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DVD Talk review of 'Agatha Christie Poirot - Classic Crimes Collection'

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DVD Talk review of 'Agatha Christie Poirot - Classic Crimes Collection'

Old 07-19-06, 02:44 PM
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DVD Talk review of 'Agatha Christie Poirot - Classic Crimes Collection'

I read Stuart Galbraith IV's DVD review of Agatha Christie Poirot - Classic Crimes Collection at http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=22790 and...

These were indeed not shot in 4:3, as the R2 versions are all widescreen. Indeed, the R2 versions of theses are the four films previous are all in the proper aspect ratio. (The R2 sets also have behind-the-scenes extras on them... making them the better buy if one can play PAL.)
Old 07-19-06, 02:54 PM
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Well, I convinced myself to stop screwing around with all the butchered A&E releases and just to buy the complete Region 2 set. Ordered it from Amazon UK today. I will sell off all of my current discs to try and pay for most of the purchase price. Luckily my Denon has a region free hack.

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Old 07-20-06, 12:09 AM
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Thanks, Chris-K, for the info. I've added your comments to the review....
Old 07-20-06, 12:47 AM
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The R2 set sells for way, way less than the various R1 versions from A&E and Acorn Media. Confusingly, there have been three "Complete Collections" in R2 in the past several years.

The first one had 31 discs and was exclusively on DVD5s, so only two single-length, or one double-length, episode per disc.

The second one was released late last year. This has 20 discs, mostly DVD9s, with everything *except* the four titles listed in this review. It retailed for, IIRC, GBP120. This may be found cheaply every now and then; hmv.co.uk had it on sale for 57.99 a few months ago, or around $110. Compare this price with the combined prices of all the various A&E and Acorn Media versions and it works out way, way cheaper. The last four titles (which are the four *before* the ones listed in this review) are all widescreen, and all include various featurettes.

The third one is more recent, and includes the four titles above. This is on 24 discs. I don't have this set, but the British Board of Film Classification (bbfc.co.uk) lists a series of interviews and behind-the-scenes featurettes submitted by Granada Ventures for release, and where else but on this one?

The transfers on the six episodes I've watched on my R2 set are quite a bit better than the ones I've seen on the first Acorn Media set (which, confusingly, starts from the program's second series.) So not only do you get more, but you get superior transfers too!
Old 07-20-06, 05:02 PM
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Thanks for the info. I did indeed get the new 24 disc collection and this set was much cheaper than I thought. It was only $168 shipped from Amazon and I have already made $155 selling my old discs on Half.com and still have 9 more DVDs to sell. I feel like an idiot for never looking into the region 2 set a long time ago.

Are there any other sets like this I should consider getting from region 2? For instance I have the various US Miss Marple sets and the few episodes of Lord Peter Wimsey available. I've also been wanting a good set for Cadfael. Should this be stuff to get from Region 2 instead? Are the US releases of those as bad as the A&E Poirot releases?
Old 07-21-06, 12:44 AM
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As far as I've been able to make out (since I own none of these titles!) here's the run-down on the various titles you mention in R1 vs. R2...

Miss Marple: I've heard the A&E ones have rather poor transfers. I've also hear that they also use edited-for-broadcast masters. There are two versions available in R2: there's a 12-disc set from the BBC themselves, but it retails for a shocking GBP100! I highly doubt there are any cuts on them. They're bound to be episodic, too. The other R2 versions are from the Netherlands, in three 4-disc sets. Apart from the fact that they have removeable Dutch subtitles, I know nothing else about them.

Lord Peter Wimsey (at least the Ian Carmichael ones) in R2 is also an Acorn Media title. I don't know about the later 1980s versions.

Cadfael is supposedly superb in R2. The complete series has been going on and off sale at amazon UK for the past several months. It's been down to half-price quite a bit. Retail for the set is IIRC GBP55. It's on either 4 or 5 discs, rather than Acorn Media's laughable 13! According to reviews on amazon, the quality is superlative.

Oh, another series not mentioned that's way, way cheaper in R2 is Inspector Morse. A 30-something-disc set retails for GBP200, but last year it was going for 70 pounds for a while! Compare the US versions which retail for somewhere around $500 (I think).

(For the enlightenment of those in the USA who have never ordered from amazon.co.uk, we get an automatic 15% discount on all DVDs. This is due to VAT, which is automatically added to the price, but since we don't live in Europe, we don't pay it. The vast majority of UK retailers do not remove it for US customers, but amazon does.)

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Old 07-21-06, 07:23 AM
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Again thanks for the info. I spent some time digging through the Amazon UK site and found the titles you mentioned. I definitely grabbed Cadfael as it was 40% off currently which only made it around $55 shipped to the US for the complete series.

I'm going to keep and eye on the Marple and Morse sets. When they put a good discount on them I will buy those as well. I also noticed that Acorn has put out many more of the Wimsey episodes in the UK so I may buy those as well.

I'm a huge fan of British mystery and now will have a chance to really upgrade my collection. Thanks for all the input.
Old 07-21-06, 10:34 AM
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Many more Wimsey episodes? I thought there were only 5 stories with Ian Carmichael (Acorn Media in R1 and R2) and 3 with Edward Petherbridge (BBC/Warner in R1, don't know in R2).

If you like British mysteries, there are two further titles that might interest you:

Sherlock Holmes, 1968 BBC, with Peter Cushing and Nigel Stock. Only six episodes survive out of 16 made, and they've been released on three DVD5s. Two of the six are a two-part Hound of the Baskervilles. These are available as three seperate discs, and were collected as "The Sherlock Holmes Collection" but have recently been combined with the BBC's much more recent Holmes adaptations under the same name. (There was an earlier Holmes made by the BBC in B&W c. 1964/5 with Douglas Wilmer, for which most of the episodes survive, although the only commercial release of them to date has been a VHS tape with the first two episodes.) Like all BBC stuff from this era, it's a tape/film mix.

Father Brown, available as three double-disc sets from Acorn Media UK. Have never seen these.
Old 07-21-06, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris-K
Many more Wimsey episodes? I thought there were only 5 stories with Ian Carmichael (Acorn Media in R1 and R2) and 3 with Edward Petherbridge (BBC/Warner in R1, don't know in R2).

If you like British mysteries, there are two further titles that might interest you:

Sherlock Holmes, 1968 BBC, with Peter Cushing and Nigel Stock. Only six episodes survive out of 16 made, and they've been released on three DVD5s. Two of the six are a two-part Hound of the Baskervilles. These are available as three seperate discs, and were collected as "The Sherlock Holmes Collection" but have recently been combined with the BBC's much more recent Holmes adaptations under the same name. (There was an earlier Holmes made by the BBC in B&W c. 1964/5 with Douglas Wilmer, for which most of the episodes survive, although the only commercial release of them to date has been a VHS tape with the first two episodes.) Like all BBC stuff from this era, it's a tape/film mix.

Father Brown, available as three double-disc sets from Acorn Media UK. Have never seen these.
Yes, you are correct about Wimsey. I didn't look carefully at the episode listings. I already have all the R1 Carmichael ones anyway.

I will definitely check on the other titles you mentioned.
Old 10-10-06, 08:25 PM
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If anyone is still reading this, as of October 10, 2006, hmv.co.uk has the complete Cadfael collection for GBP17.99. With 3.75 airmail shipping, this comes to around US$40.

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