Box of Delights (1984)

Genres - Children's/Family, Fantasy  |   Sub-Genres - Children's Fantasy  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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The Box of Delights was originally presented in England as a six-part miniseries running three hours (recut into three hour-long installments for America's PBS), during the six weeks leading up to Christmas Eve of that year. As a result of the fortuitous scheduling on both sides of the Atlantic, but especially in England, it not only drew the expected children's audience but entire families and became a huge ratings success. For American home-video release, however, this two-hour feature was excised from the three-hour miniseries, and has appeared on VHS from various distributors. This version of the story is missing a lot of material, including many of the sequences involving Joanna Dukes as Maria and her encounter with Abner. At best, this is an introduction to the complete work, and should be no more than a stop on the way to discovering this most magical of fantasy stories -- and anyone who remembers the original may well find it very frustrating.