Wonderful mysteries; horrible DVD transfers
Tom Anderson | Piney Flats, Tennessee United States | 09/05/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I love the Miss Marple mysteries in both book and movie form, but unfortunately not a one of them has been transferred properly to video or DVD. While this BBC set of the longer Marple mysteries looks somewhat better than the two A&E sets, they're still pretty bad. The main reason for this (apart from the BBC's obvious indifference to whole matter) is that the transfer material is SEVERAL generations removed from the negative. The result: loads of grain, overall dark and muddy look, little detail, washed out highlights, faded color, dirt, occasional wavering picture, focus problems (except for most closeups, many long shots look as if NOTHING is in focus), contrast problems (In many scenes, anything in the lower third of the screen is so dark that all detail is lost--people's legs dissapear into a dark area, which is presumably the floor). I don't know if the BBC treats all of their projects this way or if they just have a thing against poor Miss Marple, but they need to hear from us. People should not receive defective merchandise for their money.
One of the most irritating things about this set is that each movie is split up into 3 episodes, each with the same opening and closing credits, just like they are broadcast on TV. Of course, the viewer can fastforward through this, but it was a stupid thing to do, and it's just another indicator of the lack of care in making this set of DVDs.
It's wonderful to have these mysteries available again on video, but it's aggravating to see the indifference of big business to its customers and to its own product. Buyer beware!"
Charming tea time
Terran | Sunny CA USA | 11/01/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My favorite Miss Marple film is BODY IN THE LIBRARY, which is included in this set. First off, unlike for some other reviewers, the films are crisp, no dark multi-gen'd versions on my disks. Re the set appearance itself, quite charming overall, as if one should sit down with coffee, tea or cocoa while perusing. The individual disk decor is lovely, with photos from the particular installment, and the disks contain chaptering of the installments (you can elect to view all three eps on disk 1 & 2 in one go or do it on an individual basis). The real drawback with high irritation factor is the BBC-A ads that appear at the beginning of each disk, you can fast-forward through both, but really they shouldn't be there at all. One point of possible confusion is John Castle, who played Miss Marple's inspector nephew elsewhere is actually an inspector of non-relation in A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED. The introduction of the Inspector Slagg character, who resented Miss Marple's detecting skills, is introduced in BODY IN THE LIBRARY. There is also - on Disk 3 - which contains the two-parter of POCKETFUL OF RYE - a half-hour documentary on the birthplace of Agatha Christie celebrating the centenary of her birth. In this, the Orient Express makes an appearance as well as the actors who played Marple and Poirot (david suchet) appearing in character and meeting each other formally and for the first time."
Tom Anderson | 01/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Restricting my comments to the quality of the 3-disc release: I was very worried, based on a review published here, that the video quality of this product might be poor. It isn't; in fact, it's very good. I don't know why the reviewer would have complained about this unless his/her copy of the DVD was really as poor as described, which I have to accept that it was. All I can say is, mine isn't. A couple of nights ago, one of our Bay Area PBS channels did re-broadcast one of the 3-part episodes on this disc, and the quality of their print was awful. So, I can tell the difference between grainy and spotty on the one hand, and sharp and clear on the other...it's quite plain on my equipment, which is only average. Unlike the other reviewer's, my discs are quite sharp."
Tom Anderson | 09/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My Gift Set Miss Marple DVD collection is of excellent quality. Miss Marple is my favorite Christie sleuth and I am so pleased to have these episodes (Body in the Library, Pocket Full of Rye, Murder is Announced) on DVD. I noticed no grainy quality whatsoever. There are a few ads in the beginning and the episodes are individually split up into separate parts as in when they were broadcast on TV but these facts really did not bother me. I especially enjoyed the "Who's Who" feature which gave brief bios of the BBC actors. All-in-all very enjoyable!"