The Old Curiosity Shop (1979 British TV/BBC and Time-Life)
Sound: C Extras: C Program: B
One of Charles Dickens’ least-adapted books is The Old
Curiosity Shop and a very good version of the sometimes forgotten classic
has arrived on DVD. The BBC and
Time-Life co-produced their own mini-series version of the book at 4.5 hours
with the TV production offering the typically British interiors on PAL analog
video and the outdoor shots seemingly filmed.
This version is on 2 DVDs and in 9 parts.
The story of a gambling grandfather (Sebastian Shaw) and
the fortune he owes to a devious, ugly old man named Daniel Quilp (Trevor
Peacock) becomes even more high stakes when the addicts granddaughter Nell
(Natalie Ogle) becomes an even larger target of Quilp’s when he find out about
where his loaned money has rally gone.
He has always lusted after Nell and feels he has found justification to
get her. Perhaps it is that the tale
against greed and for life is not corporate friendly enough for it to remain as
popular as other works of Dickens, which is all the more reason to see this
The 1.33 X 1 image is a bit softer than a PAL transfer to
DVD should be for its age, but it is not too bad. The Dolby Digital 2.0 is a surprisingly weak Mono, but is
passable. There are no extras except
for other Koch Vision trailers, but the performance is similar to the David
Copperfield installment from this series we have reviewed elsewhere on this
- Nicholas Sheffo