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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 11 March 2010
For Christmas (not especially for Dickens's Carol, I purchased this big (in every aspect) box of classical British literature, now transformed into film. Each and every one has its special charm and the viewer can choose ackording to today's form. As a non-british watcher I would say that no other nation has the ability to put into film what its greatest authors have written as books. As an extra bonus for the young generation, this could easily be a natural way from watching to reading. As a reasonably educated person I find myself immersed in the lovely sea of British acting. Every smile, grumpy comment or terse word brings to life the unending world of the great literature and its possibilies in the form of film. I can highly recommend this collection to every english-speaking person who will feel good to relive some of the great works of Dickens again. Perhaps it will lead you to the book-shelf too?
Gunnar Adell, former dep. director of public prosecution, Sweden
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on 9 February 2012
I have just received this product and so have not viewed every production (and don't plan on rushing through it), although I have recently seen both Great Expectations and Our Mutual Friend and can vouch for the wonderful quality of those productions. The only real shame is that the 1985 version of Bleak House, by all accounts a wonderful production, is not included, presumably because this set was released just before the (also wonderful) 2005 version was broadcast on TV.

My purpose in this review, however, is to talk about the packaging. The BBC have re-packaged this set for Dickens' bicentenary, with the new version (Charles Dickens Collection (Repackaged) [DVD]) now available at a slightly higher price than this one. So which is better? The answer is, quite simply, this one (especially at the cheaper price). The new version is packaged in a cardboard slip-case, which I believe contains the 12 discs in a convential format in the same way as the newly box set-ed Bleak House, Little Dorrit, Oliver Twist and Great Expectations set that was released on the same day (well worth a look too, by the way), with a seperate booklet providing information on each production. That's all well and good, and I'd have no complaints with that set on its own, but the presentation of this original version is exemplary. As another reviewer has mentioned, it is presented in a book format sealed with a magnet (a magnet!), and within each "leaf" of DVD is backed with an information card on the production, with some very well-chosen pictures on the DVD side. It is a joy even to flick through, and that's not something you can often say for a DVD release. Unfortunately, I can only assume that with the new version having been released this edition will sooner or later run out of stock for good. So don't risk it is my advice, and get this copy even if it's only going to sit on your shelf for the time being. Besides, it will look lovely while it's there.

(EDIT 23/04/2012: The repackaged version of this product, linked to above, has now been reduced in price and now stands at just a few pounds more expensive than this edition, so bear that in mind when choosing.)
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This collection features eight complete editions of various Dickens interpretations from the BBC stable, from 1977's "Christmas Carol" through to 1999's "David Copperfield". The total mileage is 1977 minutes, not including various extras. Divide that by the price offered and, however much the price is, it'll still be a bargain.

There are some big stars here, and some who should be or should have been: there are some fine performances in some of the smallest of parts. With eight different directors, the production is uneven, and some series suffered from smaller budgets than others, but there is not a duff series among them. If I had to choose a worst, then "David Copperfield" over-eggs an already mawkish pie (and is top-heavy in big names). The best? Well, "Great Expectations" has a wonderful atmosphere, especially out on the marshes. But top of the tree for me is "Martin Chuzzlewit" with fantastic humour in every nuance.
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on 22 January 2011
I bought that collection for myself. And I was positively surprised when I opened the package. The collection looks like an old book with a lock, including a keyhole picture. Actually it is a magnetic lock and even form the top or side it looks like a book. It is a real show-off, a collector's dream. The DVDs can be browsed like book pages. The DVD on top, the content discription on the back side.

So far I have only seen "A Christmas Carol", my all time favourite story. It is the shortest movie I have seen so far (not counting cartoons). It is a nice mix of stage and movie and the only tiny draw back is Sir Michael Murray Hordern as Scrooge. Not as an actor, mind you. But he looks so friendly, even when he plays Scrooge as a miser. It reminds me of a friendly grandpa or uncle who pretends to be angry. Anyway this collection will be my highlight of DVD collections.
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on 9 February 2012
I have only seen two of these productions so far (Great Expectations and Our Mutual Friend), but they are wonderful and I have no doubt that there is something to enjoy in all the others too. However, I can't see why you would want this version of the product when there is a cheaper and better version available here: The Charles Dickens BBC Collection: The Pickwick Papers / Oliver Twist / A Christmas Carol / Martin Chuzzlewit / David Copperfield / Tale Of Two Cities / Great Expectations / Our Mutual Friend [DVD]. The DVDs in this version and the 2005 edition are identical, but the original version is a) cheaper and b) comes in a unique book-style packaging that is not matched by the conventional approach of this version. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this product, but there is simply a version that is presented in a superior manner and will cost you a tenner less. Get that one instead.

(EDIT 23/04/2012: Feels like I'm spending my life editing this review. After a brief period of being cheaper, this product now stands at a few pounds more expensive than the original packaging. So it may be worth a look if you'd prefer the more conventional presentation.)
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on 25 February 2012
What a way to improve your knowledge of Charles Dickens, with this bumper pack of 8 popular works, of nearly 40 hours of film, including additional special features on some DVD's, to enhance your knowledge of the productions.
Many well known actors/actresses added to my enjoyment and very well worth the cost, in comparison to buying individual productions.
Just a pity all of Dickens works aren't available in one presentation pack (or set of packs) but that may then become a prohibitive cost to many potential buyers (so maybe that's an unfair comment).
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This is a rare product that should be cherished not only for the content but also for the imaginative packaging. The BBC doesn't always get it right but when they do they are unsurpassed.

If the dramatisation of Dickens is of interest to you then you should buy at this bargain price. Criticism that it is incomplete does not reveal a secret. You know exactly what Dickens' works you are going to receive and if there are some missing, such as Little Dorrit, then consider doing as I did and buy these separately.
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on 10 December 2011
I was looking forward to receiving this dvd pack. When it came it looked really good, dvds packed like a book,I put on Martin Chuzzelwit straight away as I love this story, and the BBC dramatised this perfectly,only to be really disappointed as half the story was edited out, I have not watch any of the other dvds so not sure if its a default or not, although I think I remember another reviewer saying the same thing, wish I had taken more notice.
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on 22 July 2012
I recently purchased this box set as a gift, but I originally bought it a few years ago as a Christmas present for my husband. It really made our Christmas as there was nothing much to our taste on the TV. We loved the totally engrossing and convincing acting, and although the stories are all familiar, we found ourselves spelbound by each one. Paul Scofield's Martin Chuzzlewit is exceptional, but each DVD stands in its own right with superb performances from all. Best watched in winter, snuggled up by a log fire and a good glass of red wine.
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on 5 December 2011
There have been many memorable film interpretations of the Dickens classics over the years, but from my viewpoint I particularly admire the BBC series included in this collection mainly as a consequence of the sheer depth incorporated in the dramas, which often extend to six hours in total.

As a general rule, characters are explored in greater detail than they are in the typical film adaptation and stories are evolved to a magnitude more in line with the content of the original books.

Costumes and locations, which are an additional forte of the BBC evoke a most Dickensian atmosphere which serves to enhance the overall experience of viewing these DVDs.

The option to display English subtitles is a helpful plus, not only for the hearing impaired, but also for those wishing to focus on the supreme quality of the dialogue, whilst watching the dramas. Access to subtitles is also valuable for those viewers who are not native English speakers, but are wishing to study the English language and its authors with a view to becoming more proficient in their understanding of both the language and its related literature.

Consequently I would most wholeheartedly recommend the Charles Dickens Collection not only as a cost-effective and entertaining boxset in its own right, but also as an essential medium for those wishing to access a viable and in-depth interpretation of Charles Dickens and his works.
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