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1. The Chronicles of Narnia - The
$19.95 $14.81
2. Wuthering Heights
$16.50 list($24.99)
3. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
$14.95 $10.27
4. Sleeping Murder
$9.99
5. The Littlest Horse Thieves
$8.99 list($24.99)
6. Lion the Witch & The Wardrobe
$29.98 $25.70
7. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
$14.99 $13.57
8. The Littlest Horse Thieves
$14.98
9. Heroes & Villains: Full Throttle
$79.90 list($29.98)
10. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
$7.19 list($19.98)
11. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
$19.98 $16.99
12. Wuthering Heights
$39.95
13. Ivanhoe
$14.98
14. Heroes & Villains: The Last

1. The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Director: Marilyn Fox (II)
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000069CFC
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 4435
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com

In a misty London train station, four siblings await their journey to the country, a place to avoid the bombs of World War II, a place where one boy imagines nothing ever happens. As it turns out, the old professor's spooky country house is ripe for exploration. Lucy, Edmund, Susan, and Peter's adventures begin when the back wall of a fur-coat filled wardrobe opens up into the magical world of Narnia, where, because of the malevolent White Witch's spell, it is "always winter and never Christmas." Before long, the children (the Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve) are participating in an epic, allegorically Christian battle between good (Aslan the lion) and evil (as represented by the diabolical White Witch, played with wonderfully hideous zeal by Barbara Kellerman).

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, first published in 1950 and designed to be the second book chronologically in the Narnia series, was faithfully, painstakingly adapted into a BBC TV series, and then edited into a feature-length film in 1988. The snowy landscapes of Narnia are lovely, but youngsters accustomed to stunning silver-screen special effects may pooh-pooh this rather slow-moving, homespun production, with humans dressed like beavers, a large stuffed-animal-looking lion, and oddly patched-in Disneyesque animated winged creatures. Still, there's an arresting sweetness and simplicity to this fantasy adventure in two episodes (59 minutes and 110 minutes) that suit this old-fashioned, well-loved classic to a T. --Karin Snelson ... Read more

Reviews (77)

3-0 out of 5 stars Great to see, but could have been better.
I love the books, and think of them as some of the best literature ever written. I enjoyed watching the animated movie as a kid, but longed for something that was more real- namely, live action. And in an age when Harry Potter is big, and The Lord of the Rings has been updated into live action from it's original animation, why not also Narnia? And here it is.

It kept very close to the book, which was helpful. And it is overwhelmingly British- which is just right, since Lewis was British and wrote about British children. This is a production that needed to be done in England to do it right. The acting is certainly superior to anything you see in Harry Potter, thank God- these children can actually act, and emote. But as many have pointed out, the special effects really drag the movie down. It's a bit odd, as the movie obviously has the money for location shooting that put it above a high-school project. But every little while through the movie, you see bits that look like high-schoolers plugged sequences in. The beavers look like people in costumes, with make-up. There's no attempt to hide that they are people. The wolf transforms (very sloppily) from a dog into a guy in a wolf costume, who doesn't look scary as much as humorous. A bit of Babe or Animal Farm (live-action version) technology, with talking animals, would have done well here, and not have been that hard to do. And the painted mythological creatures are really badly done. A computer would have touched this up very easily, very cheaply, to make the special effects realistic- or even some costumes for mythological creatures.

The telling point is a final fight scene between Peter and a wolf, in which the background suddenly changes, inexplicably, into a set for a play, throughout the entire fight. It was then that I realized that this would make an excellent play. There was nothing wrong with the acting, or costumes, or sets, were this a play. It just doesn't measure up to what we have come to expect from movies or even TV.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and Magical
I have all three of the Chronicles of Narnia video sets - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe; Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; and The Silver Chair, having been given them as gifts at least 7 years ago. I am shocked that these are now currently not available, especially with the current Harry Potter craze. The Chronicles of Narnia are wonderful stories for children and adults alike and these British productions from the late 1980s of four of the seven C.S. Lewis books are wonderful and magical. I thought I recalled still seeing these in the PBS Video Catalogs from time to time - I could be mistaken though. Even though I already have these tapes, I hope they are re-released soon for others to enjoy!!!

2-0 out of 5 stars Bad Beginning....
This no-budget production from the BBC fails to live up to the production values of films made 100 years ago. Shoddy production design offers us absurd anthropromorphic animals of the stage-horse variety. The problem is not the budget - I offer the example of John Coates's "The Snowman", which opens with a simple shot of a man entering a wintry wood overlaid with a voiceover, all you need to create an atmosphere of impending enchantment. Instead, the producers foolishly try to emulate Hollywood-style visual effects on a shoestring budget. The results are depressing. The truth is, even with a huge budget, no one involved with the design and execution of this telefilm would be capable of creating a memorable visual.

The 4 children playing the leads are chubby and indolent looking. They consistently seem to be blissfully unaware of the fact that they are being filmed - were they chosen randomly from the nearest grade school? Aslan is a lifeless animatronic head which rasps out his lines via poorly synched voice over.

However, the first 30 minutes or so are wonderful, the minimally made up Mr. Tumnus the clear highlight. The score is very good, from the same composer who scored the deservedly praised BBC "Brideshead Revisited". The text of the telefilm is also very accurate to the text and Christian religious themes of the novel by CS Lewis.

This series gets better with each outing though: "Prince Caspian" ekes its head a little beyond its predecessor, "Dawn Treader" surpasses both by leaps and bounds and finally "The Silver Chair" carries itself with considerable aplomb and charm, despite some very poor designs and effects.

Overall, a decent warm up for the curious before the real thing hits cinemas Christmas 2005.

1-0 out of 5 stars not very good
this movie wasn't even interesting, it is just a waist of money!

5-0 out of 5 stars Immerse your child and yourself in Narnia
Excellent video production by people who love and respect C.S. Lewis and his Narnia Chronicles. My son likes this particular story of the series the best (so far) and after reading it, we watched this show. The book was enhanced by it, not diminished. Wonderful sets, actors and dialogue. It may be a bit intense with the White Witch scenes as the actress plays it to the hilt, but either holding hands or the fast forward button soon remedies the few minutes of nasty old witch harmless. The Brits know how to make the ultimate Narnia show. Get the DVD if you can. ... Read more


2. Wuthering Heights
Director: David Skynner
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005JHC5
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 16859
Average Customer Review: 3.85 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent adaptation
I have now watched three different versions of Wuthering Heights, and now read the book, and this is very easy the best book version. I only watched it because of the recommendations of other Amazon users.

I was not easy in the beginning with the performances, but as it went on the more I felt that this was an excellent interpretation. Robert Cavanah is in particularly wonderful as Heathcliff and Orla Brady does an excellent job as Cathy. If there are major places where the film changes from the book, I cannot find them.

