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  • The Great Escape - Special Edition [1963] The Great Escape - Special Edition | DVD | (04/12/2006) from £4.00  |  Saving you £14.84 (74.20%)  |  RRP £19.99

    A stirring example of courage and the indomitable human spirit, for many John Sturges' The Great Escape is both the definitive World War II drama and the nonpareil prison escape movie. Featuring an unequalled ensemble cast in a rivetingly authentic true-life scenario set to Elmer Bernstein's admirable music (who writes contrapuntal march themes these days?), this picture is both a template for subsequent action-adventure movies and one of the last glories of Golden Age Hollywood. Reunited with the director who made him a star in The Magnificent Seven Steve McQueen gives a career-defining performance as the laconic Hilts, the baseball-loving, motorbike-riding "Cooler King". The rest of the all-male Anglo-American cast--Dickie Attenborough, Donald Pleasance, James Garner, Charles Bronson, David McCallum, James Coburn and Gordon Jackson--make the most of their meaty roles (though you have to forgive Coburn his Australian accent). Closely based on Paul Brickhill's book, the various escape attempts, scrounging, forging and ferreting activities are authentically realised thanks also to the presence on set of technical advisor Wally Flood, one of the original tunnel-digging POWs. Sturges orchestrates the climactic mass break out with total conviction, giving us both high action and very poignant human drama. Without trivialising the grim reality, The Great Escape thrillingly celebrates the heroism of men who never gave up the fight. On the DVD: The Great Escape special edition is indeed a special event. The anamorphic 2.35:1 picture is good if a tad grainy, and the remastered Dolby 5.1 soundtrack is a fitting vehicle for Elmer Bernstein's magnificent contribution. Accompanying the feature there's a reasonable cut-and-paste group commentary culled from interviews with various cast and crew, plus text trivia captions about the actors and the real-life camp. The second disc features a first-rate Granada TV documentary from 2001, "The Untold Story", which tells of both the escape itself and the subsequent post-war search for the Gestapo officers who butchered 50 of the 76 escapees. This has an appendix of further valuable interviews with survivors, and there's also an American making-of documentary, "Heroes Underground", which is good though annoyingly divided into separate chapters and featuring non-anamorphic clips from the film. Perhaps best of all though is the 25-minute life of American POW David Jones, "The Real Virgil Hilts", whose career both during and after the war is extraordinary and inspirational. A classic movie finally gets the DVD treatment it merits.--Mark Walker

  • Howl's Moving Castle Howl's Moving Castle | DVD | (13/03/2006) from £13.00  |  Saving you £6.99 (35.00%)  |  RRP £19.99

    Oscar-winning director Hayao Miyazaki Japan's premier animator and co-founder of Studio Ghibli takes viewers on an amazing animated adventure that celebrates the power of love to transform and the resiliency of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Sophie an ordinarily average teenage girl working in a hat shop finds her life thrown into turmoil when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome but mysterious wizard named Howl and is subsequently turned into a 90 year o

  • Aliens  (Special Edition)  [1986] Aliens (Special Edition) | DVD | (06/03/2006) from £N/A  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £22.99

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