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  • The Bridge On The River Kwai [Blu-ray] [Region A & B & C] The Bridge On The River Kwai | Blu Ray | (04/12/2017) from £19.99  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £N/A

    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

  • The L-Shaped Room (Digitally Restored) [Blu-ray] [1962] The L-Shaped Room (Digitally Restored) | Blu Ray | (27/11/2017) from £13.30  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £N/A

    The L-Shaped Room, adapted by writer-director Bryan Forbes from Lynne Reid Banks' novel, unfolds in a dank, depressing London boarding house. Leslie Caron plays Jane Fosset, a 27-year-old French woman, down on her luck, who takes a room. There are bugs in her mattress. The taps drip. The landlady ("the lovely Doris") is a drunken, malicious busybody. Forbes doesn't paint the English in a flattering light. They're covetous, eccentric and xenophobic. "I never close my door to the nigs," Doris tells Fosset, as if to prove that she is no racist. When Fosset reveals that she's pregnant and unmarried, everybody turns against her. The one real friend Fosset makes is Toby (Tom Bell), an impoverished would-be writer who lives in the room downstairs. She starts an affair with him, but for all his protestations to the contrary, he too turns out to be moralistic and conservative--he can't accept the idea that she is having another man's baby.Forbes' dialogue sometimes grates, the film risks running into a dead end (Fosset is stuck with nowhere to go and no prospects), but this is compelling fare all the same. Cameraman Douglas Slocombe (who went on to shoot Raiders of the Lost Ark) makes the boarding house seem as gloomy and oppressive as a Gothic mansion. Forbes doesn't sentimentalise at all. The London he portrays is nothing like the swinging, hedonistic city shown in later British movies of the 60s. --Geoffrey Macnab

  • The L-Shaped Room (Digitally Restored) [DVD] [1962] The L-Shaped Room (Digitally Restored) | DVD | (27/11/2017) from £10.64  |  Saving you £N/A (N/A%)  |  RRP £N/A

    The L-Shaped Room, adapted by writer-director Bryan Forbes from Lynne Reid Banks' novel, unfolds in a dank, depressing London boarding house. Leslie Caron plays Jane Fosset, a 27-year-old French woman, down on her luck, who takes a room. There are bugs in her mattress. The taps drip. The landlady ("the lovely Doris") is a drunken, malicious busybody. Forbes doesn't paint the English in a flattering light. They're covetous, eccentric and xenophobic. "I never close my door to the nigs," Doris tells Fosset, as if to prove that she is no racist. When Fosset reveals that she's pregnant and unmarried, everybody turns against her. The one real friend Fosset makes is Toby (Tom Bell), an impoverished would-be writer who lives in the room downstairs. She starts an affair with him, but for all his protestations to the contrary, he too turns out to be moralistic and conservative--he can't accept the idea that she is having another man's baby.Forbes' dialogue sometimes grates, the film risks running into a dead end (Fosset is stuck with nowhere to go and no prospects), but this is compelling fare all the same. Cameraman Douglas Slocombe (who went on to shoot Raiders of the Lost Ark) makes the boarding house seem as gloomy and oppressive as a Gothic mansion. Forbes doesn't sentimentalise at all. The London he portrays is nothing like the swinging, hedonistic city shown in later British movies of the 60s. --Geoffrey Macnab

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