It is a good and fine film and I would very much recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wuthering Heights as Emily Bronte wrote it ...
Wuthering Heights is very nearly unfilmable - as three major film versions over the last 60 years have admirably proved. The 1939 version was a great film, but it wasn't Wuthering Heights. The 1970 version came closer to the spirit of Emily Bronte's novel and had a fine Heathcliff in Timothy Dalton, but was very much a child of its time and massacred by post-production cuts. The less said about the 1992 version, the better.

You could, therefore, be forgiven for approaching a made-for-television version with a cast of comparative "unknowns" with scepticism. You would, however, be wrong. This version of Wuthering Heights is stunningly good. More than that, Emily Bronte would have recognised it as the book she wrote.

No major characters are missing. No major events are missing. The book has been filmed faithfully, from beginning to end. The script is based closely on the novel and was plainly written by someone intimately acquainted with it. It keeps up the narrative pace throughout and even manages to incorporate the haunting links between past and future, future and past that the author intended, but no-one else has ever picked up on.

The performances are uniformly excellent. Robert Cavanah is breathtakingly good in that Everest of roles, Heathcliff. He scales the histrionic heights necessary to tackle the part without once toppling over the edge into melodrama - showing us the man's psychosis, and its origins, without ever quite letting go of his humanity. His Cathy, Orla Brady, matches him stride for stride - and it's wonderful to see the "delirious" scene, where Cathy rips apart her pillow and starts sorting the feathers out, played in full and as written.

Edgar Linton is often seen as weak and insipid - which isn't how Emily Bronte wrote him at all - and Crispin Bonham Carter is superb in what is always seen as the "also-ran" role. His Edgar is a decent, humane and intelligent man, caught up in a situation he neither understands nor can control.

Praise, too, for Ian Shaw's Hindley. He brings a real edge of tragedy to the part, dragging our sympathy with him as he moves from tormentor to tormented.

The younger generation don't let the side down, either. Of particularly note is Matthew MacFadyen's engaging and coltish Hareton - inexplicably adoring of Heathcliff, and torn between his love for the man who destroyed his father and Catherine, the young woman he loves.

Last but very, very far from least - Polly Hemingway is flawless as Nelly Dean - in many ways the lynchpin of the whole story - there from beginning to end, holding the whole thing together. Her scenes with Heathcliff are memorable - with unforgettable touches such as the way she feeds him kitchen tidbits both as child and man.

Finally - a word of praise for Tom Georgeson, whose finely judged Joseph makes you wish we could see a little more of him. Joseph was an important minor character in the novel, and it's good to see him reinstated

The locations are superb - the Yorkshire Dales at their grim, wet, windswept best. The Heights is a real farm with real muck - not a Hollywood set-designer's naff idea of a gothic mansion. You can smell the manure and feel the rain.

Warren Bennett provided the hauntingly beautiful score - perfectly judged to match the prevailing mood of the film. The cinematography is non-flashy and sparing, the costumes right for the period and unobtrusive - the list is endless. There will probably never be a "perfect" version of Emily Bronte's masterpiece - but this one will do for me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Needs to be on DVD!
This is the best version of one of my favorite novels. I wish it was available on DVD; why can't the studios start producing wonderful movies like these on DVD I don't understand. I will wait for it to be available on DVD, then I'm sure I won't be the only one interested in purchasing it.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Closest Version Yet
I am a fan of Emily Bronte. Her book, "Wuthering Heights", is probably the most misunderstood book of it's time. This made-for-TV version is a timeless classic in itself.

The only problem with it is that people try to humanize Heathcliff too much. His character was not as humane as people seem to think. The man was evil in its purest form, and Robert Cavanagh plays him to almost perfection. I'm sorry, I'm a huge fan of Fiennes as well and he was a horrible Heathcliff!

Orla Brady was the only actress that I think portrayed Cathy as she really was. Her ability to go from sunshine to madness in a single facial expression is stunning.

Yes, the movie was choppy. If you haven't read the book, you probably won't understand some of what's going on. You'll get the drift, though. Then again, if you haven't read the book first you're cheating yourself on the real experience. There are some things that irritated me; scenes were played out with an explanation that differed from the novel and didn't have to. And Nelly was too old in the beginning. But you won't find a closer version to the original work than this one.

It is by far the best Masterpiece Theatre movie of 1998.

4-0 out of 5 stars DVD Please!
This is an excellent version of Wuthering Heights, and is on DVD in England. Where is our copy, please? Waiting, impatiently! ... Read more


3. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Director: Marilyn Fox (II)
list price: $24.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005Y7FM
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 53911
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (77)

3-0 out of 5 stars Great to see, but could have been better.
I love the books, and think of them as some of the best literature ever written. I enjoyed watching the animated movie as a kid, but longed for something that was more real- namely, live action. And in an age when Harry Potter is big, and The Lord of the Rings has been updated into live action from it's original animation, why not also Narnia? And here it is.

It kept very close to the book, which was helpful. And it is overwhelmingly British- which is just right, since Lewis was British and wrote about British children. This is a production that needed to be done in England to do it right. The acting is certainly superior to anything you see in Harry Potter, thank God- these children can actually act, and emote. But as many have pointed out, the special effects really drag the movie down. It's a bit odd, as the movie obviously has the money for location shooting that put it above a high-school project. But every little while through the movie, you see bits that look like high-schoolers plugged sequences in. The beavers look like people in costumes, with make-up. There's no attempt to hide that they are people. The wolf transforms (very sloppily) from a dog into a guy in a wolf costume, who doesn't look scary as much as humorous. A bit of Babe or Animal Farm (live-action version) technology, with talking animals, would have done well here, and not have been that hard to do. And the painted mythological creatures are really badly done. A computer would have touched this up very easily, very cheaply, to make the special effects realistic- or even some costumes for mythological creatures.

The telling point is a final fight scene between Peter and a wolf, in which the background suddenly changes, inexplicably, into a set for a play, throughout the entire fight. It was then that I realized that this would make an excellent play. There was nothing wrong with the acting, or costumes, or sets, were this a play. It just doesn't measure up to what we have come to expect from movies or even TV.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and Magical
I have all three of the Chronicles of Narnia video sets - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe; Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; and The Silver Chair, having been given them as gifts at least 7 years ago. I am shocked that these are now currently not available, especially with the current Harry Potter craze. The Chronicles of Narnia are wonderful stories for children and adults alike and these British productions from the late 1980s of four of the seven C.S. Lewis books are wonderful and magical. I thought I recalled still seeing these in the PBS Video Catalogs from time to time - I could be mistaken though. Even though I already have these tapes, I hope they are re-released soon for others to enjoy!!!

2-0 out of 5 stars Bad Beginning....
This no-budget production from the BBC fails to live up to the production values of films made 100 years ago. Shoddy production design offers us absurd anthropromorphic animals of the stage-horse variety. The problem is not the budget - I offer the example of John Coates's "The Snowman", which opens with a simple shot of a man entering a wintry wood overlaid with a voiceover, all you need to create an atmosphere of impending enchantment. Instead, the producers foolishly try to emulate Hollywood-style visual effects on a shoestring budget. The results are depressing. The truth is, even with a huge budget, no one involved with the design and execution of this telefilm would be capable of creating a memorable visual.

