27 December 2008

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (starring Ingrid Bergman)


I can remember watching this film on television, many years ago. Probably in the 1970s when I was a teenager. It struck quite a chord with me, and so I was pleased to be able to find it inexpensively on DVD.

'The Inn of the Sixth Happiness', made in 1958, is based on the true story of Gladys Aylward. She was a determined young woman who felt called to be a missionary in China in 1930. She applied to the China Missionary Society, was not considered suitable. So, sure of her calling, she worked for several months as a parlour-maid until she could afford the train ticket to take her to China.

The journey was a nightmare, but eventually Gladys arrived at her destination - untrained, uncertain, but full of enthusiasm. At first, she was treated with suspicion, but she learned the language, and began to dress and live like a Chinese woman. She showed tremendous courage in the face of great adversity.

Having also read a biography of Gladys Aylward's life, I'm aware that poetic license was taken in several places, with the Christian element quite down-played. Then there are a few totally fictional romantic moments added in the movie, presumably a requierment for popularity on the big screen in the 1950s. However, the whole it gives a good overview of her dramatic life story, which is well documented in many places.


The acting is excellent, even if some of the accents are a little awry at times. The photography is stunning in places, and the many Chinese children are utterly delightful. It’s a fairly long film – about two and a half hours – but I found it enthralling, despite knowing the overall storyline.

Unsurpisingly, given its vintage, the opening sequence and titles look very dated, but we both thought that the bulk of the film was extremely well made.

Recommended.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

23 December 2008

A Christmas Carol (starring Patrick Stewart)


While not a fan of Dickens in general, I have always liked the story of ‘A Christmas Carol’. So I was pleased to be given this movie version of the story some time ago. We decided to keep it for December, and watched it a couple of days before Christmas.

This version of 'A Christmas Carol' stars Patrick Stewart, who is probably best-known for his role as Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s a tribute to his acting that he made an extremely good Scrooge, but I did rather wish he had been given a wig. I could easily believe in him as the ultimate miser in the scenes in his hat, or even his night-cap, but when his head was bare - and bald - he somehow looked more like the captain of the Enterprise (and I’m no Trekkie) than Dickens’ character.


Still, it’s a minor gripe. My only other criticism is that some of the special effects looked extremely dated; I would have guessed that it had been made in the 1980s. Still, the film is ten years old and computer graphic effects have improved enormously since 1999.

I haven’t read the book for some years, but from what I recall this film version was pretty true to the book. We both thought that it worked well; it certainly kept our interest, and on the whole we enjoyed it. A nice start to Christmas!

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

18 December 2008

The Snow Queen (starring Bridget Fonda, Chelsea Hobbs and Jeremy Guilbaut)


'The Snow Queen' is one of many DVDs that were offered free with a weekend newspaper, collected by a relative, and passed on to us. It's not one I am ever likely to have bought, nor would we necessarily have got around to watching it, but for the billing 'Christmas Magic and Fantasy' on the back. Ideal, we thought, for light viewing in the week before Christmas.

I hadn’t realised until part-way through that this movie is an adaptation of the classic fairytale of the same name. Had I thought about it, I should have done. There is indeed plenty of snow and ice, not to mention magic and fantasy, but it’s not at all connected with Christmas... and parts of it are quite suspenseful.

The story is about the evil Snow Queen (Bridget Fonda) who manages to send a sliver of ice into the heart of Kai (Jeremy Guilbaut), a young man who works in a hotel and is in love with the owner’s daughter Gerda (Chelsea Hobbs). He changes character dramatically, then vanishes… and she decides to follow him.

The second half of the film sees Gerda travelling through the fantasy realms related to the different seasons. She encounters many strange people and creatures, including some talking animals, before she finally reaches the Snow Queen’s castle, where Kai is captive.


The film is quite sad in places, a bit frightening in others, and even slightly amusing at times in some of the caricatured characters. There are some lovely ice skating scenes, and some dramatic special effects. Gerda and Kai are excellently cast, and the whole works very well despite being quite a long movie; it was originally shown on TV in two parts, as it’s nearly three hours long.

