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Director David Lean

  • The Bridge On The River Kwai [1957] The Bridge On The River Kwai | DVD | (04/12/2000) from £4.49  |  Saving you £18.50 (80.50%)  |  RRP £22.99

    Based on the true story of the building of a bridge on the Burma railway by British prisoners-of-war held under a savage Japanese regime in World War II, The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) is one of the greatest war films ever made. The film received seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Performance (Alex Guinness), for Sir Malcolm Arnold's superb music, and for the screenplay from the novel by Pierre Boulle (who also wrote Monkey Planet, the inspiration for Planet of the Apes). The story does take considerable liberties with history, including the addition of an American saboteur played by William Holden, and an entirely fictitious but superbly constructed and thrilling finale. Made on a vast scale, the film reinvented the war movie as something truly epic, establishing the cinematic beachhead for The Longest Day (1962), Patton (1970) and A Bridge Too Far (1977). It also proved a turning-point in director David Lean's career. Before he made such classic but conventionally scaled films as In Which We Serve (1942) and Hobson's Choice (1953). Afterwards there would only be four more films, but their names are Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Dr Zhivago (1965), Ryan's Daughter (1970) and A Passage to India (1984). On the DVD: Too often the best extras come attached to films that don't really warrant them. Not so here, where a truly great film has been given the attention it deserves. The first disc presents the film in the original extra-wide CinemaScope ratio of 2.55:1, in an anamorphically enhanced transfer which does maximum justice to the film's superb cinematography. The sound has been transferred from the original six-track magnetic elements into 5.1 Dolby Digital and far surpasses what many would expect from a 1950s' feature. The main bonus on the first disc is an isolated presentation of Malcolm Arnold's great Oscar-winning music score, in addition to which there is a trivia game, and maps and historical information linked to appropriate clips. The second disc contains a new, specially produced 53-minute "making of" documentary featuring many of those involved in the production of the movie. This gives a rich insight into the physical problems of making such a complex epic on location in Ceylon. Also included are the original trailer and two short promotional films from the time of release, one of which is narrated by star William Holden. Finally there is an "appreciation" by director John Milius, an extensive archive of movie posters and artwork, and a booklet that reproduces the text of the film's original 1957 brochure. --Gary S Dalkin

  • Hobson's Choice [DVD] Hobson's Choice | DVD | (05/05/2014) from £8.99  |  Saving you £9.00 (50.00%)  |  RRP £17.99

    Henry Horatio Hobson (Academy Award -Winner Charles Laughton) is the owner of a well-established boot shop in nineteenth century Salford Lancashire and the father of three daughters. The oldest Maggie (Brenda De Banzie) shoulders both home and business responsibilities while Hobson whiles the time away at the local pub. The younger sisters are both being courted by neighbours but Hobson refuses to give the couples settlements. Maggie becomes tired of his oafish behaviour and decides to take matters into her hands by seeking a husband. Much to the hilarity and consternation of her father aged spinster Maggie sets her sights on shy Will Mossop (John Mills) Hobson's master boot-maker. Mossop is at first stunned by the suggestion but eventually agrees to Maggie's authoritative persuasion and together they set up a rival boot shop. A timeless masterpiece that marked a temporary return to David Lean's period adaptations of Dickens (Great Expectations Oliver Twist). The film went on to win multiple awards. This film has been digitally restored to its former glory. Special Features: New and exclusive interviews with Prunella Scales and screenwriter Norman Spencer

  • Brief Encounter [1945] Brief Encounter | DVD | (15/09/2008) from £3.99  |  Saving you £9.00 (69.30%)  |  RRP £12.99

    Noel Coward's sensitive portrayal of what happens when two happily married strangers played by Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson meet and their acquaintance deepens into affection and eventually into love. It is the story of two people thrown together by the chance meeting of the title helpless in the face of their emotions but redeemed by their moral courage. Over the years few films have equalled the compassion and the realism of Brief Encounter.