The 4 children playing the leads are chubby and indolent looking. They consistently seem to be blissfully unaware of the fact that they are being filmed - were they chosen randomly from the nearest grade school? Aslan is a lifeless animatronic head which rasps out his lines via poorly synched voice over.

However, the first 30 minutes or so are wonderful, the minimally made up Mr. Tumnus the clear highlight. The score is very good, from the same composer who scored the deservedly praised BBC "Brideshead Revisited". The text of the telefilm is also very accurate to the text and Christian religious themes of the novel by CS Lewis.

This series gets better with each outing though: "Prince Caspian" ekes its head a little beyond its predecessor, "Dawn Treader" surpasses both by leaps and bounds and finally "The Silver Chair" carries itself with considerable aplomb and charm, despite some very poor designs and effects.

Overall, a decent warm up for the curious before the real thing hits cinemas Christmas 2005.

1-0 out of 5 stars not very good
this movie wasn't even interesting, it is just a waist of money!

5-0 out of 5 stars Immerse your child and yourself in Narnia
Excellent video production by people who love and respect C.S. Lewis and his Narnia Chronicles. My son likes this particular story of the series the best (so far) and after reading it, we watched this show. The book was enhanced by it, not diminished. Wonderful sets, actors and dialogue. It may be a bit intense with the White Witch scenes as the actress plays it to the hilt, but either holding hands or the fast forward button soon remedies the few minutes of nasty old witch harmless. The Brits know how to make the ultimate Narnia show. Get the DVD if you can. ... Read more


4. Sleeping Murder
Director: John Howard Davies
list price: $14.95
our price: $14.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6303111599
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 2633
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com

The adorable newly wed couple Giles and Gwenda Reed move into their dream house in Devonshire, but when the honeymoon is over, Gwenda is plagued by visions of a body in the hall. She also seems to know places where doors have been plastered over and garden stairs have been covered with shrubs and beds of daffodils. But Gwenda has never been to England before.Indeed, she is wet behind the ears having just gotten off the boat from New Zealand. How does Gwenda know the house so well? Why does she keep seeing the vision of a body in the hall? This mystery appears like an old-fashioned ghost story, including phantom bodies and moaning apparitions, but luckily Miss Marple (Joan Hickson), or the "puzzle solver," as her nephew so affectionately calls her, comes to the rescue of the tortured victims to solve the mystery behind Gwenda's eerie visions. --Samantha Allen Storey ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars "Very dangerous to believe people¿I haven't for years"
This film is an excellent adaptation of Agatha Christie's book. The actors were well chosen. Géraldine Alexander and John Moulder-Brown are a convincing newly wed couple. The couple gets to solve the lion's share of the mystery with guidance from Miss Marple of who warned them not to pursue the mystery. The location is beautiful and requires a vision of the sea. As with most Marple mysteries everyone and no one did it. In fact we are not sure that there was an "it" to did.

So get out your teacakes and sit back watching that new fangled invention that the Americans like (the TV) and be swept away to the Sleeping Murder.

3-0 out of 5 stars Okay
All except Joan Hickson were not great actors. As for the story,the movie goes by the book.This movie was very suspenceful and thoroughly engrossing. ... Read more


5. The Littlest Horse Thieves
Director: Charles Jarrott
list price: $9.99
our price: $9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0764005634
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 25703
Average Customer Review: 3.86 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (7)

1-0 out of 5 stars This was the most depressing movie I've ever seen!
I first saw this movie when I was about 40 years old. Thankfully, I was watching it alone because I cried so hard at the end. Whenever I tell someone about the movie, it was so SAD that I could start crying just explaining what the movie was about. It was really good until the end and the ending was so disturbing, I would never watch it again!

5-0 out of 5 stars a surprising little gem
Its odd how the most underated films can really surprise you. I saw this film for the first time recently, and I regret now not seeing it as a child, I had put off seeing it for such a long time. I did not expect to get too involved about the welfare of a few pit ponies; but honestly the film; inc story; performances and attention to detail are so well done that it almost has a timeless quality about it. Modest as it is; be warned the happy ending only comes with a rather surprising price unexpected for disney in the 70s. Rosemary Anne Sisson,wrote the screenplay also penned 'Ride a Wild Pony' for disney which came out around the same time; also recommended as a companion to this film, hopefully one day that film will be released as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great pit pony film
This film was filmed entirely in the forbidding Yorkshire moors. It tells the story about the small working ponies that have spent their entire lives down in the coal mines and are about to be sold to the slaughterhouse. Although many famous faces appear, the real star of the show must surely be Flash the pit pony. Wrinkles

4-0 out of 5 stars "Vintage" Disney Classic
This is the sort of quality family fare that will rarely, if ever, be made again. Produced in the mid 70's when 'The Waltons' was popular and America wasn't so afflicted with Attention Deficit Disorder, it earns its place as one of the best in Disney's period piece library. The cinematography is excellent with many colorful landscape panoramas and some choice episodes including a dog racing event in the Yorkshire countryside, visually interesting shots of old-fangled colliery machinery, worklife inside the coal mines, and an honest rendering of family life inside the village homes.

The characters of the story are all cast with competent actors, both child and adult. The films' action derives from the resourceful efforts of the kids to save the colliery ponies whose fate is a grim one in the face of production efficiencies soon to be installed by mine owner Alastair Sim-(played Scrooge in 'A Christmas Carol') The film has an innocent charm, although a little dated in both the period of history it covers and its storyline and humor. Even so its charm and quiet drama build to a surprisingly effective climax. There's a sense you've been treated to a unique glimpse of the past with a wide array of period detail providing rich realism. Anyone with patient appreciation for the concerns of children and an interest in the historic difficulties posed by economic/industrial evolution will find a gem in this film. Kids not addicted to video games may also find it enjoyable. Thanks Anchor Bay for a very good transfer to DVD.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pit ponies
This movie was filmed in and around my 77 year old mother's home town of Doncaster, England. Her father was a miner until a mine collapse in the 30's left him permanently disabled. She saw this movie MANY years ago on TV & has been looking for a copy since. She and her sisters used to watch the ponies going down and coming out of the mines. It's a beautiful movie & brings back wonderful memories. ... Read more


6. Lion the Witch & The Wardrobe
Director: Marilyn Fox (II)
list price: $24.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6304160119
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 44723
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com

This Alan Seymour dramatization of The Lion, the Witch andthe Wardrobe was originally broadcast as a BBC series in 1988. Edited here to feature-length, it's simply superb. Whether you take C.S. Lewis's unsubtle Christian symbolism on board or not, the factremains that the cycle of Narnia novels, of which The Lion,the Witch and the Wardrobe was the first, are among the bestchildren's fantasy stories of all time. For anyone who spent theirformative years on Mars, the story concerns four children who findtheir way into a magical land benevolently ruled by the mystical lion,Aslan (voiced by Ronald Pickup). Aslan has been deposed by the evilWhite Witch (played wonderfully by a screechingly camp BarbaraKellerman) who has cast all of Narnia into perpetual winter and whoseeventual defeat entails a fearful sacrifice. While the special effectsare firmly of the Doctor Who school, Lewis's writing is expertlytransferred to the small screen and there are robust but credibleperformances from the four highly plausible young thespians who arecast in the leading roles. It's the perfect video for cozy family(early!) evening viewing, and one that young viewers will return toagain and again. --Roger Thomas, Amazon.co.uk ... Read more

Reviews (77)

3-0 out of 5 stars Great to see, but could have been better.
I love the books, and think of them as some of the best literature ever written. I enjoyed watching the animated movie as a kid, but longed for something that was more real- namely, live action. And in an age when Harry Potter is big, and The Lord of the Rings has been updated into live action from it's original animation, why not also Narnia? And here it is.

