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Dickens Before Sound [DVD]

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Product details

  • Directors: Various
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 28 Aug. 2006
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000GQMKYW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,291 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

DICKENS BEFORE SOUND (2-Disc Set)

Inspired by the popular success of Silent Shakespeare, Dickens Before Sound is a unique collection of early adaptations of perhaps Britain's favourite (and after Shakespeare) most adapted author.

This section ranges from the first extant adaptation, Scrooge; or, Marley's Ghost photographed a mere thirty-one years after Dickens' death, to a bonus of the very first Dickensian sound film: Bransby Williams presenting his monologue in the character of Grandfather Smallweed from Bleak House. En route, the development of cinema storytelling will be witnessed as practitioners of this wonderful new art struggle to transform a tale from page to screen.

For the first time these films are presented with Neil Brand's newly composed scores and, in the case of Gabriel Grub and The Pickwick Papers, with an entirely experimental attempt to match original words to silent images.

Disc One

  • Gabriel Grub (1880-1910)
  • Scrooge; or, Marley's Ghost (1901)
  • The Cricket on the Hearth (1909)
  • Oliver Twist (1909)
  • The Boy and the Convict (1909)
  • Nicholas Nickleby (1912)
  • The Pickwick Papers (1913)
  • David Copperfield (1913) ( extract)

Disc Two

  • Oliver Twist (1922)
  • Dickens'London (1924)
  • Grandfather Smallweed (1926 1929) (extract)

Special features

  • Fully illustrated booklet including original stills
  • Spoken word performance by Ken Campbell of Dickens original text over Gabriel Grub and The Pickwick Papers
  • Voiceover commentary by screenwriter Michael Eaton on The Cricket on the Hearth
  • Downloadable essay by Dickens scholar Graham Petrie

USA, UK | 1880 -1929 | black & white | 180 minutes | Ratio 1.33:1 | Optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | Region 2 DVD

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Format: DVD
This is a brilliant DVD and essential viewing for anyone interested in Dickens' work or in silent cinema. Many of the films don't attempt to provide the whole of Dickens' story, instead they offer vignettes or focus on a particular plot line, indicating how widely known and embedded in the culture they were at the time. As always from the BFI, this is a quality edition and the films look great considering their age. The following information is taken from the BFI website:

Inspired by the popular success of the BFI's Silent Shakespeare films, Dickens Before Sound is a unique collection of early adaptations of perhaps Britain's favourite and (after Shakespeare), most adapted author.Almost one hundred film versions of Dickens' stories were made before the coming of sound, predominantly in Britain and the USA, but also in countries such as France, Italy, Russia, Germany and Denmark. Sadly, only about a third of them are known to have survived and have rarely been seen. This collection of films, the majority of which are previously unreleased, shows how early cinema storytelling developed, as practitioners of this wonderful new art struggled to transform a tale from page to screen. This DVD includes the first existing Dickens adaptation, Scrooge; or Marley's Ghost (1901) photographed a mere thirty-one years after the author's death; an entirely original attempt to animate a series of original lantern slides depicting the story of Gabriel Grub; the first Dickensian sound film with Bransby Williams as the character Grandfather Smallweed from Bleak House, and perhaps the centrepiece of the collection - a version of Oliver Twist (1922) featuring two iconic performers of the silent screen, Jackie Coogan and Lon Chaney.
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Fantastic!
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