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Three Films By Somerset Maugham - Trio / Encore / Quartet [DVD]

4.5 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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  • Three Films By Somerset Maugham - Trio / Encore / Quartet [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Basil Radford, Hermione Baddeley, Felix Aylmer, Angela Baddeley, Kathleen Harrison
  • Directors: Ken Annakin, Harold French, Pat Jackson, Anthony Pelissier, Ralph Smart
  • Producers: Antony Darnborough
  • Format: Box set, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Network
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Oct. 2007
  • Run Time: 285 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000V4IOB2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,762 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

A collection of films based on the short stories of W. Somerset Maugham. 'Trio' (1950) is a collection of three vignettes adapted from short stories written by W. Somerset Maugham and introduced on screen by the writer himself. 'The Verger' follows the fortunes of Albert Foreman (James Hayter) a man of the cloth at St Neville's whose position is terminated when it emerges that he is illiterate. Forced to change his life, he rejects reading and writing lessons and instead opens a tobacconist shop. He then becomes something of an unlikely business tycoon. In 'Mister Know All' we are introduced to Max Kelada (Nigel Patrick) - the type of big-mouth everyone loves to hate. A jeweller by trade, he goes on a cruise - where his inability to keep quiet leads him into an awkward situation. When he identifies the necklace of a fellow passenger's wife as authentic, he almost reveals a secret affair. His ability to finally keep his mouth shut earns him a newfound respect. 'Sanitorium' is set in a TB ward in the Scottish countryside. New patient Ashenden (Roland Culver) checks in and begins immediately to observe the lives of the other patients. A touching romance between resident patients Major Templeton (Michael Rennie) captivates his imagination while the incessant bickering between elderly residents McLeod (Finlay Currie) and Campbell (John Laurie) provides comic relief. 'Encore' (1951) is an adaptation of three more of Maugham's short stories. 'The Ant and the Grasshopper' concerns the trials and tribulations through which a ne'er-do-well brother, Tom Ramsey (Nigel Patrick), puts his prim-and-proper businessman brother, George Ramsey (Roland Culver). The escapades that drive George to absolute distraction eventually win the hand of the world's third richest girl (Margaret Withers) for the shiftless Tom. 'Winter Cruise' finds the crew of a cargo boat becoming unglued by the endless chatter of a spinster passenger named Miss Reid (Kay Walsh.) In a desperate attempt to silence the prattling busybody, the ship's officers browbeat a French steward, Pierre (Jacques Francois) into making love to her. The results provide some astounding surprises for the officers, Pierre, and certainly for Miss Reid. In 'The Gigolo and the Gigolette', beautiful daredevil Stella Cotman (Glynis Johns) - whose job it is to entertain the jaded guests of a resort hotel by diving nightly from an eighty-foot platform into a flaming tank - is losing her nerve. Finally, in 'Quartet' (1948), four more film versions of Maugham's stories are brought together and introduced by the man himself. 'The Facts of Life' features a young tennis player who escapes from his domineering partner and absconds to Monaco. 'The Alien Corn' features Dirk Bogarde playing a man with the ambition to be a top pianist, but he is rejected by music scholars. 'The Kite' stars George Cole as a man with an obsession for kites and little time for his wife. 'The Colonel's Lady' revolves around a stuffy colonel's search for the man his wife has been writing passionate poems about.

Customer Reviews

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What a wonderful collection. each DVD is preceded by a short chat by th great man himself, Somerset Maugham, with stories that trasnport you to another era. Of course the fact that the stories themselves ar so cleverly constructed helps enormously, but besides that, the acting and the old world charm of the characters just make this collection of three DVDs a superb gift. Also, the quality is such that you're likely to keep the DVDs and watch them time and again. The films, as with the stories upon which they are based, are timeless. What a brilliant idea to put together this collection.
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This DVD is a gem. It consists of a total of 10 short or shortish stories on 3 discs, originally separate films from the late 1940's. Some are from Somerset Maugham, a few from or adapted by other writers. At least two ( The Verger and The Colonel's Lady) were later recycled into the (also recommended and on DVD) Tales of the Unexpected series of the late 70's and early 80's. The black and white is crisp and clear as can be, the sound likewise. The acting is superb, too, with many famous names appearing, not least Nigel Patrick.

