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DVD Review

Our Mutual Friend (1976)


Starring: Jane Seymour, Leo McKern, Lesley Dunlop, John EcEnery and Warren Clarke
Acorn Media UK
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: PG
Available 14 April 2008

When a dead body is fished out of the Thames foul play is suspected, especially as the body appears to belong to John Harmon, heir to a fortune. With the heir apparently dead the fortune goes to Boffin a faithful servant of his father's. However John is far from dead. Having defied the condition of his inheritance, that he marries Bella Wilfer, he disguises himself as John Rokesmith to win the girls affections, which he does with the help of Boffin...

Our Mutual Friend (1976, 350 min) is a two disc, seven part, serialised version of Charles Dickens's fourteenth and final novel. It was a BBC production directed by Peter Hammond and adapted for the screen by Donald Churchill and Julia Jones. This adaptation remains highly thought of and the show garnered much critical acclaim.

The show has a veritable cornucopia of the great and good from the seventies, with Jane Seymore, Warren Clark, David and Patrick Troughton et al turning in some impressive performances.

Of course, being Dickens’ you pretty know what you are going to get, class struggle, avarice, and a hero that wins in the end. Although he had trod this path in many of his other books, Our Mutual Friend sees Dickens at the end of his life having a much darker view of humanity.

The program is presented in the original 4:3 format and mono two channel audio, with the option of English subtitles. The print does not look like it has been digitally enhanced and has some print damage and lots of visible dust and dirt. Disc one contains the first four episodes and has a couple of text based extras in the form of a Charles Dickens biography and bibliography and cast filmographies. Disc two has the remaining three episodes.

With little doubt this is one of, if not the, best adaptation available and will be a great addition to any Dickensian collector.


Charles Packer

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