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About MovieMail Moviemail Team Q. What is your favourite film or TV adaptation of a classic novel? (inspired by our Classic Literary Adaptations sale on page 15)

Dan Hunter Editor Bleak House (BBC, 2005)

Graeme Hobbs Writer Oliver Twist (Lloyd, 1922)

Becky Smith Buyer

It’s our twelfth anniversary but the idea stays the same – to share interesting films and to celebrate one of the world’s great communal art forms. Thousands of DVDs are released every month; we select the best and most worthwhile and let you know about them – in our monthly film catalogue, on our website, in email newsletters and in the podcast.

The Monthly Film Catalogue Here we present the best new DVD releases from a wide range of genres to bring great films, documentaries and TV programmes to your attention in an easily digested format. Those films and directors we particularly recommend are highlighted with longer reviews and features. Published from wood-free pulp grown in sustainable forests. Please recycle, and let us know if you’d rather not receive it.

Pride and Prejudice (BBC, 1995)

Peter Curtis Customer Services Manager

How to Order Order online for the cheapest prices on over 14,000 films at www.moviemail-online.co.uk

Clueless (Heckerling, 1995)

Rena Markogiannaki

Call us on 0844 776 0900 to speak to one of our friendly staff. Calls are charged at 5p/min or less from landlines. Customers outside the UK should call 0208 099 7084

Publications Assistant O Brother, Where art Thou? (Coen Brothers, 2000)

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? Plus Brian Kelly Martin Chuzzlewit (BBC, 1994)

Alan Hunter Pride and Prejudice (BBC, 1980)

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March 09 MovieMail Newsletter

MovieMail News

L

ast year we were really pleased with the success of our exclusive DVDs. We worked with some friendly suppliers to make available some excellent films that you would not otherwise be able to see. Among others, we brought you Angel Face, Footsteps in the Fog and Age of Consent. This year we are delighted to be continuing the programme, which starts immediately with our film of the month The Wrong Box plus The Eddie Duchin Story and The Hireling. And next month we are delighted to bring you, finally, Father Brown, Gumshoe and Winstanley. A steady stream of desirable movies will follow over the

Film of the Month 5 The Wrong Box

6

World Cinema Nights of Cabiria OSS 117

12

Classic Movies

course of the year. We’re particularly excited about one of them, whose identity we won’t reveal right now, except to hint that it’s a much-desired British horror film by a French director... Enjoy your films,

The Eddy Duchin Story The Devil and Daniel Webster

Documentaries

16

The GPO Film Unit Vol 2 The Joy of Sex Education

Animation

19

Pinocchio

Television

24

Legends of Comedy

Celluloid Activism 28 Brideshead Revisited (1981)

External Contributors Milo Wakelin (Apocalypse Now - Coppola, 1979) Milo’s passion for film is wide, and as Film Editor of the Pink Paper he upholds the MovieMail tradition of bringing less well-known gems to a wider audience. He is a tireless proponent of the High-Definition revolution, and hopes that pristine remasters of titles like The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) will bring classic film to a new generation.

Michael Brooke Docteur Jekyll et Les Femmes (Borowczyk, 1981) is the Content Developer for BFI Screenonline.

David Parkinson Brideshead Revisited (1981) is a film historian whose most recent book on cinema is The Rough Guide to Musicals.

Alex Davidson Cranford (2007) is an editor and reseacher for the BFI mediatheque.

Julian Upton Tom Jones (Richardson, 1963) is the author of Fallen Stars (Headpress, 2004).

Claudia Gonella A Room with a View (Ivory, 1985) is still deciding what she wants to be, but in the meantime she’s a freelance editor.

Peter Wild One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Forman, 1975) is the editor of Perverted by Language: Fiction inspired by The Fall.

James Oliver Death on the Nile (Guillermin, 1978) is a freelance writer.

Contents

Contemporary

32

The Duchess Hunger The Hireling

From the Cheap Seats

38

HD Releases

37

Order Form

39

Special Offers Nouveaux Pictures 11 Classic Literary Adaptations

15

Oscar Winners

20

British Transport Films

23

Enquiries enquiries@moviemail-online.co.uk

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Get more from Current Top 10 Chart MovieMail

1 The Woman in the Window

Bonus Points Bonus Points are designed to reward you when you buy your films from MovieMail. You accumulate them when you spend money with us and can cash them in to get money off future orders. For every pound you spend on films, you'll receive 5 bonus points. You can convert 625 points into a £5 credit which can be taken off the cost of a future order with MovieMail. You can keep track of your points total via our website and on your invoices. To cash them in, simply let us know when you're making your order.

Service Charter MovieMail does not charge your credit or debit card until the goods are ready for despatch. Any item purchased from us may be returned for a full refund. If the item proves faulty on our equipment we will also refund your postage. We do retain the right not to fulfil any order for any reason whatsoever. None of the above affects your statutory rights. We will not release any of your details to any third party or mailing list. Ever.

Key to MovieMail Recommended

Recommended by MovieMail is a collection of the very best DVDs. Visit www.moviemail-online.co.uk/recommended for the full archive

B Bonus Points Within the Highlighted films’ Buying Details you’ll find the number of points awarded for your purchase.

DVD Extras Following the DVD icon, we list details of the supplementary materials found in the package. Page 4

Dir: Fritz Lang. A ruthless, brilliantly-wrought film noir, filled with raking shadows and suffused with a fatalistic tone, in which a mild-mannered professor suddenly finds himself an unexpected murderer embarking on a botched cover-up. USA | 1944 | OPTIM | 95 min | B&W | Cert PG | # 56920 | RRP £15.99

DVD: £11.99 Save £4

2 I’ve Loved You So Long

Dir: Philippe Claudel. Kristin Scott Thomas stars in this acclaimed emotional family drama as Juliette, a woman who returns to live with her younger sister Lea (Elsa Zylberstein) and her family after spending 15 years in prison. France | 2008 | LGATE | 117 min | subt | Cert 12 | # 56907 | RRP £19.99

DVD: £12.99 Save £7

3 The Wrong Box

Dir: Bryan Forbes. An all-star Victorian romp in which two brothers will stop at nothing to outlive each other and collect a huge family inheritance. Cue mistaken identities, forged death certificates and a spectacular hearse race. UK | 1966 | SPHE | 101 min | Cert U | # 57377 | RRP £12.99

DVD: £11.99 Save £1

4 Train of Events

Dir: Charles Crichton. An Ealing Studios film is divided into four separate stories, each representing a different viewpoint on events, and all converging together in a fateful rail disaster. UK | 1949 | OPTIM | 86 min | B&W | Cert PG | # 56913 | RRP £15.99

DVD: £11.99 Save £4

Bloody Sunday 5 Sunday

8

6 The Duchess

of Cabiria 9 Nights

DVD: £11.99 Save £4

DVD: £13.99 Save £9

at the Top 7 Room DVD: £9.99 Save £5

Red Sorghum DVD: £13.99 Save £6

DVD: £11.99 Save £6

10 Gomorrah

DVD: £12.99 Save £7

Reader Feedback We’ve had an unusually high number of people mention in passing on the telephones this month how impressed they have been with Masters of Cinema’s recent release of Marcel L’Herbier’s 1928 film, L’Argent, saying that we should have promoted it more. Indeed, it’s an estimable release of a film that is especially pertinent in these financially uncertain times (its title simply means ‘Money’). The film itself comes highly recommended, and the DVD also features a fascinating extra in the form of one of the earliest ‘making-of’ documentaries. Jean Dréville was given free rein of the studios with his camera during filming, and he produced a 40 minute behind the scenes look at the filming process. It’s a priceless document and makes an important DVD truly essential.

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March 09 MovieMail Newsletter

MovieMail’s Film of the Month

The Wrong Box

EXCLUSIVE!

Recommended Director: Bryan Forbes Starring: Tony Hancock, Peter Sellers, John Mills, Ralph Richardson, Michael Caine, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Nanette Newman Released: 16th February UK | 1966 | SPHE | 101 mins | Cert U | Item # 57377

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B 55 Bonus Points If purchased for £11.99

B

See Also Kind Hearts And Coronets Robert Hamer

UK | 1949 | OPTIM | 102 min | B&W | Cert U | # 31537 | RRP £12.99

Our DVD Price: £7.99

Bedazzled (1967) Stanley Donen

UK | 1967 | SECND | 99 min | | | Cert 12 | # 22801 | RRP £19.99

Our DVD Price: £7.49

The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer Kevin Billington

UK | 1970 | DIGCL | 95 min | Cert 12 | # 50653 | RRP £9.99

Our DVD Price: £7.99

A

star-studded, multi-coloured, expensive-looking romp typical of the kind they liked to make in the mid-to-late sixties, The Wrong Box ticks all the right boxes: high production values, sumptuous period decor, modishly mordant humour and a comically labyrinthine plot allowing plenty of scope for scene-stealing cameos. There’s a cornucopia of postwar British comedy talent here – Peter Sellers, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Tony Hancock, Gerald Sim, John Le Mesurier, Irene Handl and, upstaging everyone, Wilfrid Lawson – all vying for the film’s comic crown. It’s a good-natured tale of a nefarious band of relatives and acquaintances battling it out to prove that one of two elderly brothers — survivors of a tontine (a longterm investment plan) — has outlived the other and thus has a claim on the fortune. Director Bryan Forbes has some fun showing how the less fortunate tontine investors have been dispatched — one poor soul is fatally wounded by Queen Victoria as he is being knighted — and John Mills and Ralph Richardson (no less!) go hell-forleather at their respective roles as the dotty old siblings. At the centre of it all are

A much-needed antidote to credit crunch woes Michael Caine and Nanette Newman (Mrs Bryan Forbes) as two sweetly repressed lovers from the opposite sides of the warring family. In the midst of all the comic heavyweights, Caine surprisingly manages to pull off a subtly humorous performance of hapless innocence. The film also looks great – the evocation of biscuit-tin Victorian London is elegantly achieved, and Gerry Turpin’s outdoor cinematography uniquely captures a crisp English springtime look. And there’s a great score by the ever-reliable John Barry. The Wrong Box may owe more than a little debt to Robert Hamer’s classic Kind Hearts and Coronets, but with its irrepressible optimism and lively extravagance, it is required Christmas/Easter/Bank Holiday (delete as appropriate) viewing, and a much-needed antidote to credit crunch woes from a far-off time when Britain seemed to be brimming with self-confidence. Julian Upton

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World Cinema Films in a Foreign Language

New Releases L’Air de Paris Marcel Carné

A film blessed with evocative cinematography in 1950s Paris. Jean Gabin stars as an ageing ex-boxer who tries to turn a young boy into a champion. However, his wife (Arletty) is unhappy at hanging around while her husband devotes his time to the young lad. France / Italy | 1954 | OPTIM | 99 min | subt | Cert PG Item # 57267 | RRP £17.99 | Released 16th March

Our DVD Price: £13.99

Alice et Martin André Téchiné

Juliette Binoche, Alexis Loret. A love story between emotionally damaged outsiders, praised for its effective use of an unorthodox narrative structure. When Alice tells Martin she is pregnant, he has a sudden flashback of a mystery in his past.

Our DVD Price: £13.99

Alberto De Martino Alida Valli. Post-Exorcist shocker in which a paralyzed woman suffers mental problems after the death of her mother. After a psychologist leads her to remember a past life as a witch, she starts seducing men, only to kill them. Exorcism seems to be the only cure... Italy | 1974 | OPTIM | 112 min | Cert 18 Item # 57273 | RRP £15.99 | Released 16th March

Our DVD Price: £11.99

A Bloody Aria

Shin-Yeon Won Korean horror in which a womanising professor and a pretty student are held hostage by a group of demented sadists in the woods after she runs away from his unwanted advances on a drive to the countryside. South Korea | 2006 | ICA | 115 min | Cert 18 Item # 57101 | RRP £12.99 | Released 23rd February

Quiet Chaos Recommended Director: Antonio Luigi Grimaldi Starring: Hippolyte Girardot, Nanni Moretti, Valeria Golino, Roberto Nobile, Isabella Ferrari

Director: Uli Edel

Released: 2nd March

Starring: Moritz Bleibtreu, Martina Gedeck, Hannah Herzsprung, Johanna Wokalek

UK / Italy | 2008 | NW | 105 mins | subt | Cert 15 | Item # 56992

Germany | 2008 | MOMET | 150 mins | subt | Cert 18 | Item # 57018

The Antichrist

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Recommended

Released: 6th April

France | 1998 | OPTIM | 121 min | subt | Cert 15 Item # 56908 | RRP £17.99 | Released 23rd February

Our DVD Price: £9.99

The BaaderMeinhof Complex

The story is of the Red Army Faction growing out of Germany’s student movement in the late 1960s. It’s superbly photographed and has a fine cast, but earns endless controversy simply because there were hundreds of members of the RAF and tens of victims. All think their story should be told. This film concentrates on the leaders: petty crook and borderline everythingopath, Andreas Baader, his girlfriend Gudrun Ensslin and journalist turned revolutionary, Ulricke Meinhof. We spend time on the highlights and the genesis of the RAF, but next to no time on how the complete lack of response by those in power caused so many people over so many years to join a violent revolutionary group. A must see for those of us becoming adults at the time and for the politically alert of any age, it may not be perfect but at least it’s a framework. If you were one of the millions who demonstrated for no Iraq invasion and were appalled that it made no difference then you’ll identify with the motives, if not the crimes. AH

In spite of its heavy subject matter – a widowed father tries to cope after the sudden death of his wife – the refreshingly quirky tone of Quiet Chaos puts it into another league from standard portentous dramas dealing with familial grief. Recalling his role in the self-directed The Son’s Room, Nanni Moretti stars as Pietro, who rescues a woman from drowning at the beach but, in a cruel stroke of irony, returns to find his wife has died in his absence. Neither he nor his daughter (a lovely debut from Blu Di Martino) seem able to grieve, and both enter a new phase of their lives. Co-writer Moretti is excellent as the complex protagonist. In spite of Pietro’s ostensible lack of anguish, he becomes fiercely protective of his daughter, and their scenes together are deeply moving, as are the scenes in which Pietro encounters an array of people in the park as he waits outside his daughter’s school every day. The last five minutes are entrancing, as plot threads and motifs combine to create an exhilarating ending. All this, and a cameo from Roman Polanski too! AD

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March 09 MovieMail Newsletter

Nights of Cabiria Recommended Director: Federico Fellini Starring: Giulietta Masina, Franca Marz, François Périer Released: 2nd March DVD Extras: Trailers; Interview with Italian cinema expert Phil Kemp; Uncut, restored theatrical version. Italy / France | 1956 | OPTIM | 113 mins | subt | B&W | Cert PG | Item # 57278

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B 55 Bonus Points If purchased for £11.99

See Also La Strada

Federico Fellini Italy | 1954 | OPTIM | 104 min | subt | B&W | Cert PG | # 21842 | RRP £19.99

Our DVD Price: £8.99

Giulietta degli Spiriti Federico Fellini

Italy | 1965 | NOUVE | 121 min | subt | | Cert U | # 22971 | RRP £19.99

Our DVD Price: £14.99

Sweet Charity Bob Fosse

USA | 1969 | UPV | 142 min | | | Cert PG | # 19168 | RRP £9.99

Our DVD Price: £8.99

C

oming between La Strada and Juliet of the Spirits, Giulietta Masina’s second collaboration with husband Federico Fellini is easily their most accomplished and compelling, giving a bittersweet glimpse into the life and dreams of Cabiria, a resilient and unquenchably optimistic prostitute. However, even her outlook is threatened when she is first dumped by a glamorous film star, then by her supposedly respectable fiancé who also takes her life savings. Alternating between neorealism and nouvelle vague self-reflexivity, it marked the junction between the intimate studies of those subsisting on society’s margins and the big city satires that saw Fellini hailed as an auteur. Orson Welles once opined that the Rimini-born director was a small-town boy who never quite adjusted to the tempo and temperament of urban life. But the Oscar-winning Nights of Cabiria suggests that his outsider status gave Fellini a clearer perspective of Roman mores than most of his contemporaries. Stylistically, this is one of Fellini’s most fascinating films. The opening sequence in which Cabiria is pitched into the Tiber by a boyfriend intent on stealing her handbag, and the shots of her humble home isolated in a wasteland between Rome and Ostia

This Oscar-winner is one of Fellini’s most fascinating films are textbook examples of the authenticity demanded by neo-realism. Indeed, such was Fellini’s insistence on veracity that he hired Pier Paolo Pasolini to cast the dialogue between Cabiria and her fellow hookers at the Terme di Caracalla in street slang. However, several sequences recall the rose-tinted realism that so often tempted Vittorio de Sica, while others, such as Cabiria’s encounter with a hypnotist, draw more postmodern attention. Yet for all this masterly melodrama reveals about Fellini as an artist, husband and human being, it is dominated by Masina, whose unsung genius for switching between flinty sassiness and wide-eyed vulnerability gives the picture its heart. Many have compared her performance to the sentimental mumming of Charlie Chaplin, but there’s more of Harry Langdon’s naive resourcefulness about Cabiria’s determination to find love and improve her quality of life. Poignant and poised, it’s the finest acting display in the entire Fellini canon. David Parkinson

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World Cinema The Exterminating Angels Jean-Claude Brisseau

A filmmaker holds explicit auditions for his project about female pleasure – specifically the beauty of a woman during orgasm – and proposes that transgression results in increased pleasure. Alas, he fails to register the warning signs about his project in this take on sexual politics in the post-millennial wastelands. Director Interview. France | 2006 | Axiom | 100 min | subt | Cert 18 Item # 57100 | RRP £19.99 | Released 23rd February

Our DVD Price: £14.99

Sang-soo Im

A fictionalized account of the events leading up to the assassination of South Korean President Park Chun-hee in 1979. Korean security chief Kim secretly nurtures a personal disgust with his dissolute president, so improvises a conspiracy that will change world politics. South Korea | 2005 | 3RDW | 102 min | subt | Cert 15 Item # 57104 | RRP £14.99 | Released 23rd February

Our DVD Price: £12.99

Sophie Scholl (Special Edition) Marc Rothemund

Fellini Box Set Federico Fellini

Three films: La Strada, in which Giulietta Masina’s kind-hearted girl goes on the road with Anthony Quinn’s strong man act; Nights of Cabiria in which she plays an optimistic prostitute, and The White Sheik, a charming comedy in which a bride sneaks off to the offices of a photo-romance 3 discs. magazine on a trip to Rome. Italy | 1951-56 | OPTIM | Cert PG Item # 57392 | RRP £34.99 | Released 2nd March

A dramatisation of the last days of Sophie Scholl, the anti-Nazi Resistance fighter. Julia Jentsch is terrific in the title role and the film is based on transcripts of the interrogation and witness interviews. 2 discs; 3 hours of additional footage with 13 deleted scenes and historical interviews. Germany | 2005 | DRAKE | 117 min | Cert PG Item # 56986 | RRP £19.99 | Released 16th March

Our DVD Price: £14.99

Thérèse Raquin Marcel Carné

Our DVD Price: £31.49

Gran Casino Luis Buñuel

A strange woman rolls into town, takes on a fake identity and gains employment at a casino where her brother had mysteriously disappeared. The mischievous master of satire mixes up a cocktail of thriller, romance, melodrama and social commentary in his take on the Introduction to Buñuel. Hollywood musical.

