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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Literature > British > Literary Adaptations – Britain (Orlando/Tess/A Handful Of Dust/Sons & Lovers/The Innocents/Umbrella Entertainment/Region 4/PAL DVD Set)

Literary Adaptations – Britain (Orlando/Tess/A Handful Of Dust/Sons & Lovers/The Innocents/Umbrella Entertainment/Region 4/PAL DVD Set)



PLEASE NOTE: This DVD can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region 4 PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.



Picture: B-     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Films:


Orlando B

Sons & Lovers B+

Tess B

A Handful of Dust B-

The Innocents B+



Umbrella Entertainment has issued some awesome material, especially when the combine titles together for a set, like this Literary Adaptations – Britain, which pulls together five terrific films based on English literature, including Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, D.H. Lawrence’s Sons & Lovers, Thomas Hardy’s Tess, Evelyn Waugh’s A Handful of Dust, and Henry James’ The Innocents. 


While these films are available in the U.S. in single editions, having them together in one set is a plus, although having a All Region player is important and with Blu-ray sales up and DVD players quickly fading, it would seem that imports are becoming less and less common, no matter how good the material. 


From a literary and cinematic viewpoint, this set has some great titles, including Roman Polanski’s Tess, but even more surprising are titles like The Innocents or Sons & Lovers.  Orlando is worthwhile as it features a younger Tilda Swinton in this 1992 film and weaves together a quest for love over the course of 400 years beginning in the reign of Elizabeth and ending in present day.  1960’s Sons & Lovers is a strong contender as well dealing with the life and times in a mining town as our main character Paul Morel struggles to find love as a young aspiring artist.  Polanski’s 1979 film Tess stars Nastassja Kinski who is drawn into the volatile world of her lover, who is an aristocrat and the world of politics, love, and life.  The film runs nearly 3-hours and can be tedious at times, but worthwhile just the same.  A Handful of Dust is one of the weaker in the bunch as this 1978 film demonstrates the wealth and power struggles of 1930’s England, the film does star Judi Dench, Anjelica Huston, Alec Guiness, and a fine cast of supporting actors and actresses.  Then we have 1961’s The Innocents, which is a striking film starring Deborah Kerr who cares for her two children inside a haunted mansion, this is the only horror film of the bunch, but is the most worthwhile viewing in the bunch, a must-see. 


Picture quality ranges film to film, most of the earlier films look dated and the transfer demonstrates poor care of the years, contrast levels are weak and overall sharpness is a factor too, the softness makes the films look older than they actually are.  Same is true of the soundtracks, which the newer films are Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes, while the two films from the 1960’s are Dolby Digital 2.0 mixes, but all five films feel like monophonic mixes in that most of the sound is forward-heavy and dialogue driven for the most part.  There are some ambient sounds from time to time and the soundtrack occasionally kicks into the rear channels, but overall it’s nothing too impressive to necessarily warrant 5.1 mixes. 


Extras include a feature commentary on A Handful of Dust by director Charles Sturridge, trailers are included for the films, there are three documentaries on Orlando as well that are short, but a nice touch, and there is a short-story that runs 36-minutes on The Innocents that is also worth checking out as the film serves as a good companion piece. 



As noted above, you can order this PAL DVD import exclusively from Umbrella at:





-   Nate Goss


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