The Old Curiosity Shop

The Old Curiosity Shop

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Jeff Robson

Read Jeff Robson's film review of The Old Curiosity Shop

A wonderfully crisp restoration of a nearly 80-year-old print and the sound quality’s pretty good too. And the extras offer a splendiferously commodious portmanteau of divertissements. An interview with the BFI’s Dickens season curators Adrian Wootton and Michael Eaton offers a wealth of information about Bentley and his actors together with an overview of the boom in Dickens adaptations in the early years of cinema.

Their reference to a lost but apparently spectacular silent version of Barnaby Rudge, his rarely-adapted epic of the 18th-century Gordon Riots, is tantalising. And it’s reassuring to hear that even in the 30s, Dickens buffs thought that Miss Benson’s feahfully proper enunciation sounded a bit unrealistic. Interesting stuff, but even more would have been even better.

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An interview with Dickens biographer Michael Slater is good on the genesis of the original novel and its relation to the film version. And there’s a nicely whimsical silent short from 1924, Dickens’ London, which revisits some of the most iconic locations and has Pickwick, Quilp et al trying to get to grips with such wonders of the modern world as a motorised omnibus, presided over by the ghostly presence of the Old Master himself.

A very striking stills gallery, showing Friese-Greene’s evocative camerawork at its best, rounds off the package.

Reviewed on: 23 May 2012
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The Old Curiosity Shop packshot
A young shopgirl and her grandfather flee from London to escape an evil moneylender.
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Product Code: OPTD 2349

Region: 2

Ratio: 4:3

Sound: Mono

Extras: Interview with BFI Dickens Season Curators Adrian Wootton & Michael Eaton, interview with Dickens biographer Michael Slater, Wonderful Dickens: Dickens' London, a 1924 silent film directed by Frank Miller, stills gallery

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