Each film of the three (Trio, Quartet, Encore) is introduced by Somerset Maugham from his beautiful home and garden on the Riviera. How glamorous that must have seemed, looked at from the dingy squalor of much of 1940's Britain!

Superb entertainment and truly enjoyable. Recommended.
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In 1948 Gainsborough decided with the input of the author himself W Somerset Maugham to develop four of his short stories into a movie.The result was Quartet which became such a raging success that it spawned two sequels Trio(1950) and Encore (1951).
The pity here is that the most celebrated Quartet is pretty well outshone by it's sequels.
In Quartet the first three-"Facts of Life" with Jack Watling as an impressionable young tennis player abroad;"The Alien Corn" with Dirk Bogarde as an aspiring pianist and "The Kite" with George Cole are all fairly trite and dull but the last entry "The Colonel's Lady about a country lady of means(Nora Swinburne)whose small book of poetry is a publishing sensation much to the consternation of her unloving husband(Cecil Parker)who finds his well ordered life coming apart at the seams as he struggles to keep a lid on his jealousy.Both Swinburne and Parker are quite brilliant.
In the far more consistent Trio,James Hayter and the wonderous Kathleen Harrison are lovely in "The Verger"-a story of exquisite charm about the late blossoming of ambition and tolerance;"Mr Knowall"features Nigel Patrick as the "very british"Max Kelada which has a very nice payoff and "The Sanitorium"which has a very rich cast and passes the time pleasantly enough but doesn't really go anywhere.
In Encore we find Nigel Patrick at the top of his form in"The Ant And The Grasshopper"about two brothers with very differing views on responsibility;"Winter Cruise"has Kay Walsh as a chatterbox whose constant talking drives the crew to arrange a romance for her(the ending is nicely bittersweet)and "Gigolo and Gigolette"a misfire about a high diver saved only by Glynis Johns who looks very nice.
Overall this three disc set is a bargain but be wary of those rose tinted spectacles reviews,when it is good(The Verger,Mr Knowall)it is very good,when it is bad(Facts of life,Gigolo...)it is pretty bad.
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I bought my first copy of this collection for my family and me at Christmas 2008 and now I'm back for another copy for my elderly aunt and uncle in Wales. I have loved Somerset Maugham's short stories for years and read them regularly with my young son, and there's nothing more delightful than to find some of them adapted, here, in film with some of the best of British acting talent that I remember from my childhood in the 1960s! And, then, to have the films introduced by the GREAT fellow himself, well this is a gem of a collection that I hold very dear. I hope you enjoy them too!
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By H. A. Weedon TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Jan. 2014
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This three disc set of a quartet, and two trios (ten in all) of W Somerset Maugham's short stories is a real gem. Brilliantly acted, directed and produced, the tales have a dateless quality about them that can never go out of fashion. They are so perfectly staged that the viewer is able to quite forget that they were filmed in black and white. There's absolutely nothing in modern film production that can out-do anything we have here.

Having already read all of the short stories featured in this collection, I was impressed at how well they match up with the printed versions. Disc 1, entitled Quartet, features four short stories: The Facts of Life, The Alien Corn, The Kite and The Colonel's Lady. Disc 2, entitled Trio, features three stories entitled The Verger, Mr Knowall and Sanatorium. Disc three, entitled Encore also features three stories, The Ant and the Grasshopper, Winter Cruise and Gigolo and Gigolette.

Well told stories have a timeless quality about them that will also show in well made and well acted stage and film versions of them. Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare and Beethoven are all 'dated', even 'out of date' and 'old fashioned'. Like them, Somerset Maugham withstands the passing of time simply because he is a timeless, top class story teller, facts that are brilliantly brought out in these productions. The story entitled 'The Verger' (Disc 1) has always been one of my all time favourite short stories.

Somerset Maugham was one of the greatest story tellers of all time and, let us never forget, story telling pre-dates the ability to read and write. Happily, Maugham was able to write down in readily readable style the creations his imaginative genius had already devised. It's so very encouraging to be able to see one's favourite stories so well acted out as they are in these timeless productions.
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