Once I had realised that it was a slightly bizarre and surreal story, I enjoyed ‘The Snow Queen’. Recommended for older children or adults; probably not for sensitive small children. The UK rating is PG, which is reasonable enough, so long as parents do use their guidance; in the USA it is not rated at all.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

13 December 2008

The Bishop's Wife (starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven)


I'm not entirely sure how we came to have 'The Bishop's Wife' on our DVD shelves. Perhaps it was recommended online somewhere as a special offer, or perhaps we picked it up inexpensively at a charity shop. The blurb on the back suggested that it might be a light Christmas film, so we decided to watch it during December.

It's a classic 1940s black and white film which stars a young David Niven as a Bishop in the Anglican Church. He is so busy that he hardly ever has time to be with his wife and daughter, who miss him. The surreal part of the film is due to Cary Grant who stars as a slightly unlikely angel dressed in a suit, sent from heaven to give some assistance.

The Bishop wants to build a magnificent cathedral, but unfortunately the only person who may be able to fund this project wants a huge memorial to her husband. The Bishop is not happy about this, and angry words ensue. Meanwhile the Bishop’s wife Julia (Loretta Young), worries that their marriage is falling apart because her husband is so constantly busy and stressed.


There are lots of amusing incidents in this film, and some parts that are quite moving. We thought it was very well done, in an era without computer graphics or simple special effects, and the story itself is good with a thought-provoking message.

Recommended if you like a bit of sentimental nostalgia and a feel-good story. Suitable for all ages, although probably not of much interest to young children. UK rating is U (Universal), not rated in the USA.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

29 November 2008

The Browning Version (starring Michael Redgrave)


'The Browing Version' is one of many films we acquired from someone who collected it from a free give-away with a weekend newspaper. It's not one I am ever likely to have chosen myself - although I quite enjoyed it.

The story is an unusual one, featuring the last day of term in a British boys’ public school in the 1950s. The unpopular classics master Andrew Crocker-Harris (brilliantly played by Michael Redgrave) is leaving. His colleagues and students see him as unemotional, almost ‘dead’ emotionally, and have no regrets about his leaving.

However, during the day, Crocker-Harris's real self starts to show itself in various ways.

We meet his unbelievably ghastly wife (Jean Kent), and we also get to know a boy in his class who’s fairly empathic and who quite likes classics. We see the master through their eyes, and new facets emerge.

We meet, too, a colleague who has been conducting an affair with his wife.. and many more. There's not much plot, but the gradual unfolding of a complex and rather sad personality.


The acting is good, in a 1950s kind of way (once we got past the pseudo-BBC accents) and the directing is good too. I felt that the people were believable and the flow of the story works well. On the other hand, it was rather depressing overall, with no clear conclusion.

Black and white, rate U in the UK, but probably not of much interest to anyone under the age of about 12 or 13.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

03 November 2008

Pride and Prejudice (starring Keira Knightley, Talulah Riley, and Matthew Macfadyen)


I was a little reluctant to watch the 2005 version of 'Pride and Prejudice'. It's not that I dislike movie versions of books; indeed, Jane Austen's novels seem to translate particularly well to the screen. But I had so much enjoyed the BBC mini-series that I was fairly sure that this shorter version would be disappointing.

However, sufficient people recommended this to me that I eventually put it on my wishlist; and we finally got around to watching it last night.

Being so much shorter than the BBC version, it was inevitably rather cut down as far as the various sub-plots go, but I thought that it was still true to the book. There was some excellent casting, other than Mr Bingley who we thought very weak.


It was evidently given a much higher budget for extras than the BBC version had; the balls were particularly lavish, and the sound track added to the atmosphere in a positive way.

All in all, I thought this version of the classic book very enjoyable. Particularly recommended if you don't know the book, or want to introduce someone else to it without spending house in front of the screen.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

27 October 2008

Persuasion (starring Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds)


While I'm not, in general, a huge fan of books turned into movies, I do feel that Jane Austen's novels can work particularly well on screen. The somewhat archaic descriptive language translates to gorgeous scenery and creative photography; the people come to life, if well-cast, and the story takes on a new perspective.

With this in mind, I have started collecting recommended DVD versions of Austen's novels. I was given the BBC version of 'Persuasion' for my birthday, and we finally sat down to watch it.