It kept very close to the book, which was helpful. And it is overwhelmingly British- which is just right, since Lewis was British and wrote about British children. This is a production that needed to be done in England to do it right. The acting is certainly superior to anything you see in Harry Potter, thank God- these children can actually act, and emote. But as many have pointed out, the special effects really drag the movie down. It's a bit odd, as the movie obviously has the money for location shooting that put it above a high-school project. But every little while through the movie, you see bits that look like high-schoolers plugged sequences in. The beavers look like people in costumes, with make-up. There's no attempt to hide that they are people. The wolf transforms (very sloppily) from a dog into a guy in a wolf costume, who doesn't look scary as much as humorous. A bit of Babe or Animal Farm (live-action version) technology, with talking animals, would have done well here, and not have been that hard to do. And the painted mythological creatures are really badly done. A computer would have touched this up very easily, very cheaply, to make the special effects realistic- or even some costumes for mythological creatures.

The telling point is a final fight scene between Peter and a wolf, in which the background suddenly changes, inexplicably, into a set for a play, throughout the entire fight. It was then that I realized that this would make an excellent play. There was nothing wrong with the acting, or costumes, or sets, were this a play. It just doesn't measure up to what we have come to expect from movies or even TV.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and Magical
I have all three of the Chronicles of Narnia video sets - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe; Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; and The Silver Chair, having been given them as gifts at least 7 years ago. I am shocked that these are now currently not available, especially with the current Harry Potter craze. The Chronicles of Narnia are wonderful stories for children and adults alike and these British productions from the late 1980s of four of the seven C.S. Lewis books are wonderful and magical. I thought I recalled still seeing these in the PBS Video Catalogs from time to time - I could be mistaken though. Even though I already have these tapes, I hope they are re-released soon for others to enjoy!!!

2-0 out of 5 stars Bad Beginning....
This no-budget production from the BBC fails to live up to the production values of films made 100 years ago. Shoddy production design offers us absurd anthropromorphic animals of the stage-horse variety. The problem is not the budget - I offer the example of John Coates's "The Snowman", which opens with a simple shot of a man entering a wintry wood overlaid with a voiceover, all you need to create an atmosphere of impending enchantment. Instead, the producers foolishly try to emulate Hollywood-style visual effects on a shoestring budget. The results are depressing. The truth is, even with a huge budget, no one involved with the design and execution of this telefilm would be capable of creating a memorable visual.

The 4 children playing the leads are chubby and indolent looking. They consistently seem to be blissfully unaware of the fact that they are being filmed - were they chosen randomly from the nearest grade school? Aslan is a lifeless animatronic head which rasps out his lines via poorly synched voice over.

However, the first 30 minutes or so are wonderful, the minimally made up Mr. Tumnus the clear highlight. The score is very good, from the same composer who scored the deservedly praised BBC "Brideshead Revisited". The text of the telefilm is also very accurate to the text and Christian religious themes of the novel by CS Lewis.

This series gets better with each outing though: "Prince Caspian" ekes its head a little beyond its predecessor, "Dawn Treader" surpasses both by leaps and bounds and finally "The Silver Chair" carries itself with considerable aplomb and charm, despite some very poor designs and effects.

Overall, a decent warm up for the curious before the real thing hits cinemas Christmas 2005.

1-0 out of 5 stars not very good
this movie wasn't even interesting, it is just a waist of money!

5-0 out of 5 stars Immerse your child and yourself in Narnia
Excellent video production by people who love and respect C.S. Lewis and his Narnia Chronicles. My son likes this particular story of the series the best (so far) and after reading it, we watched this show. The book was enhanced by it, not diminished. Wonderful sets, actors and dialogue. It may be a bit intense with the White Witch scenes as the actress plays it to the hilt, but either holding hands or the fast forward button soon remedies the few minutes of nasty old witch harmless. The Brits know how to make the ultimate Narnia show. Get the DVD if you can. ... Read more


7. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
Director: Beeban Kidron
list price: $29.98
our price: $29.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004WGBC
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 6169
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com

Jeanette Winterson's semi-autobiographical novel transfers wonderfully to the screen in this BBC adaptation (with a screenplay by Winterson). Jess is the adopted daughter of evangelical Christians living in the northwest of England during the 1960s. Her mother wants Jess to be a missionary, but when she falls in love with Melanie, Jess begins to realize that there is more to life than church.

When Jess's mother begins to suspect the girls of "unnatural passions" she tries to destroy their relationship with the help of Pastor Finch (Kenneth Cranham) and his congregation. But their efforts--including a terrifying attempt at exorcism--only push Jess further away. Jess eventually understands that the only way to survive is to escape, and she sets her sights on a place at Oxford.

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is both a broad comedy and a moving coming-of-age story. Charlotte Coleman is perfect as the teenageJess, attempting to reconcile her religious devotion and her adolescent passion, but the film belongs to Geraldine McEwan as Jess's mother.McEwan obviously relishes Winterson's script, and she creates a character who is monstrous, ridiculous, and surprisingly sympathetic. It's a difficult role to carry off, but McEwan succeeds. Her performance is the high point of this award-winning, provocative film. --Simon Leake ... Read more

Reviews (6)

2-0 out of 5 stars Fast forward review
Oh ho, so you think this is an arthouse flick, eh? Check the pricing, it's a dead giveaway that the lolita sleaze crowd prizes this movie, and for good reason.

OK, we got one extended full-on teeny bopper little girl on little girl nudity scene here, and although the blonde is a bit gangly, it actually helps with the underage perv feel. It's doesn't necessarily make me schwing, but you have to give sleaze credit where it's due. Two solid stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yes, "Powerful and Brilliant," but where's the DVD?
This is certainly an overlooked film if there ever was one. It can be very funny and moving, but yes, I can see that it might offend some sensibilities. Well, lot's of things offend my sensibilities -- and I simply don't buy them . . . I have no doubt that a DVD version would easily pay for the costs of making it. . . Incidentally, I just got my copy of Time Out 2003 (11th ed.) today and while browsing in the obits noticed that the young co-star, Charlotte Coleman (3 Apr 68 - 14 Nov 01) passed away a year ago. Google said it was a bad case of asthma. What a pity! She is much better known for her role in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1993). Time Out doesn't even mention Oranges, which seems to have originated as a TV movie (a long one). Does anyone know any of the reviewers over there?