  • Doctor Zhivago [1965] Doctor Zhivago | DVD | (01/06/2006) from £4.99  |  Saving you £9.00 (64.30%)  |  RRP £13.99

    David Lean's wintry adaptation of Boris Pasternak's melodramatic Russian Revolution romance, Doctor Zhivago, is a masterpiece of epic filmmaking, but one that risks leaving the viewer cold. Though none of the film was shot in the then USSR, Lean's assured technique nevertheless illuminates the breathtaking backgrounds magnificently: from the snowy wastes of the Urals to the strife-torn streets of Moscow, Lean stages a series of wonderful set-pieces showing war, revolution and its terrible aftermath. The problem lies in the foreground. Omar Sharif's entirely passive Zhivago is, we are told, a romantic poet of great sensitivity who internalises all his emotions and expresses them in verse. The trouble is the audience never gets to see a line of his poems, not even the centrally important "Lara" cycle. Thus Zhivago at the end of the picture is as much an emotional blank to us as he was at the beginning. His affair with the idealised beauty that is Julie Christie's Lara is also taken for granted by the filmmakers rather than set up in any convincing way, their mutual attraction remaining a mystery that creates a vacuum at the core of the picture. Given that none of the central characters with the exception of Rod Steiger's fire-breathing lecher Komarovsky ever give way to strong emotions, the romantic heart of the film remains oddly frigid. Matters are not helped by composer Maurice Jarre's incessant "Lara's Theme", which many will find teeth-grindingly irritating. Still, any David Lean epic, even a flawed one, is always going to be a first-class cinematic experience, and Zhivago is assuredly that. On the DVD: A stunning anamorphic widescreen print is the ideal way to appreciate David Lean's craftsmanship and this movie's glorious, wintry cinematography. Maurice Jarre's "Lara's Theme" and the rest of his patchwork score can be heard in a music-only track, while Omar Sharif is joined by Lean's widow Sandra and Rod Steiger for an intermittent commentary. The second bonus disc contains a good hour-long making-of documentary plus 10 shorter contemporary documentaries giving various insights into the location shooting and the cast and crew. But it's the sheer beauty of the picture that will astonish and make this disc forever treasurable. --Mark Walker

  • Lawrance of Arabia [DVD] Lawrance of Arabia | DVD | (11/05/2011) from £5.00  |  Saving you £0.99 (16.50%)  |  RRP £5.99

    This remarkable film follows the struggles of T.E. Lawrence (played by Peter O'Toole - My Favourite Year The Last Emperor) in uniting the hostile Arab factions during the First World War and leading them to victory over the ruling Turkish Empire. The film was released originally in 1962 to huge critical acclaim winning 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director for David Lean.

  • Ryan's Daughter [1970] Ryan's Daughter | DVD | (13/02/2006) from £4.95  |  Saving you £12.04 (70.90%)  |  RRP £16.99

    World War I seems far away from Ireland's Dingle peninsula when Rosy Ryan Shaughnessy goes horseback riding on the beach with the young English officer. There was a magnetic attraction between them the day he was the only customer in her father's pub and Rosy was tending bar for the first time since her marriage to the village schoolmaster. Then one stormy night some Irish revolutionaries expecting a shipment of guns arrive at Ryan's pub. Is it Rosy who betrays them to the British? Wi

  • Lawrence of Arabia [Blu-ray][Region Free] Lawrence of Arabia | Blu Ray | (10/09/2012) from £5.99  |  Saving you £10.00 (62.50%)  |  RRP £15.99