Simone Signoret, Raf Vallone. Carné updates Zola’s scandalous 19th century tale of forbidden love and murder to 1950s France, where Thérèse, the bored wife of a feeble husband, spends her days in her spiteful mother-in-law’s shop. Then Italian hunk Laurent enters her life, but her husband stands in the way of their happiness... France / Italy | 1953 | OPTIM | 102 min | subt | Cert PG Item # 57190 | RRP £17.99 | Released 16th March

Our DVD Price: £13.99

Mexico | 1946 | OPTIM | 91 min | subt | Cert PG Item # 57281 | RRP £17.99 | Released 2nd March

To Get to Heaven First You Have to Die

Our DVD Price: £13.99

Monkey Magic

Jamshed Usmonov

Kensaku Sawada Monkey finally makes it to the big screen with this feature length adventure, thirty years in the making, in which mischievous Monkey, Sandy, Pigsy and Sanzo must defeat evil warlords and prevent the world being plunged into darkness forever! Japan | 2007 | SHOWB | 124 min | subt | Cert 12 Item # 57223 | RRP £15.99 | Released 9th February

DVD Price: £11.99 Blu-ray Price: £14.99

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The President’s Last Bang

A dark Freudian comedy drama that makes an unsettling connection between love and death. Unable to have sex with his new bride, Kamal travels to the city to find stimulation, and gets more than he bargained for with a young married factory worker with a mafia thug for a husband. Russia / France | 2006 | TRNTY | 96 min | subt | Cert 15 Item # 57103 | RRP £19.99 | Released 23rd February

Our DVD Price: £14.99

Melville: Crime & Resistance New editions of films by Jean-Pierre Melville Jean-Pierre Melville Collection

Six films: Army of Shadows, Le Doulos, Léon Morin, Prêtre, Le Cercle Rouge, Bob Le 6 Flambeur, Un Flic. discs; Commentaries; Le Journal de la Resistance. France | 1961-72 | OPT | subt | 12 Item # 57277 | RRP £44.99 | Released 2nd March

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Army of Shadows

Simone Signoret, Jean-Pierre Cassell, Paul Meurisse. One of the most authentic film portrayals of the French Resistance, in which friendships, trust and loyalty give way under occupation to secrecy and suspicion. France | 1969 | OPTIM | 145 min | subt | Cert 12 Item # 57283 | RRP £17.99 | Released 2nd March

Our DVD Price: £13.99

Le Cercle Rouge

Alain Delon, Gian-Maria Volonte, Yves Montand. A master thief, an alcoholic ex-cop and an escaped criminal combine to plot a daring theft from an upmarket jewellery store. Melville’s ‘film noir in colour’. France | 1970 | OPTIM | 136 min | subt | Cert PG Item # 57280 | RRP £17.99 | Released 2nd March

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Le Doulos

A sense of impending doom pervades Melville’s tribute to the gangster films of the 1940s. Jean-Paul Belmondo plays a police informer in a twilit world where ‘all characters are twofaced, all characters are false’. France | 1963 | OPTIM | 106 min | subt | Cert 12 Item # 57279 | RRP £17.99 | Released 2nd March

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Léon Morin, Prêtre

A depiction of the love affair between a young, sexually frustrated, atheist widow (Emmanuelle Riva) and a priest (a smouldering Jean-Paul Belmondo), set against the backdrop of the occupation. France | 1961 | OPTIM | 112 min | subt | Cert PG Item # 57393 | RRP £17.99 | Released 2nd March

Our DVD Price: £13.99

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March 09 MovieMail Newsletter

OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies Recommended Director: Michel Hazanavicius Starring: Jean Dujardin, Claude Brosset, Laurent Bateau, Aure Atika, Philippe Lefebvre, Bérénice Bejos Released: 23rd February France | 2006 | ICA | 99 mins | subt | Cert 12 | Item # 57102

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A

B 40 Bonus Points If purchased for £8.99

See Also Le Diner de Cons Francis Veber

France | 1998 | Pathe | 76 min | subt | | Cert 15 | # 18498 | RRP £15.99

Our DVD Price: £14.39

Casino Royale (1967) USA | 1967 | MGMHE | 125 min | Cert PG | # 18638 | RRP £15.99

Our DVD Price: £14.39

Les Visiteurs

Jean-Marie Poire France | 1993 | AVD | 105 min | subt | | Cert 15 | # 5029 | RRP £19.99

Our DVD Price: £17.99

s the Middle East descends into chaos, only one nation is equipped to step into a minefield of cultural and religious sensitivities. With a history of treating other countries with respect, humility and tact, who better to bring peace to the region than ... the French? Based on Jean Bruce’s prolific series of spy novels, this hilarious Gallic spy spoof was a huge box office hit at home. With its fearlessly un-PC (but entirely good-natured) take on the politics of the Middle East and a spot-on nailing of the spy genre, Cairo: Nest of Spies a likeable, laugh-out loud comedy that’s a classy cut above recent American efforts such as Get Smart and Austin Powers.  Set in 1955, secret agent Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath swaggers into Nasser’s swinging Cairo with a wolfish grin, a sharp suit, and an unmistakeably Gallic colonial insouciance. He’s on the trail of the killers of his comrade and close friend Jack Jefferson, murdered while investigating a missing ship. After taking over Jefferson’s cover as the boss of a poultry factory, de La Bath runs into an Egyptian Princess and

A likeable, laugh-outloud and very French comedy spy thriler a sultry secret agent as well as a group of Islamic radicals, Russians, and a clique of neo-Nazis.  Everything from the snappy title sequence to the score, costumes, cinematography, stunts and sets evokes the filmmaking of the period. Comic actor Jean Dujardin takes the lead role, and his unexpectedly dashing physical presence brings a lupine sex appeal to a character who could have been played solely for laughs. And it’s de La Bath’s good-natured energy combined with his oblivious stupidity that gives the film its timely message. Despite assaulting a muezzin for interrupting his sleep with the call to prayer (and his belief that the Suez Canal was constructed by the Pharaohs), he eventually wins over his Egyptian counterpart with charm, persistence, and his unshakable belief that: “Westerners are welcome everywhere, if we show goodwill”. Milo Wakelin

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Page 9


World Cinema Turtles are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers

Kon Ichikawa

Miki Satoshi

Juri Ueno plays a bored housewife, who, to bring some excitement into her life, responds to a “Spy Wanted” ad. When she finds that the advertisers want an ordinary person like her so as not to attract attention, things look less promising, but slowly her life changes into something rather extraordinary. Japan | 2005 | 3RDW | 90 min | subt | Cert 12 Item # 57097 | RRP £14.99 | Released 23rd February

Our DVD Price: £12.99

Warlords

Peter Chan A spectacular historical action film starring Jet Li, Andrew Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro as blood brothers and comradesin-arms whose victories on the battlefield are tested by politics, personal ambition and romantic rivalry during the Taiping Rebellion of the mid 19th century. Hong Kong | 2007 | MET-D | 110 min | subt | Cert 15 Item # 57091 | RRP £19.99 | Released 2nd March

Our DVD Price: £14.99

Alone Across the Pacific

A powerful hymn to the human spirit, this tells the extraordinary real-life story of one man’s obsessive quest to break free from the strictures of society. In 1962, Kenichi Horie embarked on a heroic attempt to sail single-handed across the Pacific Ocean. Leaving Osaka in an ill-prepared vessel, the young adventurer had to overcome the most savage of seas, the psychological torment of cabin fever, and his mental and physical breaking point, if he was ever to reach the fabled destination of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Using Horie’s best-selling logbook as his source, Ichikawa portrays the epic struggle of man against nature in magnificent ‘Scope cinematography complemented by a score by celebrated composer Toru New high definition transfer; Takemitsu. Trailers; 24-page booklet featuring archival stills and an essay on the film. Japan | 1963 | EUREK | 97 min | Cert PG Item # 57215 | RRP £19.99 | Released 23rd Feb

Wong Kar-Wai Jet Tone Collection

Our DVD Price: £14.99

Triple bill of films produced by Wong Kar-Wai available in a collection or individualy. The Eagle Shooting Heroes (Jeffrey Lau, 1993) is an action comedy parodying kung-fu films, with a sprawling plot, big fight scenes, complex love stories and musical numbers. Major stars including Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung step up to the plate of selfparody with gusto in this crazy tale of treachery, magic and martial arts. First Love: Litter on the Breeze (Eric Kot, 1997) is a postmodern romance which tells two interwining stories on the subject of first love, interspersed with commentary by the director. Finally, Christopher Doyle directs Away With Words (1999), a drama about a man for whom words have tangible shapes, tastes, smells and colours and which can never be forgotten once heard. He strikes up a relationship with an amnesiac bar-owner and it becomes clear that words only stand in 3 discs. the way of their future together. Hong Kong | ART-E | Cert 15 Item # 57107 | RRP £29.99 / £15.99 each / £1 each | Released 9th Feb

Our DVD Price: £26.99 / £11.99 each

Page 10

Two new releases from the master Japanese filmmaker

Kokoro

Masayuki Mori. Brimful with brooding psychological torment, Kokoro is vintage Ichikawa (An Actor’s Revenge, The Burmese Harp, Tokyo Olympiad). Based on the novel of the same name by Natsume Soseki, the director foregrounds themes of individual isolation and social estrangement, most notably in a central protagonist stricken by existential demons and stranded by changing times. Why does Nobuchi visit the grave of his old friend Kaji? Why is he so secretive with his wife Shizu? And how does Nobuchi’s friendship with the young student Hioki – for whom the older man is a reluctant teacher – relate to his time with Kaji? As the Meiji Era draws to a close with the emperor’s death and the suicide of General Nogi, a fateful tale of tainted love, failed friendship, and redemptive honour New unravels with tragic consequences. high definition transfer; A lavish 48-page booklet with archival publicity stills, a newly written essay by Tony Rayns, and an extended interview with Kon Ichikawa by Yuki Mori. Japan | 1955 | EUREK | 121 min | Cert 12 Item # 57217 | RRP £19.99 | Released 23rd Feb

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La Zona Recommended Director: Rodrigo Plá Starring: Maribel Verdú, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Daniel Tovar, Carlos Bardem Released: 23rd February. Mexico | 2007 | SODA | 91 mins | subt | Cert 15 | Item # 56990

Since the brilliant City of God, many Latin American films have dramatised the harsh and volatile realities of shanty town life, but La Zona is something quite different and deserves credit for its fresh interpretation of a well-trodden topic. Far more cerebral in nature, it unsettles not for its explicit brutality but for its unflinching reflection on the disturbing consequences of societal divisons and the paranoia this feeds. When the comfortable lives of wealthy Mexican citizens living behind security fencing are infiltrated by three criminals who rob and murder a neighbour, rational behaviour and the rule of law give way to an impulse to protect their artificial lives, with terrifying results. Two criminals are shot dead by guards, but a third, a young boy, escapes and hides within the confines of the community. Taking the law into their own hands, the citizens mount a merciless manhunt that ends with a shocking climax. This satirical thriller is an exploration of vigilante justice against the vulnerable and unfamiliar, which although extreme, is unsettlingly plausible. CG

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Classic DVDs from £7.99 each

Classic World Cinema Sale Come and See

La Dolce Vita

Elem Klimov

Federico Fellini

Hailed as one of the greatest war films ever made, this is a hallucinatory cinematic experience that does for WWII what Apocalypse Now did for the Vietnam conflict. Made with live ammunition for veracity!

The movie that gave us the word paparazzi. It’s a universally acclaimed morality play filled with gloriously memorable images in which Marcello Mastroianni plays a disillusioned journalist.

Nagisa Oshima

Russia | 1985 | NOUVE | 137 min | subt | 15 | # 27774 | RRP £19.99

Italy | 1960 | NOUVE | 174 min | subt | B&W | 15 | # 20041 | £19.99

DVD: £9.99 Save £10

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Japan | 1976 | NOUVE | 98 min | subt | Cert 18 | # 7659 | RRP £19.99

Dir: Robert Bresson. Unsentimental yet compassionate, Bresson’s masterpiece puts a donkey centre stage and through him we see all humanity. France | 1966 | NOUVE | 91 min | subt | B&W | PG | # 20321 | £19.99

DVD: £9.99 Save £10

Hiroshima Mon Amour Dir: Alain Resnais. A powerful love story in 1950s Hiroshima, between an actress and a Japanese architect. France | 1959 | NOUVE | 86 min | subt | B&W | PG | # 21013 | £19.99

This notoriously explicit study of the proximity of sex and death is charged with a fatalistic and intense erotic power that overwhelms its characters, leaving them helpless. DVD: £9.99 Save £10

One Deadly Summer Dir: Jean Becker. Isabelle Adjani plays a moody 19 year-old who returns to a Provençal village bent on revenge for an old crime. France | 1983 | NOUVE | 125 min | subt | 18 | # 19620 | RRP £15.99

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The Cranes are Flying

Immoral Tales

P.O. Box Tinto Brass

Dir: Mikhail Kalatozov. This tragic story of two young lovers forced apart by war is a wonder of visual storytelling. Palme d’Or winner 1958.

Dir: Walerian Borowczyk. Four stories of sex through the ages, from Lucrezia Borgia to Erszebet Bathory (played by Paloma Picasso).

Dir: Tinto Brass. A collection of sex fantasies brought to life by Il Maestro, a man hopelessly in love with women and the female form.

Russia | 1957 | NOUVE | 97 min | subt | B&W | PG | # 31923 | £19.99

France | 1974 | NOUVE | 100 min | subt | Cert 18 | # 14100 | £19.99

Italy | 1995 | NOUVE | 88 min | Cert 18 | # 4911 | RRP £17.99

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Fellini’s 8 1/2

L’Innocente

Dir: Federico Fellini. One of the great films about moviemaking in which Mastroianni plays a harassed director struggling with personal demons.

Visconti’s last great film is a luscious melodrama with a typically understated power and, of course, a piercing sting in its tail.

Two or Three Things I Know About Her

Italy | 1963 | NOUVE | 138 min | B&W | Cert 15 | # 7139 | RRP £19.99

Italy | 1976 | NOUVE | 124 min | subt | Cert 15 | # 20000 | RRP £19.99

France | 1966 | NOUVE | 87 min | subt | Cert 15 | # 21026 | RRP £19.99

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Giulietta degli Spiriti

La Jetée/Sans Soleil

Umberto D

Dir: Federico Fellini. Giulietta Masina plays the title role of a repressed bourgeois housewife liberated by a pervasive and sensual spirit world.

Dir: Chris Marker. Two films: La Jetée is a wonderful sci-fi treatise on time, while Sans Soleil meditates on the dreams of the human race.

Dir: Vittorio De Sica. An impoverished man realises he must get rid of his only companion, his dog Flag. A simple, honest and devastating film.

Italy | 1965 | NOUVE | 121 min | subt | Cert U | # 22971 | RRP £19.99

France | 1962, 1982 | NOUVE | 126 min | subt | PG | # 14352 | £19.99

Italy | 1952 | NOUVE | 89 min | subt | Cert PG | # 20030 | RRP £19.99

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La Grande Bouffe

Night and Fog

The Vanishing

Dir: Marco Ferreri. The shockingly funny story of four bored gourmands who decide to end it all in an orgy of fine food, wines and women.

Dir: Alain Resnais. A profound evocation of the Holocaust, combining Allied liberation footage with colour footage of a 1950s tour of Auschwitz.