4-0 out of 5 stars Disturbing portrayal of opression
Oranges is a powerful film, showing the opression of Jess, a young girl uncertain of her own identity. Dealing with sexuality and religious extremists I found at times I was unsettled by the portrayal of the violence aimed at the young girl. Never the less Oranges is a brilliant film and must be watched in its entiretry to be fully appreciated.

5-0 out of 5 stars oranges are not the only fruit
I first saw this movie years ago in the early 90s when I happened to be up late one night channel-surfing. PBS aired the film from 12-3am, undoubtedly due to its homosexual content. Little did I know I was about to view one of the best gay-themed films I have seen to date. Although I am neither a lesbian (although I am gay), nor a product of a fundamentalist Pentecostal upbringing (I was brought up Catholic, "they're the worst" according to Jess' mother!), I strongly believe that any viewer, male or female, gay or straight, religious or secular, can identify with the plight of Jess, the obstinately stubborn and yet valiantly lovable protagonist who finds the self-determination to be true to herself and her God in the midst of the worst sort of persecution and ostracization one can endure- that which comes from those closest to you, your family and community.

Jess, the protagonist, is everyone's hero. She is in fact an ur-hero. She speaks not only to lesbians and gay men who have faced rejection, but to ALL people who have had to find the courage to be who they are and do what they want to do despite the immediate people and circumstances that prevent, forbid, oppress or threaten them from doing so.

The cast displays stellar performances: Geraldine McEwan is unmatched in her portrayal of the zealous Bible-thunping mother. She stabs naked fear and loathing into your heart from the very first scene in which she towers over the 5-year-old Jess and grills her with biblical questions, followed by a smack on the head. Yet somehow you come to respect and admire the fervent tenacity to which she clings to her system of beliefs. Melanie, Jess' first love, is the type of girl you would expect to find in a fairy tale: dripping with innocence and sweet as honey, the perfect poison apple to set up a broken heart. The preacher who leads this flock to which Jess and her mom belong is incredible as a despicable British version of Jimmy Swaggart.

The most striking aspect of the film for me is how the director has woven such teasing, subtle and yet insanely hilarious (British!) humor into a movie that has scenes so painful that it hurts to watch them. Every time I see this movie, I get a little more humor out of it than the previous time, and it makes me love the film all the more, even though it's intent as a whole is certainly not to amuse- that is purely incidental. Yet on second thought, maybe it isn't. Maybe the humor makes us appreciate the somber theme of the movie all the more each time we see it. And we admire Jess all the more, and the ending all the more because of it. It just gets better and better!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonder and Adventurous Film about Life and Growing Up!
This video is a true classic representation about not only life in Northern England but about discovering yourself! It will truly lighten the spirits of anyone who is a nonconformist. The story is beautiful, heartwarming and full of life! The acting is brilliant and the cinematography captures scenes from the North of England that one rarely sees without living there! This is a timeless classic and indeed true to the book of the same tittle! ... Read more


8. The Littlest Horse Thieves
Director: Charles Jarrott
list price: $14.99
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0764005642
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 25598
Average Customer Review: 3.86 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

1-0 out of 5 stars This was the most depressing movie I've ever seen!
I first saw this movie when I was about 40 years old. Thankfully, I was watching it alone because I cried so hard at the end. Whenever I tell someone about the movie, it was so SAD that I could start crying just explaining what the movie was about. It was really good until the end and the ending was so disturbing, I would never watch it again!

5-0 out of 5 stars a surprising little gem
Its odd how the most underated films can really surprise you. I saw this film for the first time recently, and I regret now not seeing it as a child, I had put off seeing it for such a long time. I did not expect to get too involved about the welfare of a few pit ponies; but honestly the film; inc story; performances and attention to detail are so well done that it almost has a timeless quality about it. Modest as it is; be warned the happy ending only comes with a rather surprising price unexpected for disney in the 70s. Rosemary Anne Sisson,wrote the screenplay also penned 'Ride a Wild Pony' for disney which came out around the same time; also recommended as a companion to this film, hopefully one day that film will be released as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great pit pony film
This film was filmed entirely in the forbidding Yorkshire moors. It tells the story about the small working ponies that have spent their entire lives down in the coal mines and are about to be sold to the slaughterhouse. Although many famous faces appear, the real star of the show must surely be Flash the pit pony. Wrinkles

4-0 out of 5 stars "Vintage" Disney Classic
This is the sort of quality family fare that will rarely, if ever, be made again. Produced in the mid 70's when 'The Waltons' was popular and America wasn't so afflicted with Attention Deficit Disorder, it earns its place as one of the best in Disney's period piece library. The cinematography is excellent with many colorful landscape panoramas and some choice episodes including a dog racing event in the Yorkshire countryside, visually interesting shots of old-fangled colliery machinery, worklife inside the coal mines, and an honest rendering of family life inside the village homes.

The characters of the story are all cast with competent actors, both child and adult. The films' action derives from the resourceful efforts of the kids to save the colliery ponies whose fate is a grim one in the face of production efficiencies soon to be installed by mine owner Alastair Sim-(played Scrooge in 'A Christmas Carol') The film has an innocent charm, although a little dated in both the period of history it covers and its storyline and humor. Even so its charm and quiet drama build to a surprisingly effective climax. There's a sense you've been treated to a unique glimpse of the past with a wide array of period detail providing rich realism. Anyone with patient appreciation for the concerns of children and an interest in the historic difficulties posed by economic/industrial evolution will find a gem in this film. Kids not addicted to video games may also find it enjoyable. Thanks Anchor Bay for a very good transfer to DVD.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pit ponies
This movie was filmed in and around my 77 year old mother's home town of Doncaster, England. Her father was a miner until a mine collapse in the 30's left him permanently disabled. She saw this movie MANY years ago on TV & has been looking for a copy since. She and her sisters used to watch the ponies going down and coming out of the mines. It's a beautiful movie & brings back wonderful memories. ... Read more


9. Heroes & Villains: Full Throttle
Director: Mark Chapman
list price: $14.98
our price: $14.98
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Asin: B00002NDKL
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 57317
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent acting makes this a sure bet
This is an interesting biography of eccentric racing demon Sir Henry "Tim" Birkin whose racing victories in the 1920's and 30's are still legendry. Rather than leaning on a whole life biography, the film allows Rowan Atkinson (as Birkin)to explain the things that were most important to him, racing itself and his rivalry and friendship with the "Bentley Boys". It includes some great vintage and faux vintage footage. The best part of this short classic program is the exceptional acting. Rowan Atkinson shines. Geoffrey Palmer's short role as Birkin's father is excellent."Ghost writer" Crispen Bonham-Carter is extremely believable and Ken Kitson(as Birkin's right hand man)shows off his superb supporting skills. My one criticism is that they tried to cram too much into one hour. This should have been extended into it's own mini series for depth.

