31-32 Great Expectations and Oliver Twist

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Martha
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31-32 Great Expectations and Oliver Twist

#1 Post by Martha » Sat Feb 12, 2005 8:46 pm

Great Expectations

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/284/31_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

One of the great translations of literature into film, David Lean’s Great Expectations brings Charles Dickens’s masterpiece to robust on-screen life. Pip, Magwitch, Miss Havisham, and Estella populate Lean’s magnificent miniature, beautifully photographed by Guy Green and designed by John Bryan.

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Oliver Twist

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/2251/32_box_348x490_w100.jpg[/img]

Expressionistic noir photography suffuses David Lean's Oliver Twist with a nightmarish quality, fitting its bleak, industrial setting. In Dickens' classic tale, an orphan wends his way from cruel apprenticeship to den of thieves in search of a true home. Here Alec Guinness is the quintessential Fagin, his controversial performance fully restored in Criterion's new digital transfer.

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Disc Features

- The original theatrical trailer
- Subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
Last edited by Martha on Thu Dec 01, 2005 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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tryavna
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#2 Post by tryavna » Thu Dec 01, 2005 5:35 pm

Last week I watched Oliver Twist on TCM for the first time in a long time and was completely blown away by Lean's handling of it. I think many Americans like myself tend to associate Lean so completely with his later epics that we forget just how efficient and entertaining a storyteller he was. (Based solely on this and Great Expectations, I'd rank him alongside John Huston as one of the best adapters of literary works for film.) What I particularly appreciated was that Lean takes his time and pays equal attention to all of the characters, rather than rushing through the early bits as many filmmakers do just to get to the Fagin-Artful Dodger parts. I mean, the long opening with Oliver's mother walking up to the workhouse and the silent scene with Bill Sikes (Robert Newton) and his dog sitting in the room with the body of Nancy are wonderfully atmospheric, and Lean allows them to build slowly. I also liked some of the cross-cutting techniques that Lean employs early on.

I can't remember the last I simply enjoyed a movie so much. It's a real shame that Criterion didn't include any significant extras on their release, though. The film certainly deserves it.

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#3 Post by denti alligator » Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:12 pm

Are these likely to be upgraded by Criterion? I'm assuming these are interlaced, but the transfers (from DVD Beaver caps) look good. The prices are high, but as part of the Great Adaptations box (and with DVDPlanet's upcoming 20% off), they come at a good price and I'm tempted by them. Where's the love for these releases?

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#4 Post by manicsounds » Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:30 am

MGM was to rerelease these a few years ago, but was cancelled. DVDBeaver claims that they are coming soon though.

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#5 Post by Izo » Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:45 pm

Nothing new, but mildly amusing. I just happened to pick up my Great Adaptations box and look at the back, and under the description of Great Expectations, the word "adaptation" is misspelled as "adaptaion". Odd error out of Criterion.

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#6 Post by sidehacker » Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:35 pm

Actually, that's the right spelling. It's just that the text on the older covers are interlaced.

*rimshot*

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#7 Post by dr. calamari » Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:24 am

I received the Great Adaptations set as a gift last year, and I have to say I've rarely enjoyed two films as much as I did these...Criterion did a wonderful job with both of them, they're much sharper and clearer than I'd remembered them being. David Lean's direction (and adaptation, too) is pitch perfect; I especially liked how he streamlined Great Expectations enough to make it viable as a film, yet it doesn't really feel as though anything of importance has been left out.

I haven't watched the other two films in the box yet, but if they were given the same treatment by Criterion, I have a lot to look forward to.

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#8 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:34 am

Those who bloop over these titles are missing out on some of the finest cinematography ever committed to film, in Oliver Twist. Pure gorgeous tour de force from a to z.

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#9 Post by dr. calamari » Fri Apr 18, 2008 5:03 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:Those who bloop over these titles are missing out on some of the finest cinematography ever committed to film, in Oliver Twist. Pure gorgeous tour de force from a to z.
Yeah, I guess some people just avoid them because they're "old" films, or they're in black-and-white. Too bad...I re-watched Oliver Twist last night and was thoroughly engrossed...the cinematography is incredible, and most of the performances are perfect, especially Alec Guinness as Fagin. Even the child actors were credible, and much less annoying than child actors usually are. For once I watched a film in which children figure prominently without hating children by the end of the film.

That's how good Oliver Twist is.

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#10 Post by Finch » Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:00 am

Just a heads-up to confirm that the new ITV Region 2 DVDs of GREAT EXPECTATIONS and OLIVER TWIST are barebones (save for OT's theatrical trailer) but they are worthwhile nonetheless for the new restorations: contrast and detail are excellent. With those new editions and Optimum's recent resto of HOBSON'S CHOICE, it's a good time to be a fan of early Lean. Even at the current RRP of £7.99 at play and amazon, these are bound to be cheaper than any CC reissue (if they plan to revisit Lean at all).

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#11 Post by starmanof51 » Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:03 pm

Mr Finch wrote:Just a heads-up to confirm that the new ITV Region 2 DVDs of GREAT EXPECTATIONS and OLIVER TWIST are barebones (save for OT's theatrical trailer) but they are worthwhile nonetheless for the new restorations: contrast and detail are excellent. With those new editions and Optimum's recent resto of HOBSON'S CHOICE, it's a good time to be a fan of early Lean. Even at the current RRP of £7.99 at play and amazon, these are bound to be cheaper than any CC reissue (if they plan to revisit Lean at all).
Mr. Finch, did you pick up the entire Centenary set? I'm very interested to hear as much as possible about all of these transfers. I've put the bug in The Beaver's ear, but Gary is pretty backlogged as it is without another 10 film set to deal with.

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#12 Post by Finch » Tue Sep 16, 2008 3:30 pm

I only bought those three films, starman, sorry. But a friend of mine saw THE PASSIONATE FRIENDS in the restored print at our local arthouse this summer and said it looked very impressive.

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