Dir: George Sluizer. The chilling original version of the film, in which a woman on holiday disappears without trace or explanation.

France | 1972 | NOUVE | 125 min | Cert 18 | # 28750 | RRP £19.99

France | 1955 | NOUVE | 30 min | subt | B&W | 15 | # 21014 | £14.99

Netherlands | 1988 | NOUVE | 102 min | subt | 15 | # 10895 | £19.99

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Dir: Jean-Luc Godard. A key 60s film in which Godard equates survival in Paris with prostitution.

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Au Hasard Balthazar

The Realm of the Senses


Classic Movies English Language Films, 1930 - 1969

Natalie Wood Collection

New Releases

Mervyn Le Roy

Tony Curtis, James Garner. Six films: Gypsy (Le Roy, 1962), Splendour in the Grass (Kazan, 1961), Inside Daisy Clover (Mulligan, 1965), Sex and The Single Girl (Quine, 1964), Cash McCall (Pevney, 1960) and Bombers B-52 (Douglas, 4 discs. 1957).

Attack of the Giant Leeches Bernard L. Kowalski

When Lem Sawyer sees a giant leech in the Florida Everglades, his cronies put it down to one swig too many of moonshine. Then Game Warden Steve Benton finds him dead, with sucker marks on his face – and the hunt is on to find out what is under the stagnant waters. USA | 1959 | SUNFL | 62 min | Cert 12 Item # 57341 | RRP £5.99 | Out Now

Wallace Fox

1940s shocker in which Bela Lugosi plays a mad scientist who – with the assistance of his ageing maid, her villainous son, and his sadistic dwarf butler – kidnaps newly-wed brides and drains their glandular fluids to rejuvenate his wife.

UK / USA | 1969 | OPTIM | 95 min | Cert 15 Item # 57274 | RRP £15.99 | Released 16th March

USA | 1942 | NWORK | 90 min | Cert PG Item # 57227 | RRP £5.99 | Released 26th January

Our DVD Price: £5.99

T. Hayes Hunter Boris Karloff, Ralph Richardson, Ernest Thesiger. An Egyptologist returns from his tomb as a ghoul, wreaking revenge on those responsible for the theft of a precious stone. The first British film ever to be labelled ‘horrific’, as well as being the first British horror Commentary; Viewing notes.

UK | 1933 | NWORK | 68 min | Cert PG Item # 57070 | RRP £14.99 | Released 23rd February

William Beaudine Buster Crabbe, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi. Three movies of classic Hollywood monkey madness. Features Gorilla (Nabonga) with Buster Crabbe, Ape with Boris Karloff and The Ape Man with Bela Lugosi. USA | 1940s | SUNFL | 186 min | Cert PG Item # 31484 | RRP £9.99 | Out now

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Page 12

Our DVD Price: £11.99

Pal Joey

George Sidney

The Ghoul

Killer Gorilla!

The Oblong Box Christopher Lee. The last of American International Pictures notorious adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories sees Vincent Price play the lord of a manor who keeps his mutilated brother hidden away from public view. However, he cannot be held captive forever and when he escapes he attempts to extract his revenge.

The Corpse Vanishes

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Gordon Hessler

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talkie.

USA | 1967-65 | WHV | Cert 15 Item # 57481 | RRP £24.99 | Released 9th March

Rita Hayworth, Kim Novak, Frank Sinatra. A cabaret entertainer lands in San Francisco determined to make it big, but scores his biggest hits with a wealthy socialite and a chorus line cutie. Classic Rogers and Hart score, including ‘The Lady is a Tramp’, ‘There’s a Small Hotel’, ‘I Could Write a Book’ and ‘My Funny Valentine’. USA | 1957 | UCA | 105 min | Cert PG Item # 57244 | RRP £5.99 | Released 26th January

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Plan 9 from Outer Space Ed Wood

“Can your heart stand the shocking facts about Graverobbers from Outer Space?” A cult classic, often called the best worst movie ever made, that tells of alien invaders who try to conquer the stupid minds of the residents of planet Earth by resurrecting the dead. USA | 1959 | VDI | 79 min | Cert PG Item # 56991 | RRP £5.99 | Released 23rd February

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The Eddy Duchin Story EXCLUSIVE! Recommended Director: George Sidney Starring: Tyrone Power, Kim Novak Released: 16th February USA | 1956 | SPHE | 117 mins | Cert U | Item # 57379

Eddy Duchin’s name might not mean much these days but, as this comprehensive fictionalised biopic of the pianist and bandleader shows, he was one of America’s brightest stars of the 1930s-40s. Tyrone Power stars as the pianist turned band leader who pulls himself to the top with a dash of luck and a lot more talent. But Eddy’s gilded career is dogged by personal tragedy and not even his music can drown out the pain. One of the highest grossing films of 1956, gaining four Oscar nominations along the way, it’s regarded as one of the best of the 1950s weepies, with an atmosphere comparable to that found in Douglas Sirk’s best pictures. Tyrone Power flings himself into the part of the musician, while Kim Novak – who helped to promote the film in her contemporary No-Cal diet soda ads – plays his loving wife. Predictably, the musical numbers are the highlight of the film but director George Sidney makes sure that the drama is never neglected. This is a generous tribute to a now overlooked name. BK

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March 09 MovieMail Newsletter

The Devil and Daniel Webster Recommended Director: William Dieterle Starring: James Craig, Walter Huston, Simone Simon, Edward Arnold Released: 23rd February DVD Extras: Director’s cut; Restored image and sound; Lavish 60-page booklet; Benét’s original short story on which the film is based. USA | 1941 | EUREK | 106 mins | | B&W | Cert U | Item # 57216

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B 60 Bonus Points If purchased for £12.99

See Also Angel Heart Alan Parker

USA | 1987 | OPTIM | 109 min | | | Cert 18 | # 55105 | RRP £12.99

Our DVD Price: £7.99

Faust (MoC) F W Murnau

Germany | 1926 | EUREK | 110 min | subt | B&W | Cert PG | # 29116 | RRP £22.99

Our DVD Price: £17.99

A Matter of Life and Death Michael Powell

UK | 1946 | CRLTN | 103 min | U | # 3080 | RRP £19.99

Our DVD Price: £5.99

T

imes are tough for Jabez Stone; he’s fed up with poverty and privation. So when an affable gent named Mr. Scratch offers him a deal – if Jabez signs away one, small, insignificant item he will be rewarded with all that money can buy – the impoverished New Hampshire farmer leaps at the offer. After all, who needs a soul anyway? There are many praiseworthy things about The Devil and Daniel Webster. There’s the script which has the simplicity and clarity of a parable; the cast are uniformly excellent – although special mention should go to Walter Huston as Scratch, perhaps the finest Mephistopheles in movies – and it was crafted by Hollywood technicians at the top of their game. What’s most remarkable about the film, though – what elevates it from being merely very good into the realms of authentic greatness – is its atmosphere. The film is imbued with the evocative power of the very best folk stories: it successfully sells us a world where the devil is real and walks at men’s shoulders. It’s a tale told with absolute conviction, with none of the irony a less confident director might have

An authentically great film imbued with evocative power been tempted to employ to curry favour with potentially sceptical audiences. Its director was William Dieterle and it’s tempting to ascribe the film’s singular texture entirely to his European sensibilities: there’s certainly more than a whiff of the old world in its demonology and unsettling shadows. But this is also a very American film, rooted in American culture and embodying values of self-reliance and vigorous optimism. While the European Faust is a victim, Americans are made of sterner stuff. Jabez Stone is lucky enough to know Daniel Webster, the finest orator in New England and a man of sufficient character to take on Scratch: “I’d fight ten thousand devils to save a New Hampshire man!” Astonishingly, this is the first time that this outstanding film has been available to buy in the UK. While it’s not worth the cost of your immortal soul, the current asking price is something of a bargain. James Oliver

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Page 13


Classic Movies Rock Rock Rock!

The Son of Monte Cristo

Will Price

Rowland V. Lee

Tuesday Weld plays a teenager whose boyfriend persuades disc jockey Alan Freed to provide an all-star line up for the school dance. A fascinating snapshot of the emerging rock ‘n’ roll scene in fifties America, featuring unique performance footage of Chuck Berry, Johnny Burnette and Frankie Lymon. USA | 1956 | NWORK | 85 min | Cert U Item # 57494 | RRP £5.99 | Released 16th February

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Joan Bennett. This classic Hollywood swashbuckler is a thinly disguised indictment of dictatorships, but is also full of good old fashioned rapid-fire intrigue and derring-do. George Sanders plays the evil European dictator of the state of ‘Lichtenburg’. USA | 1941 | SUNFL | 102 min | U Item # 57335 | RRP £5.99 | Out Now

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Tod Slaughter Triple Bill George King

Scared to Death Christy Cabanne

“Pardon me, Professor, but didn’t I just see you outside baying at the moon?” A dead woman recounts the story of her murder from the mortuary slab, telling a bizarre tale of how grotesque characters, including an evil hypnotist played by the legendary Bela Lugosi, brought about her death. Lugosi’s only major colour film appearance. USA | 1947 | NWORK | 65 min | Cert U Item # 57314 | RRP £5.99 | Released 19th January

A triple bill of B-movie barnstormers starring the great pantomime villain of the day, Tod Slaughter. Features The Crimes of Stephen Hawke (George King, 1936), It’s Never Too Late to Mend (David MacDonald, 1937) and The Face at the Window (George King, 1939). UK | 1939 | ODEON | 209 min | Cert PG Item # 56308 | RRP £17.99 | Released 16th February

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The Villain Still Pursued Her Edward F. Cline

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Second Chorus H.C. Potter

When their hardworking manager (Paulette Goddard) goes to work for bandleader Artie Shaw. trumpeters Fred Astaire and Burgess Meredith try to find their way into Shaw’s band by outdoing each other. A must for Fred Astaire fans and swing aficionados alike. USA | 1940 | NWORK | 84 min | Cert U Item # 57495 | RRP £5.99 | Released 9th February

Buster Keaton. A send-up of Victorian melodramas, in which Richard Cromwell plays Edward, an upstanding young man who succumbs to the temptations of the demon drink through the evil machinations of tophatted villain Squire Cribbs, who has designs on his wife. Buster Keaton has a sizeable role as the hero’s best friend. USA | 1940 | SUNFL | 66 min | Cert U Item # 57332 | RRP £5.99 | Out Now

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The Snows of Kilimanjaro Henry King

Yangtse Incident Michael Anderson

Susan Hayward, Ava Gardner, Gregory Peck. This blockbuster, based on Ernest Hemingway’s life and novel of the same name, sees an inspired Gregory Peck play Harry, who wounded and delirious in an African campsite at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, recounts his life of writing, women, and big-game hunting.

Richard Todd, William Hartnell. A re-enactment of the dramatic events surrounding the voyage in April 1949 of the Royal Navy frigate Amethyst along the Yangtse river as she tried to deliver supplies to the British Embassy. Coming under fire from shore batteries, the crew’s only way out was to run a one hundred and forty mile gauntlet of hostility to survival.

USA | 1952 | NWORK | 109 min | Cert PG Item # 57291 | RRP £5.99 | Released 2nd March

UK | 1957 | OPTIM | 108 min | Cert PG Item # 57192 | RRP £15.99 | Released 16th March

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Page 14

Quo Vadis Recommended Director: Mervyn Le Roy Starring: Deborah Kerr, Robert Taylor, Peter Ustinov, Finlay Currie, Leo Genn Released: 2nd February DVD Extras: In the Beginning: Quo Vadis and the Genesis of the Biblical Epic; Commentary. USA | 1951 | WHV | 162 mins | Cert PG | Item # 57174

Filmed at enormous expense and boasting the proverbial cast of thousands, Quo Vadis was amongst the earliest of the Biblical epics that were so popular in the 1950s. It remains arguably the best. After three years waging war, Marcus Vinicius returns to Rome and finds himself drawn to Lygia, adopted daughter of an old comrade. Pondering why she spurns his advances, he discovers that she follows the new, and decidedly un-Roman religion of Christianity. But it’s a dangerous time for Lygia and her co-religionists; Nero (played with relish by Peter Ustinov) is emperor, and has little love for the faith. When a great fire sweeps Rome, he is quick to blame it on the Christians and begins a savage persecution... No DVD, of course, can ever fully capture what the film must have looked like on those gigantic firstrun screens, but this is a heroic effort. It’s been restored – beautifully – from original materials and sings from the screen. It’s a wonderful presentation of one of the great movie spectacles. BK

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CLASSIC LITERARY ADAPTATIONS SALE Classic novels are indisputably fertile source material for film and television – here we select some favourites A Handful of Dust

Middlemarch

Charles Sturridge

Anthony Page

Kristin Scott-Thomas and Rupert Graves take the leads as the illicit lovers in this adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s novel about the breakdown of a marriage. Also stars James Wilby and Judi Dench.

George Eliot’s towering masterpiece is here brought to life with a magnificent cast (Juliet Aubrey, Rufus Sewell, Robert Hardy) great performances and a terrific sense of place. 2 discs.

Simon Langton

UK | 1988 | SDM | 118 min | Cert PG | # 51708 | RRP £5.99

UK | 1993 | BBC-DD | 375 min | Cert PG | # 8012 | RRP £24.99

DVD: £5.99

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UK / USA | 1995 | 2ENT | 327 min | Cert U | # 57249 | RRP £19.99

Dickens Collection

Jane Eyre

Tess

8 BBC dramas: Chuzzlewit (94), Twist (85), Christmas Carol (77), Two Cities (80), Great Expectations (99), Pickwick (85), Copperfield (99) & Our Mutual Friend (98).

Charlotte Brontë’s romance of a governess who falls for her enigmatic master. This version won the novel a new generation of fans. 2 discs.

Dir: Roman Polanski. Filmed in Normandy to evoke Hardy’s Wessex; Nastassja Kinski is coolly irresistible as the wronged woman.

UK | BBC | 1921 min | Cert 12 | # 24653 | RRP £99.99

UK | 2006 | BBC | 330 min | Cert 12 | # 32120 | RRP £24.99

France / UK | 1980 | UCA | 164 min | Cert PG | # 52621 | RRP £9.99

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The Count of Monte Cristo

Kim

Vanity Fair

Dir: Victor Saville. An adaptation of Kipling’s novel of the same name, in which a young Indian street boy is found to be a British officer’s son.

Dir: Marc Munden. 1998 BBC adaptation of Thackeray’s classic tale of the sassy governess, Becky Sharp (Natasha Little). 2 discs.

The acclaimed BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel about five unmarried sisters. Firth’s brooding Mr Darcy won him a legion of fans. The definitive version? 2 discs. DVD: £12.99 Save £7

USA | 1950 | BHORSE | 112 min | Cert U | # 54610 | RRP £9.99

UK | 1998 | BBC | 325 min | Cert PG | # 22938 | RRP £19.99

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Dangerous Liaisons

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby

War and Peace

France | 1998 | ARROW | 360 min | Cert PG | # 55243 | RRP £15.99

Dir: Stephen Frears. A sombre treatment of Laclos’ epistolary novel in which a philanderer and his muse set out to destroy a woman's reputation. USA | 1988 | WHV | 115 min | Cert 15 | # 1487 | RRP £19.99

DVD: £5.99 Save £14

Far from the Madding Crowd Dir: John Schlesinger. Terence Stamp and Julie Christie star in this adaptation of Hardy’s tale of passion.

Dir: Trevor Nunn. The RSC’s epic, 3 discs. faithful adaptation. UK | 1982 | MET-D | 540 min | Cert PG | # 14580 | RRP £29.99

DVD: £14.99 Save £15

Dir: John Howard Davies. An outstanding BBC adaptation of Tolstoy’s epic novel. Anthony Hopkins stars as Pierre Bezukhov. 5 discs. UK | 1972 | SMPLY | 892 min | Cert PG | # 24603 | RRP £49.99

DVD: £34.99 Save £15

Little Dorrit

Women in Love

Dir: Christine Edzard. An amazing cast fills this masterful adaptation of Dickens’ novel, with the story told from two perspectives. 2 discs.

Dir: Ken Russell. A memorable adaptation of DH Lawrence’s novel with, notoriously, Oliver Reed and Alan Bates wrestling naked by the fireside.

UK | 1988 | SQFD | 360 min | Cert U | # 55791 | RRP £24.99

UK | 1969 | MGMHE | 125 min | Cert 18 | # 18847 | RRP £12.99

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Jane Austen Box Set

The Mill on the Floss

Wuthering Heights

A collection of three ITV adaptations of novels by Jane Austen: Mansfield Park (2007), Northanger Abbey (2007) and Emma (1996).

1997 BBC adaptation of George Eliot's novel. Emily Watson takes the role of Maggie Tulliver in her struggle against oppressive Victorian morals.

Dir: William Wyler. The acclaimed 1939 Hollywood version of Emily Brontë’s classic tale, starring Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon.

UK | 1996-2007 | G-VEN | 347 min | Cert PG | # 33489 | RRP £39.99

UK | 1997 | BBC | 200 min | Cert PG | # 26328 | RRP £15.99

USA | 1939 | MGMHE | 100 min | B&W | Cert U | # 18752 | RRP £15.99

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UK | 1967 | OPTIM | 155 min | Cert U | # 54753 | RRP £12.99

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Offer ends 28th March 2009 or while stocks last

Dir: Josée Dayan. Gérard Depardieu takes the lead in this French mini-se2 discs. ries from Dumas’ novel.

