema.
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on 8 October 2009
This remarkable collection of films was a bargain price-wise but artistically also. Nobody forgets in GE - Magwitch launching himself at the inncoent Pip in the graveyard, or in fact the juvenile reply regarding his brother's and sisters - lying in a little row. Acting and direction of the highest quality indeed and this carries over to 'Two cities' as well. True, Bogarde was to go on to become one of Europe's most enduring talents and was perhaps still afflicted by matinee status during this film, but the energy and focus are already apparent, almost nonchalantly deployed. Oliver Twist of course just grabs you in the heart and even has the butchest of us fending off the odd tear. Highly recommended brilliant direction from the legendary David Lean makes this a not to be missed collection.
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VINE VOICEon 17 September 2008

Great British adaptation of this wonderful story based on the Charles Dickens novel of the same name.

Dirk Bogarde stars as the wonderful (and ever so dashing!) Sidney Carton who despite his drunkenness and apparent 'worthless' existence becomes one of the most charming and heroic characters in English novels! (Bogarde was excellent at playing heroes) The words Sydney Carton utters to the distressed girl by his side who is about to go to the guillotine: 'keep your eyes on me - and mind nothing else' are some of the most beautiful to hear at such a time, and live long in the mind after the film has ended...

One of the most outstanding performances in this movie is that of Rosalie Crutchley as 'Madame DeFarge' - a great actress. Her character's only weakness being the encounter she had with 'Miss Pross' (Athene Seyler) I had the privilege of expressing my opinion on her part in this film, and she was so extremely modest and grateful, and was rather surprised that her acting had such impact. Viewers will be aware that Ms. Crutchley would leave lasting impressions on various roles she would play - more notably a few years later in 'The Haunting' (1963) where she played the eerie 'Mrs. Dudley'.

A great movie!
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Three REAL classics in one set worthy of inclusion in anyone's DVD collection and at a great Amazon price
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on 14 May 2013
The age of black and white films is no longer with us. Their art and skill was in the use of light and shade. The story stood on its own merits. I saw all of these films many years ago. Probably at the local Odeon. So it has been a great pleasure to see them all again now. I feel they have stood the test of time very well. David Lean's Oliver Twist and Great Expectations thrill me now as they did when they first came out. A Tale of Two Cities is not quite in the same category but I still enjoyed it. I think it would have looked better in colour which the director himself felt with hindsight he should have done. All three films draw upon Charles Dickens' immortal characters that are forever with us.
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on 18 September 2014
loved all films with my favourite being great expectations which is a david lean masterpiece especially the scene in the graveyard with the escaped convict magwich and the young boy pip, seen this as a 14 year old was very scared . Robert Newtons part as the evil bill sykes is brilliant and keeps you on tenterhooks. a great triple bill.
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on 16 July 2011
It should be noted that "A Tale of Two Cities" ist not in its original aspect ratio, but in 4:3. The trailer is about 1,66:1, and in several scenes of the movie the outmost left and right portions of the image are clearly missing.
The other two movies are all right (original 4:3 aspect ratio).
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on 26 December 2012
They don't make them like this any more - It's nice to finally own a copy of these classic movies with a cast you couldn't find today. So much talent. The DVDs are good quality - I reccommend them to any Dickens film buff.
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