    In 1962 Lawrence of Arabia scooped another seven Oscars for David Lean and crew after his previous epic, The Bridge on the River Kwai, had performed exactly the same feat a few years earlier. Supported in this Great War desert adventure by a superb cast including Alex Guinness, Jack Hawkins and Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole gives a complex, star-making performance as the enigmatic TE Lawrence. The magnificent action and vast desert panoramas were captured in luminous 70mm by Cinematographer Freddie Young, here beginning a partnership with Lean that continued through Dr Zhivago (1965) and Ryan's Daughter (1970). Yet what made the film truly outstanding was Robert (A Man For All Seasons) Bolt's literate screenplay, marking the beginning of yet another ongoing collaboration with Lean. The final partnership established was between director and French composer Maurice Jarre, who won one of the Oscars and scored all Lean's remaining films, up to and including A Passage to India in 1984. Fully restored in 1989, this complete version of Lean's masterpiece remains one of cinema's all-time classic visions. --Gary S Dalkin On the DVD: This vast movie is spread leisurely across two discs, with Maurice Jarre's overture standing in as intermission music for the first track of disc two. But the clarity of the anamorphic widescreen picture and Dolby 5.1 soundtrack justify the decision not to cram the whole thing onto one side of a disc. The movie has never looked nor sounded better than here: the desert landscapes are incredibly detailed, with the tiny nomadic figures in the far distance clearly visible on the small screen; the remastered soundtrack, too, is a joy. Thanks are due to Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg who supervised (and financed) the restoration of the picture in 1989; on disc two Spielberg chats about why David Lean is his favourite director, and why Lawrence had such a profound influence on him both as a child and as a filmmaker (he regularly re-watches the movie before starting any new project). Other features include an excellent and exhaustive "making-of" documentary with contributions from surviving cast and crew (an avuncular Omar Sharif is particularly entertaining as he reminisces about meeting the hawk-like Lean for the first time), some contemporary featurettes designed to promote the movie and a DVD-ROM facility. The extra features are good--especially the documentary--but the breathtaking quality of both anamorphic picture and digital sound are what make this DVD package a triumph. --Mark Walker

  • A Passage to India [DVD] A Passage to India | DVD | (06/05/2013) from £5.39  |  Saving you £12.60 (70.00%)  |  RRP £17.99

    From the acclaimed director of Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and The Bridge on the River Kwai, A Passage To India was Sir David Lean's last ever feature film and a winner of two Oscars®.

  • In Which We Serve [1942] In Which We Serve | DVD | (15/09/2008) from £4.69  |  Saving you £8.30 (63.90%)  |  RRP £12.99

    The story of the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Torrin and those that serve in her. In the Battle of Crete she is dive-bombed while streaming at thirty knots and goes down fighting. We see through the memories of her survivors the ordeals achievements and gallantry of HMS Torrin from her commissioning until she sinks in her last battle.

  • Blithe Spirit [1945] Blithe Spirit | DVD | (12/05/2003) from £4.19  |  Saving you £5.80 (58.10%)  |  RRP £9.99

    Noel Coward's favourite play, Blithe Spirit, was certainly a departure for David Lean, best known at the time for adapting Dickens. While it's the director's only comedy, the result is a delightful gem. Rex Harrison is an acerbic author haunted by the ghost of first wife Elvira (Kay Hammond), who tries to seduce him all over again. This throws his second wife (Constance Cummings) into a panic, second-guessing her lack of passion. It's a celestial sex romp that hasn't lost its bite. Margaret Rutherford, as always, steals the show as the sardonic medium. --Bill Desowitz

  • David Lean Centenary Collection David Lean Centenary Collection | DVD | (11/08/2008) from £15.99  |  Saving you £1.35 (7.80%)  |  RRP £17.34

    This Box Set includes: The Sound Barrier (1952): A tale of male courage and an adventure into the unknown but also the story of the women who wait at home. A self-made aircraft manufacturer is determined that his company will be the first to build a plane which flies faster than sound. Hobson's Choice (1954): The eldest daughter of an alcoholic self-important Lancashire bootmaker marries his boot-hand and sets up a rival business. Blithe Spirit (1945): A happily married author writing a novel on mediums invites one to supper one evening. After holding a seance the husband's deceased first wife appears and begins to cause chaos! Brief Encounter (1946): Noel Coward's sensitive portrayal of what happens when two happily married strangers played by Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson meet and their acquaintance deepens into affection and eventually into love. It is the story of two people thrown together by the chance meeting of the title helpless in the face of their emotions but redeemed by their moral courage. Over the years few films have equalled the compassion and the realism of Brief Encounter. Great Expectations (1946): A stylish film presentation of Charles Dickens' heart warming story of a young man befriending an escaped convict who becomes his unknown benefactor and of the consequences for the young man as he establishes himself in the world. Oliver Twist (1948): Oliver Twist orphaned at birth and raised in the workhouse is expelled for daring to ask the Beadle for more food. Unhappily apprenticed to an Undertaker Oliver escaped to London where he meets the cheeky Artful Dodger the villainous Fagin the aggressive Bill Sykesand the kindly but doomed Nancy. Torn constantly between the forces of good and evil Oliver eventually seals his fate by picking the pocket of a rich gentleman. Madeleine (1950) Lean's accomplished film of the famous Scottish Madeleine Smith case in which a woman from a wealthy family is accused of the murder of her lover. The Passionate Friends (1949): Through her marriage to a wealthy financier Mary Justin has the freedom and comfort she has always yearned for but her life is one that lacks emotional fulfilment. On a visit to Switzerland she runs into an old friend Steven Stratton with whom she once had a passionate love affair many years before her marriage. Her meeting with Steven rekindles old memories of a friendship of the most beautiful kind. If only they could begin again... This Happy Breed (1944): A splendidly acted classic portraying how an ordinary British family lived between the wars. Just after WWI the Gibbons family moves to a nice house in the suburbs. The inhabitants of 17 Sycamore Road are ordinary people with their irritable in-laws their just-plain-folks camaraderie and their unshakeable belief that no matter how hard the times are Mother England is forged of good stock and common sense