Pride and Prejudice


Documentaries “The Creative Interpretation of Actuality” I.O.U.S.A.

New Releases 13 Most Beautiful... Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests

Between 1964 and 1966, Warhol shot nearly 500 portraits of visitors to The Factory, with subjects captured on silent, black and white film. Here are 13, including Dennis Hopper, Nico, Lou Reed and Edie Sedgwick. Documentary; Booklet.

USA | 1964-66 | PLEXI | 60 min | E Item # 57096 | RRP £22.99 | Released 9th March

USA | 2008 | JOIN | 85 min | Cert E Item # 57222 | RRP £12.99 | Released 26th January

Our DVD Price: £9.99

Thor L. Brooks

Buena Vista Social Club Wim Wenders

Wonderful documentary which follows Ry Cooder back to Cuba in 1998 to record a follow-up album to the phenomenally successful Buena Vista Social Club. It then followed the musicians to concerts in Amsterdam and Carnegie Commentary by Hall. Wim Wenders; Booklet. Germany | 1999 | Axiom | 100 min | Cert U Item # 56896 | RRP £15.99 | Released 26th January

Our DVD Price: £11.99

Francine Parker

The commitment of Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland to the antiVietnam war movement is graphically shown in this documentary about the travelling agitprop theatre troupe they led which performed in towns near military bases throughout the US in the early 1970s. F.T.A. is short for ‘Fuck the Army’ by the way. USA | 1972 | ST-RD | 97 min | Cert E Item # 56993 | RRP £14.99 | Released 2nd March

Heavy Load

A documentary following Lewes-based punk band Heavy Load, some of whose members have learning disabilities, over a two-year period as they move away from disability club nights to perform at a mainstream festival. UK | 2008 | SPIRI | 91 min | Cert 12 Item # 57461 | RRP £15.99 | Released 23rd February

A portrait of the legendary musician, muse, artist and poet known as the godmother of punk, Patti Smith, who emerged in the 1970s, galvanizing the music scene with her unique style of poetic rage. Shot largely in black and white, this 12-year collaboration paints an abstract yet intimate portrait of Smith’s life. USA | 2008 | DRAKE | 109 min | Cert 15 Item # 55522 | RRP £19.99 | Released 16th February

Our DVD Price: £14.99

The Putin System Jean-Michel Carré

Italy | 1964 | QUANT | Cert TBC Item # 57000 | RRP £14.99 | Released 23rd February

France | 2007 | JOIN | 95 min | Cert E Item # 57225 | RRP £12.99 | Released 23rd February

Our DVD Price: £12.99

Our DVD Price: £9.99

Letter to Anna A documentary telling the story of Russian journalist and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot dead by an unknown killer outside her home in 2006. This film pays tribute to a woman who overcame her sense of self-preservation in order to expose government corruption and advocate for change. Switzerland | 2008 | JOIN | 83 min | subt | Cert E Item # 57055 | RRP £12.99 | Released 23rd February

Our DVD Price: £9.99

Daniel O’Connor

Jerry Rothwell

Steven Sebring

Does Putin’s authoritarian leadership have more in common with his communist predecessors than previously thought? This film covers 30 years in the history of Russia through the personal history of Vladimir Putin: a man who has single-mindedly played by the rules of the game to reach power.

Obscene: A Portrait of Barney Rosset

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Patti Smith: Dream of Life

Similar to Jacopetti & Prosperi’s Africa Addio in tone, Kwaheri takes viewers on an expedition into the depths of Africa’s jungles to witness the practices of cannibalistic natives, surgery without anaesthetics, human sacrifices and sexual rituals.

Eric Bergkraut

F.T.A.

Page 16

Documentary examining America’s rapidly growing national debt and the consequences for the country and its citizens. Burdened with an ever-expanding government and military, overextended entitlement programmes and debts to foreign countries that are impossible to honour, America seemingly has to mend its spendthift ways or face economic disaster.

Kwaheri: Vanishing Africa

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Patrick Creadon

A look at the life and work of American publisher Barney Rosset, founder of the Grove Press and Evergreen Review, who constantly championed controversial works like Tropic of Cancer and Naked Lunch, fighting many court batles along the way to defend the right to free speech. USA | 2007 | REV | Cert TBC Item # 56502 | RRP £19.99 | Released 12th March

Stairway to Heaven: Rebuilding the Minbar of Saladin

Kenneth Branagh narrates this documentary chronicling the painstaking recreation of one of the world’s most precious works of art, the 12th century Saladin Minbar, destroyed after the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem was attacked by a fanatic in 1969.

Israel | 2007 | WESTP | 53 min | Cert E Item # 57396 | RRP £12.99 | Released 9th February

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Trip to Asia

Thomas Grube

A documentary about the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra’s’s tour of Asia, this extraordinary film is also an exploration of what it is like to be a member of a world renowned orchestra, led by the charismatic Simon Director’s comRattle. mentary; Performance of Thomas Adès’ Asyla. Ger | Axiom | 108 min | Cert E Item # 57504 | RRP £19.99 | Released 2nd February

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March 09 MovieMail Newsletter

The GPO Film Unit Vol 2: We Live in Two Worlds Recommended Released: 23rd February DVD Extras: 2 disc presentation set; Extensive booklet; Features: Rainbow Dance, The Saving of Bill Blewitt, Calendar of the Year, Fairy of the Phone, Night Mail, Roadways, Trade Tattoo, Big Money, We Live in Two Worlds, N or NW, A Job in a Million, Book Bargain, What’s On Today, Love on the Wing, The Horsey Mail, Heavenly Post Office, News for the Navy, Mony a Pickle, North Sea, Penny Journey, The Tocher and God’s Chillun. UK | 1936-38 | BFI | 269 mins | B&W | Cert E | Item # 57113

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See Also The GPO Film Unit Collection: Volume 1 Addressing the Nation UK | 1933-35 | BFI | 300 min | Cert PG | # 55424 | RRP £24.99

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I

f Addressing The Nation, the first BFI survey of the work of the GPO Film Unit, showed the fledgling team still finding its feet, this second volume (showcasing 22 films from the period 1936-38) sees them spreading their wings – literally so in the case of Norman McLaren’s dazzling Love on the Wing, the great Scottish-born animator’s first unqualified masterpiece. This package is a particular treat for animation buffs, offering not just McLaren’s entire GPO output (Book Bargain, News for the Navy, Mony a Pickle), but also masterpieces by Len Lye (Rainbow Dance, Trade Tattoo, N or NW) and Lotte Reiniger (The H.P.O. and the exquisite ‘film ballet’ The Tocher). There’s plenty more here too, including most of last year’s BFI touring programme Love Letters and Live Wires. The popular highlight there was William Coldstream’s gloriously camp musical extravaganza The Fairy of the Phone, while Pat Jackson’s The Horsey Mail displayed the GPO’s practical side, as the postal service ensures that mail deliveries reach flooded Norfolk villages. The replacement of the Unit’s doctrinaire founder John Grierson by the more experi-

Features rarities and restored animated masterpieces mentally-inclined Alberto Cavalcanti led to many innovations besides animation. Harry Watt, co-director of Night Mail (also included, but needing no introduction) arguably invented the dramatised documentary with The Saving of Bill Blewitt, pre-scripted but performed by Cornish non-professionals. He did the same with North Sea, a thrilling account of a gale-stricken ship that was the GPO’s biggest ever hit, while Evelyn Spice’s contribution to the genre was A Job in a Million, about a young Cockney training as a postal worker. Drama rubs shoulders with philosophy: the rare BrittenAuden collaboration God’s Chillun explores the theme of slavery, while the collection’s title sees JB Priestley enthusing about the communications revolution sweeping away political boundaries – at a time when Hitler’s Germany had started rearming. For all these films’ vast cinematic merits, they are also riveting slices of history. M Brooke

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Page 17


The Joy of Sex Education Recommended Released: 9th February DVD Extras: 2 discs; Fully Illustrated booklet. Contains: Whatsoever a Man Soweth (1917), Any Evening After Work (1930), How To Tell (1931), The Mystery of Marriage (1932), Trial for Marriage (1936), A Test for Love (1937) The Road of Health (1938), Love on Leave (1940), Six Little Jungle Boys (1945), The People at No. 19 (1949), Growing Girls (1949) Learning to Live (1964), Her Name Was Ellie, His Name Was Lyle (1967), Growing Up (1971), Don’t Be Like Brenda (1973), ‘Ave You Got A Male Assistant Please Miss? (1973) UK | BFI | Cert 18 | Item # 57110.50

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See Also Christina Lindberg’s Swedish Erotica: Collection 1 Swe. | 1973 | REVEL | 290 min | 18 | # 53090 | £24.99

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Page 18

T

his marvellous box set, using rare materials from the National Film and Television Archive, collects a number of sex education films from 1917 to 1973 and can be enjoyed on many levels. As a historical record of Britain’s attitudes towards sex, it is invaluable. Up until the liberated 1960s, sex is often only indirectly referenced; mother and father do their best to explain intercourse with the aid of some pussy willow in How to Tell (1935), but virgins in the audience must have been baffled, whilst Mary Field’s The Mystery of the Marriage (1932) tries valiantly to equate human sexuality with that of snails, sticklebacks and mould! Inevitably the early films depict premarital sex as a fast route to disease, with the effects of syphilis and gonorrhoea described in slavering detail. Premarital sex is still disapproved of as recently as 1973, as the hapless heroine of Don’t Be Like Brenda! discovers to her peril. Misogyny prevails throughout the films; otherwise decent soldiers on leave find themselves seduced and infected by wanton floozies, whilst it’s invariably the woman rather than the man who brings STDs into the family home, as in The People at No. 19 (1949), a surprisingly well-acted melodrama short concerning syphilis.

A wonderful archive detailing Britain’s curious attitude to sex On another level, the unintentional humour prevalent in almost every film reaches sometimes hysterical proportions. Campy lines pepper the dialogue (a personal favourite: “Curse You Dad, I was dirty born, and you are the reason why!” from the fabulously titled Whatsoever a Man Soweth (1917)) whilst the recurring motif of sex as a terrible sin is laughably dated. The most famous – and controversial – inclusion is Dr. Martin Cole’s Growing Up (A New Approach to Sex Education) (1971), an educational film that includes erections, male and female masturbation and an unsimulated sex scene. The predictably outraged tabloids had a field day, whilst the woman featured in the film was fired from her job. Although its frankness still shocks (and a scene that would never be filmed today involving naked children shows how attitudes have again shifted), it now seems incredibly ahead of its time, especially when compared to the other films in the collection. Alex Davidson

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March 09 MovieMail Newsletter

Patrick McGoohan Selected DVDs Before we went to press we learned the sad news of Patrick McGoohan’s death at the age of 81. His was a uniquely principled and singular screen presence.

The Prisoner (Complete) All the episodes from THE cult 60s series. All you need is love, No 6. More? Ok. Following the success of Patrick McGoohan's proto-Bond series Danger Man, he went on to create - as producer, co-writer and co-director - The Prisoner, as prime a series of enigmatic, surrealist, paranoiac televison as ever was created. Here it is. Be seeing you. UK | 1967 -69 | NWORK | 850 min | Cert PG | # 50274 | £59.99

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All Night Long Dir: Basil Dearden. Set in the swinging, smoky London jazz scene of the 1950s, this is an atmospheric update of Shakespeare’s Othello. UK | 1961 | NWORK | 87 min | B&W | Cert 15 | # 33151 | RRP £12.99

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Danger Man Action adventure charting the exploits of Drake (Patrick MacGoohan), an agent for British Intelligence. This 13-disc set includes all 48 episodes. UK | 1964-66 | NWORK | 2350 min | B&W | PG | # 54453 | £79.99

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A Genius, Two Partners and A Dupe A con-artist goes up against a crooked officer, played by McGoohan in a barnstorming performance. Italy | 1975 | NOUVE | 110 min | Cert PG | # 13574 | RRP £19.99

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Hell Drivers This could be considered the British Magnificent Seven with the future Doctor Who, 007, The Prisoner and The Man From Uncle in the cast. UK | 1957 | NWORK | 103 min | B&W | Cert 12 | # 32693 | £19.99

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The Quare Fellow A no-holds barred protest against capital punishment, this is a compelling combination of gallows humour and stark cynicism.

Animation Film Noir

D. Jud Jones Black and white film noir-inspired feature animation. This joint American/Serbian production opens with private investigator Sam Ruben waking up beside the dead body of a cop. As if that was not enough trouble, Sam cannot remember a thing that has happened to him. So begins a nightmare in which everyone seems to trying to kill Sam but he does not know why. USA | 2007 | OPTIM | 96 min | Cert 18 Item # 56925 | RRP £17.99 | Released 16th February

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Pinocchio (1940) / The Jungle Book (1967). USA | 1940; 1967 | WDHV | Cert U Item # 57262 | RRP £26.99 | Released 9th March

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Art Gazwrx: The Films of Jeff Keen

Jeff Keen began making films at the age of 37 when his art school film society needed things to show. And so began over forty years of unique, imaginative, irrepressible filmmaking. This release contains over 9 hours of films and videos by the visionary filmmaker from his 60s beatnik movies to the apocalyptic beauty of his multi-layered 4 discs; Interviews with videos of the 90s. Keen; Art Flies Free (2000) - experimental documentary by Ian Helliwell; 96-page booklet featuring paintings, drawings and collages plus film notes and articles. UK | 1960s-90s | BFI | 570 min | Cert 18 Item # 57112 | RRP £34.99 | Released 23rd Feb

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The Way Things Go Peter Fischli

If you’ve seen Honda’s famous ‘cog’ advert, which was based on this film, you’ll know what to expect here. Inside a warehouse, a large and precarious structure was constructed from various items. When set in motion a chain reaction ensued, as fire, water, gravity and chemistry determined the life-cycle of objects and things. Endlessly fascinating, amazing and amusing.

UK | 1962 | ODEON | 86 min | B&W | Cert 15 | # 54059 | RRP £9.99

USA / Switzerland | 1987 | 31 mins | QUANT | Cert E Item # 31610 | RRP £29.99 | Out Now

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Pinocchio Recommended Director: Hamilton Luske / Ben Sharpsteen Released: 9th March DVD Extras: 2 discs; No Strings Attached: The Making of Pinocchio; Story of the Grandfather Tree; The Sweat Box; Geppetto’s Then And Now; Pinocchio Art & Collectables Galleries; Trailers; Deleted Songs; Pinocchio Puzzles. USA | 1940 | WDHV | 84 mins | Cert U | Item # 57261

Walt Disney’s second feature was arguably his greatest achievement. A box office flop on its release, it is now recognised as a masterpiece, blending superb animation (abstract artist Oskar Fischinger contributed) with strong storytelling and unforgettable characters. It was made when the Disney studio did not shy away from the darker elements of fairytale; the film’s toughness still startles nearly 70 years on. No villains are punished for their wrongdoing, yet the blameless Geppetto suffers throughout. Mostro the whale’s violent attacks rival Jaws, and the last few scenes in Pleasure Island are the stuff of nightmares. Thank heavens, then for Jiminy Cricket, one of Disney’s immortal comic characters, whose big number, the Oscarwinning ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’, is a welcome soothing lullaby amidst the terror. Pinocchio also manages to be moving without resorting to schmaltz, and, as with the Disney studio’s very best films, it really does appeal to both children and adults alike. AD

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Page 19


Oscar Winner

A special selection plus those

Best Director Winners

Best Foreign Langu

The English Patient

The Grapes of Wrath

Babette’s Feast

Anthony Minghella

John Ford

An epic and exquisite wartime romance of love and betrayal, with Oscars for Minghella and Binoche, photography, editing, music, sound, production design and costumes.

The film that established Ford’s reputation as the poet of American cinema, with aesthetically beautiful images contrasting Steinbeck’s powerful, protesting words.

A joyous and heart warming film, set on the Jutland peninsula of 1870s Denmark, where a a servant who was once a renowned Parisian chef surprises her austere friends with a sumptuous feast.

UK | 1996 | BUENA | 155 min | Cert 15 | # 21373 | RRP £22.99

USA | 1940 | 20CFX | 129 min | B&W | Cert PG | # 21901 | RRP £12.99

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All Quiet on the Western Front

Giant

The Barbarian Invasions

Dir: Lewis Milestone. A renowned, moving and powerful anti-war film based on Erich Remarque’s novel. USA | 1930 | UPV | 128 min | B&W | Cert PG | # 21470 | RRP £15.99

Dir: George Stevens. A young ranch-hand strikes it rich in the Texas oil fields. James Dean’s final screen performance. 2 discs. USA | 1956 | WHV | 201 min | B&W | Cert PG | # 14362 | RRP £19.99

Gabriel Axel

Denmark | 1987 | MGM | 103 min | subt | U | # 10977 | RRP £15.99

Dir: Denys Arcand. Comedy drama about a man whose illness prompts familial reconciliations and reunions. Canada | 2003 | ART-E | 99 min | subt | Cert 18 | # 18514 | RRP £19.99

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Amadeus

The Informer

Black Orpheus

Dir: Milos Forman. A wonderful portrayal of the life of the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, scripted by Peter Schaffer.

Dir: John Ford. Victor McLaglen gives a brilliant performance as a traitor to his IRA leader who is hounded by his own conscience.