The story follow the classic Jane Austen novel 'Persuasion', which is less well known than some of her others. I had not read it for a few years, but still remembered the plot roughly.

The story features Anne Elliot (Amanda Root), the middle daughter of three. She is not a traditional heroine - neither feisty nor ravishingly beautiful. Indeed, as the title suggests, she is all too persuadable. And as such, we quickly become aware that she broke off her engagement to the dashing (but poverty-stricken) Captain Wentworth (Ciarán Hinds) some years previously. She has always harboured regrets, but attempts to behave as a young lady was expected to, and hide her deepest feelings.

Unsurprisingly, Captain Wentworth re-appears in Anne's neighbourhood, now doing well financially... and clearly popular with the ladies.


In my opinion, the BBC really know how to do Jane Austen. I don't suppose the budget was huge, but this adaptation brought the novel to life very well. There was some nicely done humour where appropriate, and two very believable main protagonists. The scenery and language felt believable, close to the text of the book, at least as far as I could remember it; my husband, who has not read any Jane Austen, thought it very well done too.

All in all, a very enjoyable film. Recommended.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

23 October 2008

Quantum Leap series 4 (starring Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell)


I have been a fan of Quantum Leap since it was on TV 15 years ago or more. An unlikely fan, in a way, since I don't in general like science fiction or fast action. But somehow the theme - that of someone stuck in a time travel experiment, bouncing around the decades directed by God to sort out 'what once went wrong' appealed - and still appeals - to my imagination. Scptt Bakula as Sam is a wonderful hero, and Dean Stockwell as his holographic sidekick Al provides a lot of humour, some of it rather bawdy.

I was delighted to have learned that all the Quantum Leap episodes are available on DVD, sold by the five different seasons for which the series ran on television (originally in the USA, but also broadcast in the UK).

We have managed to watch two or three episodes each month, and it has taken us nearly six months in all to see the fourth series. There were some excellent great episodes, including one where Sam becomes a chimp - it was very well done. We particularly enjoyed the an amazing finale to this series, when Sam leaps back into Al as a young man, caught up in a murder trial.


Unsurprisingly there are, if we thought about it in any depth, a few logic leaps. It's almost inevitable in any story involving time travel. But one has to suspend reality while watching this kind of show. More importantly from my perspective, there were also some amusing quips, and fascinating insights into both Al and Sam, as we explore a little of their past and get to know them better.

Definitely recommended. The UK rating is 15, probably due to some violence, bad language, and sexual references. Not intended for younger children.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

16 October 2008

Parenthood (starring Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen and Dianne Wiest)


I very much like films with Steve Martin, which is probably how 'Parenthood' appeared on my wishlist. The blurb suggested something fairly light-hearted, and sure enough it made a good relaxing evening's viewing.

Steve Martin stars brilliantly as the father of three, trying to relate well to his children, juggling parenthood with his job and also his wife. He has three siblings with very different attitudes to family life. One of them has two rebellious teenagers, one is over-protective, and is hot-housing his small daughter, and the third pretty much ignores his delightful son.

The film is entirely character-based, like most of my favourite books, with plenty of interaction between the various siblings, cousins and other characters. Of course they’re mostly exaggerated, but nonetheless, I could see at least a grain of reality in everyone.


There's humour (some of it rather risqué), and some pathos too. I just wished the topic of home education had come up with Kevin, the sensitive child who was very unhappy at school.

Although Amazon UK lists this as PG, our version states that it is rated 15; I assume that’s because of several innuendos and sexual references. But there’s nothing explicit, no nudity, no violence, and – as far as I noticed – no bad language. Perhaps it was down-rated. In America, the rating is PG-13. Unlikely to be of much interest to young children anyway, but very enjoyable for adults wanting something light, not requiring too much brainpower, and yet surprisingly thought-provoking.

Recommended.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

12 October 2008

Mansfield Park (starring Billie Piper and Julia Joyce)


I've always enjoyed the books by Jane Austen, but 'Mansfield Park' is one of my favourites. It features the shy, well-behaved Fanny Price who hero-worships her cousin Edmund, and faces grave displeasure from her cousins and friends when she stands up for something she believes to be right, despite their attempts to persuade her otherwise.