  • Brief Encounter [Blu-ray] [1945] Brief Encounter | Blu Ray | (02/02/2009) from £6.59  |  Saving you £13.40 (67.00%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Noel Coward's sensitive portrayal of what happens when two happily married strangers played by Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson meet and their acquaintance deepens into affection and eventually into love. It is the story of two people thrown together by the chance meeting of the title helpless in the face of their emotions but redeemed by their moral courage. Over the years few films have equalled the compassion and the realism of Brief Encounter.

  • Blithe Spirit [1945] Blithe Spirit | DVD | (15/09/2008) from £5.39  |  Saving you £7.60 (58.50%)  |  RRP £12.99

    Struggling to find material for his next novel writer Charles Condomine invites a local mystic Madame Arcati to hold a sance at his house in the presence of his wife Ruth and two guests. Sceptical of Arcati's powers Charles does not expect for anything to happen so it is much to his surprise when the ghost of his dead wife Elvira appears to him. Desperate to be rid of his dead wife as he fears she may kill him to have his company forever he pleads with Arcati to send her back to where she came...

  • Brief Encounter [1945] Brief Encounter | DVD | (26/09/2008) from £3.50  |  Saving you £-1.97 (-12.30%)  |  RRP £15.99

    Expanded from a one-act stage play by Noel Coward, Brief Encounter is without doubt one of the true masterpieces of British film history. The story seems slight--a respectable suburban housewife has a chance meeting with a handsome married doctor, their friendship becomes romance, but they feel the pressures of convention pulling their relationship apart--but the writing, acting and direction are sublime, turning what might have been just another melodrama into a memorable and heartbreaking story of impossible love. David Lean went on to make much bigger films than this, but few of those epics packed the emotional punch of this picture, set in a mundane world of railway stations, semi-detached houses and inexpensive cafes. Trevor Howard is perfectly cast as Alec, the doctor, but the film belongs above all to Celia Johnson, as the heroine Laura. It's easy to mock her clipped ultra-English accent, but she gives one of the greatest screen performances imaginable, brilliantly evoking how an ordinary life can be turned upside down by unexpected passion. Throw in the superb use of Rachmaninov's swooning Second Piano Concerto, shrewd supporting acting from Cyril Raymond, Joyce Carey and Everley Gregg, and some of the best black-and-white photography of its era, and the result is irresistible. Anyone who isn't besotted with Brief Encounter has either never been in love, or doesn't deserve to be. --Andy Medhurst

  • Hobson's Choice [1953] Hobson's Choice | DVD | (11/08/2008) from £9.84  |  Saving you £6.15 (38.50%)  |  RRP £15.99

    A story of feminism in 19th Century Salford Hobson's Choice deals with the empowering of female characters. Henry Hobson is a widower with a weakness for the pub and the owner of a successful bootmakers. In order to save his finances he denies his three daughters the right to marry. So in rebellion against her father eldest daughter Maggie starts up a relationship and rival bootmakers with Henry's star employee Will.