Dir: Marcel Camus. With an infectious bossa nova soundtrack, this retells the myth of Orpheus against the vibrant backdrop of the Rio carnival.

USA | 1984 | WHV | 153 min | Cert PG | # 11704 | RRP £19.99

USA | 1935 | UN | 91 min | B&W | Cert PG | # 54001 | RRP £9.99

Brazil | 1959 | SECND | 103 min | subt | PG | # 32433 | RRP £19.99

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Cabaret

Letter to Three Wives

Dir: Bob Fosse. A thought-provoking musical that explores the rising of the Third Reich and its effect on Weimar decadence. Liza Minelli stars.

Dir: Joseph L. Mankiewicz. A deliciously funny film about a woman’s letter to three women stating she has run away with one of their husbands.

Closely Observed Trains

USA | 1972 | PNE | 123 min | Cert 15 | # 55227 | RRP £5.99

USA | 1949 | OPTIM | 98 min | Cert U | # 21839 | RRP £12.99

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The Deer Hunter

A Man for All Seasons

Indochine

Dir: Michael Cimino. A touching examination of the way that the Vietnam war affects the lives of people in small town USA. 2 discs.

Dir: Fred Zinnemann. Six Oscarwinning film in which Sir Thomas More stands up to King Henry VIII, who seeks approval for divorce.

Dir: Regis Wargnier. Catherine Deneuve plays a plantation owner battling with her daughter over love for an officer in French Indo-China.

USA | 1978 | OPTIM | 176 min | Cert 18 | # 30661 | RRP £17.99

UK | 1966 | COL-T | 116 min | Cert U | # 9034 | RRP £19.99

France | 1991 | ARROW | 151 min | subt | 15 | # 7989 | RRP £19.99

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Gandhi

The Pianist

Kolya

Dir: Richard Attenborough. Ben Kingsley stars in this epic that recounts Gandhi’s life and times and immortalises his spirit and message.

Dir: Roman Polanski. Based on the true story of a Jewish concert pianist who became a fugitive in the ruins of Warsaw. Absorbing and disturbing.

Dir: Jan Sverák. A down on his luck cellist marries a Russian woman for money; when she runs off to her lover, he’s left with her 5 year-old son.

UK / India | 1982 | UCA | 182 min | Cert PG | # 57035 | RRP £5.99

France / Poland | 2002 | OPTIM | 142 min | 15 | # 32135 | RRP £17.99

Czech | 1996 | BUENA | 101 min | subt | 12 | # 21198 | RRP £15.99

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Dir: Jirí Menzel. A poignant, darkly comic tale of a young stationmaster's life in occupied Czechoslovakia. Czech | 1966 | ARROW | 88 min | B&W | 15 | # 17034 | RRP £17.99

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rs Sale

From Just £5.99

e nominated for this year’s event

uage Film Winners

Best Actress

2009 Nominees

Nights of Cabiria

The Heiress

Waltz With Bashir

Federico Fellini

William Wyler

Ari Folman

A bittersweet glimpse into the life and dreams of Cabiria, a resilient and unquenchably optimistic prostitute, played by Fellini’s wife, Giulietta Masina. Reworked by Bob Fosse into Sweet Charity. Review on p7.

Olivia de Havilland took the trophy for her portrayal of a shy woman whose father can’t stop reminding her that she will never be as graceful as her mother. From Henry James’s novel Washington Square.

Italy | 1956 | OPTIM | 113 min | subt | B&W | PG | # 57278 | £17.99

USA | 1949 | UN | 110 min | B&W | Cert U | # 27380 | RRP £9.99

Nominated in the Best Film in a Foreign Language category, this animated documentary follows the filmmaker (a former Israeli soldier) as he tries to piece together his memory of events during the invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Reviewed next month.

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Israel | 2008 | ART-E | 90 min | Cert 18 | # 57258 | RRP £15.99

The Lives of Others

Born Yesterday

Dir: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. This Oscar winner is a gripping psychological thriller set in Stasi-era East Germany.

Dir: George Cukor. Judy Holliday plays the ‘dumb but savvy’ blonde who outsmarts the junk tycoon who attempts to control her.

Germany | 2006 | LGATE | 137 min | subt | 15 | # 50712 | RRP £19.99

USA | 1950 | COL-T | 98 min | | B&W | Cert U | # 16277 | RRP £12.99

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Mediterraneo

Gaslight

Changeling

Dir: Gabriele Salvatores. A magical anti-war story that follows eight Italian soldiers who find refuge, love and sun on a Greek island in the Aegean.

Dir: George Cukor. Atmospheric film in which Ingrid Bergman is methodically driven mad in a claustrophobic house in fogbound London.

This Clint Eastwood thriller set in the 1920s received 3 nominations including Best Actress (for Angelina Jolie) and Best Cinematography.

Italy | 1992 | OPTIM | 86 min | subt | Cert 15 | # 31099 | RRP £12.99

USA | 1944 | WHV | 110 min | B&W | Cert PG | # 16238 | RRP £19.99

USA | 2008 | UPV | 140 min | Cert 15 | # 57531 | RRP £19.99

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Pelle the Conqueror

Gone with the Wind

The Duchess

Dir: Bille August. Max von Sydow. A brilliantly moving film, tender and brutal by turns, in which a man and son seek work in 19th century Denmark.

Dir: Victor Fleming. Vivien Leigh stars in simply one of the most celebrated films in cinema history. A winner of ten Academy Awards.

Nominated for Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction, this sumptuous historical drama starring Keira Knightley is reviewed on page 33.

Denmark | 1988 | ANBAY | 150 min | Cert 15 | # 23223 | RRP £14.99

USA | 1939 | WHV | 222 min | Cert PG | # 141 | RRP £19.99

UK | 2008 | FOX | 110 min | Cert 12 | # 56783 | RRP £22.99

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War and Peace

Room at the Top

Happy-Go-Lucky

Dir: Sergei Bondarchuk. With a cast of thousands, stupendous sets and backgrounds, this is an absolutely amazing spectacle. 5 discs.

Dir: Jack Clayton. Simone Signoret. Groundbreaking British cinema, boldly exploring sexual attitudes and the boundaries of class and wealth.

It’s great that Leigh’s film was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, but Sally Hawkins unquestionably deserved a Best Actress nod.

Russia | 1967 | ART-E | 431 min | subt | PG | # 30616 | RRP £49.99

UK | 1959 | NWORK | 113 min | B&W | Cert 12 | # 56914 | RRP £14.99

UK | 2008 | MOMET | 118 min | Cert 15 | # 54596 | RRP £19.99

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Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

The Song of Bernadette

Man on Wire

Dir: Vittorio De Sica. One of the most loved Italian films of all time, a saucy Italian sex trilogy with Sophia Loren.

Dir: Henry King. Jennifer Jones takes the role of the peasant girl who saw a vision of a lady near Lourdes.

Italy | 1963 | EUREK | 119 min | subt | Cert 15 | # 56962 | RRP £15.99

USA | 1943 | FOX | 156 min | B&W | Cert U | # 22000 | RRP £12.99

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The Baader-Meinhof Complex A Best Film in a Foreign Language nominee, the film details the workings of the titular German terrorist group. Germany | 2008 | MOMET | 150 min | subt | 18 | # 57018 | RRP £17.99

Nominated for Best Documentary this is the true story of a tightrope walk between the Twin Towers in 1974. An excellent film of a beautiful spectacle. UK | 2008 | ICON | 93 min | Cert 12 | # 56498 | RRP £19.99

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Your Favourite DVDs of 2008 A big thank you to all of you who who took the time to tell us about your favourite DVDs of 2008 and congratulations to Amanda Francis who was selected at random to win our original lineup! We received many comments on our list, here are some favourites: “A pretty good stab at encompassing the sheer richness of films available on DVD this year”... “Very quirky, reflecting the exciting level of film increasingly available on DVD... a great reflection of an exciting year, especially for European film.” ... “Pretty good, but I haven’t seen most of them. Best 15 months in truth for cinema I can remember... and I go and have baby and miss most of it all!” ... “The greatest event for me in this year is the edition of Marcel L’Herbier’s L’Argent in the excellent Masters of Cinema series. You should push it more!”

Romania | 2007 | ART-E | 109 min | subt | 15 | # 53868 | £19.99

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A Man Escaped RRP £19.99

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Footsteps in the Fog

USA | 2007 | BUENA | 158 min | Cert 15 | # 53636 | RRP £19.99

Arthur Lubin

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UK | 1955 | SPHE | 86 min | PG | # 56131 | £12.99

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No Country for Old Men

Land of Promise

Dir: Joel & Ethan Coen. A stark and gripping existential chase movie across unsparing Tex-Mex landscapes. Here, the Coen Brothers’ magnificently photographed universe is not only no country for the old, but a place without justice, divine or otherwise, for any man. USA | 2007 | PARA | 118 min | Cert 15 | # 54152 | RRP £19.99

UK | 1930-1951 | BFI | 720 min | | B&W | Cert E | # 53865 | RRP £34.99

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Lust, Caution Ang Lee

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China / USA | 2007 | UN | 152 min | subt | Cert 18 | # 53414 | RRP £19.99

Vampyr (Masters of Cinema)

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Dir: Carl Theodor Dreyer. This is a strange and hypnotically alluring film, suffused with enigmatic portent and a sinister sense of the occult. A radical attempt to break new ground in cinema, its promise has yet to be fully explored. DVD: £13.99 Save £6

USA | 2007 | PARA | 118 min | Cert 15 | # 54152 | RRP £19.99

Dir: Andrew Stanton, An animated masterpiece from Pixar. Its mesmerising, near-silent first half follows a cleaner robot, WALL-E, on a long-deserted Earth, with only a tape of Hello, Dolly! and a cockroach to keep him company. USA | 2008 | WDHV | 97 min | Cert U | # 56353 | RRP £22.99

6

A Man Escaped

7

The Red Balloon

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Michelangelo Antonioni Italy / France | 1964 | BFI | 112 min | subt | | Cert 15 | # 55787 | RRP £19.99

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5

Red Desert

8

The Orphanage

9

4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days

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Sleeping Beauty

Wolfgang Reitherman USA | 1958 | 72 min | Cert U | # 55705 | £21.99

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There Will Be Blood Paul Thomas Anderson

USA | 2007 | BUENA | 158 min | 15 | # 53636 | £19.99

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Vampyr (MoC)

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10

Valerie and her Week of Wonders DVD: £9.99 Save £3

Carl Theodor Dreyer Germany | 1932 | EUREK | 72 min | | B&W | Cert PG | # 54986 | RRP £19.99

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WALL-E

Lust, Caution

No Country for Old Men

Joel & Ethan Coen

Germany | 1932 | EUREK | 72 min | B&W | Cert PG | # 54986 | RRP £19.99

4

Cristian Mungiu

France | 1956 | ART-E | 95 min | subt | B&W | Cert U | # 53594 |

Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson. Day-Lewis dominates the perception of this masterpiece and his bravura performance as an oil man in turn of the century California merits every plaudit. However, the real star is the long-dead world we visit, conjured into life by resplendent cinematography and a bewitching score.

3

4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days

Robert Bresson

1 There Will Be Blood 2

MovieMail’s Top DVDs of 2008


British Transport Films Sale

Taking to the rails, the road, the sea and the air, this selection, boasting the unparalleled diversity of films from the celebrated British Transport Films Unit (1949-86) as well as contemporary documentaries, is an important and enduring record of Britain’s transport heritage and its social history.

A collection of some of the very best films from the BTF archives, including Elizabethan Express, Blue Pullman, Cybernetica and Snowdrift at Bleath Gill. 2 discs. UK | 1951-80 | BFI | 261 min | Cert E | # 20164 | RRP £19.99

The Lost World of Friese-Greene Dan Cruickshank presents another find of astonishing early film archives, this time an amazing colour film from the 1920s tracing a journey by car from Land’s End to John O’Groats. UK | 2006 | BFI | 177 min | Cert E | # 28680 | RRP £19.99

London’s Pride: Hidden Archive of London Transport Five documentaries from the archive that take a nostalgic trip back to London’s past: All That Mighty Heart; London on the Move, The Nine Road, Moving London, London Ride. UK | 1960s-70s | SIMP | 97 min | Cert E | # 54892 | RRP £14.99

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BTF (Vol 2): See Britain by Train

BTF (Vol 7): The Age of the Train

North British / Today and Every Day

Transport films from the golden age, concentrating on holiday destinations 2 discs. throughout Britain.

This volume concentrates on the 1970s-80s, and includes John Krish’s 2 discs. The Finishing Line.

Today and Every Day celebrates railway engineering; North British is about the North British Loco Co.

UK | 1951-80 | BFI | 249 min | Cert E | # 25477 | RRP £19.99

UK | 1962-1982 | BFI | 250 min | Cert E | # 53864 | RRP £19.99

UK | 1947; 1949 | PANA | 77 min | Cert E | # 22946 | RRP £19.99

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BTF (Vol 3): Running a Railway

BTF (Vol 8): Points and Aspects

Portraits of Railwaymen

A collection showcasing BTF’s diversity, with Schlesinger’s Terminus and a Stanley Holloway piece. 2 discs.

A wide variety of topics here - from training films and travel advice to 2 discs. technical achievements.

Four films about work on the railways in the 1940s and 1950s, including Shunter Black’s Night Off.

UK | 1957-75 | BFI | 237 min | Cert E | # 28697 | RRP £19.99

UK | BFI | 290 min | Cert E | # 54938 | RRP £19.99

UK | 1941-59 | PANA | 71 min | B&W | Cert E | # 17287 | RRP £19.99

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BTF Vol 4: Reshaping British Railways

BTF (Vol 9): Just the Ticket

Seawards the Great Ships / River Clyde

A look at changes on the network. Includes Dr Beeching presenting his plans in 1963. 2 discs.

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This final volume in the series includes the Unit’s very first completed film, Berth 24 (1950). 2 discs.

Seawards The Great Ships (1960) is an evocative testimony to the Clyde shipbuilders, plus River Clyde (1939).

UK | 1950-83 | BFI | 254 min | Cert E | # 56635 | RRP £19.99

UK | 1960/1939 | PANA | 60 min | Cert E | # 18458 | RRP £19.99

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BTF (Vol 5): Off the Beaten Track

Diamonds were Forever

Terminus

A fascinating collection that concentrates on the natural world and British holiday destinations. 2 discs.

Dir: Eddie McConnell. Channel 4 film about the rise and fall of Glasgow’s North British Locomotive Company.

UK | 1952-80 | BFI | 304 min | Cert E | # 34144 | RRP £19.99

UK | 1989 | PANA | 55 min | Cert E | # 20867 | RRP £19.99

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BTF (Vol 6): The Art of Travel

Night Mail

The West Highland Railway

UK | 1951-78 | BFI | 247 min | Cert E | # 31091 | RRP £19.99

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A collection of the Film Unit’s ever popular travelogues, highlighting the best of 1950s-60s Britain. 2 discs. UK | BFI | 212 min | B&W | Cert E | # 51918 | RRP £19.99

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Dir: Harry Watt / Basil Wright. Now restored, this is the most popular of all the GPO films, about the nightly postal special. Night Mail 2. UK | 1936 | BFI | 116 min | B&W | Cert E | # 51919 | RRP £15.99

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Dir: John Schlesinger. A famous film that celebrates 24 hours in Waterloo Station. Also includes LondonBrighton in Four Minutes (1966)! UK | 1961 | SMPLY | 118 min | B&W | Cert Ex | # 21773 | RRP £12.99

Using archive film and rare colour home movies, this film takes a look at the West Highland Line. UK | SIMP | 90 min | Cert E | # 56361 | RRP £14.99

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Offer ends 28th March or while stocks last

British Transport Films (Vol 1): On and Off the Rails


Television Programmes Originally Broadcast

Doctor Who: E-space Trilogy

New Releases Cranford: The Complete Series

Francesca Annis, Judi Dench, Michael Gambon, Imelda Staunton. Lavish, star-studded BBC costume drama based on three novels by Elizabeth Gaskell, following the absurdities and tragedies of life in the small northern English town of Cranford in the 1840s. 2 discs.

UK | 2007 | 2ENT | 300 min | 12 Item # 57447 | RRP £29.99 | Released 23rd Feb

Our Blu-ray Price: £26.99

Doctor Who: Attack of the Cybermen An early adventure for the sixth incarnation of everyone’s favourite time traveller. The Doctor (Colin Baker) and Peri arrive in 1985 London shortly after avoiding a collision with Halley’s comet. They discover that the city’s sewers are populated by cybermen.

UK | 1984 | BBC | 95 min | Cert U Item # 57438 | RRP £19.99 | Released 16th March

2 discs.

Tom Baker, Lalla Ward. Three adventures with Doctor Who. Features Full Circle, State of Decay and Warrior’s Gate. In Full Circle, the Doctor realizes that they have travelled through a charged Vacuum Emboitment into 3 discs. E-Space.

