Best known for his novels the chronicle the passions and missteps of 19th century Americans in Europe, Henry James continues to appeal to modern sensibilities with his deep understanding of character. This collection of ad... more »aptations from the BBC archives includes: The American with Matthew Modine and Diana Rigg, The Portrait of a Lady with Suzanne Neve, Richard Chamberlain and Edward Fox, The Spoils of Poynton with Gemma Jones and Ian Oglivy, The Wings of the Dove with Elizabeth Spriggs, Betsy Blair and John Castle, and The Golden Bowl with Daniel Massey, Barry Morse and Cyril Cusack.« less
"When I bought this I had no idea what I was buying. Here is a list: The American: 1998, 87 minutes. The Portrait of A Lady: 1968, 264 minutes. The Spoils of Poynton: 1970, 169 minutes. The Wings of The Dove: 1979, 81 minutes. The Golden Bowl: 1972, 257 minutes. "
Extensively verbalized dramas of the quest for marriage
J. Faulk | New York NY USA | 02/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the inexhaustible pen of American author Henry James (1843-1916)and the well preserved archives of the BBC,two adaptations at 80 min, one at 3 hr, and two at 4 1/2 hr. The stories are laid in England and Italy, involving moneyed characters with very scrupulous attitudes, and some with manipulative and predatory cunning. Marriage is sought as the Earthly Grail, but the more the talk, the longer the delay, the worse the prospects become. The outcome is loss and resignation. "The American" is the most sensational, including a brief scene of brutal sex and a needless death in a duel. "Spoils of Poynton" concerns disputation over the contents of a house between a young man's mother, his fiancee, and a second young woman who would be a better choice. "Golden Bowl," referring to an objet d'art with a rather obscure flaw, explores a quadrangle relatonship: daughter and father are overattached, she marries an overcharming Italian count, her father marries her scheming "friend," who then resumes an amorous relationship with the count. Both "Wings of the Dove" and "Portrait of a Lady" include principal characters who are deathstruck (in Portrait, Richard Chamberlain giving a fine performance), and their generosity does not bring happiness to its recipients. In Bowl and in Portrait, note the actress Kathleen Byron whose modulated, humorously weary delivery, here and there sliding up to a musical note, is so engaging--happily, you can also see her as the nun who goes berserk in "Black Narcissus." To end, the Henry James Collection is splendid and a great buy."
Loved all but The American
Little Dorrit | WA state | 05/20/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Contrary to another reviewer I LOVE the older BBC productions of great novels, they made them with respect for the original. The only modern one included in this set, the American, is simply an abomination of a James story. Be warned that it includes a graphic sex scene, I guess today's no talent filmmakers can't make a film great by sticking to the original and so have to throw some trash in to get an audience. Sad, really really sad."
HENRY JAMES IN FULL-LENGTH FILM FEATURE FORMAT & MORE
Harold Wolf | Wells, IN United States | 09/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a must for any Henry James (the writer) literary fan. You'll soon become a film fan of his stories as well. Also a must for the Victorian film lovers. This collection contains 5 of Henry James' important works put into films with lengths ranging from 81 minutes to 264 minutes, like full-length movie features.
Henry James wrote romances before Hollywood created "THE" acceptable ending. You'll never know till it's over how these stories will end. Each story is performed using a wonderful cast made up of some of the best stars of Britain, some in early roles within their careers.
Details: THE AMERICAN, 87 minutes, original airing 1998 Christopher, the American, a self-made millionaire takes on Parisian aristocracy due to his desire for a beauty named Claire. It's new money vs old money and more important those time-honored ways of life.
THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY, 264 minutes, 6 episodes, 1968 This is about a girl (Isabel Archer) who takes charge of her destiny, but more in the contemporary style of a 21st century liberated lady. But is the Victorian period ready for Isabel?
THE SPOILS OF POYNTON, 169 min., 4 episodes, 1970 Gemma Jones (very well known now as "The Duchess of Duke Street"--highly recommended Masterpiece Theatre DVD set) is Fleda Vetch. Miss Vetch gets caught in the middle between passions of a mother, an engaged couple, and the artifacts of Poynton. Scenes are as Victorianly beautiful outside as the inside sets in this story taking place in 1897. With so much at stake, who will be the winner?
THE WINGS OF A DOVE, 81 min., 1979 Rich London girl loves poor London boy. Mama forbids it due to his income. Enter rich American girl and a plot forms. Will love win over wealth in these Victorian times? With Henry James writing--one never knows for sure.
THE GOLDEN BOWL, 257 MIN., 6 episodes, 1972 A father/daughter mutual admiration tale. Daughter marries a Prince. Father marries a friend of this daughter. Father's bride is found to be an ex-lover of the Prince. Love is much easier when those involved are not aristocracy, noblemen, or heiresses. But then, Henry James didn't intend for this romance to be a simple love story.
Look up "AFFAIRS OF THE HEART" if this is not enough Henry James for you. And surely it can't be. There are 2 sets of "Affairs of the Heart" available--13 more and different book-to-TV adaptations. Read my reviews on both. They come very recommended--again for Henry James readers/watchers, and Victorian romance lovers, those enjoying stories that have a surprise ending, and anyone just enjoying the beauty of an era of high design that has long since past.
The Henry James Collection comes in a very nice 5 DVD case with a small booklet. Yes, these DVDs do provide subtitles for the hearing impaired OR the British dialect challenged.
Henry James characters
Aunt Ruthie | Scarsdale, New York United States | 07/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"- are brought beautifully to life in this collection. Gayle Hunnicutt plays the quintessential Charlotte in "The Golden Bowl". And, although the collection brochure ranks "Portrait of a Lady" as the weakest in the group, a young Richard Chamberlain gives a riveting performance as Ralph, redeeming this production to rank with the others. Many hours of pleasure."