  • The Greatest Story Ever Told [1965] The Greatest Story Ever Told | DVD | (31/03/2003) from £6.87  |  Saving you £9.12 (57.00%)  |  RRP £15.99

    The life of Christ got an excessively long treatment (260 minutes, later trimmed to 195) in this 1965 film directed by George Stevens (The Diary of Anne Frank). Max von Sydow does beautiful work as Jesus--his spontaneous mourning at discovering his friend Lazarus has died is not like anything in other New Testament epics--and Stevens renders the familiar tale with a handsome authenticity. But the project is nearly undone by an unwise gimmick in which seemingly half of Hollywood's living stars at the time make brief cameo appearances, some of which are ridiculous (who can forget the sight of John Wayne as a Roman Centurion solemnly intoning, "Truly he was the son of Gaaad"?). But there is a lot to like in the film, and Von Sydow's sensitive nobility sticks in the memory. --Tom Keogh

  • The Passionate Friends [1948] The Passionate Friends | DVD | (15/09/2008) from £4.79  |  Saving you £8.20 (63.10%)  |  RRP £12.99

    Through her marriage to a wealthy financier Mary Justin has the freedom and comfort she has always yearned for but her life is one that lacks emotional fulfilment. On a visit to Switzerland she runs into an old friend Steven Stratton with whom she once had a passionate love affair many years before her marriage. Her meeting with Steven rekindles old memories of a friendship of the most beautiful kind. If only they could begin again...

  • Doctor Zhivago [DVD] [1965] Doctor Zhivago | DVD | (10/05/2010) from £6.99  |  Saving you £11.00 (61.10%)  |  RRP £17.99

    David Lean's wintry adaptation of Boris Pasternak's melodramatic Russian Revolution romance, Doctor Zhivago, is a masterpiece of epic filmmaking, but one that risks leaving the viewer cold. Though none of the film was shot in the then USSR, Lean's assured technique nevertheless illuminates the breathtaking backgrounds magnificently: from the snowy wastes of the Urals to the strife-torn streets of Moscow, Lean stages a series of wonderful set-pieces showing war, revolution and its terrible aftermath. The problem lies in the foreground. Omar Sharif's entirely passive Zhivago is, we are told, a romantic poet of great sensitivity who internalises all his emotions and expresses them in verse. The trouble is the audience never gets to see a line of his poems, not even the centrally important "Lara" cycle. Thus Zhivago at the end of the picture is as much an emotional blank to us as he was at the beginning. His affair with the idealised beauty that is Julie Christie's Lara is also taken for granted by the filmmakers rather than set up in any convincing way, their mutual attraction remaining a mystery that creates a vacuum at the core of the picture. Given that none of the central characters with the exception of Rod Steiger's fire-breathing lecher Komarovsky ever give way to strong emotions, the romantic heart of the film remains oddly frigid. Matters are not helped by composer Maurice Jarre's incessant "Lara's Theme", which many will find teeth-grindingly irritating. Still, any David Lean epic, even a flawed one, is always going to be a first-class cinematic experience, and Zhivago is assuredly that. On the DVD: A stunning anamorphic widescreen print is the ideal way to appreciate David Lean's craftsmanship and this movie's glorious, wintry cinematography. Maurice Jarre's "Lara's Theme" and the rest of his patchwork score can be heard in a music-only track, while Omar Sharif is joined by Lean's widow Sandra and Rod Steiger for an intermittent commentary. The second bonus disc contains a good hour-long making-of documentary plus 10 shorter contemporary documentaries giving various insights into the location shooting and the cast and crew. But it's the sheer beauty of the picture that will astonish and make this disc forever treasurable. --Mark Walker

  • This Happy Breed [1944] This Happy Breed | DVD | (26/01/2009) from £9.99  |  Saving you £6.00 (37.50%)  |  RRP £15.99

    This Happy Breed (2 Discs)

  • Great Expectations [1946] Great Expectations | DVD | (15/09/2008) from £4.79  |  Saving you £8.20 (63.10%)  |  RRP £12.99

    A stylish film presentation of Charles Dickens' heart warming story of a young man befriending an escaped convict who becomes his unknown benefactor and of the consequences for the young man as he establishes himself in the world.

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