UK | 1980-81 | BBC | Cert PG Item # 57290 | RRP £34.99 | Released 26th Jan

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Doctor Who: The Rescue / The Romans

Two adventures featuring the very first Doctor, William Hartnell, from early 1965. In The Rescue, the Doctor lands on Planet Dido in the year 2493. He finds two human survivors from a ferocious Didonian attack, and must discover the motivation behind this violence. In The Romans the Doctor lands in Italy 64 A.D., but his intention to have a holiday is destroyed when he is 2 discs. mistakenly identified as a murderer. UK | 1965 | 2ENT | 146 min | Cert U Item # 57437 | RRP £29.99 | Released 23rd Feb

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Dynasty: Season 1 & 2

John Forsythe, Joan Collins, Linda Evans. Greed, seduction, betrayal, revenge, more greed - Dynasty is back. It was the dramatic interactions at home among the Carringtons and the Blaisdels that provided the explosive fuel for this 1980s drama – countless illicit affairs, dirty business deals, 4 discs per season. hair-pulling catfights.

USA | 1981 | PARAH | 688 min | Cert 12 Items # 57162/3 | RRP £24.99 each | Released 9th March

Our DVD Price: £17.99 each

First Among Equals: Complete Tom Wilkinson, David Robb, Jeremy Child. Adapted from Jeffrey Archer’s novel, this ten-part miniseries, produced by Granada, is a political drama that follows the parallel careers of four MPs who all join Parliament in the mid-1960s. Granada constructed a full-scale replica set of the House of Commons chamber for 3 discs. the production. UK | 1986 | NWORK | 500 min | Cert TBC Item # 57292 | RRP £24.99 | Released 9th March

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“Michael Apted’s Up series remains one of the great imaginative leaps in film.” Roger Ebert

7-49 UP

A landmark series of documentaries, the original 7 Up featured children who were selected from different backgrounds and social spheres to talk about their hopes and dreams for the future. This simple premise resulted in groundbreaking television and the followup films have won an array of awards. This specialedition set contains all seven sets of documentaries, a brand-new interview with director Michael Apted and a subject-specific crew commentary. Previously unavailable in the UK - now available for the first time.

AVAILABLE FROM FEBRUARY 16


March 09 MovieMail Newsletter

Fishing with John

An offbeat and original series which pairs musician / actor John Lurie with friends Dennis Hopper (looking for giant squid in Thailand), Jim Jarmusch (seeking shark in Montauk), Tom Waits (in Jamaica), Matt Dillon (in Costa Rica), and Willem Dafoe (ice fishing in Maine). The plan? Travel to the world’s most exotic places and fish. The catch? Lurie can’t fish.

USA | 1991 | ARTF | 152 min | Cert E Item # 56995 | RRP £14.99 | Released 16th March

Our DVD Price: £12.99

Generation Kill

From the creators of The Wire. All seven episodes of the HBO series following the opening weeks of the Iraq war from the perspective of a batallion of American marines. Far from home and positioned at the forefront of the assault on Baghdad, the men rely on humour, grit and camaraderie as they face constantly changing rules of engagement, a non-existent strategy, severe deficiencies in supplies and an enemy they cannot begin to understand. USA | 2008 | WHV | Cert 15 Item # 56831 | RRP £40.99 | Released 9th March

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Lark Rise to Candleford: Series 1

This ten-part adaptation of Flora Thompson’s classic novel tells the story of two 19th century Oxfordshire communities. The birth of a new baby obliges eldest daughter Laura (Olivia Hallinan) to embark on a new life in the bustling market town of Candleford, where she befriends her adventurous cousin, postmistress 4 discs. Dorcas Lane (Julia Sawalha). UK | 2008 | 2ENT | 582 min | Cert PG Item # 57496 | RRP £39.99 | Released 9th March

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Lark Rise to Candleford: Series 2 The second series of Lark Rise to Candleford sees the introduction of new characters James Dowland (Jason Merrells) – a charming hotelier – and Minnie (Ruby Bentall), a new addition to the Post Office.

UK | 2009 | 2ENT | Cert PG Item # 57497 | RRP £34.99 | Released 9th March

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Merlin: Volume 2

Seven more episodes of the BBC series which tells the tale of the relationship between the young King Arthur and Merlin. In these tales, Arthur becomes besotted with a mysterious girl and Arthur kills a unicorn, inadvertently bringing a curse upon Camelot.

UK | 2008 | BBC | Cert PG Item # 57373 | RRP £19.99 | Released 9th February

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Recommended

No Heroics

Created and written by Drew Pearce, No Heroics is a six-part comedy series about four old friends who just happen to be off-duty superheroes. In fact, superheroics seem far from their mind behind their relationships, sex lives, and a constant desperation for success and fame.

Director: Michael Apted Released: 16th February DVD Extras: 6 discs. UK | 1964 | NWORK | 500 mins | Cert E | Item # 57077

UK | 2008 | 2ENT | 170 min | Cert 15 Item # 57479 | RRP £19.99 | Released 2nd February

Our DVD Price: £14.99

Oceans

What lies below the frozen Arctic ice-sheets? Or in the black holes under the Caribbean Sea? The oceans shape our climate, our culture, our future. Yet we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about Earth’s watery depths. In this series explorer Paul Rose leads a team of ocean experts in a series of global science expeditions. The planet’s seas are changing fast and Oceans builds up a timely global picture of our planet’s most magnificent 2 discs. and vital asset.

UK | 2008 | 2ENT | Cert E Item # 57370 | RRP £29.99 | Released 9th Feb

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Pride and Prejudice (Special Edition)

Colin Firth. Jane Austen’s famous comedy of manners and romance developed for the screen in the grand traditions of the BBC costume drama. In spite of the more recent big-screen adaptation with Keira Knightley, it’s this BBC mini-series that is still regarding as the definitive version.

7-49 Up

Now entering its fifth decade, this extraordinary exploration of the British class system has become a national institution, as well as one of the most compelling narratives in television history. Taking the Jesuit maxim “give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man” as his starting point, in 1964 Michael Apted selected fourteen 7 year-old British schoolchildren on the basis of their socio-economic backgrounds, asking them their hopes and dreams for the future. The children were revisited seven years later almost as an afterthought, with no long-term provision made to ensure their future participation. This gave the series its format, but also its sense of unpredictability, and a television tradition was born – every seven years the nation would eagerly await to see which participants would return, and how their lives had progressed. This long-awaited collection contains all seven series made thus far. Long before the current fad for reality television, this landmark series revealed how unscripted encounters can be more articulate and compelling than any TV drama. AB

Buying Details 2 discs.

UK / USA | 1995 | 2ENT | 327 min | Cert U Item # 57249 | RRP £19.99 | Released 16th March

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Page 25


Television Spooks: Season 7

Richard Armitage take over as the lead in this series based around the operations of MI5, as Lucas North, the spy returned from years in a Russian prison. As always, nothing is ever quite what it seems, and who can be trusted is open to debate.

UK | 2008 | CTEND | Cert 15 Item # 56730 | RRP £39.99 | Released 23rd February

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Taggart: The 2009 Collection Since the first investigation was broadcast 25 years ago in September 1983 Taggart has become one of the most popular detective dramas on British TV. This set contains three new, cases for the hard-bitten Glasgow detectives to unravel - Genesis, The Caring Game and Lifeline.

2 discs.

The Devil’s Whore

Dominic West, John Simm, Peter Capaldi, Andrea Riseborough. Four-part Channel 4 drama set in the mid-17th century and depicting the turbulent events of the English Civil War through the eyes of 17-year-old Angelica Fanshawe. As the country is plunged into chaos and Oliver Cromwell and his army threaten to overthrow King Charles I, young aristocrat Angelica is brought close to the key figures in both sides of the conflict. 2 discs. UK | 2008 | LGATE | 180 min | Cert 15 Item # 57195 | RRP £24.99 | Released 23rd Feb

The Feathered Serpent

Starring Diane Keen and Patrick Troughton, this is a story of murder, intrigue and political manoeuvring set amid the splendour and turmoil of ancient Mexico. This release includes all episodes of the Thames Television children’s drama series memorable for its spectacular sets and costumes. Originally trans2 discs. mitted between 1976 and 1978. UK | 1976-78 | NWORK | 300 min | Cert PG Item # 57480 | RRP £19.99 | Released 11th Feb

Bob Hoskins, John Thaw, Pat Ashton. Small-time house burglar Dobbs arrives back from prison to find that while he’s been ‘doing time’, his best friend Stan has been ‘doing his missus’. However, the lady wife has affections for both men and an agreement is reached. Created and written by the legendary team of Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. UK | 1974 | NWORK | 200 min | Cert 12 Item # 57477 | RRP £14.99 | Released 9th February

Our DVD Price: £12.99

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UK | 2008 | 2ENT | 90 min | Cert 15 Item # 57462 | RRP £19.99 | Released 23rd February

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The Secret Life of Elephants

A compelling series featuring the emotional, dramatic and heart-warming personal stories of wild elephants in Northern Kenya. From the first faltering steps of new born Breeze to the experiences of an elderly matriarch, it reveals the elephant’s hidden world – the depth of their emotions, their remarkable intelligence, and the intimate complexities of their family life.

UK | 2008 | BBC | Cert E Item # 57498 | RRP £19.99 | Released 9th February

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Thick as Thieves

Eire / UK | 1979 | NWORK | 85 min | Cert TBC Item # 57527 | RRP £14.99 | Released 2nd March

Three contemplative monologues about death. In Before I Call You In, Sheila Hancock plays a woman waiting for the pills that will end her life in a Zurich euthanasia clinic, Six Days One June sees Rhys Ifans as a farmer trying to find a way to escape his domineering mother, while the last, A Bit of Private Business, sees Bob Hoskins play an assassin waiting in a public toilet for his next target.

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Page 26

Patrick McGoohan, Lee Van Cleef. After years plying his deadly trade, John Connor has finally had enough. Seeking to retire to Dublin and maybe salvage his marriage, Connor wants to leave the world of the marksman behind him. Unfortunately, his handler (Lee Van Cleef) is reluctant to let him go and manages to talk him into one final job.

The Last Word Monologues

UK | 2009 | ACORN | 206 min | Cert 15 Item # 57364 | RRP £19.99 | Released 2nd March

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The Hard Way

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The Ten Commandments Dougray Scott, Omar Sharif. Escaping death, a Hebrew infant is raised in a royal household to become a prince. But upon discovering his true heritage, Moses embarks on a personal quest to claim his destiny as the leader and liberator of his people. Nominated for 3 2 discs. Emmys.

USA | 2006 | BSPK | Cert TBC Item # 57399 | RRP £19.99 | Released 16th March

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Whitechapel

Claire Rushbrook, Steve Pemberton, Philip Davis, Rupert Penry-Jones. Modern day drama set against the atmospheric background of Whitechapel in London, where a modern police force are fighting an old adversary. A series of bloody, tragic crimes would suggest someone is carrying out copycat Jack the Ripper murders. UK | 2008 | 2ENT | 136 min | Cert 15 Item # 57125 | RRP £15.99 | Released 16th February

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Within These Walls: Series 1

Jerome Willis, Googie Withers, Floella Benjamin, Mona Bruce. A forerunner to Prisoner Cell Block H, this classic drama series focussed on the inmates of a women’s prison, and featured riots and cat fights aplenty. It would later make history for one of the earliest appearances of a lesbian char4 discs. acter in a mainstream show.

UK | 1974 | NWORK | 650 min | Cert 12 Item # 57455 | RRP £29.99 | Released 16th February

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Yellowstone: Tales from the Wild

Larger than some American states, Yellowstone National Park is one of the world’s last and most spectacular wildernesses. Against its vast and majestic landscapes, full of lush meadows, deep forests and violent hot springs, this landmark series follows the intertwining stories of Yellostone’s iconic inhabitants. UK / USA | 2008 | 2ENT | 150 min | Cert E Item # 57127 | RRP £19.99 | Released 2nd March

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March 09 MovieMail Newsletter

Legends of Comedy Recommended Starring: David Walliams, Trevor Eve, Ken Stott, Maxine Peake, Jason Isaacs, Phil Davis, Alex Jennings, Rafe Spall Released: 2nd March Contains: The Curse of Steptoe; Frankie Howerd: Rather You Than Me; Hughie Green: Most Sincerely. DVD Extras: 2 discs. UK | 2008 | 2ENT | 260 mins | Cert 15 | Item # 57351.50

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£15.99

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B 75 Bonus Points If purchased for £15.99

See Also The Tony Hancock Collection (Complete) UK | 1956-60 | BBC | B&W | PG | # 51518 | £39.99

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Steptoe and Son (Complete Series and Specials) UK | 1962-74 | BBC | Cert PG | # 51447 | RRP £59.99

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F

or those of you who rarely stray to BBC4, that lonely outpost of enlightened television programming, this is a welcome chance to catch up with a short series that quietly outshone most of the ‘prestigious drama’ found on the mainstream channels last year. Don’t be fooled by the ‘comedy’ moniker — these three dramatisations of the lives of a handful of Britain’s most cherished post-war comedy personalities (Harry H. Corbett and Wilfrid Brambell, Frankie Howerd and Hughie Greene) make for powerful, evocative and often emotional viewing. The series’ apt original title was The Curse of Comedy and as such it focuses on the dark side of light entertainment, with the turbulent off-camera lives of the troubled comedians to the fore. Based on interviews with colleagues, friends and family, and Steptoe writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, The Curse of Steptoe mirrors the confined frustration of the nation’s favourite rag and bone men with the growing antagonism between stars Brambell and Corbett, here played by Phil Davis and Jason Isaacs, which eventually became a consuming enmity that far outstripped their petty onscreen squabbling. Most Sincerely is a fascinatingly ugly

A welcome reminder of what quality TV drama can do when freed from ratings pressure look at the moral underbelly in which Hughie Green (Trevor Eve) operated, starkly juxtaposing his meteoric career as the avuncular game show stalwart of Opportunity Knocks and Double Your Money with his shameless, abusive womanising and his destructive paranoia. And Rather You Than Me lifts the lid on the troubled psyche of Frankie Howerd, a treasured performer who off-stage wallowed in melancholia, self-doubt and wild displays of sexual frustration. David Walliams here takes the lead role as one of his own comedy favourites. The performances in these dramas are top-notch, but Trevor Eve is uncannily brilliant in his portrayal of Hughie Green. Moreover, that draughty era of early British television is beautifully captured in the sets and costumes. The Curse of Comedy is a welcome reminder of what TV drama can still do when it is free from ratings pressure and pedestrian expectations. Julian Upton

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Page 27


Celluloid Activism A short history of political cinema. By Julian Upton

O

vertly political films have rarely been in fashion in English language cinema. Hollywood has flirted with them, but Britain’s more profound political dramas are usually found on television. Europe on the other hand has enjoyed a healthier tradition of stridently questioning (or reinforcing!) the status quo, from the ornate masterworks of early Russian cinema – Eisenstein’s Strike (1924) and The Battleship Potemkin (1925) – to the exquisitely dubious Nazi-era work of Leni Riefenstahl – Triumph of the Will (34), Olympia (1936) – to experiments in form and content by Jean-Luc Godard (Tout Va Bien (1972)). In this tradition, Germany’s The BaaderMeinhof Complex (2008), which takes a radical look at the inner workings of 1970s terrorist group the Red Army Faction, caused much controversy in its home country on its release last year. It makes it DVD debut this spring.

1968 and all that

The most politically charged era since the end of the Second World War came to a head with the events of 1968. As anti-war demonstrations raged across US cities, students took to the streets in Paris and tanks rolled into Prague, popular culture found itself inextricably linked to world affairs, and thus began the cinema’s richest period of political engagement. Page 28

Europe, not surprisingly, took the lead in this celluloid activism: Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers (1965) and Jean-Luc Godard’s Weekend (1967) were among the films that pre-empted the revolutionary rumblings. Pontecorvo’s film was groundbreaking in fusing its documentary-style recreation of the Algerian national uprising of 1956 with profound and universal human drama; Weekend is an anarchic and subversive work that breaks down the language of film as effectively as it lays bare the avaricious motivations of an egregious couple eager to secure their inheritance. Across the Channel, Britain proved to be uncharacteristically in tune with the explosive times when Lindsay Anderson delivered the incendiary If.… (1968), in which Malcolm McDowell’s public schoolboy leads an armed revolt against the teachers. In 1968’s immediate aftermath, revolutionary politics could be found in everything from the fresh and daring (Dusan Makavejev’s Innocence Unprotected (1968)) to the eclectic and diverse (Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point (1969)) to the most opportunistic examples of ‘with-it’ drive-in fodder (The Strawberry Statement (1970)).  But as the ‘trendy’ calls for peace and liberation fell away, the fallout from ‘68 began to fuel darker visions. In Europe, Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist (1970) offered an iconoclastic exploration of fascist-era

Europe, not surprisingly, took the lead in this celluloid activism Italy in a unique spin on the noir genre; in the US, Melvin Van Peeble’s Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971) crushed Hollywood’s black stereotypes with one angry blow and effectively called for an uprising against ‘the Man’. By 1975, Pasolini’s

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Celluloid Activism Fortunately, Oliver Stone no longer carries the weight of US political cinema alone.

Salò showed a relentless cynicism overwhelming the optimism of the hippie era. Another unsettling indictment of fascism and a polemic on the degradation of consumerist society, Salò’s depiction of the horrors that a quartet of influential statesmen inflict on an abducted group of adolescents is still hard to watch. Indeed, the film may have gone too far even for an era steeped in pessimism: Pasolini’s own bloody murder (before the film was released) was attributed to a 17-year old boy, but the extent of his injuries suggested heavier forces were at work.