Jane Austen's novels usually translate well to the screen, particularly (in my view) when made for television, allowing sometimes for longer versions than a film to be shown at the cinema.

So when we were given the ITV version of 'Mansfield Park' by a relative, who found it free with a Sunday paper, I looked forward very much to seeing it.

Unfortunately, this is by a long way the worst adaptation of a Jane Austen novel that I have seen. Billie Piper is totally miscast as the demure, almost priggish Fanny Price, which spoils the entire thing. Piper plays Fanny as a pouting, overly-prudish miss, whom nobody could possibly like.

While the film roughly follows the plot of the book (other than in Fanny Price's personality), there are too many missing characters, and other unnecessary changes which did not really make sense.

In addition, we did not feel that there was any sense of the 18th century at all. Yet it's not a completely modern interpretation - which might have been intriguing; instead, it looks like modern people dressed up in costume. Even the camera work is bizarre at times.


It’s strange how the BBC can make such excellent period drama productions, whereas those made for ITV (such as this one) are generally much poorer quality. I’m glad we got this free with a newspaper rather than being given it for Christmas or paying for it.

NOT recommended.



Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

14 September 2008

The Miracle Worker (starring Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft)


As far as I remember, this is one of many DVDs we were given by a relative, who acquired it as a free gift with a Sunday newspaper. I'm not sure we would ever have bought it; it's rather an under-rated version of a true story that would not naturally appeal to many people.

Moreoever, 'The Miracle Worker', in this 1962 version, is in black and white, giving it a rather dated feel at first glance. However, we were very quickly drawn into the story. It's based on
the life of Helen Keller, a girl in the USA who was both deaf and blind, due to a serious illness in babyhood.

With no way of communicating with Helen - and a great deal of sympathy for her plight - her parents had no idea how to handle her. She had become totally wild, prone to horrendous tantrums and, even more worryingly, was increasingly dangerous to herself and others. So eventually a young teacher (Anne Bancroft) was employed to try and bring some control to her life, and see if she could help Helen to communicate via signs, traced on her hands.


The acting was superb, particularly by Patty Duke who played Helen. She and her teacher dominated the film, with the other characters rather flat, but that didn't matter. My only minor gripe is that the film ended rather abruptly. I would like to have seen more of the story, as I know that Helen Keller went on to do amazing things with her life.

We were also disappointed in the sound quality of this particular edition; we had to switch on subtitles as we found we were missing so much of the conversation. But perhaps that was a problem with the DVD itself.

Highly recommended, in any case.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

11 August 2008

Coming Home (starring Emily Mortimer, Joanna Lumley and Peter O'Toole)


Having loved all the books by Rosamunde Pilcher, I was at first a little reluctant to get hold of the film versions of her saga novels, since I felt they would inevitably be disappointing. However, tempted by positive reviews, I finally put them on my wishlists, and was pleased to receive 'Coming Home' for my birthday.

This is a made-for-TV adaptation of Pilcher’s wartime novel 'Coming Home'. As such, it was longer than most films, coming on two DVDs of about 100 minutes each.

Admittedly it's a few years since I read the book, but I thought it was a very good adaptation on the whole. There were some minor character changes, and alterations to the plot which I was aware of, but the bulk of it seemed to me to be pretty close to the book.

The actors were excellent, Joanna Lumley bringing the materialistic (but caring) Diana Carey-Lewis to life, and Emily Mortimer as a most believable Judith, sent to boarding school while her parents and little sister return to a job abroad.


Like the book, this film was very emotional in places, and gripping throughout. There were some surprising nudity shots and non-explicit love scenes, which I suppose is why the UK rating is 12; oddly enough, it is not rated at all in the USA.

Ardent fans of Pilcher's books might object to the changes made to this version, but I would recommend it in general to those who have not read the book as well as to those who have.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

02 July 2008

Enchanted (starring Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey and James Marsden)


I had never heard of the film 'Enchanted', but then I really don't keep abreast of available movies, and am not particularly keen on Disney anyway. Still, the blurb on the back made it sound like an interesting, light movie to watch with relatives who had it on their shelves, and it was clearly very highly rated by many.

