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Posted September 10, 2011
With the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth coming in 2012, this set is an excellent introduction to the life and times of the great British writer. The main items included are: a dramatization of David Copperfield-probably the most autobiographical of his novels--featuring a very young Daniel Radcliffe, Maggie Smith, Ian McKellen, and Bob Hoskins; a recreation of Dickens reading his own work, in this case A Christmas Carol; and a full-length documentary, narrated by Dickens expert Peter Ackroyd. (There were as many secrets and mysteries in this author's life as in one of his books.) Anton Lesser portrays the author in both the reading and the documentary. I think the dialogue in the Copperfield is mostly comprehensible to the American ear, and the absence of subtitles is not an issue, but a selection of songs from the period really could have used them. It's all BBC television stuff, well-cast and lavishly produced, and in this packaging (over eight hours), a good deal.
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Posted September 25, 2011
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