4-0 out of 5 stars Full Throttle in my view only!!!!!
This is clean good fun no doubt. But at times I felt the story a bit haphazard. Could have been a little more careful editing. But overall a good movie. L Waziullah. Dallas, Texas. ... Read more


10. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
Director: Beeban Kidron
list price: $29.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6304457936
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 60001
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Who could not love a coming of age story in which the teenage heroine faces her emerging homosexuality, all the while facing down evangelical missionary parents? Especially parents unable to grasp her defiant sense of humor? The joy in this unusual British coming-of-age tale is the universality of her problems, even if her circumstances are highly unusual. As the defiant and sexually aggressive young woman, flame-haired Charlotte Coleman is a real find, being not merely talented but interesting. A little gem from 1990, this prickly and humorous flick draws forth a tangle of emotions amid sharp characterizations and terribly clever dialogue, doing justice to Jeanette Winterson's marvelous novel. Though this is almost four hours long, it isn't long enough. --Rochelle O'Gorman ... Read more

Reviews (6)

2-0 out of 5 stars Fast forward review
Oh ho, so you think this is an arthouse flick, eh? Check the pricing, it's a dead giveaway that the lolita sleaze crowd prizes this movie, and for good reason.

OK, we got one extended full-on teeny bopper little girl on little girl nudity scene here, and although the blonde is a bit gangly, it actually helps with the underage perv feel. It's doesn't necessarily make me schwing, but you have to give sleaze credit where it's due. Two solid stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yes, "Powerful and Brilliant," but where's the DVD?
This is certainly an overlooked film if there ever was one. It can be very funny and moving, but yes, I can see that it might offend some sensibilities. Well, lot's of things offend my sensibilities -- and I simply don't buy them . . . I have no doubt that a DVD version would easily pay for the costs of making it. . . Incidentally, I just got my copy of Time Out 2003 (11th ed.) today and while browsing in the obits noticed that the young co-star, Charlotte Coleman (3 Apr 68 - 14 Nov 01) passed away a year ago. Google said it was a bad case of asthma. What a pity! She is much better known for her role in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1993). Time Out doesn't even mention Oranges, which seems to have originated as a TV movie (a long one). Does anyone know any of the reviewers over there?

4-0 out of 5 stars Disturbing portrayal of opression
Oranges is a powerful film, showing the opression of Jess, a young girl uncertain of her own identity. Dealing with sexuality and religious extremists I found at times I was unsettled by the portrayal of the violence aimed at the young girl. Never the less Oranges is a brilliant film and must be watched in its entiretry to be fully appreciated.

5-0 out of 5 stars oranges are not the only fruit
I first saw this movie years ago in the early 90s when I happened to be up late one night channel-surfing. PBS aired the film from 12-3am, undoubtedly due to its homosexual content. Little did I know I was about to view one of the best gay-themed films I have seen to date. Although I am neither a lesbian (although I am gay), nor a product of a fundamentalist Pentecostal upbringing (I was brought up Catholic, "they're the worst" according to Jess' mother!), I strongly believe that any viewer, male or female, gay or straight, religious or secular, can identify with the plight of Jess, the obstinately stubborn and yet valiantly lovable protagonist who finds the self-determination to be true to herself and her God in the midst of the worst sort of persecution and ostracization one can endure- that which comes from those closest to you, your family and community.

Jess, the protagonist, is everyone's hero. She is in fact an ur-hero. She speaks not only to lesbians and gay men who have faced rejection, but to ALL people who have had to find the courage to be who they are and do what they want to do despite the immediate people and circumstances that prevent, forbid, oppress or threaten them from doing so.

The cast displays stellar performances: Geraldine McEwan is unmatched in her portrayal of the zealous Bible-thunping mother. She stabs naked fear and loathing into your heart from the very first scene in which she towers over the 5-year-old Jess and grills her with biblical questions, followed by a smack on the head. Yet somehow you come to respect and admire the fervent tenacity to which she clings to her system of beliefs. Melanie, Jess' first love, is the type of girl you would expect to find in a fairy tale: dripping with innocence and sweet as honey, the perfect poison apple to set up a broken heart. The preacher who leads this flock to which Jess and her mom belong is incredible as a despicable British version of Jimmy Swaggart.

The most striking aspect of the film for me is how the director has woven such teasing, subtle and yet insanely hilarious (British!) humor into a movie that has scenes so painful that it hurts to watch them. Every time I see this movie, I get a little more humor out of it than the previous time, and it makes me love the film all the more, even though it's intent as a whole is certainly not to amuse- that is purely incidental. Yet on second thought, maybe it isn't. Maybe the humor makes us appreciate the somber theme of the movie all the more each time we see it. And we admire Jess all the more, and the ending all the more because of it. It just gets better and better!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonder and Adventurous Film about Life and Growing Up!
This video is a true classic representation about not only life in Northern England but about discovering yourself! It will truly lighten the spirits of anyone who is a nonconformist. The story is beautiful, heartwarming and full of life! The acting is brilliant and the cinematography captures scenes from the North of England that one rarely sees without living there! This is a timeless classic and indeed true to the book of the same tittle! ... Read more


11. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Director: Marilyn Fox (II)
list price: $19.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000007PRD
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 23286
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (77)

3-0 out of 5 stars Great to see, but could have been better.
I love the books, and think of them as some of the best literature ever written. I enjoyed watching the animated movie as a kid, but longed for something that was more real- namely, live action. And in an age when Harry Potter is big, and The Lord of the Rings has been updated into live action from it's original animation, why not also Narnia? And here it is.

It kept very close to the book, which was helpful. And it is overwhelmingly British- which is just right, since Lewis was British and wrote about British children. This is a production that needed to be done in England to do it right. The acting is certainly superior to anything you see in Harry Potter, thank God- these children can actually act, and emote. But as many have pointed out, the special effects really drag the movie down. It's a bit odd, as the movie obviously has the money for location shooting that put it above a high-school project. But every little while through the movie, you see bits that look like high-schoolers plugged sequences in. The beavers look like people in costumes, with make-up. There's no attempt to hide that they are people. The wolf transforms (very sloppily) from a dog into a guy in a wolf costume, who doesn't look scary as much as humorous. A bit of Babe or Animal Farm (live-action version) technology, with talking animals, would have done well here, and not have been that hard to do. And the painted mythological creatures are really badly done. A computer would have touched this up very easily, very cheaply, to make the special effects realistic- or even some costumes for mythological creatures.

The telling point is a final fight scene between Peter and a wolf, in which the background suddenly changes, inexplicably, into a set for a play, throughout the entire fight. It was then that I realized that this would make an excellent play. There was nothing wrong with the acting, or costumes, or sets, were this a play. It just doesn't measure up to what we have come to expect from movies or even TV.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and Magical
I have all three of the Chronicles of Narnia video sets - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe; Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; and The Silver Chair, having been given them as gifts at least 7 years ago. I am shocked that these are now currently not available, especially with the current Harry Potter craze. The Chronicles of Narnia are wonderful stories for children and adults alike and these British productions from the late 1980s of four of the seven C.S. Lewis books are wonderful and magical. I thought I recalled still seeing these in the PBS Video Catalogs from time to time - I could be mistaken though. Even though I already have these tapes, I hope they are re-released soon for others to enjoy!!!

