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Our Mutual Friend

4.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Canadian Home Video Rating : Parental Guidance (PG)
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: Sept. 6 2005
  • Run Time: 354 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B0009PVZM8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,068 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

Our Mutual Friend (Charles Dickens) (DVD)

Amazon.ca

The body of John Harmon, a young man returning from South Africa to claim his inheritance, is pulled from the River Thames, setting in motion the plot of Charles Dickens's darkest and most complex novel. Harmon had been expected to marry Bella Wilfer, a young woman chosen by his father, but now the Harmon fortune will go to the poor but honest Mr. Boffin and his wife. The Boffins adopt Bella, and together they begin to climb the ladder of London society, under the watchful eye of Boffin's new secretary, who may not be what he seems. Meanwhile Eugene Wrayburn, an idle young lawyer, falls for Lizzie Hexam, the daughter of the man who pulled Harmon's body from the river, but he must compete for her affections with the schoolmaster Bradley Headstone. As the fortunes of the characters rise and fall, the River Thames flows eternally on, the symbolic backbone of this remarkable story.

Dickens was the master of Victorian social satire, ruthlessly exposing the cruelty and absurdity that supported the strictly hierarchical class structure of the day. This superb production does his novel justice, fleshing out the satirical bones of the plot with performances that eschew caricature in favor of psychological depth. Anna Friel's Bella is wonderfully complex, her innate goodness struggling with her love of money and desire for advancement. Paul McGann, as the lawyer Wrayburn, is also superb, wrestling with the implications of his feelings for Lizzie. And of course, this being Dickens and the BBC, there's a terrific supporting cast, including Timothy Spall as the melancholy articulator of skeletons, Mr. Venus. At six hours, Our Mutual Friend is a long production, but not a moment too long. A mystery, a love story, a critique of the pursuit of wealth and status, this is perhaps the best adaptation of Dickens ever to be committed to film. --Simon Leake --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I have been systematically working through many of the wonderful period dramas that the BBC has to offer and I was pleasantly surprised by their version of "Our Mutual Friend", which was Charles Dickens's last novel (and, dare I say, one of his best). There are many interesting plotlines that are all connected to each other through the "mutual friend", John Harmon (subtly yet beautifully played by Steven Mackintosh). All of the actors are somewhat lesser known, but I believe that this only enhances their performances, making them able to become fully immersed in their respective characters. I especially loved the romantic story that developed between Bella (a young Anna Friel at her feisty best) and John, as well as Keeley Hawes' portrayal as a poor working-class girl. Overall it was a wonderful adaptation, providing social commentary on Victorian England, romance, mystery, and danger, with characters that you can't resist falling in love with.
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Format: DVD
For the first 20 minutes of this film, I thought, "Oh no, this is going to be one of those dark, gloomy Dickens tales," and I almost gave up on it. I'm so glad I didn't, because before long I was glued to the screen, and it stayed with me for days after seeing it. Beautifully acted, masterfully directed, it's a gem and now ranks as one of my favourite films of all time.
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Format: DVD
I got this DVD in a box set and, not knowing the story (mea culpa), I watched all the others and kept this one for a long rainy week-end. Why didn't it pour before? It was the best of the lot! I was completely taken by this story! Need I say I got the book and read it with sheer delight? This story is fantastic, the dialogues are clever and the acting is really first-rate. Particularly worth mentioning is Anna Friel. She is spot-on and so believeable in this part that you'd think it had been written (by Dickens himself) especially for her. One must not forget the very touching Stephen Mackintosh. This man is able to convey so much with a single look, and he has that rare quality: he makes you care even before the plot unfolds and you understand what motivates his character to act a certain way. I've been watching it many times over since my first viewing, and I always see something new because all the other characthers are so well portrayed (no big names, only incredibly good actors, that's what I love about the BBC, they'd rather have an unknown who is perfectly cast rather than a miscast star just to "get the ratings").
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Format: DVD
This movie is unforgetable. The plot is intense, the romance is a pleasure and the acting is superb! I highly recommend this for anyone who values an extremely well done period drama.
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Format: VHS Tape
I first read "Our Mutual Friend" when I saw the version done for Masterpiece Theater in the late 1970s, starring Leo McKern, Jane Seymour, and John McInerny. I devoured the book; it was and remains my favorite of all of Dickens's books. For one thing, the heroines are not as saccharine as they usually are in Dickens. I have been trying for years to find the original TV version on video, but it's not available, so I was happy when they came out with a new version. That is, until I saw it.
The greatest flaw is that this version is far to short to do justice to the story. The first version took 9 hours; here they try to squeeze the story into 2, and it's a mistake. Important characters are eliminated or have almost nothing to do. Even the main characters are not allowed to show us who they really are. Subplots are entirely missing. There's no time to develop any tension over Mr. Boffin's personality change or Lizzy's disappearance.
Nor is the acting up to the level of the first version. In particularly, I wanted to give Stephen MacIntosh some Prozac! His John Rokesmith was so passive and depressed, I could hardly bear him. The actor who played Eugene was too blithe and showed none of Eugene's inner torment. Most of all, I missed Leo McKern's Mr. Boffin. He brought the character to life exactly as written.
I won't buy this version or ever see it again. I will just read the book and keep hoping that someday, I'll be able to see the McKern version again.
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Format: VHS Tape
I love this movie. I first saw it on PBS, and only because a family member made me do it. I'm not a PBS'er by nature, but once I got into this, I was hooked. This is a Dickens' novel that I can't believe I'd never heard of before, because it's easily one of his best. It contrasts two segments of old English society, in typical Dicken's style. The "dustmen" earn their living from "dust" - sort of the old English equivalent of junkyards, but worse - the dead bodies cast into the river. Dustmen go through their pockets and scavange old estates to sell off their loot for income. The story opens with an intriguing murder mystery. In the confusion, one dustmen and his wife inherit a large sum of money and find themselves in high society and trying to cope. But ... whose money is it really? Who are their real new - and old - friends? And while these folks - the Boffins - are main characters, they are, by no means, the only ones. Along the way there are two major romantic stories that weave throughout and form the core of the story. But this is not just a "chick flick", it's a brilliant study of old 19th century British culture. The story includes some rather enchanting surprises. And the number of very original and interesting characters are funny, heartbreaking, insightful, inspiring, maddening, and more.
One suggestion: some of the British accents are hard to make out. I put the "closed caption" feature on my TV so I could read what the characters were saying. Makes it a lot easier to understand some of the more extreme English accents.
All the acting is top-notch, but one acting job bears note: Anna Friel is brilliant in this film.
I've watched my tape many times, all six hours of it. I love it. SO GET IT ALREADY!
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