Hollywood Pinkos

At the same time, Hollywood was enjoying its own era of downbeat, grown-up cinema, albeit with much more palatable vehicles for its new breed of stars. Director Alan J. Pakula was one director in tune with the crumbling idealism and dark underside of US politics. His The Parallax View (1974), in which Warren Beatty investigates a sinister organisation that trains drop-outs to become political assassins, is a stimulating conspiracy thriller that caught the paranoid mood of the post-Kennedy era. With Watergate very much on the public’s mind, Pakula followed this with All the President’s Men (1976), a smartly intricate dramatisation of the Page 30

journalistic steps that Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein took to bring down Richard Nixon. All the President’s Men now stands as a paean to the sophistication and longer attention spans of 1970s audiences. Within a couple of years the Movie Brat age had succumbed to the escapist fairy tales (and big box office takings) of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, and the politically challenging Hollywood film began to fade away.  It took Oliver Stone to revive it, beginning in 1986 with Salvador. James Woods’ blistering performance as Richard Boyle, a maverick photojournalist caught up in the brutal conflicts of South America, gave Salvador a raw energy that had been absent from US cinema since those heady days of the 70s. Boyle heads for El Salvador for kicks but soon becomes politicised by the country’s harsh realities; Stone revisits this premise in Born on the Fourth of July (1989), in which an idealistic and patriotic Ron Kovic (Tom Cruise) returns from Vietnam disabled, angry and violently opposed to the actions of his own government.  Stone continued to explore Vietnam as a painful touchstone for a troubled American psyche and developed in parallel a line of idiosyncratic portraits

of US presidents (or their legacies) — JFK (1991), Nixon (1995) and W. (2008). Fortunately, he no longer carries the weight of US political cinema alone. George Clooney has proved to be more than equal to the task of taking a critical eye to his country’s history and current affairs, and, as an actor, producer and director, his films have been more subtly intelligent that Stone’s. Outstanding are Syriana (2005), a genuinely ambitious exploration of US oil interests in the Middle East; Michael Clayton (2007), which takes on corporate corruption; and his selfdirected Good Night, and Good Luck. (2006), which captures, in a beautiful, smoky monochrome, the courageous spirit of US television journalism at the height of McCarthy era. While Stone and Clooney continue to hold the torch for ‘radical’ US drama, there has also been something of a US resurgence during the Bush years in challenging non-fiction films, most famously in the polemical work of Michael Moore – Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), Sicko! (2007) – and with genuinely probing documentaries like The Corporation (2003), The Fog of War (2003) and The US vs John Lennon (2006). While it’s clear that political cinema is nowhere near as buoyant as it was in the late sixties, you need only look to Hunger (2008), Steve McQueen’s dramatisation of Bobby Sands’ 1981 hunger strike, to find that reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated.

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March 09 MovieMail Newsletter Images from left: Hunger, a cinema showing of Triumph of the Will, The Baader-Meinhof Complex

Selected Political Cinema on DVD – from £5.99 Hunger

Persepolis

Triumph of the Will

Steve McQueen

Paronnaud & Satrapi

Leni Riefenstahl

A massively acclaimed and powerfully unflinching dramatisation, made with an artist’s eye, of the last weeks in the life of IRA man Bobby Sands. A multiple award winner. Michael Fassbender stars.

The much-lauded Cannes Jury prize-winning animated film adaptation of Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel about growing up during the Islamic revolution.

This Nazi propaganda film is surely the most notorious example of cinema’s potentially malevolent influence; its directorial talent and continuing troubling fascination is undeniable.

UK | 2008 | FOX | 96 min | Cert 15 | # 57403 | RRP £19.99

France | 2007 | OPTIM | 95 min | subt | Cert 15 | # 54752 | RRP £17.99

Germany | 1936 | SMPLY | 127 min | subt | B&W | E | # 6140 | £15.99

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All The President’s Men (Special Edition)

If....

Salvador

Dir: Lindsay Anderson. A harsh, dreamy, gimlet-eyed exorcism of hellish 1950s boarding school days. Thursday’s Children (Anderson, 1954)

A photo-journalist and his buddy go to El Salvador in search of fun but soon come face to face with the brutal realities of a country torn apart.

UK | 1968 | PARA | 107 min | Cert 15 | # 33665 | RRP £15.99

USA | 1986 | MGMHE | 117 min | Cert 18 | # 15732 | RRP £19.99

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Michael Clayton

Sergei Eisenstein: Silent Classics

USA | 1976 | WHV | 132 min | Cert 15 | # 26473 | RRP £19.99

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The Baader-Meinhof Complex Dir: Uli Edel. Drama about the inner workings of 1970s radically left-wing German terrorist group The RAF. Germany | 2008 | MOMET | 150 min | subt | 18 | # 57018 | RRP £17.99

Dir: Tony Gilroy. George Clooney stars as a man called in to save a court case put in jeopardy by a lawyer who may have lost his mind. USA | 2007 | FOX | 115 min | Cert 15 | # 52928 | RRP £19.99

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Birth of a Nation

Missing

Revolution in film. Features Strike (1925), Battleship Potemkin (1925) and October (1927). 3 discs. Rus | 1925-27 | TARTN | 260 min | subt | B&W | 12 | # 33303 | £29.99

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Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song

Dir: DW Griffith. An inescapable keystone of American movie history, acclaimed for its fantastic spectacle, reviled for its repugnant racism.

Dir: Costa-Gavras. Jack Lemmon. The prime cinematic evocation of a military coup, based on true events in the Chilean coup of 1973.

USA | 1915 | EUREK | 192 min | B&W | Cert 15 | # 36 | RRP £19.99

USA | 1982 | UPV | 117 min | Cert 15 | # 21502 | RRP £15.99

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The Corporation

Nixon

The Wave

Dir: Achbar & Abbott. An in-depth psychological examination of business that finds it apes the behaviour of a destructive psychopath.

Dir: Oliver Stone. A balanced and sober film that eschews jukebox theorising and instead presents a brooding and careful character study.

Dir: Jurgen Vogel. German school drama exploring the cult nature of fascism, inspired by true events that took place in Palo Alto, California.

Canada | 2003 | IN2FI | 144 mins | Cert PG | # 31189 | RRP £5.99

USA | 1995 | EV | 190 min | Cert 15 | # 14895 | RRP £12.99

Germany | 2008 | MOMET | 107 min | subt | 15 | # 57017 | RRP £17.99

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Good Night, and Good Luck.

Salò

Tout Va Bien

Dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini. A notorious, highly provocative chamber piece exposing the depths of human corruption. 2 discs; Many extras.

Dir: Jean-Luc Godard. A newly radicalized Jane Fonda joined with Godard for this assault on consumer society, marriage and capitalism.

Italy | 1975 | BFI | 112 min | Cert 18 | # 55425 | RRP £22.99

France | 1972 | ARROW | 92 min | subt | 18 | # 32681 | RRP £15.99

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Dir: George Clooney. Great dramatisation of Ed Murrow's mission to bring down Senator McCarthy. USA | 2005 | LGATE | 90 min | B&W | Cert PG | # 29160 | RRP £19.99

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Dir: Melvin Van Peebles. A powerful, pioneering and inflammatory attack on white America and ‘The Man’. USA | 1971 | BFI | 97 min | Cert 18 | # 25473 | RRP £19.99

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Page 31

Offer ends 28th March or while stocks last

The Washington Post gets the inside story on Watergate, and Nixon topples. Fascinating, and thrilling.


Contemporary Film English Language Films, 1970 – present

Boys on Film: Volume 1

New Releases Before the Rains Santosh Sivan

Jennifer Ehle. A lavish Merchant Ivory production set in 1930s India against the backdrop of the growing nationalist movement. Linus Roache stars as a spice grower who begins an affair with his beautiful Indian housemaid while his wife and son are in England. India | 2007 | MET-D | 93 min | Cert 12 Item # 56694 | RRP £17.99 | Released 9th March

A showcase of ten short films and documentaries that deal with all aspects of modern gay life. Expect gay rodeos, sexually frustrated zombies and hunky men in Speedos! Features Summer, Gay Zombie, Serene Hunter, Le Weekend, Cowboy Forever, Scarred, Packlunch, VGL-Hung! and Mirror Mirror. USA | 2007 | PECCA | 140 min | Cert 18 Item # 56994 | RRP £14.99 | Released 9th March

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City of Ember

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Hal Ashby

Peter Sellers plays a simple, innocent gardener. Cast into the world, he stumbles into the inner circle of governmental power brokers who mistake his gardening prattle for allegorical Memories wisdom. from Being There; Trailer.

Family sci-fi adventure starring Bill Murray and Tim Robbins. Ember is an underground city built following disaster, built to house humans for 200 years after a disaster. The 200 years have passed and the city is running low on food and energy. Then two teenagers uncover the instructions left behind by the city’s builders generations before. USA | 2008 | EV | 94 min | Cert PG Item # 57146 | RRP £19.99 | Released 23rd February

USA | 1979 | WHV | 121 min | Cert 15 Item # 56717 | RRP £16.99 | Released 23rd February

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Death Defying Acts Gillian Armstrong

A drama that follows the efforts of illusionist Harry Houdini (Guy Pearce) to make contact with his dead mother. When a psychic appears on the scene, Houdini feels he’s finally close to his goal. Unfortunately, she and her daughter have their own illusions to spin.

Black Snake Russ Meyer

Exploitation fare set on a slave plantation, where Lady Susan Walker (Anouska Hempel) runs her affairs with a bullwhip. When Sir Charles Walker comes to find out what happened to his brother, the Lady’s first husband, all hell breaks loose. USA | 1973 | ARROW | 82 min | 18 Item # 57424 | RRP £9.99 | Released 16th March

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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

UK / Australia | 2007 | LGATE | 97 min | Cert PG Item # 57391 | RRP £15.99 | Released 9th April

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Easy Virtue

Stephan Elliott

David Thewlis, Sheila Hancock. Haunting WWII drama told from the perspective of the 8 year-old son of the commandant at a concentration camp, whose curiosity leads him to a fence where he meets a boy with a very different story to tell.

Colin Firth, Kristin Scott Thomas. 1920s romantic comedy adapted from Noel Coward’s play in which an English aristocrat returns to his family’s estate with his new wife Larita, a divorced American racing driver, following a whirlwind romance. Mother Veronica is resolutely unimpressed by her new daughter-in-law, but father Jim finds her a breath of fresh air.

UK / USA | 2008 | BUENA | 94 min | Cert 12 Item # 57322 | RRP £17.99 | Released 9th March

UK | 2008 | FOX | 97 min | Cert PG Item # 56784 | RRP £19.99 | Released 16th March

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Mark Herman

Page 32

EXCLUSIVE! Recommended

Gil Kenan

Being There (Deluxe Edition)

The Hireling Director: Alan Bridges Starring: Sarah Miles, Robert Shaw Released: 16th February UK | 1973 | SPHE | 103 mins | Cert PG | Item # 57378

Forbidden infatuation, as with this adaptation of LP Hartley’s tale of the relationship between a chauffeur and a Lady, is a wonderful visual subject for cinema. Longing, jealousy and voyeurism can be set to work in a network of social boundaries and locations that continually evoke the possibility of transgression. Here, Sarah Miles plays widowed Lady Franklin, who, on her departure from a psychiatric hospital, starts to talk to her chauffeur, a bullish ex-Sergeant Major, thereby sending his thoughts towards her along dangerous routes. Along with its Grand Prix from Cannes in 1973, The Hireling won three BAFTAs: for Art Direction, Costume Design, and – for Peter Egan, who oozes effortless, insolent charm as an aristocratic politician who takes Lady Franklin’s eye – Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles. Also deserving of mention is Marc Wilkinson’s score. His theme for Blood on Satan’s Claw was memorably unsettling. Here too, his music calls up dark shades of discomfiture that are never quite dispelled. GH

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March 09 MovieMail Newsletter

The Duchess Recommended Director: Saul Dibb Starring: Keira Knightley Ralph Fiennes, Charlotte Rampling, Dominic Cooper Released: 16th March DVD Extras: Making-of; Deleted scenes; Photo Gallery UK / Italy / France | 2008 | FOX | 110 mins | Cert 12 | Item # 56783

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Also Available The Duchess Saul Dibb

UK | 2008 | FOX | 110 min | 12 | # 56802 | RRP £27.99

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See Also Atonement Joe Wright

UK | 2007 | UN | 117 min | 15 | # 52920 | RRP £19.99

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The Last Mistress Catherine Breillat

France | 2007 | ART-E | 104 min | subt | Cert 15 | # 54935 | RRP £19.99

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The Line of Beauty Saul Dibb

UK | 2006 | BBC | 180 min | 18 | # 29641 | RRP £15.99

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n absorbing, stately biopic with curious modern-day parallels (the film was marketed with the tagline “There were three people in her marriage”), The Duchess is one of those films that will inevitably do better on the smaller screen, thanks to its sumptuous look and feel and quietly powerful performances from Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes, as the Duchess and Duke of Devonshire respectively. It was adapted from Amanda Foreman’s bestselling nonfiction tome, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, by Jeffrey Hatcher and Anders Thomas Jensen (themselves previously responsible for Casanova and Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself, respectively). Georgiana is a young and gilded member of the aristocracy, married – after two meetings – to the Duke of Devonshire, a man who finds it easier to communicate with his dogs than with people and who is also unfortunately given to the odd roll in the hay with the maids. With the success of their marriage predicated on the birth of a son and heir, the rapid births of three daughters, and the stillbirths of two sons, does little to warm the cockles of their concupiscence. When the Duke makes the moves on Georgiana’s only friend in the world Bess Foster (played here by Hayley

A quality period drama with contemporary relevance Attwell, last seen in the reboot of Brideshead Revisited and Woody Allen’s Cassandra’s Dream), the gloves come off, and Georgiana looks for a little happiness for herself, in the shape of her childhood love Charles Gray, now a young politico destined to be prime minister. Anyone expecting a ‘Happy Ever After’ ending may be in for a surprise, but if powerful drama is what you’re looking for, look no further. This is quality drama with all of the respective quality drama boxes ticked, thereby making it a must for anyone who likes nothing better than a good period costume affair. Keira Knightley continues to grow as an actress, turning in a nuanced and subtle performance as Georgiana, a woman who was as loved by the people as she wasn’t by her husband (one wag cruelly jibes in the film). All told, The Duchess is a quiet gem to be filed alongside The Painted Veil, The Other Boleyn Girl and Girl with the Pearl Earring. Peter Wild

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Page 33


Contemporary Elegy

High School Musical 3

Isabel Coixet

Kenny Ortega

The life of a respected professor (Ben Kingsley) is turned upside-down when the normally retiring 62-year-old is drawn to one of his students, (Penelope Cruz). The relationship deepens, and the free-thinking academic finds himself becoming sexually possessive. USA | 2008 | EV | 108 min | Cert 15 Item # 56473 | RRP £19.99 | Released 2nd March

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Mike Newell

Joan Plowright, Miranda Richardson, Polly Walker, Josie Lawrence. A charming period drama set in 1920s Italy, where two rather proper English women, determined to escape their drab home lives, find paradise on the Italian Riviera. Soon they are reminded of ways to live and love that have long eluded them. UK | 1991 | BBC | 89 min | Cert U Item # 57260 | RRP £15.99 | Released 9th February

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Robert B. Weide

Gillian Anderson, Jeff Bridges. Comedy drama in which Simon Pegg stars as an aspiring journalist unexpectedly offered a job at a glossy New York publication. Told to charm his colleagues if he expects to succeed, he has soon upset the entire staff, but will his friendship with a sexy starlet save his sinking career?

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Dominique Cardona There’s controversy on the streets of Toronto when Finn, lesbian mother to hell-raising daughter Zelly, comes under fire from pro-lifers at the abortion clinic where she works. When her girlfriend leaves her, an unlikely romance develops with the cop assigned as her bodyExcerpt from My Feminism.

Canada | 2007 | PECCA | 88 min | Cert 15 Item # 57207 | RRP £14.99 | Out Now

Incendiary

Sharon Maguire Ewan McGregor, Michelle Williams. A young mother has to deal with grief and guilt after her husband and son die in a terrorist attack on the stadium where they are watching a football match while she is carrying on an affair with a reporter. From the director of Bridget Jones’s Diary. UK | 2008 | OPTIM | 100 min | Cert 15 Item # 57365 | RRP £15.99 | Released 2nd March

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The Handmaid’s Tale Volker Schlöndorff

Faye Dunaway, Natasha Richardson. In a future America of extreme rightwing religious tyrrany, women are stripped of independence and are divided into wives, aunts and handmaidens – those who have not been made sterile by pollution, whose job is to bear children. Margaret Atwood’s novel, Harold Pinter’s screenplay. Germany | 1990 | OPTIM | 95 min | Cert 15 Item # 56859 | RRP £15.99 | Released 16th February

Page 34

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

UK | 2008 | PARAH | 110 min | Cert 15 Item # 56851 | RRP £19.99 | Released 16th March

Finn’s Girl

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USA | 2008 | BUENA | 111 min | Cert U Item # 57369 | RRP £17.99 | Released 16th February

Brideshead Revisited (2008)

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Enchanted April

guard.