2-0 out of 5 stars Bad Beginning....
This no-budget production from the BBC fails to live up to the production values of films made 100 years ago. Shoddy production design offers us absurd anthropromorphic animals of the stage-horse variety. The problem is not the budget - I offer the example of John Coates's "The Snowman", which opens with a simple shot of a man entering a wintry wood overlaid with a voiceover, all you need to create an atmosphere of impending enchantment. Instead, the producers foolishly try to emulate Hollywood-style visual effects on a shoestring budget. The results are depressing. The truth is, even with a huge budget, no one involved with the design and execution of this telefilm would be capable of creating a memorable visual.

The 4 children playing the leads are chubby and indolent looking. They consistently seem to be blissfully unaware of the fact that they are being filmed - were they chosen randomly from the nearest grade school? Aslan is a lifeless animatronic head which rasps out his lines via poorly synched voice over.

However, the first 30 minutes or so are wonderful, the minimally made up Mr. Tumnus the clear highlight. The score is very good, from the same composer who scored the deservedly praised BBC "Brideshead Revisited". The text of the telefilm is also very accurate to the text and Christian religious themes of the novel by CS Lewis.

This series gets better with each outing though: "Prince Caspian" ekes its head a little beyond its predecessor, "Dawn Treader" surpasses both by leaps and bounds and finally "The Silver Chair" carries itself with considerable aplomb and charm, despite some very poor designs and effects.

Overall, a decent warm up for the curious before the real thing hits cinemas Christmas 2005.

1-0 out of 5 stars not very good
this movie wasn't even interesting, it is just a waist of money!

5-0 out of 5 stars Immerse your child and yourself in Narnia
Excellent video production by people who love and respect C.S. Lewis and his Narnia Chronicles. My son likes this particular story of the series the best (so far) and after reading it, we watched this show. The book was enhanced by it, not diminished. Wonderful sets, actors and dialogue. It may be a bit intense with the White Witch scenes as the actress plays it to the hilt, but either holding hands or the fast forward button soon remedies the few minutes of nasty old witch harmless. The Brits know how to make the ultimate Narnia show. Get the DVD if you can. ... Read more


12. Wuthering Heights
Director: David Skynner
list price: $19.98
our price: $19.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0764004425
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 59788
Average Customer Review: 3.85 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent adaptation
I have now watched three different versions of Wuthering Heights, and now read the book, and this is very easy the best book version. I only watched it because of the recommendations of other Amazon users.

I was not easy in the beginning with the performances, but as it went on the more I felt that this was an excellent interpretation. Robert Cavanah is in particularly wonderful as Heathcliff and Orla Brady does an excellent job as Cathy. If there are major places where the film changes from the book, I cannot find them.

It is a good and fine film and I would very much recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wuthering Heights as Emily Bronte wrote it ...
Wuthering Heights is very nearly unfilmable - as three major film versions over the last 60 years have admirably proved. The 1939 version was a great film, but it wasn't Wuthering Heights. The 1970 version came closer to the spirit of Emily Bronte's novel and had a fine Heathcliff in Timothy Dalton, but was very much a child of its time and massacred by post-production cuts. The less said about the 1992 version, the better.

You could, therefore, be forgiven for approaching a made-for-television version with a cast of comparative "unknowns" with scepticism. You would, however, be wrong. This version of Wuthering Heights is stunningly good. More than that, Emily Bronte would have recognised it as the book she wrote.

No major characters are missing. No major events are missing. The book has been filmed faithfully, from beginning to end. The script is based closely on the novel and was plainly written by someone intimately acquainted with it. It keeps up the narrative pace throughout and even manages to incorporate the haunting links between past and future, future and past that the author intended, but no-one else has ever picked up on.

The performances are uniformly excellent. Robert Cavanah is breathtakingly good in that Everest of roles, Heathcliff. He scales the histrionic heights necessary to tackle the part without once toppling over the edge into melodrama - showing us the man's psychosis, and its origins, without ever quite letting go of his humanity. His Cathy, Orla Brady, matches him stride for stride - and it's wonderful to see the "delirious" scene, where Cathy rips apart her pillow and starts sorting the feathers out, played in full and as written.

Edgar Linton is often seen as weak and insipid - which isn't how Emily Bronte wrote him at all - and Crispin Bonham Carter is superb in what is always seen as the "also-ran" role. His Edgar is a decent, humane and intelligent man, caught up in a situation he neither understands nor can control.

Praise, too, for Ian Shaw's Hindley. He brings a real edge of tragedy to the part, dragging our sympathy with him as he moves from tormentor to tormented.

The younger generation don't let the side down, either. Of particularly note is Matthew MacFadyen's engaging and coltish Hareton - inexplicably adoring of Heathcliff, and torn between his love for the man who destroyed his father and Catherine, the young woman he loves.

Last but very, very far from least - Polly Hemingway is flawless as Nelly Dean - in many ways the lynchpin of the whole story - there from beginning to end, holding the whole thing together. Her scenes with Heathcliff are memorable - with unforgettable touches such as the way she feeds him kitchen tidbits both as child and man.

Finally - a word of praise for Tom Georgeson, whose finely judged Joseph makes you wish we could see a little more of him. Joseph was an important minor character in the novel, and it's good to see him reinstated

The locations are superb - the Yorkshire Dales at their grim, wet, windswept best. The Heights is a real farm with real muck - not a Hollywood set-designer's naff idea of a gothic mansion. You can smell the manure and feel the rain.

Warren Bennett provided the hauntingly beautiful score - perfectly judged to match the prevailing mood of the film. The cinematography is non-flashy and sparing, the costumes right for the period and unobtrusive - the list is endless. There will probably never be a "perfect" version of Emily Bronte's masterpiece - but this one will do for me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Needs to be on DVD!
This is the best version of one of my favorite novels. I wish it was available on DVD; why can't the studios start producing wonderful movies like these on DVD I don't understand. I will wait for it to be available on DVD, then I'm sure I won't be the only one interested in purchasing it.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Closest Version Yet
I am a fan of Emily Bronte. Her book, "Wuthering Heights", is probably the most misunderstood book of it's time. This made-for-TV version is a timeless classic in itself.

The only problem with it is that people try to humanize Heathcliff too much. His character was not as humane as people seem to think. The man was evil in its purest form, and Robert Cavanagh plays him to almost perfection. I'm sorry, I'm a huge fan of Fiennes as well and he was a horrible Heathcliff!

Orla Brady was the only actress that I think portrayed Cathy as she really was. Her ability to go from sunshine to madness in a single facial expression is stunning.

Yes, the movie was choppy. If you haven't read the book, you probably won't understand some of what's going on. You'll get the drift, though. Then again, if you haven't read the book first you're cheating yourself on the real experience. There are some things that irritated me; scenes were played out with an explanation that differed from the novel and didn't have to. And Nelly was too old in the beginning. But you won't find a closer version to the original work than this one.

