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The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (1981)

72 customer reviews

Sale: CDN$ 205.17
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Product Details

  • Actors: Alan J.W. Bell, Martin Benson, Sandra Dickinson, David Dixon, Simon Jones
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: BBC / Warner Home Video
  • Release Date: April 30 2002
  • Run Time: 190 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005YUNJ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #68,146 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

The production values aren't the greatest here, but this adaptation does capture some of the ebullient, hilarious anarchy of Douglas Adams's book. Arthur Dent discovers that his friend, Ford Prefect, isn't human at all but an alien on assignment, writing for the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Many of Adams's delicious asides are dropped off here, like the woman who figures out the meaning of life right at the moment that she gets blown up with the rest of the Earth, but it retains what it can. Sure, the book was better, and the realization of Zaphod Beeblebox and Trillian are, well, just different, but it's a great introduction to the series for the uninitiated. --Keith Simanton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Special Features

A suitably eclectic, if not to say eccentric, collection of extra features makes this a wholly satisfying two-DVD set. On the second disc there's an hour-long "making of" documentary from 1992 featuring contributions from the cast and crew, including Douglas Adams; and then there's even more in a 25-minute section entitled "Don't Panic!" A fascinating behind-the-scenes peek at filming as the clock runs on studio time and a look at the recording of the original radio series complete the first part. Then navigate to the "Outer Planets" to find outtakes, a deleted scene, Zaphod's animatronic second head on the BBC series Tomorrow's World, Peter Jones's witty and rambling introduction to the first episode, and more. The series itself is presented in standard 4:3 ratio and remixed Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo or the original mono. --Mark Walker

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Greg Slade on Dec 2 2008
Format: DVD
I love science fiction. In fact, I love it so much that I will even watch cheesy, low-budget, so-bad-it's-funny productions like the 1979 version of H.G. Wells' The Shape Of Things To Come. So when, flipping through the channels one fateful day, I came across a British production with shoddy props and laughable effects, I stayed to watch rather than flipping on. As it turns out, it was a PBS marathon of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and in fairly short order, I was laughing myself silly. Instead of something laughably bad, I had discovered something hysterically funny. You see, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a bit of that inspired, lunatic British comedy which many people love, and the rest just don't "get." It's not about the effects, nor about the production values. It's not even about the plot or the acting. What makes me laugh till it hurts is the utter deadpan attitude with which Adams skewers any target careless enough to cross his path:

"The Encyclopaedia Galactica defines a robot as a mechanical apparatus designed to do the work of a man. The marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation defines a robot as 'Your Plastic Pal Who's Fun To Be With'. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy defines the marketing division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as 'a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be first against the wall when the revolution comes.'" (p. 73)

There are so many digs, at so many of the insanities of modern life, that it's simply not possible to do justice to the work. It overflows with wit, and even if you only catch one joke in three, you'll be holding your sides.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Feb. 6 2003
Format: DVD
When I heard that the DVD came out, I had to get one. Upon playing it the first time, I was very disappointed that Peter Jones' narration during the graphics sequences, which fill the viewer in on vital aspects of the story that one would have to have read the books to otherwise know, had apparently been left out. Watching the graphics scenes without narration is about as enlightening as inspecting a lorryload of fetid dingo's kidneys.
I ejected the disk, put it away and vented my frustration in a nasty review here. Someone read the review and clued me in via their own review to the fact that unless you have a stereo DVD player and TV, you will miss the narration unless you first select MONO in the setup. I did so, and Peter Jones' melodic voice came through just as I had heard it in the radio series in my dorm room twenty-something years ago.
The audio default is stereo, which I think was an unfortunate decision on someone's part. One would normally conclude that if there is any audible audio, then the setup would be correct. Not so in the case of this otherwise excellent DVD! Undoubtedly many people have missed that, like I did.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By StevenJM on Feb. 10 2002
Format: VHS Tape
The video is based on the TV series, which is based on the books and the radio play. The radio play is hilariously satirical and very creative. The TV series was on PBS years ago and pops up every so often. Great story. The characters in the TV series don't quite measure up to the radio play but are good anyway. The story does measure up and the cheesy special effects only add to the fun. It's a Monty Python-esque view of space and travel in general with great commentary on our society and its peculiarities. The Hitchhiker's Guide is all you need to travel the universe and is essential when your planet is destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass. The Guide is many things: a primer on Vogon poetry, a guide to using the Babel fish, and a calming influence with it's friendly "don't panic" on the cover. The best character in the show may be Marvin the paranoid robot but Arthur Dent, Ford, Trillian and Zaphod are just right for fans of the books and play. The restaurant at the end of the universe is the place to be seen. All this and mice make the world go 'round. Zany and original. A definite find! It really can't be fully explained within the limits of a short review. Now if someone will only put out the radio show on CD!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gabrielle LeBlanc on Dec 27 2007
Format: DVD
It has THE cheesiest effects ever -ok, maybe not cheesier than Dr Who, but certainly on par- But it beats the movie remake by a galaxy! It gives much more of the storyline and captures the light-hearted humor of the novel; the characters are much more sympathetic and it is just all-around way more enjoyable than the grim, plodding, and non-sensical movie version.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David L. White on Sept. 19 2002
Format: DVD
This is it! The definitive video version of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy! Sure, it "looks" better in the books or on the radio, but the TV show has it's highpoints, too. The best aspect of the show for me is the visual display of the guide, backed by Peter Jones' marvellous narration. The only thing that doesn't work for me in the TV show is Sandra Dickenson as Trillian. Her performance is adequate, but it just doesn't quite work for me. Maybe it's the voice. Dickenson makes me give the show itself 4 stars. However, with all the fantastic extras it's definitely a 5 star pacakge. I'll get to those in a moment.
The DVD restores all footage cut after the initial BBC transmission and even gives us a scene that was never transmitted, at the beginning of episode 6. Episode 2 runs about 34 and a half minutes & Episode 6 runs nearly 36 minutes. The other episodes run about 32 minutes, which, to my recollection, is longer than any US broadcast that I've seen. ... No commentary, but the production notes, which can be turned on by using your 'subtitle' button or selecting the option from the 'setup', are very informative. They point out many facts that even a hardcore fan, like myself, might be unaware of.
... For the most part, the new stereo audio option is fine, with some nice stereo effects. The narration was poorly handled, though. Rather than hearing it in both channels, it is in the left channel with the guide entries, and in the right channel during regular narration. If you find that the narration is 'missing' in some scenes, press your audio button once or access the setup menu from the main menu and select 'mono'. This will restore the sound to the original mono soundtrack, which I personally prefer.
The extras on disc 2 are stellar.
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