The Henry James Collection (BBC DVD Set)
Sound: C+ Extras: D Main Programs: B
Acorn Media’s exception release of the first series of Henry James adaptations
from the Affairs Of The Heart series
from 1974, the BBC has issued their own Henry
James Collection and most of the five shows are from that time period. You can read more about the Acorn box at this
still my favorite adaptation of James’ work, but this set comes close in result
and ambition in its impressive adaptations just he same. The only overlap between the two are Wings Of The Dove, starring Elizabeth
Spriggs, Betsy Blair, Lisa Eichhorn and John Castle in this case. The newest adaptation is The American with Matthew Modine and Diana
Rigg offering up a dark tale and interesting chemistry, with Rigg once again
stealing every scene, no matter how much she tries to the contrary.
Chamberlain, Edward Fox, James Maxwell and Suzanne Neve offer a version of Portrait Of A Lady that is as good as
any I have seen, Daniel Massey, Gale Hunnicut, Cyril Cusack, Jill Townsend and
Barry Morse in The Golden Bowl and
Ian Ogilvy, Gemma Jones and Diane Fletcher in The Spoils Of Poynton. They
are formidable, not as consistent or exciting as the other TV series, but are
rich enough to go out of your way for and a must for James fans.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is slightly
fuzzy on The American despite being
the newest and cleanest of the productions, while the 1.33 X 1 PAL analog
videotaped shows (with some 16mm outdoor footage in select places) having
softness and aliasing errors that make one wonder if these are the only
surviving copies. We have seen PAL video
look better than this and wonder if these are older digital low def
copies. The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound on
all the discs are decent, with The
American being in Stereo and the rest being solid monophonic sound, holding
up better than their image counterparts.
There are no extras.
- Nicholas Sheffo