It's supposed to be a humorous spoof on Disney films in general. There is a princess who is banished from a fairytale land by an evil queen, sent to the 'real' world, where she meets and falls for a handsome lawyer. Strange things ensue as the cultures collide...

Unfortunately, we couldn't really understand why this film is considered so good. The storyline was remarkably complicated - or perhaps I was too simple to understand it - and the songs were very poor. We all struggled to find anything remotely amusing in it, until there was one funny line, which, alas, I have now forgotten. Most of the film consisted of bad attempts at humour that fell pretty flat.


Having said that, there was nothing BAD about it, other than some unexpected swear words here and there ... but nothing particularly good either. I kept drifting off to sleep as I was so bored.

Really not recommended - but then again, this film has plenty of fans. Feel free to disagree with me.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

19 May 2008

Quantum Leap series 3 (starring Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell)


I have so enjoyed re-watching Quantum Leap, which was the only TV programme I used to watch when we lived in America in the early 1990s. Finding the entire series available on DVD was a wonderful surprise - and we've gradually been watching them all.

Season 3 was a Christmas present at the end of 2007, which was excellent timing as we were approaching the end of series 2. We've watched the 22 episodes of this season in just four months, which is a tribute to how much we have enjoyed them; I don't, in general, watch television at all, or more than about two DVDs per month. But somehow, in this series, Sam and Al - brilliantly played, as ever, by Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell, respectively - began to feel more like friends as we got to know both of them rather better.

This season begins with the moving and thought-provoking two-part story called 'The Leap Home'. We meet some of Sam's family as he leaps back into his own history, first trying to help his high school basketball team, and then to see his brother in the war with Vietnam. Sam has to make some difficult decisions, and we learn quite a bit about his past.

In other episodes, Sam becomes a priest, a beauty queen, a motorcycle rebel, a pregnant teenager... and much more. There's a rather predictable Christmas episode that's very fluffy, and at the other extreme, an episode where Sam is a convicted man on 'Death Row'. Inevitably some are more amusing than others - often depending on the banter between Sam and Al - and some are quite thought-provoking. There seems to be a wider variety of characters in this season than the previous ones, and Scott Bakula shows how very talented he is, in that they all seem believable.

This series makes more sense if one has seen at least the first series, but it's not necessary to have done so - nor is it necessary to watch them all in order, although we have enjoyed doing so.

Definitely recommended. Rated 12 in the UK, probably due to some violence and innuendoes, but unrated in the USA.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

08 May 2008

Finding Neverland (starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslett)


I wasn't entirely sure what to expect with this film. 'Finding Neverland' was highly recommended on Amazon, and also by some friends, so I added it to my wishlist. But for some reason I kept putting off watching it. Maybe the idea of it being a true (or at least based on true) story made me reluctant to see it.

However, we finally decided that it would be good to see this film. I am so glad that we did! It did not feel like a documentary at all, and I felt totally drawn into the story.

The plot is probably well-known. The writer JM Barrie (brilliantly played by Johnny Depp) is not very happy in his marriage. He gets to know a single mother with four children, and starts playing imaginary games with them.. in an entirely innocent way that would, sadly, be treated suspiciously these days.


This family becomes increasingly important to him, and provide the inspiration for his classic children's novel 'Peter Pan' about the boy who never grew up. It's a lovely, romantic and poetic story, beautifully made without ever becoming trite. One of the children is particularly good, but the whole cast seemed to work well together, and made me forget, for a while, that I was in 21st century Cyprus..

Very highly recommended. Rated PG in both the UK and USA.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

06 May 2008

The Shell Seekers (starring Angela Lansbury)


I have loved the books by Rosamunde Pilcher, the best known of which is probably 'The Shell Seekers', for many years. And while, at first, I resisted the idea of seeing the movie adaptations of these beautiful books, I did eventually decide that it would be a good idea to acquire the DVDs, if only so that my husband - who was unlikely to read a saga novel of this kind - could enjoy the stories too.

'The Shell Seekers', made in 1989, was well reviewed so I put it on my wishlist and was given it for Christmas 2005. We watched it first in March 2006, where I was surprised and a bit disappointed that it did not really follow the plot of the book very well, despite being a well-produced and generally enjoyable book.