Now both seniors, Troy and Gabriella are nearing the end of their stay at school. With college looming, they get together with the rest of the Wildcats and decide to put together one last show, a spring musical that will help them give voice to their feelings, hopes and concerns about the future.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day Bharat Nalluri

Amy Adams. Romantic comedy that sees Frances McDormand star as a dowdy governess who finds herself fulfilling the role of social secretary to a glamorous American actress. Has she finally found her real calling? Miss Pettigrew’s Long Trip to Hollywood; Deleted scenes; Commentary. UK | 2008 | MOMET | 92 min | Cert PG Item # 56957 | RRP £17.99 | Released 9th March

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Recommended Director: Julian Jarrold Starring: Matthew Goode, Ben Whishaw, Emma Thompson, Michael Gambon, Hayley Atwell, Patrick Malahide, Greta Scacchi Released: 9th March DVD Extras: Commentary; Outtakes. UK | 2008 | 2ENT | 132 mins | Cert 12 | Item # 57219

Evelyn Waugh’s magnificent novel is brought to the big screen for the first time in this superb film which tells the tale of Charles Ryder and his entanglement with the Flyte family. There are some great performances here, particularly from Hayley Atwell who is unsurpassably elegant as Julia Flyte, while Emma Thompson is compelling as Lady Marchmain, capturing her flawed, saint-like energy beautifully. People may point out that there could be no possible improvement on the 1980s Granada production, and they would be right. How can you compete with, for many, the best TV serial ever made? But who’s competing? Isn’t it better to simply enjoy a beautiful film based on some magnificent literature? This should to be appreciated in its own right, as a wholesome tale of the battle between temptation and faith and an exploration of the comparative wisdom of youth and age. It will leave the viewer steeped in the essence of pre-war Englishness. CH

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March 09 MovieMail Newsletter

Hunger Recommended Director: Steve McQueen Starring: Liam Cunningham, Michael Fassbender Released: 23rd February DVD Extras: Making-of UK | 2008 | FOX | 91 mins | Cert 15 | Item # 57403

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See Also In the Name of the Father Jim Sheridan

Ireland / UK / USA | 1993 | UCA | 127 min | Cert 15 | # 17012 | RRP £5.99

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The Passion of the Christ (Special Edition) Mel Gibson

USA | 2004 | FOX | 142 min | subt | Cert 18 | # 32653 | RRP £15.99

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The Wind That Shakes The Barley Ken Loach

UK / Ireland | 2006 | FOX | 122 min | Cert 15 | # 52353 | RRP £15.99

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nstallation artist Steve McQueen’s first full length feature, Hunger, is a scalding account of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands’ final few months on Earth. Set almost entirely within the narrow confines of H-Block in the Maze Prison, nine miles outside Belfast, and initially somewhat diffuse – the film opens with a warder checking under his car for a bomb and dousing his bloody knuckles in warm water – it rapidly plunges you into a world that is thankfully past but which is no less bludgeoning and painful for all that. What is evident from the outset, however, is the prism of McQueen himself: this is very much an auteur’s film. Every moment – from the wash of a jet of water on a handcrafted spiral of excrement to the soft pink blush of blood staining water in a sink – is crystallised, held up for appraisal and evaluation, weighted with gravity simply because we are looking at it. The film’s second half concentrates more fully on Bobby Sands, played with almost zealous intent by Michael Fassbender. Subsequent to a riveting central twentyminute confession between Sands and his priest (played by Liam Cunningham, previously perhaps best known for his performance in Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shakes the Barley), in which the hunger

This is a movie that will affect you – it is important cinema strike is debated, Hunger takes you on a horror-ride, the physicality of which is as stop-you-in-your-tracks as the figure of Christian Bale in The Mechanic. But here again, even in the midst of scenes that you are forced to watch through split fingers, McQueen wrests beauty from the passing of a man, which is what ultimately Hunger comes down to. A point is being made here. A point concerning belief and dignity and devotion to a cause, irrespective of the cause itself almost (at no point does the film really engage with what the IRA were at that point up to in Ireland and the UK, for instance). As such, you can pretty much guarantee that no-one will simply leave Hunger shrugging their shoulders and saying, ‘Yeah, it was alright’. This is a movie that will affect you. It is a movie that you will want to talk about and think about. It functions as both artistic object and dynamic cinematic vehicle. This is important cinema. Peter Wild

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Page 35


Contemporary ‘night, Mother

Tuesday

Tom Moore

Sacha Bennett

Sissy Spacek and Anne Bancroft star in this taut, emotional study, adapted from the Pulitzer Prizewinning play by author Marsha Norman, about a mother’s attempt to stop her distraught, epileptic daughter from committing suicide.

John Simm, Ashley Walters, Philip Glenister. An ingeniously plotted, fast-moving, London-set heist story in which three groups decide to rob the same bank on the same day. Detectives must then use their expertise to piece together seemingly unrelated people and clues. Director’s commentary.

USA | 1986 | ANBAY | 93 min | 15 Item # 57080 | RRP £9.99 | Released 16th March

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UK | 2008 | VER | 79 min | Cert 15 Item # 57099 | RRP £12.99 | Released 23rd February

Righteous Kill

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Jon Avnet

Volunteers

Crime thriller starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino as a pair of long-time New York City police detectives assigned to investigate the vigilante murder of a notorious pimp, a case which appears to have links to a murder they worked on many years before.

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Summer

Kenneth Glenaan

British drama starring Robert Carlyle and Steve Evets as inseparable friends Shaun and Daz, who were badly let down by the education system and grew up with nothing except their friendship, which is severely tested by Shaun’s destructive nature. Twenty years on, Daz is in a wheelchair, and Shaun is forced to face up to a bleak future.

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My Name is Bruce Bruce Campbell

USA | 2007 | ANBAY | 86 min | 15 | # 57474 | £19.99

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Saw V

David Hackl

Sid and Nancy Alex Cox

USA | 1986 | OPTIM | 108 min | 18 | # 56909 | £12.99

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The Escapist Rupert Wyatt

Eire | 2008 | CTEND | 102 min | 15 | # 55609 | £15.99

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The Girl in the Park David Auburn

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The Heart of the Earth

W.

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Antonio Cuadri

Oliver Stone

UK / Spain | 2007 | MET-D | 98 min | Cert 15 | # 57088 | RRP

Josh Brolin takes the lead role in this dramatisation of the life and eight-year presidency of George W. Bush. The film features an all-star cast playing the White House’s most highprofile figures, and, like other Oliver Stone movies, it polarised opinion almost immediately on its release.

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UK / Germany | 2008 | ICON | 109 min | Cert TBC Item # 56819 | RRP £17.99 | Released 16th February

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USA | 2007 | HALC | 110 min | 15 | # 57105 | RRP £15.99

USA | 2008 | LGATE | 129 min | Cert 15 Item # 57187 | RRP £19.99 | Released 16th March

Ben Kingsley. A tense, psychological thriller set on the Trans-Siberian railway, where an American couple (Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer) become trapped in a deadly game between smugglers and the authorities when they befriend fellow travellers. Soon they find themselves ensnared in murder and deception as they desperately try to escape.

USA | 1996 | WHV | 132 min | Cert 18 | # 57079 | RRP £16.99

USA | 1985 | OPTIM | 102 min | Cert 15 Item # 57270 | RRP £12.99 | Released 16th March

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Brad Anderson

Curtis Hanson

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Tom Hanks takes the role of Lawrence Bourne III, a snide, rich playboy, who runs up a series of gambling debts and makes a quick exit by enlisting for the Peace Corps in Thailand. There, he meets a variety of American volunteers, whose gung-ho enthusiasm ensures a clash of personalities with the laid back aristocrat. One of the most underrated comedies of the 1980s.

UK | 2008 | CTEND | 83 min | Cert 15 Item # 56731 | RRP £15.99 | Released 2nd March

Transsiberian

L.A. Confidential (Special Edition)

USA | 2008 | LGATE | 92 min | 18 | # 57210 | RRP £19.99

Nicholas Meyer

USA | 2008 | LGATE | 100 min | Cert 15 Item # 56926 | RRP £19.99 | Released 16th February

Also Released

Wise Blood

John Huston Brad Dourif takes the lead role of an American southerner – young, poor, ambitious but uneducated – who decides the best way to become something in the world is to become a preacher and start up his own church. From Flannery O’Connor’s 70 min Making-of Documentary. novel.

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Thick as Thieves USA | 2008 | LGATE | 99 min | 15 | # 56976 | RRP £15.99

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One Eyed Jacks Marlon Brando

USA | 1961 | NWORK | 135 min | PG | # 57137 | £5.99

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Futureworld

Richard T. Heffron USA | 1976 | OPTIM | 104 min | 2 | # 56858 | RRP £15.99

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Amandla! Lee Hirsch

South Africa | 2002 | 108 min | 12 | # 57470 | £5.99

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My Dinner With Andre Louis Malle

USA | 1981 | OPTIM | 106 min | 12 | # 55832 | £12.99

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USA | 1979 | SECND | 101 min | Cert 15 Item # 57176 | RRP £19.99 | Released 2nd March

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Page 36

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March 09 MovieMail Newsletter

High Definition

This Month’s Releases Brideshead Revisited (2008) Julian Jarrold

UK | 2008 | 2ENT | 132 min | Cert 12 Item # 57220 | RRP £24.99 | Released 9th March

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Gandhi

Unrelated Recommended

The Visitor Recommended

Director: Joanna Hogg

Director: Thomas McCarthy

Starring: Kathryn Worth, David Rintoul

Starring: Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman

Released: 2nd February

Released: 23rd February

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UK | 2007 | NW | 100 mins | Cert 15 | Item # 57152

USA | 2007 | UNANI | 103 mins | Cert 15 | Item # 57173

Gomorrah

One of the biggest critical hits of recent months, Joanna Hogg’s debut feels both reassuringly familiar and strangely original. Familiar, because it’s from a longstanding European art-movie tradition, anatomising the underlying psychology of relationships as much through silence and elision as through conventional dialogue. Original, because its characters are normally caricatured into oblivion, being members of Britain’s comfortably-off middle classes as they holiday in Tuscany. However, this is no Aga saga but a painfully acute dissection of loneliness, unfulfilled expectations and unbridgeable generational divisions. Fortysomething Anna, her childless marriage potentially on the rocks, joins old friends relaxing in Italy with their teenage children – including Tom, with whom Anna strikes up a rapport. But just when a romance seems to be developing, trivial incidents steer the film into more emotionally knotted territory. Hogg cites Bresson and Ozu as inspirations. It shows: static images are combined with a soundtrack that allows crucial scenes to happen offscreen – but within Anna’s earshot. MB

Lonely, listless and unable to write, widowed university professor Walter (an Oscar-nominated Richard Jenkins) turns to piano lessons in the hope they will give life without his wife meaning. Finding a frustrating lack of ability only entrenches his sense of emptiness still deeper, it is not until Walter invites two strangers into his life that the direction of his dreary existence is radically altered. On a work trip to New York, Walter finds a young immigrant couple staying in his apartment, and an unlikely friendship between Syrian musician Tarek and the professor begins to develop. Through their relationship, Walter is liberated from numbness and his dormant creative yearnings are finally jolted out of hibernation as the musician begins teaching him how to play the drums. However, Tarek is an illegal alien and the authorities are trying to catch up with him... The Visitor is a touching character study boasting perceptive and moving performances. It’s a simple and ultimately optimistic tale which explores complex and profound facets of humanity with an adroitly light touch. CG

Richard Attenborough UK | 1982 | COL-T | 182 min Item # 57545 | RRP £19.99 | Released 16th Feb

Matteo Garrone Italy | 2008 | OPTIM | 137 min | subt | 18 Item # 56954 | RRP £24.99 | Released 9th February

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I’ve Loved You So Long Philippe Claudel .

France | 2008 | 117 min | subt | 12 Item # 57194 | RRP £24.99 | Released 9th February

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L.A. Confidential Curtis Hanson

USA | 1996 | WHV | 132 min | 18 Item # 56719 | RRP £20.99 | Released 9th March

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Pinocchio

Ben Sharpsteen USA | 1940 | WDHV | 84 min | Cert U Item # 57264 | RRP £26.99 | Released 9th March

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Quo Vadis

Mervyn Le Roy USA | 1951 | WHV | 162 min | Cert PG Item # 56720 | RRP £20.99 | Released 2nd Feb

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Raging Bull

Martin Scorsese. USA | 1980 | FOX | 124 min | Cert 18 Item # 56782 | RRP £22.99 | Released 9th February

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Page 37


James Oliver’s From the Cheap Seats

Silents: Please!

L

ast month, this column celebrated the mindboggling selection of films available on DVD. Titles that were once almost impossible to see are now readily available, to the delight of everyone who loves the medium. Hurrah! Yet that rejoicing has an obvious sequel: there are many others still imprisoned in the vaults. We all have a list of titles that haven’t made it onto our favourite format yet. Right now, most of mine are silent movies. Silent movies are grievously underrepresented on DVD. Indeed, the selection of titles is miniscule. The conclusion is sadly obvious. DVD is a business, after all. Were it some philanthropic endeavour organised for the benefit of film lovers, our shelves would be groaning under the weight of pre-sound films. That they are not suggests limited commercial prospects. Strange as it sounds, I’m surprised. Obviously silent film has marginal appeal: most folks don’t even like black and white films; take away the talking and a hard sell becomes almost impossible. But not so long ago, silents were a visible, and relatively popular, part of our film culture. They enjoyed packed gala screenings. They were shown on TV. Why, there was even an article about DW Griffith in Empire magazine, a publication whose commitment to non-mainstream cinema has always been, shall we say, discreet. So what happened? Certainly, it’s harder to see them. They are no longer welcome on terrestrial TV since its lobotomy and the decline of repertory cinema means that screenings are infrequent. In consequence, more emphasis is placed on the titles with brand recognition.

The most famous silent movies are generally a terrible advertisement for the form Here is where the problem starts because the most famous silent films are a terrible advertisement for it. I found this out the hard way. Like many, I started with DW Griffith: “the first genius of cinema”. It was only dogged persistence that kept me going. Griffith’s films remind me of early motor cars: I can admire the invention and appreciate what they led to but frankly, they’re a damned uncomfortable ride. It’s not just the noxious bigotry that makes Birth of a Nation so tough to watch; the whole film is trite and sugary. And at the risk of being sent to a gulag for re-education, I’d say Battleship Potemkin – greatest of all silent films, according to the 2002 Sight and Sound poll, and surely amongst the most widely seen

– should be floated off to the breakers’ yard. It was revolutionary in 1925 but the intervening years have spiked its guns. When museum pieces get dressed up and sold as ‘classics’, it’s no wonder that interest starts to wane. Happily, more and better silent films are becoming available. The BFI, for example, have set a keen pace with releases of quality British silents like Piccadilly and A Cottage on Dartmoor. The estimable Masters of Cinema have shown a tremendous commitment to silent masterpieces. Releases like Sunrise, L’Argent (pictured left) and their incomparable Buster Keaton set show great films to their best advantage. Let’s hope they can add to their holdings. Silent cinema will always be a minority pursuit. But if more of its treasures are brought into the open, and its relics consigned to the history books, perhaps more people will be seduced by their rare beauty.

Related Films Buster Keaton: Complete Short Films USA | 1917-23 | EUREK | 700 min | # 31086 | £49.99

Our DVD Price: £32.49

L’Argent

Marcel L’Herbier Fr. | 1928 | EUREK | 164 min | PG | # 56341 | £22.99

Our DVD Price: £17.99

Piccadilly E A Dupont

UK | 1929 | BFI | 108 min | B&W | PG | # 18454 | £15.99

Our DVD Price: £14.39

Sunrise (MoC) F W Murnau

USA | 1927 | 95 min | B&W | U | # 24113 | £19.99

Our DVD Price: £15.99

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The New MovieMail Website Cinebox: Film Downloads are now available! The long-awaited MovieMail Film Downloads service has finally arrived – Cinebox is now open for MovieMail customers to enjoy. Cinebox allows you to download films and watch them on your computer. There are over 250 great films available to buy or rent and of course they’re all 100% legal and virus free. We’ve been sending out invites during January with a free download voucher so you can check out Cinebox at no cost. If you haven’t received an invite yet email us at cinebox@moviemail-online.co.uk to request one. Visit: www.moviemail-online.co.uk/cinebox

MovieMail Filmcast The MovieMail Filmcast is a fortnightly programme that gives considered and insightful introductions to significant films and directors. Presented by Graeme Hobbs, the programmes aim to inspire you to watch the films with a fresh eye as well as introduce their themes and context. Listening and downloading is simple - you don't need an iPod or mp3 player, just a computer. Those with iTunes can easily subscribe to the podcast. Go to www.moviemail-online/podcasts

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Nights of Cabiria Fellini’s Oscar-winning masterpiece comes to DVD, see page 7

Nights of Cabiria Federico Fellini An Oscar-winning bittersweet glimpse into the life and dreams of Cabiria, a resilient and unquenchably optimistic prostitute, played by Fellini’s wife, Giuletta Masina. Despite the various disappointments which come her way, she always looks on the bright side of life. This is a wonderful filmic love letter from Fellini to his wife. Italy / France | 1956 | OPTIM | 113 min | subt | B&W | Cert PG | # 57278 | RRP £17.99

DVD: £11.99 Save £6

© 1957 STUDIOCANAL. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Optimum Releasing Ltd. Artwork © 2009 Optimum Releasing Ltd.

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MovieMail March 09 Film Catalogue  

This month finds a host of top new releases - Hunger, The Duchess, Nights of Cabiria, The Joy of Sex Education - a feature on Cinema Activis...

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