It is by far the best Masterpiece Theatre movie of 1998.

4-0 out of 5 stars DVD Please!
This is an excellent version of Wuthering Heights, and is on DVD in England. Where is our copy, please? Waiting, impatiently! ... Read more


13. Ivanhoe
Director: Stuart Orme
list price: $39.95
our price: $39.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6304441665
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 79434
Average Customer Review: 3.42 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

This grand six-part adaptation of Sir Walter Scott's rousing adventure of the Middle Ages makes the most of its generous running time. In the course of five hours, director Stuart Orme tells the epic tale of the idealistic young knight Ivanhoe (Steven Waddington) and his battle against the evil Templar Bois-Guilbert (Ciarán Hinds, whose thoughtful performance gives his dark character a compelling dimension). Caught between the rivalries and religious struggles are Ivanhoe's betrothed Rowena (Victoria Smurfit) and the brave, beautiful Jewess healer Rebecca (Susan Lynch), who wins Ivanhoe's heart with her courage. Set against the historical backdrop of a Britain straining under the corrupt rule of Prince John while Richard the Lionhearted fights in the Crusades, director Stuart Orme makes up for a small budget (the crowd scenes are somewhat skimpy) with sweep, scale, and the lush green British countryside of verdant forests and rolling hills, where ancient castles still stand. While this production can't compete with the majesty of the gorgeous 1952 Hollywood production, Orme creates his own vision in which Merrye Olde England is grounded in earthy colors, creating a country of both sunny fields and dark, dangerous timberlands, open sunlit courts, and cramped candlelit inns. The uniformly superb cast etches vivid characters and the length allows the novel's rich array of subplots to play out (including appearances by Robin Hood and his men and the Black Knight) and slowly wind together for the exciting conclusion. --Sean Axmaker ... Read more

Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb!
This is one of my favorite book adaptations ever. It's finely crafted and the characters are portrayed realistically. What's more, it has it all, romance, treachery, gritty (realistic) scenes and Ciaran Hinds. :) Oh, my God. He's a must see. If you love the medieval genre do not miss this film! Did I mention C. Hinds? Well as others have said, the R.A. actor IS the film, taking it over completely, no question. I have no idea why Steve Waddington gets top billing b/c he's just okay, okay, he's dull as dishwater and deserves his love, Rowena who is a bit bland too. Rebecca and Brian Bois de-Guilbert are wonderful, however. And for those who whine that the movie did not stick to the book, well I say why should it? This is the movie the director decided to make; all book adaptations are just that - adaptations and are not there to copy the book vis a vis. If you love Ivanhoe the book, don't bother with this b/c you'll just complain. But if you love a finely crafted medeival, this is your film. No paranormal, no bull about chivalry, just the way it was - and one more thing about Walter Scott -- he totally romanticised this period in Norman/Saxon/Crusade history so you should take that into consideration when comparing book to film. The fact is that the knights templar were not saints and many were burned at the stake for their die hard beliefs as well as the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of saracens.

5-0 out of 5 stars New Ivanhoe-great!
I'll try to be brief. This is a fantastic movie. I enjoyed it far more than Spider Man 2, or any of the Lord of the Rings.

The story is easy to follow, the charachters have reel feelings, strengths, weeknesses, and the acting was exellent. No need for 100-million dollar special effects.

My only complaint, and this seems to be true for many of the "new" films, is that the spoken word is sometimes difficult to hear because of all the background music or battle sounds etc.
But this movie has all we wish for. Action, romance, heroes, villians-and the good guys win!

2-0 out of 5 stars "Realistic" but dull
Ivanhoe is a great classic of romantic literature. The creators of this version, however, abandoned the romantic aspects entirely in order to present what they see as how it "would have really been." In other words, they present Ivanhoe without any romance whatsoever. The knights present no pretence of chivalry, the women have no charm (Rowena is a churning cauldron of bitterness and nagging), Athelstane is no longer a comic relief, the fool is not foolish (or funny). The surprises of the book are revealed in advance (Ivanhoe reveals himself to his beloved before the tournament), so that there is no tension in the story. Rowena is played as a modern feminist and the addition of the Queen Mother as the deus ex machina in the end is lame. Can anyone really believe that a Queen Mother of that period would have insisted that her sons "hug" at the end? Or that Richard Lion-Heart would have done so?

In short, the drama that arises in the book is absent in this version, which replaces it with a sort of modern psychological pseudo-drama about individual feelings. The absence of context is fatal. For example, there is no explanation of the Knights Templar, their role, their principles, or their hypocrisy. As a result, it is impossible to make sense of the trial of Rebecca. The best performances were by Christopher Lee and the actress portraying Rowena, although the character she portrays bears little resemblance to the Rowena of the book.

I see no reason to remake a romantic novel without the romance, but this seems to be the modern way. As in the movie "Troy," which took away the Gods from the story, leaving the events inexplicable, this version takes away all the information, culture, and history that makes the story understandable and fun.

1-0 out of 5 stars Ivanhoe Goes To War
Ivanhoe is a classic story, loved by children and grown-ups alike. By what misguided arrogance do screenwriters think they can write a better story than the original author? The attempt to introduce new motivations for the characters leads to a plot full of holes and empty of the delight and careful craftsmanship of Sir Walter Scott's book. The tenor of the film is monotonously angry and the battle scenes are a tedious, cheesy hacking and hacking. The male roles look and act so alike that one cannot tell them apart. The last scene with Eleanor from A Lion in Winter has nothing to do with anything and disconnects both John and Richard from the characters they have played all through the rest of the movie. If you like Ivanhoe, reread the book. If you do decide to buy this, do yourself a favor, at least, and fast-forward the battle scenes. You won't miss a thing and you'll be able to get to bed on time for a change.

5-0 out of 5 stars Grittily superior to a prissy book
This is one of my favourite portrails of early mediveal life in all it gritty detail. The adaptation takes all of Walter Scott's annoying Deux et Machina out and leaves the watcher with a gripping, dynamic tale. The care that is taken with the minor as well as major details is a joy to behold with great costumes and settings and a wonderfully authentc feel.

Ciarán Hinds is absolutely superb as the Templar Sir Bois-Gilbert as is Christopher Lee as the Templar Grand Master Sir Lucard de Beaumanoir and Susan Lynch as Rebecca. Steven Waddington's Ivanhoe is good, but definitely diminished by the three previous actors.

Whilst more Brannagh's Henry V than Olivier's I feel that this adaptation is only strengthened by that fact and would be replacing my tape version with a DVD one today if it was available as region 2. ... Read more


14. Heroes & Villains: The Last Englishman
Director: John Henderson
list price: $14.98
our price: $14.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00002NDKM
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 76429
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Last Englisman. The perfect 'little' film.
There is much in this film to be admired and enjoyed. It delights the soul and tweaks the heart. Well done and well acted. The music is wonderful. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys history as well as the English 'starch'. ... Read more


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