Visiting relatives asked to see it recently, so we sat down to watch it again. Knowing that it was different from the book, in advance, helped considerably. I was surprised to find myself enjoying it thoroughly this time, despite it being only two years since I first saw it.

There is an excellent cast, brilliantly led by Angela Lansbury as the 63-year-old Penelope. The plot - both of the book and the film - revolves around her life, past and present, introducing her adult children. The characters, at least, were close to those of the book, and I thought they were well cast. I particularly liked Patricia Hodge as Olivia, the daughter closest to Penelope and most like her.

The scenery was attractive, the production was good, and - if one is not familiar with the book - it's a lovely film for all the family. Not, it must be said, for those who want fast action or thrills, but warm and thought-provoking for anyone interested in the dynamics of family relationships.


For those who are familiar with the 'Shell Seekers' book, however, I would warn that the ending of the film is quite dramatically different, and there are several changed incidents throughout. It's not really a problem from the point of view of the film standing alone – it worked well, and the film did capture much of the essence of the book – but I found it oddly disturbing, waiting for events that did not happen, or were changed.

Nevertheless, on balance, I felt that this DVD was well worth watching. Unfortunately it does not seem to be available new any more, possibly because a different version was produced in 2006.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

03 March 2008

Batteries not Included (starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy)


I'm not entirely sure how 'Batteries not Included' came to be on our DVD shelves. Possibly it was part of a special offer deal at one of the websites that offered 'three DVDs for 15 euros' or similar.

It sat there unviewed for some time, but finally we decided to watch it. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this: the pictures on the cover show children sleeping, and alien spaceships. And the film was rather depressing to begin with. High-rise buildings were being knocked down by a big businessman, and there was a rather sad group of people who really wanted to keep their home.

However, there was quickly some human interest. This group of people includes an elderly married couple who run a café; the wife (played by Jessica Tandy) appears to have early forms of dementia. Then there’s an artist whose girlfriend has just left him, a prize-fighter who doesn’t speak to anyone, and a young pregnant woman.


The elderly man (played by Hume Cronyn) is at his wits’ end... when help comes from a most unexpected source…

Once I got into it, I found this film amusing in places, and moving in others. The effects are quite clever for the time (it was made in 1987) and still look good even with today’s advanced sophistication. But then Stephen Speilburg directed it, and this was the era of classics such as ET.

All in all, I thought it a pleasant family film. Rated PG due to the subject matter, I assume, which could be disturbing to some children.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

15 January 2008

Jeeves and Wooster, complete (starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie)


'Jeeves and Wooster', in my view, is one of the masterpieces of book adaptations.

I have enjoyed - off and on - the PG Wodehouse books about Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves since I was about 12 or 13. They are full of irony, great satire on the upper classes in the early part of the 20th century. Bertie is supposedly a typical good-hearted and slightly gormless idle rich guy in his 20s, with a series of aunts of varying character. He keeps on getting himself into scrapes - or else someone else does it for him - and sooner or later Jeeves comes to the rescue.

Predictable? Undoubtedly. But great fun, nonetheless. When the BBC first started broadcasting episodes of these classic books featuring Stephen Fry as Jeeves and Hugh Laurie as Wooster, I was reluctant to watch them, fearing that they might taint my enjoyment of Wodehouse's brilliance. But curiosity got the better of me, and I'm glad it did. The pair are superb in the title roles, bringing them to life in a way that did not at all detract from my imagination.

I was delighted when the entire series - four seasons of it - became available in a boxed set, at not too great a price, and was even more pleased when someone gave them to me. I have been watching them over some months, in random bursts, with one of my sons. We have enjoyed them all very much.


The scenery is excellent, the mood just right, the atmosphere perfect. It's true that some of the plots veer decidedly away from the Wodehouse originals, but others stay true to the novels. What matters most are the characters - all extremely well portrayed - and the humour, which comes across perfectly despite the difference of medium.

The very 'British' (indeed, English) style will not appeal to everyone. Irony and satire does not go down in all cultures. But for anyone who likes this kind of thing, who is willing to suspend reality and enter into 1920s upper-class society, these come highly recommended.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews